What would you say if I started out this blog by saying that heart disease is all in your head?
More and more in the literature we see research cropping up about how our emotions play into our physical health. And even more important than the literature, we just know that it’s true.
Of course, if you’ve been following my blogs at all you know that there is far more to heart disease than clogged arteries and a bad genetic code. . . . (see Myth #1 and Myth #2 and Don’t Blame Your Cardiovascular System)
Arrogance is killing us
Our current health philosophy is based on separating the mind/body connection, a very arrogant position.
Arrogant, because we know so little about how our mind/body connection influences our physiology BUT we act (or certain doctors act) like we’ve got it all figured out.
But modern day society has elevated arrogance to monumental proportions in more than just health care!
The truth is our emotions have far more to do with our health then genetics, a diagnosis or even blood work. There are many cases in scientific journals where people literally believed themselves back to beating cancer or some other life threatening illness.
For example, a study in the US of 100 people diagnosed as terminally ill, 12 years later were still alive.
They had all used different treatments – some conventional, such as surgery or chemotherapy, and some alternative, such as special diets.
Some had used psychological techniques, or religious practices.
What they all had in common was an unfaltering belief that what they were doing would work for them.
Dr. Frank Lawlis at the University of Texas found the same.
Doctors Ikemi and Nakagawa at Yokohama City University in Japan showed that 84 per cent of subjects could eliminate the standard histamine response to poison ivy. The itching, swelling and blisters disappeared when patients imagined the poison ivy to be a harmless plant.
Even more interesting, a large number of subjects broke out in blisters when they reversed the experiment and imagined the harmless plant to be poison ivy. 1
Half the group received the latest medical help.
The other half of the group had “belief” training. After a year, the second group reported much less pain and more optimism. Ten years later, the second group had lived an average of twice as long as the first.
That research was conducted in the 1970’s and has been recently contested.
In 1991 Stanford had trouble duplicating the results.
But rather than throw the “baby out with the bathwater”, I believe the reason the difference was not as significant, was that in the 20 years since his ground breaking research people are more aware of the “belief factor” and it has essentially changed the way we approach cancer.
We now know belief matters.
As much as the “medical establishment” want’s to say it was “just a fluke”, we just know that we can and so believe ourselfs well (or sick).
Belief is huge because it commands the brain to take charge of our physical reality.
From what I have read and seen with working with patients for 20+ years, I believe that changing our emotional and belief centers engages, what Seth Godin calls, the “reptile brain”. It convinces your body to re-create some of the exact same healing and re-creation pathways that we have during embryogenesis.
A base survival instinct that has no rival, a survival instinct that even beats terminal disease.
I’d love to hear your experiences with believing yourself well. Have you had a family member or someone close to you who prayed or was prayed for and was healed?
I’d love to hear your story to add to the experiences I’ve seen in my private practice over the last 20 years.
Add your story in the comments below.
- Staying Well with Guided Imagery, by Belleruth Naparstek. ↩