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Mind-Body Medicine Skills
Small Groups

What is Mind-Body Medicine?

At its core, Mind Body Medicine is a form of self-care. It focuses on utilizing the conscious mind to influence positive change in the body and mental/emotional states via the Autonomic Nervous System and the powerful ways in which we can help heal and care for ourselves. It also utilizes the latest science in Neurogenesis and Neuroplasticity, meaning we can grow new neural pathways and can consciously choose which ones we want to strengthen. It gives each one of us a sense of agency, that we have some control over our health and wellbeing. It teaches that the mind and body are deeply interconnected as a unified whole in which one aspect can have a profoundly dramatic effect on the other. Thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes can affect and shape every aspect of our biological functioning. And conversely, how we care for our bodies can affect our minds and spirit. In essence, our beliefs, thoughts, and emotions have the power to stimulate health or disease. 

Mind Body Medicine is is well researched and proven to be beneficial for many health issues as stated in the New England Journal of Medicine April 9, 2020 op-ed "New Era for Mind Body Medicine",

                "...randomized, controlled trials have suggested improved health outcomes and quality of life in multiple physical                                  and mental health conditions that are related to or exacerbated by stress, including chronic pain, anxiety, depression,                          cancer related fatigue, tobacco addiction, inflammatory bowel disease, and cardiovascular disease...we believe the                              future is promising for mind-body medicine."

What Are Mind-Body Medicine Skills Groups?

Mind Body Skills Groups provide a way for us to learn skills for taking care of ourselves and to practice them with others in a compassionate, supportive environment. We will learn and practice a variety of skills that will help us to change the way we deal with stress, illness, and life. These include various forms of meditation, guided imagery, breathwork, autogenic training (self-hypnosis), biofeedback, writing, and drawing. These groups are highly experiential and designed to assist us in coming to know ourselves better and in learning and using tools that support us on our healing journeys. Through using these techniques, we can experience deeper relaxation, less pain, less fatigue, greater energy, and enhanced immune functioning. They can help us more successfully deal with pain, chronic illness, stress, anxiety, and depression. Over time we can experience greater self-awareness and sense of wellbeing.

 

Mind-Body Skills Groups offer a powerful and effective combination of researched based healing therapies to help participants deal with life changes, stress, and illness in an intimate and supportive group setting. The groups are small, usually 8-10 people, which allows for a deeper level of connection, sharing, and support. The groups meet at a set day and time for 8 weeks, 2-hours each week, which provided an opportunity for participants to begin to integrate the mind-body skills into their lives, with the support of the group to help them work through any difficulties along the way.

 Additional information as well as videos and supporting research can be found at  https://cmbm.org

Pricing for the Mind Body Skills Groups is on a sliding scale from $160-$260

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The next in-person class will be starting on Monday June 3rd from 1:00-3:00pm and will be held every Monday for 8 weeks until July 22nd at ASHA Massage School 4600 Copper Ave NE 87108.

The next online Zoom class will be starting on a Saturday in June YTD.

Psychosomatic Re-Envisioned

For over 300 years Western thought has been dominated by the idea of a mind body split. It is only within the last 40 years that this mindset has been challenged and ultimately proven to be wrong. This idea of a split between the body and the mind is a fundamental error that was established back in the 1660s by a philosopher and brilliant mathematician named Renee Descartes, who did a great disservice to humankind by asserting this separation. This belief he proposed has influenced the Western medical model to this day. No other medical model on the planet has ever had this view of separation of the body and mind. Descartes was wrong.

 

A field of study that emerged in the 1970s called Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI), was a term coined by Robert Ader who was a psychiatrist and professor emeritus at the Rochester Medical Center. Essentially, he proved the link between the mind and its effect on the body’s immune system and how it can be activated to help heal the body by eliminating symptoms and reversing diseased conditions. He showed the powerful connection between the body and mind. A clear example of this is the Placebo Effect whereby just thinking a sugar pill is real medicine causes a positive effect on the body, sometimes equal or greater to the actual medicine itself. In his landmark study published in 1975 in the Psychosomatic Medicine Journal, “clearly demonstrat[ed] that immune responses could be modified by classical conditioning, meant there were connections between the brain and the immune system and that the mind could have profound effects on the body’s functions that were thought to be independent."

Candace Pert, PhD is another pioneering researcher, known as the mother of PNI and the Goddess of Neuroscience, who showed the connection between our emotion and our bodies. She illustrated through her research how different emotions set of a cascade of effects in the body that produce very real sensations. She discovered the opiate receptor and developed drugs to help treat HIV as well as mental illness. Her research in the 80’s helped legitimize the MindBody medicine field.

CandacePert.com is a wonderful resource with some pithy quotes:

  • “Most psychologists treat the mind as disembodied a phenomenon with little or no connection to the body. Conversely physicians treat the body with no regard to the mind or the emotions. But the body and mind are not separate, and we cannot treat one without the other.”

  • “Candace once commented, “We’ve all heard about Psychosomatic Illness, but have you heard about Psychosomatic Wellness? “Since emotions run every system in the body, don’t underestimate their power to treat and heal”.”

Good examples of this are anger or anxiety, we get cortisol and epinephrine flooding into our system which creates the fight, flight, or freeze mode, which is called the sympathetic nervous system. This constant flow of stress hormones into our bodies suppresses the immune system and opens the door to disease. The converse of this is with joy, laughter, or love we get endorphins and oxytocin, and other feel-good chemicals that stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system which is the repair, rest, and digest mode. In essence our thoughts and our emotions have the power to stimulate health or disease.

The term psychosomatic tends to be a very derogatory word, and still is, when someone tells you your pain or troubles are all in your head. Your imagination. But the mind is not just in the head. It is not just the brain. As Candace Pert says, “Your body is your subconscious mind.” As a bodyworker for over 20 years, I know without a doubt that our bodies hold storehouses of memories and emotions as subtle energies and images and we can access them through intuition. 

Our minds, bodies, and spirits are not separate from one another. They are interwoven together and can act positively or negatively on each other. The choice is ours in how we choose to interact with them to either our benefit or detriment. 

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