The Heart of Healing
Turner Pub., 1993 - Medical - 192 pages
In recognizing that our bodies have a remarkable power to heal their wounds and fight off disease, Mark Twain once quipped that "Nature heals and the doctor sends the bill." Perhaps this fundamental truth has been too long ignored by Western medicine in its preoccupation with physical cures.
Throughout history, cultures worldwide have provided us with incontrovertible evidence that under certain circumstances the body heals itself without intervention and that the mind has great influence over the body's health. In thoroughly examining this evidence, The Heart of Healing delves into various cultures to reveal the long and successful association that healing has had with faith, belief, spirit, family support, the web of everyday life, and even altered states of consciousness. It offers as further evidence cases of spontaneous remission from cancer and other diseases that have been documented in both oral and written histories throughout the centuries. During the last several decades, many researchers have clearly demonstrated that our feelings and attitudes can, in fact, push us toward either health or illness.
Although many Western-trained physicians have been skeptical about the role of the mind in medicine, this skepticism is gradually eroding in the face of overwhelming evidence. Scientists have already discovered definite links between the mind and the central and autonomic nervous systems, the endocrine system, and the immune system. Indeed, researchers in several fields have proposed that our psychological characteristics ultimately affect our immunological defenses, and through them our basic health.
Experiments have revealed that hypnotic suggestion can hasten burn healing, for example, and that laughter can increase immune function - all indicating that something is going on, that feelings and emotions do influence health, and that the body's healing system may be far more powerful and complex than we have yet dared to imagine. The real message of The Heart of Healing is that we must rethink and re-establish our medical system to assign wider parameters to all the arts of healing - in recognition that the connection between our minds and our bodies affects our health.
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