Its a mind over matter issue


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Category: Health Care Date: 07 Aug 05


If possible I would reproduce every word of a New York Times best seller ”Love, Medicine and Miracles” by Bernie Siegel, MD for everyone living in Trinidad, our diseased society.


This book advances the cautious acceptance of medical researchers that there is a definite link between our minds and our illnesses be it diabetes, cancer, arthritis, or heart disease. We can bring it on and we can get rid of it. Its a mind blowing concept in a culture where we believe most diseases are God-given and suffering and death pre-ordained.


Before you switch off thinking it’s some heebie jeebie unscientific stuff, consider that this is written by a respected surgeon, a professor at Yale University, who has witnessed countless cures of the seemingly incurable, does not believe in the word ”terminal“ and this from decades of personal experience with cancer patients who decided not to die. He doesn’t believe in the word dying. You’re either alive with all its pain and possibilities of the living or dead.


One of the first stories Dr Siegel tells us is that of a man who was so ill that doctors were reluctant to waste an experimental drug on him because they thought he would be dead the next day. Dr Siegel decided to give him a shot of the drug.


His recovery was instant. Curious about the patients recovery that bore little relation to the drug the doctor gave the patient another shot—of water—which he told the patient was a double dose of the cancer—fighting drug. The patient felt so well he was discharged. However when the patient discovered a newspaper article saying that the drug didn’t work, he got sick again.


In this book crammed with evidence of the power of the mind, Dr Siegel says a surprisingly simple act, can change the physical reaction of a patient to her illness and cure. One patient always used to throw up immediately after her chemotherapy. Her husband would always have a bag ready for her to throw up in as she got into the car. But one day she opened the bag and found a dozen roses. She never threw up after chemo again.


Dr Siegel’s mission is to let people know of their own healing potential. He believes that the immune system can affect the mind and vice versa. There are as many techniques to controlling the mind from meditation and visualisation to support groups and therapy.


He records a study in a California hospital shows that meditation increased blood levels at three important immune system hormones by 100 percent. The power drive with its constant anxieties, keeps the fight or flight stress response of the body continually switched on, diminishing the body’s ability to fight illness.


Siegel gives the example of Garrett, a young child who had an inoperable brain tumor that didn’t go away after radiation. His parents took him to the Psychophysiology Centre at the Menninger Clinic where he learned how to control his body with his mind.


The child decided he liked the idea of rocket ships as in a video game, flying around in his head shooting at the tumor. Months later it disappeared entirely.


Although Siegel admits that wishing away tumors, visualisation and meditation doesn’t work for everybody he does believe that the real antidote to disease is to ”grow up, and turn the power drive into helping others.“


Here’s how Siegel separates the survivors from the rest.



Survivors act not only from self—interest—but also from the interest of others, even in the most stressful situations.


They clean up messes and make things safer or more efficient. In short they give of themselves, leaving the world better than they found it.


Their relaxed awareness and the confidence it brings allows them to save their energies for the really important things.


They are foul weather friends. They show up when there’s trouble.


The Lord knows that be it the disease in our bodies, or that in our country where doctors allow babies to die to make a point, we can all do with survivors.


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All Articles Copyright Ira Mathur