A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.
Mind/body medicine may soon revolutionize modern health care. Recognizing the profound interconnection of mind and body, the body's innate healing capabilities, and the role of self-responsibility in the healing process, mind/body medicine utilizes a wide range of modalities, including biofeedback, imagery, hypnotherapy, meditation and yoga.
For the last three hundred years Western civilization has been shaped by a rational, scientific, mechanistic world view that has helped to bring about enormous technological and material advances. The practice of Western medicine reflects this mind-set and relies upon the technology it has produced, according to James S. Gordon, M.D., Director of the Center of Mind/Body Studies, and Clinical Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Community and Family Medicine at the Georgetown University School of Medicine. "Since the philosopher Descartes separated a transcendent and non-material mind from the material and mechanical operations of the body, science has been concerned with operations of the body, science has been concerned with ever more accurately resolving the body into its component parts", says Dr. Gordon. "This approach has produced extraordinary achievements-in the treatments of infectious diseases, in the synthesis of such desperately needed substances as insulin, and in the creation of exquisitely sophisticated and life-saving surgical procedures."
Unfortunately, the power and real achievements of this biomedical model have tended to narrow human perspective over time. People have come to view all illness as primarily a malfunction of mechanical parts and to regard physicians as technicians responsible for their repair. People have lost sight of the importance of the psychological, social, economic and environmental influences on health and illness, and of the extraordinary power of the mind to affect the body.