Mind-Body Medicine Ashley Owen, Ph.D. Department of Family and Preventive Medicine
Mind-Body Medicine What do you think of when you think of “Mind-Body Medicine”?
Mind-Body Medicine Voodoo?
Mind-Body Medicine Someone trying to sell you snake oil?
Mind-Body Medicine This guy?
Mind-Body Medicine Suspend disbelief…
Mind-Body Medicine Try to open your mind…
Mind-Body Medicine And consider “the tomato fallacy”
Mind-Body Medicine "the tomato fallacy" In the 19th-century, it was widely believed that tomatoes were poisonous. Grown as ornamental plants. (Seed catalogs listed tomatoes as “annual ornamental flowers” ).
Mind-Body Medicine "the tomato fallacy" The Story: Robert Johnson, citizen of Salem, MA publicly ate a basketful on the courthouse steps. When he didn’t drop dead… he had his converts.
Mind-Body Medicine "the tomato fallacy" Now tomatoes lung, are known prostate, to reduce and and stomach risk of cancer .
Mind-Body Medicine "the tomato fallacy" The point: It is easy to become locked into only one frame of thought. Western Medicine is not immune to this error. Other viable models should be considered.
Mind-Body Medicine Current paradigm shift from biomedical to biopsychosocial/ mind-body model of medicine.
Mind-Body Medicine "the tomato fallacy" Don’t get stuck in the tomato fallacy! You???
Mind-Body Medicine Question. What’s so special about this “phenomenological” line of research I’m supposed to be keeping my mind open to?
Mind-Body Medicine Question. Well, just how do YOU explain the following phenomenon?
Mind-Body Medicine • Myocardial Infarctions among Christians > the day after Christmas. • Rates of second Myocardial Infarctions > when the patient is depressed. • Mortality rates > after the death of a spouse.
Mind-Body Medicine Answer. Candace B. Pert, Ph.D. Emotional states seem to affect the likelihood that an individual will live or die.
Mind-Body Medicine Question. Who exactly, is this Dr. Candace B. Pert?
Mind-Body Medicine Answer. Me. Candace D. Pert is the… • neuroscientist who discovered the opiate receptor - leader in research on the role of neuropeptides in the immune system (psychoneuroimmunology)
Mind-Body Medicine Psychoneuroimmunology: Study of communication interface among emotions, neuroendocrine thoughts, and and immune perceptionssystems at the biochemical level.
Mind-Body Medicine “The chemicals that are running our body and our brain are the same chemicals that are involved in emotion.” (Pert) Feelings and thoughts literally alter immunological processes through neuropeptides.
Mind-Body Medicine The molecules of emotion = messengers (neuropeptides) carrying information to link major systems of the body into one unit we call the body/mind. 1 Mind and body are one.
Mind-Body Medicine Essentially: Through these neurochemical changes associated with emotions and thoughts … the mind can influence whether or not the organism gets sick.
Mind-Body Medicine Example. “The AIDS virus uses a receptor that is normally used by a neuropeptide. So whether an AIDS virus will be able to enter a cell or not depends on how much of this natural peptide is around, which . . . would be a function of what state of emotional expression the organism is in.“(Pert)
Mind-Body Medicine More evidence…
Mind-Body Medicine Stress from an evolutionary standpoint When lion is chasing an animal… Needs to get energy into blood stream NOW to power its muscles to save its life. Heart rate, blood pressure, go up to deliver energy more quickly.
Mind-Body Medicine Stress from an evolutionary standpoint (contd.) Alternatively, (when a lion is chasing an animal…) It shuts down long-term building projects (otherwise there is no long term) It turns off the immune system It grows antibodies, antlers, or babies later It digests its food later (otherwise it won’ t be needed for a tomorrow)
Mind-Body Medicine Stress from an evolutionary standpoint (contd.) Fine and effective in the short term. However, human cognition allows us to anticipate, so they we tend to worry in advance of problems, while other animals don't. Ex. Y2K problem.
