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Mindbody

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Dcc001, Oct 5, 2011.

  1. Dcc001

    Dcc001
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    I do a lot of "out there" reading. I tend to read four or five books simultaneously, and currently they all have a similar theme. That is, looking at the connection between mind and body, and people's ability to be so in tune with themselves that they can actually heal their own ailments. Conversely, others who are so OUT of tune that they are afflicted throughout their life and never aware of why.

    Some books I've just read or am reading:

    When the Body Says No: Exploring the Stress/Disease Connection. A palliative care doctor examines stress as it relates to all variety of diseases. More anecdotal (although he sites as many studies as he can), he has the fascinating observation that certain diseases always affect those with a specific personality type. For example, ALS sufferers are ALWAYS overly nice, affable people with the inability to make others uncomfortable or communicate their own needs.

    Yoga and the Quest for True Self. Again, more anecdotal and CERTAINLY the most 'new-agey' of the lot, the author is a psychiatrist who left his practice to study and teach at Kripalu (a famous yoga centre in the Birkshire Mountains). He provides stories of his students and patients actually becoming so in tune with themselves that they were able to correct ailments and emotional problems through mediation, breath and behaviour changes.

    My point in bringing all this up is the following focus:

    Do you believe that there is a profound connection between your frame of mind and your physical health? Not just a surface connection, but the notion that having specific emotional blindsides or blockages can actually cause physical manifestations like cancer or lupus.

    Critics of this cry two things: One, they dislike the idea that a person is somehow to blame for the diseases they get. That misses the point (I think). I think there is no separation between who you are mentally and who you are physically, so your state of mind and the environment cannot be disregarded. Two, modern medicine tends to focus exclusively on tangible, concrete, measurable things. If it cannot be shown on a blood test, it does not exist. Anyone who has had an undiagnosable ailment will understand the frustration with this view.

    An alternate focus is: do you believe in "modern", Western medicine or do you have experiences with a more Eastern, holistic frame of reference?
     
  2. Juice

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    A positive frame of mind is very important. Since my sister has now had Hodgkins lymphoma twice, I can honestly say a huge part of her recovery processes has been her positive, carpe diem, approach to the whole thing. Obviously attitude doesn't work alone, and you cant "will" your disease away, but it definitely doesn't hurt.

    Alt Focus:

    Holistic medicine is great when you have a fake disease. When you have something real and rely on it, you better have your affairs in order.
     
  3. ghettoastronaut

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    You might say I believe in modern Western medicine. Or as people with their heads on straight like to call it, medicine that actually has a few ounces of evidence to support its use.

    The only time I delve into the spiritual or mind-body connection is with the placebo effect. There's some fucked up findings out there. Have a look at these two videos: <a class="postlink" href="http://www.badscience.net/2010/04/placebo-nocebo/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.badscience.net/2010/04/placebo-nocebo/</a>

    The mind has strange, powerful, mysterious control over the body, and funnily enough, it's based on people's ability to lie to themselves or be swindled by the artifices of "care" (see: injections vs. pills, colours of pills, so forth).

    Also, have a look here: <a class="postlink" href="http://www.badscience.net/2008/03/all-bow-before-the-might-of-the-placebo-effect-it-is-the-coolest-strangest-thing-in-medicine/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.badscience.net/2008/03/all-b ... -medicine/</a> as it discusses the efficacy rates of the same acid reducing drugs over the decades and how they change in response to a drug being the newest, latest, greatest technology, or if there's something newer and greater out there. That said, the older drugs do have something called tachyphylaxis which is where the body...

    upregulates the expression of histamine-2 receptors in response to long-term blockade resulting in more acid secretion

    ... develops a tolerance to the medication's effect and then the symptoms come back. Which might partially explain the reduction in efficacy over time. Or maybe tachyphylaxis was made up by the drug companies so they could sell more omeprazole, one of the two.
     
