Healthy Mind, Healthy Body: New Research Shows That What You Think Is Just as Important as What You Eat
We've been told for decades health is about what we eat, but recent findings in the field of mind-body medicine are showing there's a whole lot more too it than just that and most of it has to do with your mind.
Healthy Mind, Healthy Body: New Research Shows That What You Think Is Just as Important as What You Eat
Photo: Taka Umemura
By Carl Stronter / filmsforaction.org

Some are calling it the next frontier in the field of health: mind-body medicine, which is the study of the interaction between the body and mind as it relates to health and disease.  In recent years, many extraordinary, well-researched studies have come out showing a very direct link between our emotions, beliefs and thoughts and the health of our physical body as well as measurable changes in our genetic code. In the past this was referred to as the “placebo effect,” and was written off as a fluke power of the mind that had to be controlled for in double-blind studies. However, this inherent mind-body connection is proving to be the elephant in the room that had been ignored for centuries—and is now the latest frontier in modern medicine, shaking up old models of disease theory and showing us that health is far more complex than previously thought. While eating eating a healthy diet is still important, our health is far more dependent on our state of mental and emotional well-being, than previously thought.

“When I was working with sick patients from the inner city of Chicago, it made sense that they weren’t healthy. They ate poorly, smoked, drank, and never exercised.” Explains Dr. Lissa Rankin, a leading holistic physician and pioneer in mind-body medicine in an interview with Dr. Frank Lipman. “But then I took a job at an integrative medicine practice in posh Marin County, California, where my patients religiously followed organic, vegan diets, worked out with personal trainers, got 8 hours of sleep every night, took their vitamins, and spent a fortune on the best healthcare money can buy—and they were still sick. It got me wondering, what if there’s more to health than what they taught me in medical school?”

Dr. Rankin’s experiences are in lock-step with the findings of a recent mindfulness study conducted by researchers at the prestigious Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital where 26 adults (without prior experience) were taught a number of clinically-backed relaxation techniques including mindfulness, meditation and mantra (the repetition of sacred Hindu sounds) in order to understand the effects of these mind-focused practices on the body and specifically the test subjects genetic code. The study participants were given comprehensive blood tests immediately preceding and immediately following 20 minutes of self-directed practice of the above techniques. By studying an impressive 22,000 different gene sequences, researchers were able to identify and measure any changes—no matter how small—that occurred in the participants’ DNA during and after the practice of the various meditation, mantra and mindfulness techniques.

If you’ve ever practiced mindfulness or meditation for any length of time, the results were not altogether surprising: every single one of the study participants’ DNA demonstrated significant, measurable changes in the genes that researchers had identified as being responsible for, or related to, metabolism, aging, insulin response and relaxation, among many others. The observed changes were found to be clearly indicative of a majorly reduced stress response and activation of telomere maintenance genes, meaning that the mantra, meditation and mindfulness practices actually caused observable, measurable changes in the body that ultimately led to alteration and repair of DNA. In essence, changes in the mental state of the participants produced very real and measurable changes in their physical bodies, all the way down to the genetic level. Clearly something is going on here.

These findings also lend a research-backed explanation to the miraculous experiences of Dina Proctor, who developed a simple but extraordinarily powerful visualization and meditation technique, based on the work of pioneering cell biologist and mind-body medicine researcher Dr. Bruce Lipton, that was able to create significant, measurable changes in her biochemistry and blood work over the course of just a few short weeks.

At the time this all happened, Dina had been finding herself interested in the study of epigenetics research, mindfulness and meditation and decided to undertake an informal experiment on herself to try to address increasingly serious imbalances in her blood cholesterol levels that had been stressing her out for some time. For approximately 2 weeks she regularly practiced a simple 3-minute visualization meditation technique that she devised that she describes as follows:

“I started out visualizing a gentle but laser-like beam of healing energy entering my body straight into my heart. I imagined a warm sensation as the beam infiltrated and surrounded my heart. As the warmth grew stronger, I pictured the healing energy in the form of a thick liquid or serum, like warm honey, slowly seeping from my heart muscle into my bloodstream. I kept my focus on the warm feeling of the serum moving into my bloodstream in all directions. I followed it in my mind’s eye, moving through my chest into my legs and arms, fingers and toes, and circling back again into my heart.”

After only a few of days of practicing this specific meditation technique, she reported that she could intuitively feel that her blood levels were shifting, changing and ultimately balancing themselves out: “I visualized the imaginary serum healing each blood cell it touched as it traveled throughout my body,” she later remarked about her experiences with the technique.

Unsurprisingly, in lock step with the findings from the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine research, the results of her next bloodwork panel post-visualization meditation practice showed a significant positive change: her serum cholesterol readings had miraculously dropped from 227 to 177, demonstrating once again the power of the mind-body connection: that regular, simple shifts in our thought processes, emotional state and behavior do have very real and measurable physical effects in the body.

