Mollie Knighton one of my Yoga students wrote a nice essay I wanted to share with all of you. She did an interview with me about my MS and how Yoga has helped me as part of her Essay. Mollie was happy to have me share this with you. She said "I would rather it be shared than just stored on my computer."
Happy & Healthy,
Balance and Synthesis Essay
The Mind-Body Remedy
The mind, the brain, and the body are all separate entities. They can all exists without one another , yet they are completely dysfunctional and useless when they are not together in a harmonic trio. The brain is the power source that brings capability to the body and the mind. Our body is a science that includes our physical capabilities as well as our intricate bodily systems. It is our exterior. The mind is a unique idea, our spirit; the interior. The mind is what defines our conscience and our thoughts, emotions, ideas, and images. Though we are all born with a brain, the minds of individual’s take time to develop and in some cases it never is at a balanced level. Knowing that we all have a brain available to hardwire our actions, the main focus should be on our body and mind synthesis. Solely giving more attention to one aspect more so than the other clearly disrupts a healthy cycle that should be respected and well kept. Health is important for people of all ages, and taking care of one’s mind is just as beneficial as caring for one’s body. Balancing the body and mind by actively stimulating the brain through physical and mental activity leads to a healthier body and lifestyle. In this essay, the health of the mind and body will be described in the way yoga helps depression and Multiple Sclerosis, the way cycling helps Parkinson’s disease, and how wellness is gained through mental healing. Upon reading these examples one will come to see the beauty in combining our mental and physical hemispheres.
Everyone uses different methods to heal. For Chuck Burmeister, a Tiffin area yoga instructor, the practice of yoga is his answer to a few different problems he has faced during his life. He is a prime example of how to balance the body and mind. Chuck is unique in that he is not the typical yoga instructor. He never would have imagined becoming a certified instructor if it was not for his diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 2001. During an interview with Chuck he told his journey of battling MS and how he went through several drugs in effort to ease his symptoms and go about his normal life. However, he soon learned that medication was not improving his condition or making it easier to live with; in some cases he felt drugs made it worse. Chuck realized that substance materials were not enough to heal his body or mind. His solution was to begin a regular yoga practice, and by doing so he changed his life completely. He feels that yoga has helped with balance, flexibility, coordination, strength, energy, and depression. It has not cured his MS, but today, at forty-nine years old, Chuck has been clean of his Multiple Sclerosis prescriptions for two years thanks to yoga. Chuck stated in the interview that, “taking care of my body then takes care of me, I believe there is a definite connection” (Burmeister ). So chuck has successfully found the mind-body medicine that works best for him, but is yoga an answer to others with health concerns or problems as well? Yes, it is believed so.
Yoga is the original science of the self. In a scientific paper written by Paul Posadzki and Sheetal Parekh, they identify all the significant aspects of yoga practice and the benefits that come along with it. Yoga has been traced back five thousand years ago in Asia, but today, “yoga is being regarded within Complementary and Alternative Medicine as a form of mind-body medicine,” (Posadzki, Sheetal ). It originated from Ayurveda; meaning ancient knowledge of how to discover the true sense of human life and health. From Posadzki and Sheetal’s research, it has been proven that yoga is an accepted therapy for people with arthritis, carpal tunnel, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, and several more conditions and diseases. It is also recommended for victims of stroke, cancer survivors, and those who struggle with insomnia. Even for those who are not battling any medical issues, yoga is still great for gaining better posture as well as muscle strength and flexibility. The reason yoga is able to help such a wide range of disorders, symptoms, and conditions is because it is a type of physiotherapy that cultivates mind-body homeostasis. Yoga is effective due to the fact that it simultaneously influences cells, tissues, organs, and everything else included in our body’s system. It allows the mind to settle and find the self- to ultimately gain consciousness control. Yoga is done in quiet environments that aim to increase invigoration, acceptance, and relaxation, and it is based upon movement, posture, and muscle contractions. Achieving a physical and emotional balance leads to improved physical and mental health, because it activates the mind and body in one exercise. Yoga is becoming more and more well-known as a popular healing tool, but there are also other types of mind-body engagements that are being newly discovered in the medical world today.
