Mclean Hospital

Video: Mind-Body Medicine and the Implications of Brain Evolution for Clinical Practice

Available with English captions.

Gregory Fricchione, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital – Visiting Scholar Series

In This Presentation

The knowledge base of psychosomatic medicine and neuropsychiatry usually focuses on acute illness and medical intervention. It is reactive like other medical disciplines and springs into action to treat depression, anxiety, pain, psychosis, delirium, toxic effects of medications, etc. Mind-body medicine takes the same knowledge base and brings it upstream to promote health and prevent illness. It is proactive and therefore can be used for primary or universal selective, or indicated prevention.

There are 4 major mind-body medicine hypotheses:

  • The environment is biology and mind/body is a unity
  • Psychosocial stress leads to cellular oxidative stress, immunoactivation, and loss of mitochondrial reserve capacity
  • Cellular oxidative stress leads to disease vulnerability
  • There is a stress to resilience ratio that can be used to estimate vulnerability to stress related non-communicable diseases and viral illnesses and to guide use of mind-body approaches to health

To promote health and healing mind-body medicine employs heterogeneous, researched techniques including relaxation exercises, mindfulness, meditation, acupuncture, biofeedback, guided imagery, hypnosis, yoga, tai chi, qi gong, and autogenic training and combines these with behavioral medicine approaches.

December 3, 2020

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