Introduction The link between mind and body may be as old as history itself - or at least as old as the days of Hippocrates, when the imagination was considered the primary cause of disease. Before the advent of scientific bio-medicine in the late nineteenth century, the mind-body link was debated and generally supported.
Our western philosophy of medicine and healing today stands in contrast to the Eastern philosophy where mind and body were never separated. Facts . "In respect to the agency of the mind in the prediction of disease are frequently observed. I have myself met with cases in which the connection appeared so clear that .. questioning it's reality would have seemed a struggle against reasoning." (The Nature and Treatment of Cancer, Walter Hyde Walsh, M.D. 1846.)
133 years later Robert Ader MD (1979) proclaims the reemergence of this mind- body connection.
"There's been a huge transformation in the way we view the relationship between our mind and good health, our mind and disease. In many way's, it's nothing short of a revolution."
The idea that all the mind's processes like thinking, remembering and imagining can deeply influence all the body's processes seems far fetched to many people especially to the medical profession.
Most of us, doctors and patients alike, assume that illness and disease have physical origins. The body becomes a scapegoat, the messenger from the mind which suffers a terrible fate, like the bearer of bad news in Roman times.
The body often acts as a decoy to divert attention from the sole source of the problem - the mind. One of the biggest blocks in overcoming disease is not the lack of knowledge but where this knowledge is directed. If the doctor and the patient agree to ignore the psychological aspects they are agreeing to maintain the problem. Why is it that people are so frightened of accepting the possibility that their mind is playing a role in their problem?
It is as if they desperately cling to the physical cause as a life raft - proving it is "not their fault". May be there is a deep-seated, unconscious belief that the minds is the person - which needs to be seen as okay by all means possible.
As an example to support the possibility of mental involvement we may look at a condition called "referred pain", where pain is experienced at a distance from the site of the problem. If the sciatic nerve is irritated at the base of the spine causing sciatica, pain may be felt in the toes. Under conventional methods these patients receive treatment in the back for pain experienced in the toes. This kind of treatment is eagerly accepted whereas it seems impossible to accept that something else distant from the problem, eg. the mind, may cause the problem.
The concept that the mind plays a part in the onset of cancer for example dates at least as far back as the second century A.D. Gallen was one of Greece's most respected physician who also was one of the first to recognise this connection. The book he wrote remained a classic for 1500 years. One of his observation was that breast cancer was found more often in women with a malancholic rather than sanguine nature.
Surgeon Richard Guy wrote in 1759 that women of a sedentary, melancholic disposition of the mind were more susceptible to cancer. In 1870 Sir James Paget, physician to Queen Victoria, supported these ideas by stating ".. the cases are so frequent in which deep anxiety, deferred hope and disappointment are quickly followed by the growth and increase of cancer that we can hardly doubt that mental depression is a weighty addition to the other influences favoring the development of a cancerous constitution".
The seeds for disease are sown on the mental plane followed by continuous growth through the emotional plane in order to ultimately manifest on the physical plane. These physical manifestation or perceivable disease symptoms alert us to the fact that we have not recognised nor appropriately dealt with the psychological and emotional factors affecting our lives. At this point I would like to introduce the vehicle or the means by which these mental processes or thoughts actually reach the physical body. May I present an example, which anyone will in some way be able to relate to. When we think back to our school days we all remember what it was like the day before an exam. We begin by identifying the thoughts. As soon as we think about the exam we are struck by this intense emotional experience called "fear" which in turn expresses itself on/in the physical body through specific symptoms like increased heart rate, sweaty palms, queasy sensation in the stomach area and may be an increase in respiration. This totally normal journey from the actual thought via the emotions to the physical body simply supports the fact that our thinking has the capacity to produce results on the emotional and the physical plane. Another situation supporting this reality comes from literature which deals with illness as metaphor. A patient is described who is in the midst of a carrier crisis. His main complaint was that he constantly seemed to sprain his ankles just by walking down the street or stepping of a curb. The fear associated with taking a step forward in his professional life manifested itself physically by being uncertain or clumsy in the way he walked. Changing his thought process from negative to positive lead to new decisions and a new direction in his carrier and no more sprained ankles.
In view of this reality it is amazing that today's researchers investigating the mind-body link must fight an uphill battle simply to have the mind-body connection taken seriously. It may be of importance to look at some of the reasons why this link between the mind and the body became somewhat irrelevant. The extraordinary advances in bio-medicine with the invention of the microscope certainly provide an answer that is plausible with the discovery of germs and hence the birth of the germ theory, the cell became the focus of biological research. With it came the dramatic development of vaccines, penicillin, and the introduction of hygiene, antiseptics and clean drinking water. It was during this time that the body was viewed as a machine and the mind disappeared into immaterial substance. The physicians role now became that of a mechanic rather than a wholistic healer/surgeon whose main focus was to fix up any broken down parts of the body-machine. The general perception was "a specific disease in a specific organ must be caused by one specific (exterior) organism. Any disease that couldn't be duplicated was discarded as "unreal".
