These are sets of writings that will explore the mind-body connections to many of the symptoms that are associated with particular diseases.
These will look at many different biological symptoms and the purpose of the body function in a disease process - the science bit!
They will also look at the mind aspect of the dis-ease, and how the body is interpreting the 'mind' itself in order to find a solution to the minds 'perceived problem'.
Over time, the Mind-Body Detective Series will become a collective set of resources to provide an understanding of the framework that underpins the mind-body-emotion connections that are part of the whole experience of disease and ill-health. Hopefully they will give you an understanding of the intelligence of the body in all its responses - even if those responses begin to cause a dis-ease process.
Looking at all Sides of the 'Health' coin
The mind and emotions are often the flip side of the 'health coin' that is generally overlooked in allopathic medicine. Indeed 'mental' or 'emotional' health has its own subsection within an allopathic medical structure, however as a Mind-Body Detective, I want you to realise that there is ALWAYS an EMOTIONAL and a MENTAL aspect to ALL OF OUR DISEASE PROCESSES. The closest that this is referred to in general healthcare, is when the word "stress" is briefly mentioned as a cause of illness, and advise is given to 'reduce stress' in many cases of health interventions. Otherwise, in general health practice, it is the body which remains the primary focus of attention. Often medical interventions will focus on prescription drugs to effect a biological or a chemical 'change' in the biology. However, I believe that if we do not address the fundamental underlying emotional or psychological aspects of our disease, then our biology will be fighting against the medication, and will 'adapt'. This is why medications require continual review, and the prescriptive intervention may need changing over time.
We do have a fantastic health service in the UK, and the ability to go to visit a GP at any time is a wonderful privilege that many people in the World do not necessarily have easy access to. We have emergency services that can respond in life-threatening situations, and long-term health care for people with chronic conditions.
However, the health care system is primarily set up to deal with the physical symptoms, even at the level of chemical manipulation of what the body cells are doing, the health system aims to 'change' the biological process through medication, and sometimes also uses physical manipulation techniques and occasionally will also refer to talk therapies, or cognitive behavioural therapies.
These are all good, and have a place in our overall health and recovery from disease.
However, the missing link in the chain is often the effect of ill-health on a persons individual mind and emotions; and equally, and even more powerfully, is the important focus on the mind and emotions and how they actively influence and affect how our body responds to those stresses and its ability to fully and completely heal!
Whilst some people may receive their prescribed medication and continue without any further thoughts of their symptoms within their daily lives, there are some people who find that medication does not seem to work so well for them, and also a growing number of people who are mindful that their disease may just be 'telling them something' more deep and profound.
Neither of these approaches or experiences is 'right or wrong'!
There is no good or bad way to address your own experiences of health, or disease. No-one can tell you that your approach, your emotions or your thoughts around your own situation and health is correct or not.
We are all individuals - and we have different needs, thinking, experiences and symptoms.
Some may react well to pharmaceuticals they are provided with, which aim to primarily change the bio-logical and bio-chemical processes, whilst other people may have a different experience.
When we address our health from multiple aspects that include our own thinking, our emotions, our experiences and our beliefs, we begin to understand how all of these different aspects inform and shape our lives - and our health!
Very often, before we experience our physical symptoms, we may be receiving 'signs' that something is not quite right.
Less obvious, 'lighter' physical symptoms, stressful experiences, emotional traumas, or other indicators. Many people for instance recognise that there was a specific moment or event that preceded their illness, and they 'feel' instinctively that this was an important part of the 'puzzle' that then affected their ill health.
Unfortunately, whatever our preliminary signs and symptoms are, we are ALL very good at 'ignoring' these signs, and trying to overcome them by 'carrying on'.
Sometimes this works for us - but sometimes not.
However, at some point, we may recognise that we do want to address these areas in order to really regain our health or wellbeing.
When we address our health issues in this way, we are no longer completely and only reliant on 'other people' to fix us - this is the point when we chose to engage in our own health journey towards health and wellbeing.