“Your mind controls your biology. That’s what the placebo effect is about; the mind believes the pill will work and so it does,” world-renowned stem cell biologist and epigenetics researcher and pioneer Bruce Lipton is quoted as saying reflecting on Dina’s spectacular achievement. “In the science of epigenetics it’s been found that it’s the perception of your environment that controls your genes. You’re not a victim of your genes because you’re the one who can change your environment—or, more importantly, change your perception… The physical expression is the consequence of the mind’s program—the program comes first, the physical expression second. The function of the mind is to create coherence between your beliefs and your reality.”

With all the talk these of extending lifespan with various technologies, it seems we may already have the answer to many of our biggest health challenges within us already.

4.0 ·
1
What's Next
Trending Today
Who Are You? Watching This Breathtaking Video Could Be the Moment You Change Your Life
2 min · 29,277 views today · "Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to a job that you need so you can...
How to Criticize with Kindness: Philosopher Daniel Dennett on the Four Steps to Arguing Intelligently
Maria Popova · 15,648 views today · “Just how charitable are you supposed to be when criticizing the views of an opponent?”
When You Kill Ten Million Africans You Aren't Called 'Hitler'
Liam O'Ceallaigh · 14,274 views today · Take a look at this picture. Do you know who it is? Most people haven’t heard of him. But you should have. When you see his face or hear his name you should get as sick in...
Welcome to Marinaleda: The Spanish Anti-Capitalist Town With Equal Wage Full Employment and $19 Housing
Jade Small · 14,027 views today · With virtually no police, crime or unemployment, meet the Spanish town described as a democratic, socialist utopia. Unemployment is non-existent in Marinaleda, an Andalusian...
10 Shocking Facts About Society That We Absurdly Accept As Normal
Joe Martino · 12,229 views today · When you take a moment and look around at the world, things can appear pretty messed up. Take 5 or 10 minutes and watch the 6 o’clock news. Chances are, the entire time, all...
Forest Man
16 min · 9,233 views today · Since the 1970's Majuli islander Jadav Payeng has been planting trees in order to save his island. To date he has single handedly planted a forest larger than Central Park NYC...
What It Really Means to Hold Space for Someone
Heather Plett · 7,204 views today · How to be there for the people who need you most
Caitlin Moran's Posthumous Advice for Her Daughter
Caitlin Moran · 5,000 views today · My daughter is about to turn 13 and I’ve been smoking a lot recently, and so – in the wee small hours, when my lungs feel like there’s a small mouse inside them, scratching to...
Alan Watts: What If Money Was No Object?
3 min · 4,774 views today · How do you like to spend your life? What do you desire? What if money didn't matter? What if money was no object? What would you like to do if money were no object? Spoken...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 4,525 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
The International Criminal Court May Start Prosecuting People Who Commit Crimes Against the Environment
Tara Smith · 4,030 views today · The International Criminal Court is not known for prosecuting people responsible for huge oil slicks, chopping down protected rainforests or contaminating pristine land. But...
Ten Ways We Misunderstand Children
Jan Hunt · 3,492 views today · 1. We expect children to be able to do things before they are ready. We ask an infant to keep quiet. We ask a 2-year-old to sit still. We ask a 3-year-old to clean his room...
American Cartel: How America's Two Major Parties Helped Destroy Democracy
Frank Castro · 3,429 views today · Cartel: An association of manufacturers or suppliers with the purpose of maintaining prices at a high level and restricting competition.
How a Trump Presidency Would Unleash a Torrent of Racist Violence-And Devastate the Left
Arun Gupta · 3,040 views today · The Left should take the Trump threat very seriously.
Humanity's Greatest Challenges Aren't Technical, They're Human
8 min · 2,586 views today · Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is incomplete as we commonly know it. Later in his life, Maslow wrote about a stage beyond self-actualization. Nichol Brandford explains how to...
Maya Angelou's 3-Word Secret to Living Your Best Life
3 min · 2,392 views today · Dr. Maya Angelou says that in order to be the best human being you can be, you must follow one simple directive: "Just do right." Watch as Dr. Angelou reveals how you can never...
Rap News Special Edition: Hillary Clinton Vs Donald Trump
7 min · 2,328 views today · Hello world. RAP NEWS is back for a special episode on the 2016 USA Election mayhem, feat. Hillary Clinton vs Donald Trump + a touch of Jill Stein & Gary Johnson. This one's...
A Woman Who Makes This Statement Today Needs Revolutionary Courage
Sabine Lichtenfels · 2,299 views today · I want to live in a community with men and women, with children, animals and plants so that I am not continually forced to hide my actual being from the others. Perception and...
Do You Have Time to Love?
Thich Nhat Hanh · 2,092 views today · The greatest gift you can offer loved ones is your true presence.
10 Photos That Show the Magnificent Light Shining on Standing Rock
Josue Rivas · 1,995 views today · Despite all the news of pipeline regulation, court appeals, and activist arrests, Native photographer Josue Rivas reminds us that it is actually a peaceful place.
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Healthy Mind, Healthy Body: New Research Shows That What You Think Is Just as Important as What You Eat