A patient with a mere mental problem like stress or nervousness was dismissed and considered to be 'malingering' or accused of deceiving the doctor. Dr Wilhelm Reich stated in 1948 that resignation and an inability to "reach out" emotionally can lead to withdrawal of 'life energy' from areas of the body which could provide a fertile ground for cellular disorganization and a greater vulnerability or predisposition to disease.
The fact that most doctors are inadequately trained in matters of the mind and the emotions clearly explains their lack of enthusiasm when it relates to psychosomatic illness which to a physician could only be seen as "logically impossible".
Sometimes one could think that the physician would rather see a patient die according to the rules than to recover in an unorthodox manner. So many times the symptoms are just a guide to be followed towards the real afflictions, which lie in the mind.
It is so important not only to understand the germ so to speak but to also, above all, take into consideration all the resources that strengthen the defenses of the body such as nutrition, exercise, psychotherapy and a persons spiritual abilities. Above all, people get sick, not their cells and it is people that must be treated from above downwards - that is starting with the mind and from there to the emotions followed by the physical.
Perhaps nothing illustrates the influence of mind over bodily function more aptly than the placebo effect. A placebo is given to pacify or satisfy a person and its effect is based upon a patience ability to believe in its value. The placebo effect has long been considered a nuisance in medical research as it gets in the way of the attempts to study drugs and medical procedures.
In order for our thoughts to actually have an impact on our physical well- being these very thoughts must first express themselves through the different emotional states we are subject to. Of course it is not just the occasional emotion we experience which will cause some kind of disorder because we possess a defense mechanism which is primarily controlled by the endocrine system and the associated hormones, but it is the continuous exposure to any paricular emotion that will ultimately manifest itself on the physical plane through disease and other various disorders.
Metaphysically speaking the mind is considered as the "builder" which implies that thought is creative - that is, create a positive outcome or a negative one. One could expand on the former statement by suggesting that the mind can also be a "destroyer" as seen in disease.
The problem becomes even more severe when we are dealing with thoughts that are unconscious as under these circumstances we have nothing "real" to go by, to explain to ourselves what had actually happened. Fact is, that most of our thoughts actually are unconscious especially when they relate to events which occurred at some stage in our past, events that we were unable to deal with. How many times do we find ourselves in an emotional state without knowing why? This is of course exactly the moment when we are subject to an unconscious thought that relates to something we have suppressed.
If these unconscious thoughts trigger us into an emotional state than it is only logical that these emotions will in some way manifest physically. Let me take it a step further. We live in a society where it is unacceptable to express or live out your emotions. This is due to the fact that the people within this society are unable, uncomfortable or outright unwilling not only to confront their own emotional inactivity but to also accept this in others. Expressing your emotions openly will result in rejection and isolation, which in turn would only lead to a compounding of the original issues the individual is subject to.
This in my opinion is the crux of the matter. Under these conditions we are basically numb - mentally and emotionally speaking and all that is left are the physical manifestations called disease - or dis-ease.
Hahnemann states in the 6th edition of the organon: "Merely by the use of imagination it is possible to produce a derangement of the vital principle which, if it is sufficiently marked, can give rise to the severest illness." Or: "It will never be possible to effect a cure in conformity with nature - that is to say homoeopathically - if, in every individual case of disease, even acute, we do not at the same time observe the changes which have taken place in the psychic or mental state of the patient."
It is above all, more important to know what sort of person has a disease than to know what sort of disease a person has. Let us, in this context, not forget how the mind can actually create disease with a specific purpose in "mind". It always depends on the actual life situation of a particular person, their socialization and the way they feel about themselves. If, for example, as a child you learnt that when you are sick you will receive more attention form your parents or others than whilst healthy, you may well use this knowledge in your later years by creating disease in order to keep people attending to you, to remain important enough for people to hang out with you.
Another reason for the mind to create disease or illness is based upon the thought of never being able to manage or thinking that there is not enough potential available to succeed. The fear associated with other people discovering this illusionary truth drives individuals into creating a disease, which they can blame and use as an excuse for not participating or not being successful.
As long as humans feel threatened and helpless they will seek the sanctuary that illness provides. Some of these people do not have forty years of experience, they have one year of experience forty times - recreating the same reality again and again.
Homoeopathy and the mind
Often we find in homoeopathic treatment that a particular physical disorder, which is treated successfully with homoeopathic medicine according to the law of cure and the law of similars, will reappear again and again. Even if treated again according to the totality of the symptoms with the same remedy we find that each time the remedy is given it seems to be less effective. Or we are faced with a permanent cure of the affliction only to find a new ailment appearing.
There seems to be a tendency of one disease coming in after another. This usually leads us to think that there must be some very deep acting cause behind this kind of phenomena. Diseases like colds, headaches, colic, epilepsy and insanity for example are more or less only different manifestations of the same underlying cause. Hahnemann called it Psora. This psora is the only causative factor and all the various diseases of mankind a mere manifestation of it. Hence, Psora is seen as the original disease of mankind.
