Mind-body medicine has been around for thousands of years, and is now scientifically shown to work.
With CURE – A Journey into the Science of Mind over Body, Jo Marchant has written a book that I would recommend to all healers, complementary or allopathic, and to all those in need of healing… which is pretty much everyone.
Having experienced every healing modality mentioned in the book, I have my own personal opinions of miracle cures, the placebo effect, the benefits of mindfulness and meditation, and using the mind to enhance our physical healing. But Marchant investigates the evidence, the science, behind the effectiveness of alternative or complementary therapies and the power of our minds to affect our health.
Marchant interviewed both practitioners, researchers and patients, such as a gent named Gareth, whose MS was under control through meditation. As Gareth explains:
“People think of meditation as a time consumer, but the opposite is true. It is a time provider, because of all the time that we don’t spend following useless trains of thought. I wouldn’t be able to lead the life that I lead now if it weren’t for meditation.”
Marchant covers many mind-body therapies that can improve medical outcomes by “treating patients as the complex human beings we are, rather than simply as physical bodies…”
Her conclusion after looking into everything from Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction to homeopathy, acupuncture, and social factors such as loneliness and poverty, show that “our thoughts, beliefs, stress levels and worldview all influence how ill or well we feel.”
She explains that the way our brains are wired not only constructs our experience but our physical reality and vice versa.
Nearly 400 years after Descartes’ separation of the mind and body in scientific thought, Marchant uncovers evidence that shows something very different — that our bodies and minds have evolved in exquisite harmony, so perfectly integrated that it is impossible to consider one without the other:
“Terms like ‘mind-body’ and ‘holistic’ are often derided as flaky and unscientific, but in fact it’s the idea of a mind distinct from the body, an ephemeral entity that floats somewhere in the skull like a spirit or soul, that makes no scientific sense.”
If you’d like to understand how our minds influence and reflect our physiology, CURE is definitely a must-read. Marchant’s research lays out the potential of our mind’s ability to heal the body — and how we can use her findings in our own lives.