The Mind-Body Connection
At Make Me Feel, we firmly believe in the importance of taking a holistic and long-term approach to good health and treating the whole person, paying attention to the mind and body. While it used to sound pretty new-age, the mind and body connection are now well researched and get more and more scientific evidence. A 2016 study has shown that meditation and mindfulness can change the shape, volume and connectivity of our brains and reducing inflammatory factors (1) when another one from 2017 shown that emotions and physical health can have an action on your genes. (2)
This month, our consultants share some of their views on the importance of the mind and body connection in their work.
Homeopathy has long been valued for its treatment of the person as a whole, rather than reacting to a series of symptoms or illnesses. Caroline Harper, our resident homeopath, explains that often her patients do not realise that the physical issues that they have been suffering from are connected with their emotions and state of mind. For example, there may be links between constipation and anxiety, eczema and grief, or stress and migraines. During a consultation, patients are often amazed when these important mind/body connections are clarified for them, and homeopathic treatment will often result in both mind and body symptoms being alleviated.
Claudia Torres recognises the body’s enormous resilience and power to heal in her work as a massage therapist, and she draws on a range of different massage therapies to help her clients find balance and set their own healing processes into motion. Although Claudia focuses on treating muscles, skin, tissues and joints, her experience with clients shows that the physical issues that her clients are suffering from are often connected to mental states, including stress, anxiety, fear and exhaustion. She believes that some of the most important benefits, especially for some of her clients with busy and stressful jobs, come from soothing the nervous system and encouraging clients to feel calm and secure. Ultimately, she feels that deep relaxation from massage therapy is beneficial in itself as the body itself knows what is needed.
For Jenny Colin, an important part of her work with clients is in untangling the connections between unhealthy or unhelpful thoughts and emotions and subsequent feelings of discomfort in the body. As a Clinical Hypnotherapist, she helps clients to reframe negative thought patterns and find new, more positive ways of thinking and behaving that often lead to real physical changes as well. Hypnotherapy also helps to gradually teach clients how to find deeper levels of relaxation, and to use this state to release accumulated tension in the mind and body. In some cases, she also uses other techniques such as Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR) or mindfulness exercises to help clients work through particularly difficult or ‘frozen’ emotions, for example as a result of trauma. This allows the client’s own natural healing processes to do their work.
All of our consultants at Make Me Feel believe that clients should respond to their own instincts about what works for them, and to feel free to work with consultants from different disciplines. They also often refer clients to each other if they feel that there could be a benefit from more intensive body treatment with a massage therapist or osteopath, or more in-depth focus on calming the mind with mindfulness or hypnotherapy.