Mind-Body Medicine Don’t see this too often!
Mind-Body Medicine Stress from an evolutionary standpoint (contd.) Among humans, stress is often long- term, (we worry about responsibilities, evaluation of others , balancing the checkbook, mortgages) These stressors don’t go away the way the stress of running from a lion does once you’ve escaped… These are chronic stressors.
Mind-Body Medicine With chronic stress - mobilization and inhibition processes needed for running from that lion continue to be activated. Contantly mobilized • Energy: never store it, more at risk for diabetes. • Blood pressure: hypertension, set up for atherloroscrerosis • Neurotransmitters for acuity during an emergency: damage and atrophy in learning and memory centers ex. glucocordicoids relation to depression
Mind-Body Medicine Constantly inhibited • Digestive system: more at risk for colitis & some versions of IBS • Growth systems: Stress dwarfism • Reproduction: cycles become irregular, testosterone levels go down, erectile dysfunction • Immune system: infectious diseases
Mind-Body Medicine • Stress suppresses immune system • Chronic stress chronically stresses immune system.
Mind-Body Medicine behavior stress can trigger overeating or undereating thought or emotion Bodily process
Mind-Body Medicine One line of mind/body research investigates attempts to reverse the negative effects of stress on health.
Mind-Body Medicine Mind/Body Therapies: * interventions that facilitate the mind’s capacity to affect bodily functions and symptoms. (Johnson & Kushner, 2001)
Mind-Body Medicine In the early 1970s, Herbert Benson, a cardiologist interested in non-pharmacological approaches to hypertension, identified the “relaxation response” .
Mind-Body Medicine “Relaxation Response” Benson found that meditation was related to - lower heart and respiratory rates - lower-than-average blood pressure - alpha waves indicating a state of relaxed alertness versus a sleep state. - general reversal of the sympathetic activation seen in the “stress response.”
Mind-Body Medicine * Teach self-regulation of the autonomic, parasympathetic nervous system, returning the mind and body to a balanced, relaxed, state. * Six exercise themes (heaviness, warmth, breathing, abdomen, forehead, and organ specific). • Autogenic Training
Mind-Body Medicine • Breathing Practices - The purpose of breathing practices is to increase circulation to all (lower as well as upper) lung tissue. - Promotes oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange (improved healing of cells throughout the body).
Mind-Body Medicine • Guided Imagery - thought process that invokes and uses all the senses - vision, audition, smell, taste, movement, and touch
Mind-Body Medicine • Meditation - sitting quietly and using various techniques to cultivate stillness, or focused attention of the mind.
Mind-Body Medicine Processing Thoughts and Feelings
Mind-Body Medicine Processing Thoughts • Examining what you can change and can’t. • Where you can exert control. - What outlets work best for you. - How to tell the difference between a true intimate vs someone not really your friend.
Mind-Body Medicine Processing Thoughts Identifying cognitive distortions - situation may have been awful when it happened as a kid, but this is not that same situation. - you’ll not always fail even though it was awful that time you did.
Mind-Body Medicine Processing Emotions Expressing feelings good for your health? Group psychotherapy for women with metastatic breast cancer found to be associated with greater survival. 2007 publication showed repetition of this finding in women with estrogen receptor (ER) negative tumors (survival benefit of 21 months).
Mind-Body Medicine Disinhibition (emotional expression and processing) Research Subjects who wrote about thoughts and feelings regarding past traumas (vs controls who wrote about trivial events) (Pennebaker) experienced … enhanced T-cell responsivity improved overall health
Mind-Body Medicine Disinhibition Research (contd.) However, research suggests … for disinhibition – health relation to exist previously blocked emotions need to be expressed AND cognitively processed, in a way where the emotion is understood and resolved (Pennebaker).
Mind-Body Medicine Processing Emotions What happens psychologically when you have feelings you don’t express emotions? - Internal obstacle - Use emotional energy to keep those feelings out of awareness When you acknowledge those feelings as real, they may have less control over you. You’re in control to re-channel that energy.