Minding the Body, Embodying the Mind: Minding the Body, Embodying the Mind

By Markowitz, Laura | Family Therapy Networker, September/October 1996 | Go to article overview

Minding the Body, Embodying the Mind: Minding the Body, Embodying the Mind


Markowitz, Laura, Family Therapy Networker


LATELY, IT SEEMS AS IF YOU CAN'T TURN ON THE TELEVISION, go to a bookstore or pick up a newspaper or magazine without running into something about "the mind-body connection." It hardly seems possible that the fact of our mental world and physiology being intertwined could be news haven't we known this since that first nervous stomachache before the spelling bee back in elementary school? We all know that high blood pressure and migraines can be caused by stress. We've heard the stories about how important the power of positive thinking can be in recovering from illness and, conversely, the way people can slip away once they give up the will to live. Yet, far from being received as a report of the self-evident, the recent rash of attention to the power of integrating mind and body has generated a response more on the order of a mass religious movement.

As good adherents to Cartesian tradition ("I think, therefore I am"), if you ask most Westerners where in the body they reside, they will point to their heads. But as the 20th century comes to a close, some in the medical and therapy professions are proclaiming that the traditional belief in the mind-body duality needs to be replaced by a new philosophy of mind-body unity. They insist that far from being merely a semantic change, this new understanding will transform everything from our own ideas about mental illness, to the way we treat physical disease, to how we experience the process of aging itself.

There's a large segment of society that is primed for this new vision of healthiness. As the Baby Boomers start to gray and this huge consumer market contemplates its ever-nearing mortality, the 35-to-60 age group is more interested than ever before in therapies, products and workshops that offer the promise of renewed vigor, an extended life span and a calmer, more centered state of mind. The Boomer who most epitomizes the new Zeitgeist is Indian physician Deepak Chopra. His books Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, Quantum Healing and The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success have topped the best-seller lists; his videotaped lectures were one of PBS's largest drawing telethon events. Chopra's message is that our bodies contain miraculous powers, programmed into our very cells, that can heal illnesses, reverse the aging process and significantly increase our longevity. He writes, "First, we have to throw out the relics and residues of outworn ideas we must be willing to be perfectly healthy forever. . . . Our way of looking at ourselves makes us what we are." Chopra's spellbinding presence and his medical credentials seem to lend credibility to his incredible ideas, which weave together facts from quantum physics and medical research, leavened with Western poetry and Eastern spirituality. Just by using the great powers of the mind, we can defeat the inevitable decline of old age, he insists. It's like gripping science fiction, inviting us to dream of outrageous possibilities, piling together bits and pieces of empirical facts until we say, "Well, maybe it can happen!"

There is another side to the mind-body movement that is not about promises of living longer, but is derived from consumer interest in alternatives to biomedicine. Fed up with being treated by their physicians as malfunctioning body parts, tired of the routinely dehumanizing experience of Western medicine the awkward paper gowns of the examination room, the impersonal, warehouse atmosphere of hospitals, the assembly-line approach of too many medical specialists more and more people are turning to acupuncture, homeopathy, therapeutic massage, biofeedback, hypnosis, chiropractic and other alternative therapies that treat them as whole people, not broken-down machines. In 1990, Americans made 450 million visits to alternative therapists, spending more than $13.7 billion, according to a 1993 New England Journal of Medicine survey. They paid $10.3 billion out of their own pockets for these services. In 1992, the National Institutes of Health established the Office of Alternative Medicine to create a research agenda for alternative medicine, a significant legitimation of the mind-body paradigm by the scientific community. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Minding the Body, Embodying the Mind: Minding the Body, Embodying the Mind
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.