The mind-body in medicine

From MedlinePlus (a website of the National Library of Medicine):

“We know that it is common for individuals with autism to have a more intense reaction to stress, and some of these patients seem to experience frequent constipation, abdominal pain or other gastrointestinal issues,” Beversdorf said in a university news release.

“To better understand why, we looked for a relationship between gastrointestinal symptoms and the immune markers responsible for stress response,” Beversdorf explained. “We found a relationship between increased cortisol response to stress and these symptoms.”

It always makes my day when I see modern medicine recognizing the mind-body connection in underlying disease pathomechanisms. There, of course, is only the mind with certain very tangible concrete aspects we label the “body” (or only a body with varying levels of conrete-ness…) Chinese medicine sees both as merely differing aspects of the patient before us. (In truth, there is no need to see a connection between mind and body, for neither is an absolute itself.) Whether a patient reports increased irritability or a headache we understand these as pathological deviations than can be treated. Even where stress is becoming more and more widely recognized as a cause or contributor to disease, Chinese medicine has a profoundly more complex understanding of “stress”, how it’s affecting patients, and how to address it. By having never cleaved the one into two, a mind and a body, Chinese medicine has the distinct advantage of always seeing the patient for all of who they are.

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