Unit 5 Project Alicia Jordan Kaplan University HW420-02 August 9, 2011
Introduction According to Harris Dienstrfrey, there is research that conclusively shows nonbiological factors can have statistically significant and clinically important effects on physical health. In 1988 a physician named Randolph Byrd conducted a randomized study of patients in a coronary care unit. Although his study was not perfect, it helped to pave the way for a recognition of mental and spiritual flourishing impacting the physical body.
Research 1 Dr. Robert Ader made one of the first breakthroughs in the early 1970s with his research into the relationship between the mind and the body’s immune system. Laboratory rats were fed saccharine-sweetened water mixed with Cytoxan, a nausea-producing drug. The rats learned to associate the drug-laced sweet water with nausea caused by the drug. When Cytoxan was removed from the water, the symptoms of nausea continued to develop. The rats had developed a mentally learned response. Weeks later the rats began dying of infectious disease. Cytoxan is designed to suppress the immune system. The rats were able to mentally alter their immune systems without use of the drug.
Research 2 Lewis H. Mehl performed a study in 1994 of 100 pregnant women with fetuses in the breech position found that the women under hypnotherapy, when encouraged to trust in their bodies and in nature along with thoughts as to why the babies were in that position, 81 percent of the fetuses spontaneously converted. In the matching control group of women who did not receive hypnotherapy, 48 percent of the breech babies spontaneously converted.
Research 3 Frederic Luskin conducted a random controlled research project in forgiveness. 269 volunteers with an unresolved personal hurt between the ages of 25 and 49 showed significant signs of improvement in hurt, anger and optimism. The volunteers also reported less stress and physical symptoms of stress such as dizziness, stomach pains, back ache and muscle tension. A follow up assessment 18 weeks after the end of the study showed that the group’s forgiveness continued to rise.
Example 1 According to Dacher, the first step to improving mental fitness is learning to quiet the uncontrollable and obscure movements of the outer mind. The still and clear mind, which is the ultimate goal, is hidden behind the active mind. With practice people can train the mind to stop grasping random movements and learn to observe and witness the natural rise and fall of thoughts, feelings and images. Once the mind has learned to observe, the next thing to practice is a continual stillness where the mind remains in a calm state that is not disturbed by the random thoughts, images and feelings that used to grasp attention. Only after attaining a stable calming of the mind can it see with the clarity of the inner eye. This state of unity consciousness dissolves confusion, doubts, misunderstandings and mental distress and helps the mind to feel connected to all life.
Example 2 There are exercises to workout the mind and the body together. During a regular physical workout, use the mind to enhance the workout by visualizing an increase in strength, flexibility and endurance. Focus the mind on breathing and notice movements. In this state the body becomes one with the mind. With the mind in a calm state, the body follows with breathing changes, blood pressure and the pulse become lower and muscles relax. Tai chi, yoga and the martial arts are a few types of cross-training which exercises the mind as well as the body.
Summary In order to experience a higher consciousness, we must learn to have oneness with life. By training the mind, body and spirit to work closely together as one, we are trying to reach the goal of health, happiness and wholeness. Integral health will allow mental clarity and intention to evolve. Empathy, sensitivity, compassion and universal loving-kindness will deepen. All of these mental and spiritual interconnections enhance the ability to prevent mental distress, physical illness and recovery from disease.
References: Dacher, E. S. (2006). Integral health: the path to human flourishing. Laguna Beach: Basic Health Publications, Inc. Schlitz, M., Amorok, T., Micozzi, M. S. (2005). Consciousness & healing: integral approaches to mind-body medicine. St. Louis:Elsevier Churchill Livingstone.