Healing can take place in several different forms; some more unexpected than others. Bicycles have been used for exercise and therapy for many years, but now medical studies are showing that cycling can be used for more serious medical issues. One of these medical issues is Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson's is an insidious progressive disease with no cure on the horizon, but cycling is proven to show improvement nonetheless. Patients with Parkinson’s are hoping for a cure, but in the mean time they love the effectiveness of physical activity that makes their day-to-day living that much more comfortable. The idea behind cycle therapy is that patients are forced to pedal a stationary motorized bike at very high speeds for generous amounts of time. An online therapy cycling source shows research conducted by a Dr. Jay Alberts of the Cleveland Clinic, proving his hypothesis that cycling at faster rates will help his patients. In his trials, patients cycled at eighty to ninety RPMs for forty minutes, three times a week. Patients do not actually do the work to pedal at rates as fast as ninety RPM; but instead the bike is motorized and the patient’s feet are attached, forcing their legs in motion. His Parkinson’s patients showed a 35% improvement rate in motor function from these activities, and Dr. Alberts feels this can be attributed to the stimulation of the brain during this exercise. Other patients undergoing very similar therapies are experiencing the same results. A fifty-eight year old man who has had Parkinson’s for ten years could barely walk. He could take a few steps when prompted by a therapist, but then he would fall or freeze up. Despite his failed efforts at walking, this same man is able to ride an actual bike for miles (Therapy Cycle). He is just one example of how normal physical therapies do not work well in some patients because of the lack of balanced mental and physical activity. These studies are still in progress, but the results have been decent so far. They are activating the mind through forced physical exercise and it is leaning towards a mind-body balance by allowing the mind to grow and by going through the motions to get some physical body movement. Cycling may be more physical than yoga, but the mental aspect is within the patients mind is doing its part too. Taking care of the body helps take care of the mind, and healing capabilities are astounding. Though physical body movement is the focus of cycle-therapy, there are healing techniques that mainly focus on the mind rather than the body, and this just shows that healing truly does come in all forms.
In the medical community some types of therapy or healing are more accepted than others. Mental healing happens to be one of the most controversial methods of treating patients in the United States today. The idea that positive thinking is a type of medicine is not a new idea, and the role our emotions have on our health have been tested numerously over the years. In an article titled, Can Positive Thinking Help You Heal?, written by Lissa Rankin (MD), doctors were interviewed asking whether or not they felt “positive thinking” is an effective treatment method. One of the interviewees, Dr. Deepak Chopra, admitted that, “doctors want to protect their profession, so few want to cross the line and support the notion that how you think can work as powerfully as ‘real’ medicine” (Rankin). Following this concern Dr. Chopra went on to say that he does believe that thinking is real medicine, and his reasoning is because it has been proven by using the placebo effect. His experience with the placebo effect showed how patients felt better after taking a sugar pill that they believed was an actual prescription. Dr. Chopra emphasizes that a mind-body connection is not the answer to cure devastating illness or diseases. Cancer patients who have progressed very badly will most likely not be cured by mental activity. Rather, mental healing is a prevention of illness and a continuation of wellness. Strong mind-body connections are meant to be practiced before one reaches a terminal sickness in order to stay healthy longer (Rankin). To define mental healing from another source, research from the University of Minnesota says that, “our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes can positively or negatively affect our biological functioning. In other words, our minds can affect how healthy our bodies are!” (Mind-Body Therapies). They list yoga, meditation, prayer, relaxation, hypnoses, and creative arts therapies (with music, art or dance) as some of the mental healing techniques proven to be effective. Our thinking truly does impact our overall wellness. Having a good attitude and outlook on life can save you in the long run, so it is crucial to practice good mental activity just as much as physical activity.
The health of the mind and body has been described in the way yoga helps depression and Multiple Sclerosis, the way cycling helps Parkinson’s disease, and how anxiety and illness is treated with mental healing. These are few of many natural healing methods that connect our mind with our physical nature without the use of unnatural drugs or prescriptions; which means there are zero side effects to these practices. To live a truly healthy life one must take things into their own hands. Medications and drugs won’t do for our bodies the same things that we can do for ourselves. Keeping up with our health is important as a young adult to prevent serious conditions as one grows older. The benefits of balancing our exercise and cognitive processes are the key to a happy and healthy life. The mind, the brain, and the body are all separate entities. They can all exists without one another, yet they are completely dysfunctional and useless when they are not together in a harmonic trio. The beauty of our health lies within us, and it is crucial not to forsake this beauty. The balance of the mental and physical activities described in this essay describes the perfect mind-body remedy; and the mind-body remedy is the answer.
Bhavanani, Ananda Balayogi. "Understanding The Science Of Yoga." Yoga Mimamsa 44.3 (2012): 228-245. Alt HealthWatch. Web. 24 Oct. 2013.
Burmeister, Chuck. "Yoga's Role in Mind-Body Balance." E-mail interview. 27 Oct. 2013.
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