The Mainspring Method is strongly based on the principles of mind-body medicine. In today’s post, we’ll look at the history of the mind-body medicine, and how it has been perceived by different cultures around the world. Exploring these views provides an interesting perspective and a fascinating insight into the evolution of mind-body medicine.
The mind-body connection: a global view
The mind-body connection is a near-universal concept that has been accepted in many cultures around the world for thousands of years. In particular, Eastern philosophy has traditionally seen the body, mind and spirit as a whole, and takes a holistic view to the prevention and treatment of disease. By comparison, until recently Western culture has traditionally viewed the body as machine-like and objective, separated from thought and emotion.
This view is changing as more studies prove the strength and breadth of the mind-body connection.
Introducing the Cartesian mind / body split
Of course the mind-body connection has been a subject of hot debate for millennia. During the Renaissance in the 14th to 17th Century, many philosophers debated over the mind-body connection and most theories either favoured mind over body or body over mind.
Perhaps one of the most influential of these was Descartes, whose 17th Century view of the mind and body as a dichotomy persisted for centuries, and is known as the ‘Cartesian mind / body split’. This concept gave rise to the ‘biomedical model’, which largely ignores the influence of the mind and emotions on health and illness, and ended up dominating Western medicine for well over a century.
Questioning old norms
The 20th Century saw philosophical and theoretical debate becoming more intense, and the ‘mind-body problem’ sparked a stream of research and enquiry.
Today, well into the 21st Century, the connection between the mind and the body is empirically supported and the old Cartesian dualistic perspective is not only considered outdated, but is viewed by some as one of the most fundamental mistakes of Western scientific tradition.
Mind-body medicine today
Over the past few decades there has been not only a widespread interest, but also a growing body of scientific research dedicated to exploring the interrelation between the ‘mind’ (psychological and social factors) and the ‘body’ (human physiology and medical illness).
Numerous studies have proven that our emotional and psychological health has an enormous impact on our bodies’ ability to function well and be healthy.
Nowadays, amongst the medical professional and the general public, there is a growing acceptance of the ‘biopsychosocial model’, which acknowledges and takes into account all factors (mental, emotional, social, spiritual and physical) that affect health.
I’m excited about the increasing body of scientific support for mind-body medicine, and the fascinating direction the field is traveling in. Mainspring aims to be at the front of this field in Australia: feel free to get in touch if you’d like to learn more about what Mainspring can do for your personal wellbeing or professional practice.