This is a pathway that is often self-empowering and can help us to make lifestyle and belief changes that will simultaneously support and enhance our allopathic healing.
It is important to remember that whatever you do to become active in your own health and recovery journey from disease, that you should always continue to receive medical advice from your specialists or general practitioners around your specific issues.
However, with a mind-body-emotion approach to your health you will be able to simultaneously address all levels of your being on a much deeper and more personal level.
The beauty of understanding what is happening within the complete mind-body-emotion aspect of a disease, is that we can begin to make small lifestyle changes that are directed by and directly linked to the stresses and triggers that may be affecting the exact tissues and cells involved in the disease process itself.
At the beginning of becoming 'conscious' of these connections, we can learn to focus on recognising our own processes, our own habits and our own thinking patterns - as they happen!
This might not sound like a lot, but it is absolutely critical and ultimately these changes of awareness are life changing!
When we begin to notice what it is we are doing, when we understand the biological and cellular consequences and possibilities associated with those actions, thoughts and emotions, then we are empowered to stand back in that moment, and to make a choice that is conscious - about whether we actually WANT to engage in those same actions, thoughts and emotions that are driving and directing our current health patterns.
This is where we truly begin to understand our own personal INDIVIDUAL STRESSORS!
And these are different for everyone!
When we get this, we can make changes about how we respond to our own stresses!
This is also when we really "get" that all disease is in fact caused by that elusive "Stress" that is often cited as being the culprit of many of todays illnesses!
Lifestyle changes enable a lifestyle approach to health.
It helps us to engage in the 'smaller' everyday actions that really make a difference to our overall wellbeing, and we learn to question our current habits on a day to day level.
With an MBD lifestyle change coach, you will be guided through individualised and specific short analysis sessions, to understand and reflect upon a key aspect of your mind-body-emotion aspects that you currently may take for granted, and begin to make conscious choices about changing that, in order to address your health issues over the long-term.
Lifestyle Changes work perfectly, and go hand in hand with the deeper awareness that occurs within a Meta Health Analysis.
Lifestyle Changes Coaching sessions are shorter, quicker bursts of ongoing support from a Meta Health Trained Practitioner or specialist, whilst a Meta Health Analysis is an in-depth and sometimes fairly lengthy one to one assessment of previous and current health issues, which looks to find the connecting themes and will use a timeline to help identify critical moments of stresses that may be impacting ongoing health patterns.
'Meta' means "after" or "beyond", "amongst" or "along with" something. It is a prefix used in front of a subject to designate that this subject will analyse the subject which is pre-fixed, but at a higher, more abstract level. So, for example in Meta Health, this is an overview or higher level observation and abstracted awareness of the subject of 'health'.
It provides an 'overarching' or an all-encompassing approach to something.
It is the highest view possible and it makes connections between many interconnecting areas.
As an over-arching approach to looking at our health, Meta Health allows us to look at the subject and consider it from any point of entry.
By this, I mean that we can start a personal health assessment of a person via the meta health model, by beginning with the symptoms of a physical issue. Breaking that down to look at and understand the biological purpose and the cellular activities involved we begin, through a series of intelligent processes to ask questions around the symptoms and uncover the secret messages that our body and our disease process are showing up for us.
However, another point of entry for investigation in Meta health, is to begin with emotional conditions, such as anxiety, depression or anger and begin to uncover the meanings and the associated biological of psychological processes that are occurring.
Within the process of analysis itself, there are also multiple areas that we can access valuable information about a persons health, as we explore their personal timeline together. Sometimes we can access this information from the point of the emotional, or physical trauma itself, and other times perhaps we begin at the point when any issues have been resolved.
The timeline can be critical in a Meta Health Assessment and analysis, as it can give a person key pieces of information that can help them to break the repetitive cycles that are often associated with chronic and long-term illnesses, or emotional or psychological issues.
In the my next article we will be looking at the two phases of disease and how this is critical information to become conscious of in regards to the health timeline.