by Andrew Pacholyk MS L.Ac ~
Mind medicine imparts the healing power on the entire body. This “trickle-down effect” can be seen repeatedly in many forms of Eastern medicine. The psychological root-cause of each person’s belief system, which becomes the texture of how we live our lives, can be expressed in the subtle energies of the body as well as in the expression of disease.
No matter what form of therapy we use, be it herbs, acupuncture, crystals, color, we are only capable in balancing our lives as we are by the beliefs we hold in our heart. Formulate a positive belief system and we lay the basic groundwork for a stronger foundation in which to build better health.
Our belief system is one of our most powerful assets. With the ability to believe, we can accomplish nearly anything! The more one believes in them selves, the more one will definitely make accomplishments. When we face situations that are near physical or mental impossibilities, then it is our belief system, or belief in ourselves, that determines IF it is possible. Instilling this message to a person can create the groundwork for change. The
following is a look at both the Eastern and Western approach to mind body practice.
Oriental Medicine Model
Within the traditions of Oriental Medicine, the connection between the mind, the body and its spiritual components have been the basis of this holistic health system for centuries. Shamanism and incantations were the primary beginnings of this system, followed by well-known philosophers and their ideologies.
Traditional Chinese Medicine psychology bases the combination of Jing-Essence, Qi and Shen as the Fundamental Theory. The fundamental theories include:
1. The Integration of Body and Mind: The combination of Jing-Essence,Qi and Shen.
2. The Heart: Traditional Chinese Medicine has long looked at the heart as the dominant organ for mental activity. It is believed that all information is preserved and processed through the heart.
3. Five Zang Organs and mental activities: The visceral root of our emotions.Liver, Heart, Spleen, Lungs and Kidneys.
4. Individuality and Temperament: Every life begins with inherent strengths and weaknesses.
5. The Respect of the Soul: Deeper levels of the emotions affect our spiritual planes.
“Ru Jia” – Confucianism’s “Doctrine of the Means” was how one would create a healthy balanced state between the mind, the body and spirit. By nurturing the mind, the health of the organs would follow. The guidelines for achieving this balance would be to live with good manners, loyalty, honoring one’s parents, the proper conduct, benevolence and love.
Taoist guidelines for a healthy mind and body would be to “Live with content”. Be free in yourself and be close to nature. Lao Tzu, is regarded as the creator of the foundation of the Taoist philosophy. In the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu stated that “people should return to the original condition of nature’s complete personal tranquility”.
Buddhism teaches the benefits of deep calming and to be consciously aware. At the very heart of Buddhism are the Four Noble Truths, taught by the Buddha to his earliest disciples, in his first sermon. The first Truth is that life is dukkha — a word translated as suffering, dislocation. In other words, because something has gone wrong in the world, life is not as it should be, and there is pain. In order to relieve suffering, we must discover its cause.
The second Truth offers the explanation: The cause of dukkha is tanha, or desire — specifically, desire for personal gratification. A person ruled by Tanha is one who will ignore the welfare of every other being to satisfy his own desire. Since in reality all is one, shutting oneself off from that oneness through selfishness causes pain.
The third Truth identifies what must be done: If suffering is caused by selfish craving, overcoming that craving will eliminate the pain. The fourth Truth offers the solution:
The Buddha’s Eightfold Path — follow its instructions, and one will find release.
The Western Psychiatric Model
1. The Bio-psychosocial Model
The bio syndromes, which include the syndrome, related to the anatomical pathology or disordered patho-physiology. This is where medicine blends with psychology.
The psycho syndromes, which include the mental and emotional processes of the mind. This is the personality behind the medical illness.
The social syndrome, which intimately involves the person’s family,environment, financial and educational backgrounds. This expresses how no psychiatric patient exists in a vacuum.
2. The Perspective Model
Every psychiatric patient’s disorder is viewed as being influenced by disease, behavior, personality and life story.
Sigmund Freud remains one of the most nfluential figures of the 20th century. Freud’s basic insight that our minds preserve memories and emotions which are not always consciously available to us has transformed the way humanity views itself ever since. The tendency of people to trace their problems to childhood traumas or other repressed emotions begins with Freud.
One of Freud’s more important discoveries is that emotions buried in the unconscious surface in disguised form during dreaming, and that the remembered fragments of dreams can help uncover the buried emotions. Whether the method is exactly as Freud describes it, many people have consequent insights into themselves from studying their dreams, and many people consider dreams emotionally significant, contrasting our ancestors who often saw them either as divine suggestion or as simply a side-effect of indigestion.
Carl Jung is one of the most respected and recognized psychologists of all time. Many people know Jung as one of Sigmund Freud’s followers and co-workers. Jung’s emphasis in the field in psychology had to do with dreams. Jung developed many theories about dreams, a lot of them disagreeing with Freud. Jung was a great psychologist and psychiatrist that changed the ways of psychology today.
Jung thought that dreams were a tool to help us grow, not just to release extreme sexual desires. Jung felt that dreams were more than about sex, they were about life. Jung said that sexual drive doesn’t even motivate us as much as the fear of death. Jung was an inspiration to all in the psychology field. His theories are instrumental in psychology and psychiatry fields today.