  4. effinshenanigans

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    Where are SavageHenry and Bunny when you need them...

    Personally, I lean towards western medicine. This is mainly because I can be horribly hungover, down two excedrin, and be ready for anything 20 minutes later.

    I can't imagine being in that situation and wanting (or even being able) to do yoga, align various chakras, jab needles into different places on me, or grind a bunch of herbs with a mortar and pestle so I can rub them...somewhere.

    Now, I understand that what I've listed above is a bunch of stereotypes, and that accupuncture works well for a lot of people for numerous reasons and yoga is great exercise. But for 99% of everything that's ever been wrong with me, OTC pain relievers and ice or antibiotics have done the trick.

    On the more serious side, when my mom was on chemo, she was pumped full of the newest anti-nausea medication so she never so much as felt sick. That's just one of the many amazing things, doctors and surgery included, that has not only kept her around, but comfortable in the process.

    Looking forward into research like stem cell treatments and nano-machinery, Western medicine is looking pretty amazing.
     
  5. Dyson004

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    Focus: Yes.

    Psychoneuroimmunology looks at the interaction between psychological processes and how they affect the nervous system and the immune system of the body. The body's reaction to stress is almost identical to its reaction to an antigen. Under stress, the body cannot effectively utilize cortisol which causes uncontrolled production of inflammatory cytokines. The uncontrolled production of inflammatory cytokines cause silent inflammation in the body, which is associated with cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. Cortisol acts as an off switch for the inflammatory cytokines. Chronic stress or insufficient rest periods from stressful events diminishes the effectiveness of cortisol over time. As the efficiency of cortisol decreases, uncontrolled inflammatory cytokine production increases, and you see the development of the aforementioned conditions.

    Also, when you look at the diathesis stress model, which states that a person's likelihood to develop a disorder results from a combination of genetic factors and stressful life events, you can begin to see the implications of chronic stress on a person's health.

    There's also conversion disorder, where you see the development of neurological symptoms such as numbness, blindness, paralysis, etc. with no neurological cause. The idea is that the build up of anxiety manifests itself in physical symptoms.

    A good portion of the board externalizes their stress, engaging in sensation seeking behavior as a regulatory function for their mood. Drinking, smoking, fucking, exercising all serve as a way to reduce stress or some might argue that these behaviors only serve as mere distractions from the stress. Some of these behaviors (exercising, fucking) can cause the feeling of pleasure, whereas other behaviors (drinking) are merely numbing. It's just the difference between what's socially adaptive and what isn't.

    Alt-Focus: If some of the more holistic approaches reduces stress and are used in conjunction with modern medicine, then by all means, use it. Also, some argue that the reason more people turn to holistic approaches is because modern medicine has become overly clinical. Generally speaking, doctors have lost their bedside manners. The transition from a leisurely doctor's appointment to a scheduled 15 minute block of time where diagnoses are made and pills are prescribed have left some patients/clients lacking. While efficacious treatments are incredibly important, it's also important to consider why the person sought help or treatment. If holistic approaches complement modern medicine and assists the patient/client in feeling like a person and that they were properly attended to, then by all means- go get holistic treatment.
     
  6. rbz90

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    Alt Focus: When I was young and lived in Singapore my father got kidney stones. He dragged his ass to the Doctor one day when the pain was unbearable but unfortunately the Doc was briefly out. Well there's one of those eastern medicine type clinics close by and in his desperation my father went there. The guy took one look at him and said. "You shouldn't be here, you need a real doctor."
     
  7. MoreCowbell

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    You know what they call 'alternative medicines' that have been shown to reliably work?

    Medicine.
     
