THE BODY AT­LAS OF WILLPOWER

We have amaz­ing heal­ing pow­ers— and the key to them is the power of thought. Us­ing the ac­ti­va­tion of imag­i­na­tion and willpower alone, doc­tors have achieved as­ton­ish­ing suc­cesses through­out the bod­ies of pa­tients.

iD magazine - - Body & Mind -

1 ASTHMA

Is short­ness of breath a ques­tion of mind over mat­ter? U.S. stud­ies show: In more than 50% of cases, asthma is trig­gered by stress or anx­i­ety. Physi­cians rec­om­mend re­lax­ation tech­niques such as yoga. This in­creases ac­tiv­ity in the frontal lobe of the brain’s left hemi­sphere, which is re­spon­si­ble for good moods. The re­sult: Air­ways loosen up and air cir­cu­lates bet­ter.

2 DYSPEPSIA

Re­searchers at Bel­gium’s Univer­sity of Liège have had suc­cess com­bat­ing chronic stom­ach prob­lems us­ing the biofeed­back method: It teaches pa­tients how to fo­cus thoughts on spe­cific parts of their body. To fa­cil­i­tate this, tech­ni­cal de­vices con­vert bod­ily func­tions like heart­beat or blood pres­sure into vis­ual or au­dio sig­nals. The pa­tients then train them­selves to find the pain and men­tally turn it off.

3 HIGH BLOOD PRES­SURE

In­ternist Jef­frey Koch ex­plained to his high blood pres­sure pa­tients that he’d only be giving them sugar pills— but with the pro­vi­sion that this had worked very well for other peo­ple. As­ton­ish­ingly, in 60% of his pa­tients this strat­egy alone led to bet­ter num­bers. Ev­i­dently the men­tal cer­tainty pro­vided by the as­sur­ance that the process had helped oth­ers was enough to ramp up the body’s self-heal­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

4 MI­GRAINES

Our will can re­place med­i­ca­tion: In nu­mer­ous stud­ies, placebo tablets have been shown to have the same ef­fect as real painkillers for up to 50% of sub­jects. Add this was ver­i­fied through mea­sure­ment: Traces of nat­u­ral painkillers pro­duced by the body were found in the sub­jects’ blood— an amount that cor­re­sponded with a dose of 8 mg of mor­phine. The credit for this goes to the var­i­ous hor­mones the brain pro­duces as a pre­cau­tion in case the need for heal­ing should arise.

5 HEART

Thoughts flow­ing freely: Heart spe­cial­ist Dean Or­nish guides his pa­tients in trans­port­ing them­selves to the in­te­rior of their body by way of im­ages. Ac­com­pa­ny­ing anal­y­sis with a CT scan­ner shows: Clogged blood ves­sels can be re­opened by us­ing this vi­su­al­iza­tion tech­nique. And Or­nish’s train­ing of the will yields an ad­di­tional ben­e­fit: The heart is primed to pro­duce more cells and thus to re­pair it­self.

6 BACK

In an ex­per­i­ment at the Univer­sity of Ge­or­gia, two daily 15-minute con­cen­tra­tion ses­sions helped sig­nif­i­cantly re­lieve the pain of 50 pa­tients with chronic back pain. In about 70% of back pain cases the con­di­tion is in­duced by stress, and med­i­ta­tion is the best op­po­nent of stress hor­mones.

7 OS­TEOARTHRI­TIS

Thought ex­per­i­ment: 180 pa­tients with mild knee os­teoarthri­tis were brought into an oper­at­ing room. Most of the peo­ple who were later free of pain weren’t op­er­ated on, though their knee had been cut to pro­vide the ap­pear­ance that a pro­ce­dure had taken place. The mere thought of heal­ing prompted neu­rons in the brain to form new con­nec­tions, es­tab­lish net­works, and ini­ti­ate the heal­ing pro­cesses. This is known as neu­ro­plas­tic­ity.

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