In recent years, many studies have come out showing the direct link between our emotions, beliefs and thoughts, and the health of our physical body, as well as measurable changes in our genetic code. This mind-body connection has been ignored for centuries but is now shaking up old models of disease theory and showing us that health is far more complex than previously thought. Eating a healthy diet is crucial, however our health is also dependent on our state of mental and emotional well-being.
“There could be more to health than what is taught in medical school.”
Will an Apple a Day to Keep the Doctor Away?
“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. “But then I took a job in 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?”
A recent study at Massachusetts General Hospital took 26 adults (without prior experience) and taught them clinically-backed relaxation techniques including mindfulness, meditation and mantra in order to understand the effects of these mind-focused practices on the body, including their genetic code. The participants had comprehensive blood tests immediately preceding and immediately following 20 minutes of the above techniques, showing changes in the participants’ DNA during and after the practices.
Mind Over Matter
All study participants’ DNA demonstrated 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. This means the practices 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.
This is not a new field of research, Dr Bruce Lipton has been at the forefront for decades, conducting research with the best equipment available to examine the physical changes incurred by thought alone. An example of his work was a woman called Dina. She used some of his techniques to conduct a 3 minute meditation daily for 2 weeks, focusing on healing energy coming into the body.
“I started out visualizing a gentle but laser-like beam of healing energy entering my body straight into my heart.”
The results of her next blood work panel post-visualization meditation practice, showed a significant positive change. Her serum cholesterol readings had dropped from 227 to 177, demonstrating the power of the mind-body connection: that regular, simple shifts in our thought processes, emotional state and behaviour 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,” Bruce Lipton is quoted as saying reflecting on Dina’s 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.”
What can you do?
It can be very easy to look at adversities in life and blame them for our circumstances. There are certainly some things we cannot change, but there are many things that we can. For the ones we cant we can still control and mediate how we feel about them and how we let them affect us. By doing so we can be more empowered, more in control and on our way to being the best (and healthiest) versions of ourselves possible.
Chiropractic, much like diet or exercise, is a compliment to our mind-set, helping us to balance out our lives as the world attempts to unbalance us.
Call us today to become more empowered in your health and life