Search: Articles:


Dr. Richard Isaacson

What’s Missing from Western Medicine:  The Power of the Mind - Part II

Part II: In Part II, I continue to describe the dichotomy within Western Medicine, and the concept of inherent connectedness of mind and body.

Not so long ago, before the advent of the pharmaceutical machine, with its vast offerings of new fixes for our physical failings, physicians were the consummate healers.  Voltaire described our role as that of the amuser, to keep the patient amused long enough so that nature could do her healing work.  And Sir William Osler, considered one of Western medicine’s founding fathers, maintained that it was more important to know the patient that had the disease, than to know what kind of disease the patient had.

However, Western medicine is not employed in the business of healing.  Rather, this is a disease care system.  For, by its very nature, our Western medical model makes people sick and keeps people sick.  Indeed, Western medicine’s approach to chronic illness cures no one of anything.  Pharmaceuticals merely suppress symptoms,  interfering with the true and natural healing mechanism of the human organism.  Skeptics, and those who espouse our dominant biomedical paradigm, relegate inexplicable cures to the realms of placebo or perhaps an initial incorrect diagnosis.  And, in fact, they are ignoring that most powerful mediator of healing of all time:  the mind, intention, consciousness.

All these ancient notions, once lost, are now seeking resurgence with the advent of unhappy consumers, and truth–seeking scientists.  These scientists are the pharmacologists, experimental toxicologists, and immunologists doing low dose research to support the veracity of the homeopathic phenomenon.  They are the physicists and engineers mentioned earlier.  They are the parapsychologists and psychoneuroimmunologists, lending credence to the notion of mind affecting matter, and mind affecting body.  They are the open-minded physicians and other researchers conducting research on the power of prayer, and on the healer phenomenon1-9.

Some examples of how literally our minds can affect our bodies and our health include the following research outcomes:  positive thinking lowered blood sugar levels in diabetics, lessened asthma attacks, reduced colitis symptoms, and improved immune function in HIV-infected individuals10-12.  And not only can our thoughts affect on our bodies, but our thoughts can affect others:  numerous studies have demonstrated the clinical efficacy of prayer, most notably the positive effect of prayer on patients in a coronary care unit13.

In addition to this concept of the inherent connectedness of mind and body, as suggested by both ancient wisdom and modern science, is the existence of some ineffable source - entity, energy, connectedness - that embraces all and affects us all.  Some may call this entity God, or Allah.  Others may call it the power of intention, thought, or energy.  Healing traditions throughout the globe draw on this source as a conduit to healing. 

While we may delight in acknowledging this ancient wisdom, and be encouraged that the evergrowing field of complementary and alternative medicine has lent support to the notion of mind-body medicine, we are still missing the link.  Until we can realize that the mind is more powerful than molecules, than pharmaceuticals, and that we can apply this concept to actually heal our own bodies, we are not realizing the full potential that lies within each of us.

In Parts III and IV, I will describe techniques for harnessing the powers of our minds, for healing ourselves, and even impacting on situations and circumstances in our lives.

1.  Bellavite, P., Signorini, A.  The Emerging Science of Homeopathy: 
    Complexity,  Biodynamics, and Nanopharmacology.  Berkely, CA:  North
    Atlantic Books;2002.
2.  Schulte J, Endler PC, eds.  Fundamental research in ultra high dilution and
    homeopathy.  Dordrecht:  Kluwer Academic Publishers;1998.
3.  Radin, D.  The Conscious Universe:  The Scientific Truth of Psychic    
    Phenomena.  San Fransisco:  Harper’s Edge;1997.
4.  Ader, R., Felton, D., Cohen, N., eds.  Psychoneuroimmunology.  Philadelphia:   
    Elsevier Academic Press;2001.
5.  Jonas, W., Crawford, C.  Healing, Intention, and Energy Medicine:  Science,
    Research, and Clinical Implications.  London, UK:  Churchill Livingstone, 
6.  Dossey L.  Healing words.  San Francisco, CA:  Harper San Francisco; 1993.
7.  Astin JA, Harkness E, Ernst E.  The efficacy of “distant healing”:  a systematic    
    review of randomized trials.  Ann Intern Med 2000;132:903-909.
8.  Benor D.  Healing research:  vol. 1, Spiritual Healing:  Scientific Validation of
    a Healing Revolution.  Southfield, MI.  Vision Publications;2000.
9.  Muehsam DJ, Markov MS, Muehsam PA, Pilla AP, Shen T, Wu Y.  Effects of
    Qigong on cell-free myosin phosphorylation:  preliminary experiments. 
    Subtle Energies 994;5:93-108.
10. Talbot, M. The Placebo Prescription.  The New York Times Magazine; January 9,
    Accessed 7/4/06.
11.  Antoni, MH.  Psychosocial stressors and behavioral interactions in gay men with
    HIV infection.  Int. Rev Psychiatry:  1991;3:383-399.
12.  Astin JA, Harkness E, Ernst E.  The efficacy of “distant healing”:  a systematic    
    review of randomized trials.  Ann Intern Med 2000;132:903-909.

2006 Patricia A. Muehsam, M.D.

Dr. Muehsam is a holistic medical doctor practicing in New York City. She can be reached by phone at (212) 946 - 5700.

Click HERE to see Dr. Muehsams listing on The Healing Directory.

• A version of this article was published in The Epoch Times on July 24, 2006

Commenting is not available in this section entry.