Relationship between the mind and body


The lecture from this week discusses how medicine and how to treat people has changed drastically over the years. Ancient Egyptian surgeons used to use honey for antiseptic and also made cleaner, sharper cuts that would heal patients faster. During 450 BC-1800’s AD, individuals came up up with Hippocratic medicine, where individuals thought there were four humors that an individual was assigned to based off of birth and temperament, which basically told them what diseases they were more prone to develop. Arabs made huge advancements that changed the Western medical thoughts. Arabs invented hospitals and formal education systems for physicians. Al Razi, wrote two hundred books on medicine that the Westerns ended up using. There is also Traditional Chinese Medicine, where they believe that maintaining balance will lead an individual to the highest state of health.

Biomedicine splits the mind and body. A French philosopher, Rene Descartes, came up with the notion that the mind and body were separate. This notion influenced the way individuals thought and therefore, affected the medical system. It is unfortunate that doctors and physicians do not look at the mind and body as one, instead they tend to only focus on the body and forget that the mind has a huge influence over ones health. It has been said that healthy means including the spirt, body, and mind. If we were to focus our attention on all three characteristics that make up an individual, we would be much healthier. Doctors stick to the dualistic concept that Descartes came up with and therefore they are unscientific and only offering mechanical issues about the body.

Dr. Arthur Kleinman wrote a book, The Illness Narratives, where a doctor-patient relationship was not successful because the doctor failed to listen to the patients social, emotional, and psychological issues, which was probably influencing her health (Kleinman, 1988). Again, we need to move to a system that focuses on all aspects of an individual to reach optimum health. There has been multiple studies researching the effects of a placebo. Placebo’s help individuals with managing pain but many scientists don’t want to use it, and just use two different drugs and seeing which one was more successful. But, it has been found that placebo’s have been significantly effective. These findings confirm that the mind has a huge influence over an individuals health.

The article, The Effects Of Stress On The Body, examines the relationship between stress and health. It discusses that stress is normal, and that stress is sometimes good, for example, when a student has an exam they will experience stress which leads them to study and not fail. But, when stress gets to the point where its chronic it can lead to huge implications, for example, panic disorder. Stress effects more than one may think like the central nervous and endocrine systems, respiratory and cardiovascular systems, digestive system, muscular system, sexuality and reproductive system, and the immune system. With these studies, hopefully doctors, physicians, and individuals all over the world will become educated on what makes up an individuals health.

Kleinman, Arthur. The illness narratives: Suffering, healing, and the human condition. Basic books, 1988.

Ann Pietrangelo, “The Effects of Stress on the Body,” in The HealthLine 2014.

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