How does Psora then relate to the fact that disease has it's origin in the mind? Are these two statements contradictory to each other? Hahnemann stated that man is a spiritual being, an offspring from the divine and that any physical rearrangement resulted from a derangement of the inner man - his thought patterns - his mind.
With the emergence of consciousness came the emergence of conceptual thinking, willing and feeling. The power associated with free will required an enormous amount of responsibility towards maintaining a life according to the law of nature, which was free of disease, sin and impurity of thought. And ofcourse it was to much to ask of man as we can see when looking back at the journey we have taken since.
Man began to corrupt his own mind and rebelled against that spiritual force within. Psora represents this state of mental irritability without yet manifesting itself in the physical body.
In Chronic Diseases and Theory of Miasms it states "This condition of the mind will not be long confined to the mind alone, because the mind will gradually shape the body."
The irritability or urging of the mind gradually finds expression in the physical body in the form of the itch affecting the skin and is acted upon by scratching etc. This represents the action of Psora. The mind became modified through corruptive thoughts, which effected the interior of man before erupting on the surface.
As long as the unnatural (evil) thinking confines itself to the mind or the interior it remains invisible. So as long as it stays hidden in the mind/emotion we consider ourselves as healthy not realising that something is brewing on the inside desperate to break out.
Again we find that the mind is the foundation of all disease and all the different diseases are only external manifestations of the internalof course - the Psoric mind. It is because of our thinking, Psora - that we are today subject to an external susceptibility to disease, some of us more so than others. It is now much easier to see how our thinking is capable of creating a state of dis-ease. At the same time though it is important to remind ourselves that what is possible in one direction (negative) must also be true in the other direction (positive).
It is also called "positive thinking" which has taken on a new meaning in this so called "New Age" period we find ourselves in.
If it is true - and I believe it has been shown clearly, that thought is creative it must also be true that it can create good as well as evil - ofcourse we all know that this is true. So, in as much as negative thoughts can create disease so can positive thoughts create health and equilibrium. It is though by far more important to focus our energy and time on finding the means by which we can cure and heal the afflictions we are already suffering from which does include a positive outlook as part of the cure. To achieve this we need to become aware of our thoughts and emotions and find the means by which to express them safely and effectively without creating new problems for those around us. If we additionally can manage to include more joy and happiness in our daily life then I believe there is a chance to reverse some of the damage done in the past.
Without effectively dealing/completing and letting go of the events from our past which continue to haunt us in our present day we will have very little opportunity to think positive and enjoy life (a catch 22 situation).
Research on the mind-body connection has increased in the last decade. One field has become predominant. It is called PNI (psychoneuroimmunology) building a bridge between the psychological state (mind), central nervous system and the immune system. PNI often involves hormones because of the many roles hormones play in linking the mind, the nervous system and the immune system. It seems though that the major emphasis here lies on the more physical bio-chemistry rather than the mental/emotional causes of disease. One fact remains though and that is that the immune system is undermined by stress be it mental or emotional or physical.
Homoeopathy is a modality that has enormous potential to support this process of healing, as it's main focus is on the mind and the symptoms associated with it. When going through the materia medica it is obvious that many of our past-teachers have realised the importance of the mind in the creation of disease hence have given it their greatest attention.
When the mind believes the body responds
In our homoeopathic materia medica we find an abundance of ailments which originate or are a consequence of mental and emotional processes. Including the following examples:
I firmly believe that those physical ailments are only present because the individual was incapable/unwilling to face the mental and emotional trauma and find an appropriate outlet in accordance with the severity of the trauma itself. The healing of the mind will produce a gap or disruption between the mind and body in as much as no new food (or negative thought processes) is provided to enhance further development of disease. Most of us have undergone the "normal birthing process" (unless there was a c-section) which is probably the most significant trauma we will ever encounter. Dr Stan Grof, one of my teachers, made it very clear in his statement "The crying which usually occurs after birth is insignificant to the actual trauma experienced. As a consequence we carry emotional baggage throughout our lives which is, to a certain degree, still associated with the incomplete experience of birth".
In conclusion it seems logical that in order to heal and cure disease there are at least two factors which need to be considered, before a homoeopathic treatment can be entered into. a) What aspects of the disease have been created via the suppression of the mind and the emotion and what are the mental predispositions that have resulted in a diseased body. b) What are the environmental contributions which made it possible for the disease to manifest itself in the body in the first place (hereditary, pollution, drugs, foods, climate, stress etc.) After all, Thought is Creative, and it is up to us what is being created. Ofcourse, if we had the choice (which we do have), we would all be happy and enjoy life - and, this is not the reality most of us live in because our mind still processes - be it consciously or unconsciously, stuff that has happened so long ago.
Healing your mind and emotions by engaging in specific personal development programs* and consequent homoeopathic treatment so that you may have joy and laughter in your life, will ultimately communicate a new message to your body - a message of health and vigor and this is, after all, the physicians highest goal.
*For further information regarding such a program contact THE COMPLETION SEMINAR on 61 8 81881008 or within Australia 08 81881008 or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org