  8. audreymonroe

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    Focus: Yes. Last year and the year before that, I was going through a rough stretch and I also started developing all these strange health problems that at the time seemed out of the blue. I kept fainting/collapsing (or feeling so faint that I'd have to sit on the floor just so that I could at least control the fall, even if I happened to be in a place like, say, The Met), getting nosebleeds, and suddenly had an arrhythmia so off-kilter that doctors' heads would shoot back when they would hear it for the first time. I was having regular hospital visits for a few months and no one could come up with any ideas. Fast-forward to this summer, and I realized at the end of my trip that not only was I a hundred times happier than I had been just a few weeks before, but all of a sudden I didn't have any health problems. I had hiked up mountains and spent hours on an old school bus with no fans in 100 degree heat and hadn't once felt faint, and even my heart beat was normal. I felt stronger than I had in years. I don't think this was a coincidence.

    While that's the only time something has been "cured" from a better state of mind in my experience, I don't think it's too far out there to say there's a connection between your well-being in mind and body. See: all the far more technical stuff about stress and sickness in that post above.

    Alt-focus: I completely "believe" in Western medicine, but for whatever reason I've always been pretty resistant to using it. It has to be really bad before I even give in and take an aspirin. Do I think I could cure myself of cancer or any other actual disease just from becoming happier and drinking tea? Absolutely not. And if I have kids I am going to demand that they pump me full of every drug they have when I give birth. But I just hate taking medicine, and I couldn't explain why. I try to keep up with my vitamins, and will increase my intake of foods associated with helping different ailments, but I'm not sure if that counts as Eastern medicine or just hippie Western healthcare. And while I wouldn't seek it out as treatment (and, again, don't think it would help anything too serious), I once had a dance teacher who taught us about energy work. I thought it was a crock of shit until a really strange thing happened with it one day and I've put some merit into the whole idea of it since then. So, if I was in whatever kind of funk and someone offered to do it for me, I'd be open to it.
     
  9. Rob4Broncos

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    There absolutely is a link between the two. With the amount of evidence out there to support the connection, not believing in it is almost as silly as not believing in gravity.

    One of my favorite books on the subject that I've tried to build my lifestyle around, The Okinawa Program, touches on the mind-body connection in a couple of its chapters. The book's entirety examines the reasons behind the long, healthy lifespans of people who live in Okinawa, Japan (which is considered a Blue Zone). The reasons were boiled down to diet, physical activity, attitudes, and social interaction. Some excerpts:

    I highlighted this for emphasis. I find it baffling that we're willing diagnose and subsequently treat everything under the sun, including disorders that some people can't even agree are legitimate (such as ADHD and Tourette's), but chronic stress isn't given so much as a glance.

    "Too long, didn't read?" Stress will fucking kill you, if you don't manage it properly.

    I highly recommend that everyone here watch this documentary. If you still aren't convinced, then I don't know what else to tell you. The crazy hippe-looking dude is the same Dr. Sapolsky cited earlier.
     
  10. lhprop1

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    Is massage medicine? Are essential oils medicine? Both have been proven to reduce inflammation just as well, if not better than most pharmacological anti inflammatories.
     
  11. ghettoastronaut

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    This paragraph is entirely inconsistent with how health care professionals are being trained now, and how they operated during this utopia of leisurely doctors' appointments. In fact, in my own experience, it's always the younger ones who are the most attentive to these peripheral issues, and the older ones who ignore it, sit back, read a sentence or two of their profile, make a diagnosis and walk away, leaving everyone else to patch up everything they missed. Fifty years ago, that level of concern - awareness, even - of mental health and considering the patient "as a whole" was non-existent. Doctors were revered and respected members of the community, who were paternalistic to patients and patients were, in turn, deferential. If you needed someone to consider you as an entire person, identify those issues and either treat them or make a referral to someone who can help, you are far, far better off now than in the days of the man with the black bag making a house call.

    Also, lhprop1, how the hell is an essential oil different from a pharmacological anti-inflammatory? By definition, it is a pharmacological anti-inflammatory (if, you know, it actually reduces inflammation under reliable, controlled study conditions).
     
  12. Rob4Broncos

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    I hadn't realized these two were mutually exclusive.

