Wednesday, February 27, 2008

London Times article on mind affecting health

I find it odd when articles appear out of the blue, lacking any particular context for why it is appearing in a given publication at a given time, but that seems to be what happens in newspapers in particular. So here's an out-of-the-blue article about the mind-body connection in the (London) Times. The article's lead source is Harvard's Herbert Benson, although we are not told why the Times in London is abruptly quoting him.

The title--"Mind Control: Meditate Your Way to a Healthier Body"--is kind of random too. The article is basically about some actual, documented ways the mind can affect the body, not always having to do with meditation. Comments from actual, traditional medical folks who are open to the concept are included. This is not any sort of self-help article, as the title may imply.

The article is straightforward and informative, but I can't help feeling that its utter randomness is connected to how we culturally tend to look at mind-body medicine topics, when we bother to look at all, in this sort of cordoned off manner. We put some aspect of it on display in a sort of curio case; we can read it, go, "Hmmm. Interesting," and then proceed on with our usual world view.

Oddly enough, the article even pays lip service to the idea of using this information effectively, asking at one point, "So can we implement this mind over matter approach in our daily lives?" It proceeds, however, to fail to answer the question in any but the most general of terms.

"By repeating mantras to yourself, or practicing conscious repetitive actions such as tapping each time you think about the relevant topic," we are told, "you can manipulate your mind."

Oh, okay. Will do!

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