Dr.Wilhelm Reich who discovered the “orgone energy” theory, emphasized that all diseases could ultimately be best understood as imbalances in the orgone energy system. Reich became convinced that a subtle biophysical energy permeates all living things and that the orgone is mass-free; permeates all of space in different concentrations; is responsible for all forms of life; is taken into the body through breathing; is present in all cells, is especially drawn to water and forms units, both living and nonliving.
John Upledger DO. has been recognized as an innovator and leading proponent in the investigation of new therapies. His development of CranioSacral Therapy has earned him an international reputation. As an osteopathic physician, Dr.Upledger did extensive scientific studies from 1975 to 1983 at Michigan State University, where he served as a clinical researcher and Professor of Biomechanics. His therapy is a subtle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of a physiological craniosacral system. This system is comprised of the “inner physician” as well as, membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. By complementing the body’s natural healing processes, CranioSacral Therapy is increasingly used as a preventive health measure for its ability to bolster resistance to disease, and is effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction.
It is through the courageous and unique approaches of such Western minds as these, that allows for the mind body model to be stretched and supplemented into new and innovative ways. These men have made great strides in allowing us to look at connections between the psyche and the physical flesh the mind inhabits. They bring closer the bridge between Eastern theories and Western advances in order to complete the circle of one ideal model.
The Realm of the Possible
In my approach to “Mind Medicine”, I use the power of my energy therapies I have studied with a look at a particular person’s belief in themselves and their surrounding situation(s). As individual as the cells that make up our systems, the process of healing each individual is as unique as this. It is inevitable as human nature dictates, to want to categorize and organize things. This is an innate function of the brain system itself. If you have this… then you do this… and so on.
As we learn… a system of healing, be it allopathic medicine or complementary and alternative modalities such as massage therapy, Ayurvedics, traditional Chinese medicine, color therapy and so on…there tends to be a set of tried and true rules to observe, follow or be guided by.
As we practice... it is never as cut and dried! We would all like to see patients come in with classic textbook symptoms. This would make it so easy for us to treat. Unfortunately, those cases tend to be more the exception than the rule. That is what makes healing not only an art, but also a lifetime of discoveries.
I feel, nothing in healing, is etched in stone. What method of treatment may help one individual may not help the next. This is why it is important to be open to and aware of as many possibilities in the healing arena as possible. I also do not believe that if someone has said or has proven that a form of healing MAY NOT work in general, that this still is not grounds for abandoning the treatment. What may not work for one may absolutely be appropriate in healing another.
In Western medicine, for example, we tend to only work with and accept the most recent medications; the most recent findings and the most current approaches…disregard the rest.
In Chinese medicine, no theory or form of healing is ever thrown out but placed in the “tool belt of knowledge” and maybe able to be called upon when one path is not as efficient.
In any clinical setting where there is an interview, there is an exchange of energies. Through these energies, we can observe the ability to relate to one another via intuitions, creative hunches, the give and take of power, nonverbal and emotional insights and nonverbal forms of communication that form a valuable source of knowledge about the patient’s personality, and his or her transference.
In the clinical setting, the energies of transference and counter transference are always present. Trying to balance these energies that abound in a clinical interview are both challenging to recognize, as they are to cope with. The process of being aware, as well as conscious, plays a major role in the recognition as to where an imbalance manifests. Your “tool belt of knowledge” can also be an imperative part in the process. These delicate energy levels, when balanced can maintain a level of good health and strong immunity within the body. When thrown into disarray, this may give a clue as to where to start.
Belief Becomes Substance
Our body and minds are stronger and more complex than most people think. We are capable of much more. People place too many limits on what they can do. Learning to believe in ourselves and our abilities is a hard job that never ends. I often stress the point that they should often challenge themselves. Attempting things that are just outside their ability. One of the best things about expanding our limits is that things that used to be impossible can now be apart of our everyday life! By building the belief in our ability, we can accomplish anything in life. I want people to understand these guidelines:
* Energy follows thought. Program thought to be positive and our energy will reflect it!
* Our Belief System is one of the major factors that can get us through situations or can cause our life to crumble around us! I do believe that there is a lot of innate goodness and balancing that our minds do subconsciously in order to get us through hard times. The other portion of this is how we “program” ourselves to deal with any given situation.
* We have a conscious choice. We can choose to be beaten or choose to win.
* Our self-confidence and self-love is often the key to opening and strengthening this portion of our thoughts, which in turn emanates from us!
* Really appreciating what we DO have as opposed to what we would like to have sometimes makes a significant difference. This is always an important element in healing that is often neglected.
With this foundation built, practically any healing modality will have an even better chance of taking root in the positive, strengthening all that it offers in return.
There are many factors in the healing process and you are only part of the plan, your patient is the other piece of the puzzle. I had a wonderful teacher who once said to me:
“A doctor’s job is not to heal a patient, it is to show the patient who they really are!”
This profound statement has stayed with me. It has given me the insight to offer options of healing to a patient. Steering them in the right direction in order to heal is to allow them to help them heal themselves. I am always seeking other options of healing.