Mind-Body Therapies Overview Meditation and Relaxation Interactive Guided Imagery (IGI) Biofeedback Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Hypnosis OVERVIEW Mind-body therapies follow the beliefs of ancient Chinese medicine that the self is comprised of the mind and body.  Thus, if healing literally means, "to make whole," the body can- not truly be healed without healing the mind.  So much of the way medicine is prac- ticed today revolves around controlling the symptoms of stress on the body and very little goes into helping the mind.  For example, in car- diovascular disease, med- ications are provided to lower a person's elevated blood pressure.  These medications certainly do not relieve stressors or spiritual concerns which may be contributing to, or inhibiting, the healing process.  Mind- body therapies actually include a wide array of modalities which all center around the connection in healing between the mind and body. Emotional stress has been shown to aggravate many medical conditions including chronic pain and coronary heart disease (CHD).  It also has negative effects on the immune system (1).  Stress is a powerful sympathetic nervous system stimulant, leading to increased heart rate and blood pressure. These two factors, if chroni- cally or acutely raised, can increase the risk of a heart attack.  Not surprisingly, researchers have suggested that the risks associated with stressful occupations may be equivalent to other major CHD risk factors (2). Although there are medica- tions available to control the heart-related conditions that result from stress (including beta-blockers and ACE- inhibitors) there is still no cure for the underlying ill- nesses that lead to these symptoms.   To manage stress, some are turning to ancient reme- dies with a modern day touch. Meditation and relax- ation, interactive guided imagery (IGI), biofeedback, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and hypnosis are five common examples of mind- body therapies that derive their roots from ancient prac- tices intended to reduce/elim- inate stress as opposed to reducing only its symptoms. It is important to draw a dis- tinction between "ancient" and "primitive" because while these practices were used in ancient times, they are far from primitive.  These prac- tices have undergone a 21st century makeover, exchang- ing some of their original technology with computers and other modern-day inven- tions.  They have undergone this technological advance- ment while being careful to preserve as much of their history and foundation as possible. MEDITATION AND RELAXATION Although meditation and relaxation have long held a place in religious and spiritu- al contexts, it wasn't until the late 1960's that they were studied in traditional western medicine.  Meditation and
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