    You guys know that saying "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?" Well, Eastern medicine (yoga, chakras, herbs, acupuncture, etc.) is prevention, and everything classified as "Western" medicine is the cure. I'm in favor of both, because they complement each other very well.

    Sometimes, shit just goes wrong and you need something more effective than a rain dance to make your ailment go away. However, considering that Okinawan women don't get mammography screenings because they don't need to, and most Okinawan men have never even heard of prostate cancer, I'd say there's some merit to holistic medicine.
     
  13. lhprop1

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    Pick up some arnica, some german chamomile, or any of the other essential oils used by sports massage therapists and every single one of them has the " These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease." disclaimer on it.

    That is how it differs from a pharmacological anti-inflammatory.
     
  14. ghettoastronaut

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    So when your doctor prescribes you a medication for an off-label use - that is, not evaluated by the FDA - is it no longer a pharmaceutical?

    Also

    <a class="postlink" href="http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/pharmaceutical" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/pharmaceutical</a>

    Notice how the phrase "something evaluated by the FDA, and intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent a disease" is conspicuously absent?
     
  15. lhprop1

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    Doctors don't prescribe holistic treatments.
     
  16. ghettoastronaut

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    So, do you have any arguments that aren't tautologies?
     
  17. ghettoastronaut

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    <a class="postlink" href="http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM200001203420301" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NE ... 1203420301</a>

    If only ramipril came from tree bark or were contained in an essential oil of some herb. People would be all over it. But no, it has to come in a pill, and is an evil pharmaceutical, and isn't holistic. If they added this stuff to the municipal water supply, people would actually live longer and be healthier.
     
  18. Dyson004

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    Apparently, I didn't articulate myself well. I wasn't referencing the halcyon days of the 60's. I was referencing the past twenty years- where the trend for general practitioners to schedule clients for 15 minute blocks at a time and request that clients schedule two 15 minute blocks if they have multiple issues has grown. When general practitioners are burdened with how to correctly file the treatment with the insurance company to receive reimbursement as opposed to being free to take the necessary time to attend to the client/patient- or at least the growing sentiment among the public that clients/patients simply aren't being attended to in a way that is meaningful to them.

    For the record, I'm not disagreeing that modern medicine is better equipped to handle a variety of different maladies than in the past. The delivery mechanism of modern medicine leaves much to be desired, though. If holistic treatments fill that niche (particularly if they provide services/treatments that are effective but haven't been evaluated to be efficacious) I really don't see the issue of Complementary and Alternative Medicines/holistic approaches filling a need.
     
  19. Trakiel

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    I'd say that's not solely a failure of western medicine as a science so much as it is as a practice. Chronic conditions are generally best addressed with lifestyle changes (as you alluded to), and that takes a lot more effort than just taking a pill. The problem in comtemporary medicine is that there's a huge shortage of general practitioners, who are the physicians best equipped to help patients make the lifestyle changes necessary to manage their conditions without resorting to expensive acute treatments.
     
  20. TX.

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    An alternate focus is: do you believe in "modern", Western medicine or do you have experiences with a more Eastern, holistic frame of reference?[/quote]

    I believe that most diseases or disorders should be prevented or treated by using a mixture of Western and holistic methods. I become irritated with people who choose one approach and completely dismiss the other.

    If exercise was a pill it'd be the most prescribed med, but Americans are so lazy that we'd rather take a dozen meds every day than change an unhealthy lifestyle. To me, it seems like a snowball effect of taking multiple meds, developing side effects, and then taking more meds for the side effects.

    On the other side, I had a few friends suggest I try massage therapy and acupuncture for my ankle after they asked what happened. Sorry, but no amount of yoga, acupuncture, etc is going to reconstruct ligaments or scope joints. Some things cannot be fixed by lighting a few candles and relaxing. I don't think there's much, if any, evidence based research on it because it just doesn't make sense on any level.

    Most general practitioners are worthless when it comes to, well, everything.