The Mindbody Connection

In 1997, I was a newlywed from New England living in Cary, NC. It was there that I learned that there was more to health and healing than just the typical western medicine I grew up with and studied.

For years, I had worked in the veterinary field and the healthcare field and was a big supporter of medicines and surgery as the appropriate means to healing.  However, I was starting to realize that my treatments were causing more problems than they were fixing.

For example, in college, I was diagnosed with chondromalacia and put on large doses of prescription ibuprofen.  (I would have been better served by some physical therapy coupled with better running shoes, a better diet, and some yoga and stretching.)  Taking ibuprofen lead to ulcers/highly inflammed stomach lining for which I was then prescribed Zantac with no advice to improve my diet and lifestyle. I continued to drink alcohol, eat spicy and fatty foods, and did not know how to deal with stress very effectively.

Which brings me back to North Carolina, 1997. It was here that I discovered the book “The Mindbody Prescription: Healing the Body, Healing the Pain” by John E. Sarno, MD.  I was sitting on my bed reading this new book  about how physical pain (digestive issues, headaches, back pain…) can be a consequence of unresolved emotions and thoughts.  That evening, we were supposed to be going out with some of Jeff’s co-workers and my heartburn/upset stomach was acting up. I was considering not going. However, when I got to page 30, I realized my stomach pain was gone.  Amazing, huh? At that moment, I realized that I was using my chronic stomach issues as a way of avoiding social situations that made me uncomfortable or anxious.  The stress from social anxiety was increasing the acid in my stomach and causing the inflammation and damage.  I was causing my own problems and I was allowing my diagnosis to define me without dealing with the root cause.

Dr. Sarno explains that society is more accepting of physical ailments than of emotional or mental problems. Therefore, people are more comfortable addressing their physical complaints and they avoid dealing with the emotional issues that may be directly causing the physical problem.

 

Think about it. It’s easier to talk about your back pain than it is to address your feelings of guilt or fear with regard to finances or family. Back pain can be relieved by popping an ibuprofen or acetaminophen and in twenty minutes you will feel better. However, dealing with unresolved issues would probably best be handled with a mental health professional, which requires time, money, and a commitment on your part.  No wonder most people choose the pill, the bandaid.

Our issues don’t go away because we ignore them. Many times they just get bigger and louder….more pills, more bandaids.

 

Additional Reading:     

As you can tell, I highly recommend Dr. Sarno’s “The Mindbody Prescription”. It truly changed the course of my life and was the catalyst for this journey I now share with you.  If you are interested I would also suggest that you can look into Louise L. Hay and Christiane Northrup, MD. They also have books that discuss the possible underlying causes of many diseases and medical conditions. 

As always, I welcome your recommendations for other books, authors, and events on this topic. We can improve our and society’s health by sharing information and supporting each other.

 

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