THE BODY AT­LAS OF WILLPOWER

We have amaz­ing heal­ing pow­ers – and our thoughts are key to ac­cess­ing them. sing imag­i­na­tion and willpower alone, doc­tors have achieved suc­cesses through­out pa­tients’ bod­ies.

World of Knowledge (Australia) - - Human Body -

Can you con­trol short­ness of breath? Amer­i­can stud­ies show that, in more than 50% of cases, asthma is trig­gered by stress or anx­i­ety. Doc­tors rec­om­mend re­lax­ation tech­niques such as yoga. These in­crease the ac­tiv­ity in the left frontal lobe of the brain, the area re­spon­si­ble for good moods. The body’s air­ways then un­block and air cir­cu­lates.

Willpower can re­place mi­graine med­i­ca­tion. In nu­mer­ous stud­ies, placebo tablets have proven to be as ef­fec­tive as real painkillers for up to 50% of suf­fer­ers. The rea­son? Traces of nat­u­ral painkillers pro­duced by the body were found in their blood – a dosage equiv­a­lent to 8mg of mor­phine. Sev­eral hor­mones that the brain pro­duces “just in case” are re­spon­si­ble for this.

Heart spe­cial­ist Dean Or­nish showed pa­tients im­ages of their blocked ar­ter­ies and asked them to imag­ine blood pass­ing freely through. Stud­ies us­ing CT scan­ners show that ar­ter­ies can be re­opened us­ing this vi­su­al­i­sa­tion tech­nique alone. Or­nish’s willpower train­ing has another side ef­fect: the heart is able to pro­duce more cells and heal it­self.

Re­searchers from the Univer­sity of Liège have had suc­cess com­bat­ing chronic stom­ach prob­lems us­ing the “biofeed­back” method. This teaches pa­tients to direct thoughts specif­i­cally to­wards parts of their body. To achieve this, bod­ily func­tions such as heart­beat or blood pres­sure are con­verted into vis­ual or au­dio sig­nals us­ing so­phis­ti­cated equip­ment. The pa­tients can mon­i­tor the sig­nals, train­ing them­selves to find the pain and men­tally turn it off.

US doc­tor Jef­frey Koch told a con­trol group suf­fer­ing from high blood pres­sure that he’d only given them sugar pills – with the caveat that they had worked well for other peo­ple. As­ton­ish­ingly, this ex­per­i­ment alone led to im­proved re­sults in 60% of the pa­tients. Ev­i­dently, be­ing told that the placebo had aided oth­ers was enough to kick-start the body’s self-heal­ing mech­a­nism.

In an ex­per­i­ment at the Univer­sity of Ge­or­gia, two daily 15-minute con­cen­tra­tion ses­sions helped ease the pain of 50 pa­tients with chronic back is­sues. Around 70% of back­ache cases are caused by stress, and med­i­ta­tion is the best way to fight the stress hor­mone cor­ti­sol.

In an ex­per­i­ment, 180 pa­tients with mild os­teoarthri­tis were brought into an op­er­at­ing theatre. How­ever, most of the peo­ple who weren’t op­er­ated on were later free of pain. Their knee was cut so they as­sumed a pro­ce­dure had taken place. Just the thought of surgery caused nerve cells to form new con­nec­tions, build net­works and ini­ti­ate heal­ing pro­cesses. This process is called neu­ro­plas­tic­ity.

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