Bridging the Mind-Body Divide
Srinivasan, T., International Journal of Yoga
Byline: T. Srinivasan
There is an on-going discussion on the role of body and its connection to the mind in health and disease. In Mind-body Medicine, it is taken for granted that these two independent entities act on each other either to bestow trouble or to bring homeostasis to the person who owns both. Further, body is now being replaced with brain, since it seems obvious that after all, brain is the ultimate controller of the events taking place in the body. However, the question remains: Where does the body meet the mind? Is there a specific location or is it just a hypothesis that there is a Brain-Mind nexus in stress deregulation as well as in self-regulation back to normalcy?
There is an eloquent proposal to integrate the top-down and bottom-up models of Mind-body Therapeutics (MBT) so that further focused research is implemented to postulate possible mechanisms in this complex area. [sup] Since stress related morbidity has become a major concern in the medical therapeutics and research worldwide, it is imperative we understand the mechanism and try to integrate MBT into main stream medicine. There are some models available even if they are not completely worked out for clinical acceptance. Thus, there are models that espouse decreased sympathetic tone and/or increased parasympathetic activity, proper integration of neuronal and visceral systems, and electromagnetic regulation. Even in electromagnetic regulation, there are several theories each applicable to a specific area of MBT. There is no single theory, model or mechanism that could be applied for all effects seen in MBT. It seems that each model is useful in some way; however, an overarching theory and mechanism should be developed for integrating MBT into Allopathic Medicine.
Initial search in biochemical and electrophysiological correlates of stress and Mind-body effects were productive. Molecules that mediate specific emotions were identified. [sup] Similarly, many MBTs could be assessed through Electroencephalogram (EEG), functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and through neurophenomenological approaches. [sup], The last approach combines neural responses with experiential categories of mental activities. This combined approach seems to provide a relation between transitory changes in mental processes for correlation with neural processes. This could be a very useful combination especially in MBT wherein mental processes are important since the experiences are central for evaluating success of a technique.
Heart Rate Variability and study of electromagnetic components of MBT have also been suggested. In a revised view of cellular communication, the cells need not be in proximity for transfer of information. [sup] An electromagnetic signal sent by a cell could be received by a receiver cell resulting in such processes as apoptosis (regression) and cell proliferation. This signal could also be sent from an external source to achieve these ends. It is postulated that "What we may glean from all of this is that in addition to being a protective shield, the cell wall is emerging as a powerful amplifier for electromagnetic and possibly other subtle energy therapies. The resultant cascade of signals can stimulate or suppress numerous intracellular activities" (5, p. 300). Given these observations and speculations, it seems that a field and coupling mechanism that is global is required.
Electromagnetic pollution, on the contrary, could disrupt the MBT effects through inappropriate modulation of therapy. Since, at any given time, a large numbers of cells are sharing variety of signals simultaneously, some signals could disrupt information to other cells or organ systems. However, based on present information, it is possible to speculate that electromagnetic communication could be an important aspect of body-mind communication. Long range electromagnetic communications are also implicated in acupuncture activity. …