Like we discussed last week, there is HUGE relationship between the mind and culture. This week, there was more emphasis on the mind and the BODY within the culture. Religion is and always has had a huge impact on daily life, and it’s hard to deny that someone’s faith doesn’t affect how they think about things. A prime example of this in a religious aspect is the situation of the Namibia and the Botswana people. The gatherers used “healing dances” in order to enter an altered state of mind. During this altered state, if they touched someone, they could be healed. While this is so vastly different from western medicine, we do see our own versions of interesting healing in our own world that has to do with the mind that actually uses science. For some people, this can contradict everything they believe about science, meaning that science should be purely biological. The Placebo Effect is a direct relationship between the mind, science, and healing all in one. For a lot of patients dealing with health issues in the “science world,” AKA in a clinical trial, for example, a lot of doctors will use a Placebo pill in order to relieve their symptoms. It works simply because the patients THINK that they are taking an actual pill that is going to help them, when in reality it’s something along the lines of a sugar pill (Wang).
Personally, I believe science and healing go together in vastly different ways than healing and religion. A lot of doctors are quick to use pills as an only resort to healing a biological illness. This is very important in it’s own way; sometimes pills and treatments are the most effective way of treating an illness, such as cancer. However, there is always another side to the story. While a pill may help the problems physically, there is always an emotional problem that is most of the time gone untreated by doctors. This is where I believe that healing and religion can go together. For example, patients in the hospital who are receiving various treatments often are visited by pastors who will guide prayers with them and for them. This act of treating the inside and the outside of a person goes a long way in their healing process. Like Aristotle says, “there is absolutely nothing human about a corpse! The soul is what is truly human.” Furthermore, we see an overlay between science and healing by the mind in Sarah Berga’s approach to fertility: to just relax. The stress that can take over the mind and body can seriously alter the ability for women to reproduce. Her research tells us that stress alters signals to the hypothalamus (science), which leads to reduced levels of two important hormones needed for ovulation. Her fix to this problem? Relax and learn to cope with stress (healing by mind).
“In Clinical Trials and in the Clinic, What is the Placebo’s Effect?” Last modified January 1, 2003. http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/95/1/6.full