Nurses Learn to Use the Mind to Heal the Body

Article excerpt

Byline: Ginny Skweres Daily Herald Correspondent

The cure for heart disease, cancer, depression, diabetes, arthritis and autoimmune disease could be within a patient's reach according to Stuart Tousman, associate psychology professor at Rockford College.

"The body has its own natural healing power," Tousman said.

In a seminar presented recently at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Tousman explained how the mind and body can work together for self-healing.

The course drew both DuPage residents and nurses seeking continuing education hours.

Cindy Clark of West Chicago said she had two reasons to take the course. As a nurse, she works in a retirement home and would like to empower the residents use these techniques. She also wants to put them into practice for herself because she has an autoimmune disorder.

Chris Engler of Chicago supervises a group home for mentally disturbed young adults.

"There's an awful lot of pain in the house and many of the kids are on medications. I'd like to set up some programs and activities that could help them," Engler said.

Also seeking a practical application was Craig Hilgendorf, a Wheaton chiropractor. He agrees with Tousman's theory and said nerve action affects people's health. "The more nerve action, the healthier they are," he said.

Tousman told seminar participants that children come into this world with no eating disorders, stress-related sleep disorders or assertiveness and communication disorders. These are things bodies learn to do, he said.

"People get into an emotional state that affects their body, and they should be able to bring themselves back," Tousman said. "The brain has all of the structures and chemicals necessary to allow optimal living."

There are psychological techniques that can affect cures, he said. In addition, these methods cost nothing and have no side effects.

Some of the techniques in this new field of psychoneuroimmunolgy involve visual imagery, meditation, muscle relaxation, diet, breathing and exercise.

Through research, doctors have learned about chemicals in the brain such as endorphins, serotonin and melatonin, as well as neurotransmitters and the locations in the brain that produce or are affected by the chemicals. …