Healing And The Mind: By Bill Moyers – Intro (1 of 6)

Ancient medical systems and the philosophers of old told us that our minds and bodies are one. Now, supported by modern science and new research, Bill Moyers, an award-winning American journalist and public commentator helps us to understand and pinpoint these connections, in his book (and 5-part video series) ‘Healing and the Mind’.

Bridging the ‘old’ and the ‘new’

Bringing the old and new together

Bill grew up in East Texas with the belief that one’s emotional make up has a strong bearing on the physical body eg. a neighbour dying of a ‘broken’ heart, pleasant words bringing ‘health to the bones’ etc.

His education, however, was firmly rooted in western science which proposed that disease was caused by external agents and could be cured by drugs.

These contrasting views of traditional versus modern medicine intensified when Bill’s father, during his final days, bore excruciating pain and experienced no relief from hospitals and drugs. In some desperation, Bill was forced to turn to folklore, traditional healing methods, an examination of Socrates’ words ‘The body cannot be cured without the soul.’

Amazed by what he found, Bill resolved to understand how the field of medicine can nestle itself on the ‘wings of modern science and ancient wisdom.’

Accompanying the pioneers of mind-body medicine

‘Healing and the Mind’ explores the roles of thoughts and emotions in illness and health through interviews with 16 doctors and scientists.

  • He visits stress-reduction clinics, a cancer patients’ support group and investigates the new field of psychoneuroimmunology, which emphasizes the importance of patients’ attitudes to optimal immune-system functioning.
  • He also travels to China to study acupuncture, therapeutic massage and Qi gong, the manipulation of vital energy to ameliorate chronic neurologic and muscular diseases.
  • Among those interviewed are University of California physician Dean Ornish, who has reversed heart disease in patients with treatments combining meditation, stress-reduction exercises, group therapy, walking and vegetarian diet.
  • Neurobiologist David Felten, discoverer of nerve fibers that link the nervous system to the immune system.
  • Thomas Delbanco of Harvard Medical School who seeks ways to transform the doctor-patient relationship so that patients are more actively involved.

In this landmark series, Bill’s aim is to present his answers to the ever-perplexing questions :

“How do emotions translate into chemicals in our bodies? ”
“How do thoughts and feelings influence health? ”
“How can we collaborate with our bodies to encourage healing?”

Reflection

  • What steps are you taking to gather more information before making an informed decision on your course of treatment?
  • Having understood the connection between ‘Healing and the mind’, what can you do to achieve a stress-free state of mind?

Resources

Healing & The Mind‘ by Bill Moyers

Author

vidyaAfter obtaining a degree in Psychology, Vidya felt her subject learning had been limited since it stopped with the study of the mind. Believing that humans are “whole” beings, she decided to pursue a discipline which appreciates the inter-connection between body-mind-spirit. She qualified herself as a Clinical Hypnotherapist from the California Hypnosis Institute of India (CHII). Vidya now works with cancer patients on a daily basis as a Treatment-Coordinator/ Therapist at the Ojus-Sampurnah Integrative Medicine Clinic in Bangalore and practices as an independent Hypnotherapist as well.

More from this series

Title About the article
1. Introduction to Healing & The Mind In this landmark series, Bill’s aim is to present his answers to the ever-perplexing questions : How do emotions translate into chemicals in our bodies? How do thoughts and feelings influence health? How can we collaborate with our bodies to encourage healing?
2. The Mystery of Qi In this part of the series, Bill Moyers, with the help of his guide, David Eisenberg, (MD from Harvard Medical School), travels through Beijing and Shanghai, exploring Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and its approach to healing through ‘Qi’ (pronounced ‘chi’), the vital energy force.
3. The Mind-Body Connection How do emotions translate into chemicals in our bodies? How do thoughts and feelings influence health? How can we collaborate with our bodies to encourage healing?
4.Healing From Within In the third part of the series, Bill Moyers offers new insights into how the mind and body are intimately interconnected.
5.The Art of Healing In the fourth part of the series, Bill Moyers examines two therapies – Buddhist meditation and group psychotherapy – that involve neither drugs nor surgery
6.Wounded Healers In the final part of the series, Bill Moyers aptly completes the circle by focusing on real people and their real stories and emphasising the ‘human connection’ that is so crucial in the doctor-patient relationship.

 

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