What is Mind-Body Health?
When working holistically, we are aiming to balance and integrate the various elements of the mind-body-energy system. We often talk about the mind and body as though they are completely separate – but they aren’t. The mind can’t function unless your body is working properly – but it also works the other way. The state of your mind affects your body. If you feel low, you tend to do less and be less active, which makes you feel worse – you can become more tired, feel more depressed and tense, plus you miss out on things you enjoy. So it can easily become a vicious cycle.
The Study of Psycho-Neuro-Immunology (PNI)
This is the established scientific study of how the mind and body communicate, and how stress can affect our immune system and susceptibility to disease.
It is only since the advent of modern medicine in the 19th and 20th centuries that we seemed to lose the ancient wisdom of how illness and wellbeing are connected to the mind, society, morality and spirituality. Quantum mechanics now proves that at a molecular level everything is linked and connected. Furthermore, in recent years the study of PNI reminds us that psychological states like chronic stress, depression, anxiety, fear produce profound effects on the body. Most of us will have our own experiences of how headaches or digestive problems can result from stress. But PNI has extended that to include the way in which genes express themselves in genetic illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Over time, mental and emotional states take a heavy toll on the body and are a significant risk for illness.
The field of PNI has documented different physiological responses to stress. Various forms of stress management have been found to be helpful in modifying the body’s stress response. These include:
- mindfulness meditation
- counselling & psychotherapy
- volunteering in the community
- stream-of-consciousness writing
- nutrition, acupuncture and other complementary therapies
- sunlight and nature
- social connectedness.
Complementary Therapies and Holistic Health
At Wendy Bramham Therapy, complementary health practices are undertaken alongside, and in addition to, the NHS and mainstream medicine; never as a replacement! Many of our therapists may ask to contact your GP if it is considered helpful and/or appropriate, and many of us are experienced in working in the NHS.
Holistic health practitioners - including counsellors, psychotherapists and psychologists - may look for meaningful connections between the various aspects of a person, such as mind, body, emotion and spirit. For example we may try to uncover the hidden "function" of a disease or set of symptoms, and perhaps try to understand these as “messengers” relating to the wider context of the patient’s life so far. Each patient is treated as unique, and the focus is on the individual rather than the illness, whilst symptoms are seen in relation to one another.