Thursday, August 15, 2019

How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body - Book Review

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Every once in a while you come across a book that reawakens the intentional use of a power you had forgotten you possessed.  Anyone dealing with chronic illness, pain, a life-threatening disease, or another condition seriously impacting quality of life could benefit from reading How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body.  This is a book I would also recommend to those who support others who are experiencing critical health challenges.

Anyone interested in the mind-body connection is likely to find something of value in Dr. David Hamilton's examination of the enormous healing capacity we hold within.  My hope is that today's book review will encourage the one reading this who is searching for a way to positively deal with an issue that is making life difficult or less satisfying than it could be.

The mind: Do we even have the slightest inkling of what it is doing for us at this very moment?  I hadn't gotten very far into this book before I was completely captivated.  As I write this review, and as you read my words, we are changing the very structure of our brains.  Every thought we are having is reshaping the most marvelous instrument ever created.  We are becoming something new even as we share this experience.

Starting with a review of applicable medical research, Hamilton provides the fuel to launch us into a place of wonder.  The studies he shares took me well beyond my earlier Psychology 101 introduction to the Placebo Effect.  I was especially intrigued by those control group participants who knew they were taking a placebo (a substance that has no intended therapeutic effect) and yet did nearly as well physiologically as the group getting the real medication.  This was something entirely different from the psychological effect of believing in a new treatment.  This was the mind actually healing the body without the assistance of any external chemicals.

You won't be surprised when I say this is not a beach read.  I found that I needed a change of pace after wading through the introductory chapters.  There was much of interest, but it was a lot of information.  Right when I was about to skip ahead, the author shifted gears and moved on to what it looks like to heal the body with the mind.  The profiles of individuals who used the mind to help shrink cancer tumors, to gain strength and mobility after a stroke, and to activate the immune system are the types of stories I find interesting.

It's all about visualization.  The brain doesn't discriminate between what is real and what is imagined.  In other words, what becomes real to the brain is what we imagine, and what we think becomes the basis for regenerating cells within our mind and body.  The good news is that we can experience regeneration every day of our lives.  This isn't a process that shuts down when we reach a certain age.

As an athlete, I was taught the importance of visualization.  Most of us have watched Olympic athletes, during their competition warm-ups, go through a visualization exercise (imagining the race, or gymnastics routine, and every move they will make).  I never really knew exactly why that worked or how the benefit came about.  Reading this book provided me with a better grasp of the why.  It really was astonishing to learn how imagery can elevate performance and strengthen muscles before they are even used.

For those of us who have worried at times about the health inheritance from our parents, there is encouragement about how we can use the power of the mind to impact whether or not certain DNA switches turn on or off.  We don't have to accept that it is inevitable that we will suffer from the same poor disease outcomes.  Where once we felt doomed by our DNA, we can now experience a greater sense of hope, knowing that we are not powerless.

There are many mind-body connection books from which to choose.  I felt this was a worthwhile read.  It set the stage for taking my learning even farther.  Anything that keeps us on the path to healthier living is worth the investment of time and energy.  I'm glad I read How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body.  It reminded me that there is more I can do to be an active participant in my own healing.  It also caused me to celebrate the wonder of the mind and to feel a sense of gratitude for what I have been given.  What more can you ask from a book?









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10 comments:

  1. I truly believe that visualization works, Diana, so it is not hard to imagine that it can also help heal. More things in heaven and earth, Horatio.... I look forward to reading 'How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body'.

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    1. To learn that visualization actually changes the brain at a microscopic level is mind-boggling. Can you imagine what would happen if we applied that power every day? We are wonders and sometimes we don't even realize what we are capable of. I love books that remind me to use my powers. Hope this book inspires something awesome in you.

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  2. Oh Diana, I think you must have been reading this for my benefit. I could sure use some healing mental stimulus and I think you just may have put me on the right track. I will look into this for sure and do believe that we have abilities that we haven't tested or know exactly how to use. It will make a good read for me for sure. Thanks!

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    1. We all need healing every day. I believe in using everything at my disposal to achieve greater wellness and to become all that I can be (body, mind, soul, and spirit). For me, that means tapping into the whole range of what I know can make me whole (and all that I was created to be). I hope you will find this book to be a source of healing stimulus. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Always meaningful.

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  3. It sounds like an encouraging book to read. There is no question, the mind is very powerful and capable of what some would call miraculous. I believe our Great Creator built within us many abilities that we need only "tap into" to be wiser, happier and healthier.

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    1. Yes. We have been given access to many divine gifts. I want to make sure to tap into that higher power.

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  4. Will be adding this book to the list. Power of the mind, what we think, how we exercise our brain, can be life changing. Totally agree with the results of this book. I've taken part in many personal development seminars, conferences and meetings over my life and staying solution oriented is the main common denominator I mastered. It takes exercise to stop our minds from circling the pits of darkness. I've done the work for a lifetime, but most of the results have come from the mind exercises I've done in the last six years. I do the work daily. Challenges are constantly coming at us, but the way I see myself is like that scene from the Matrix when Neo is fighting Mr. Smith at the end where he's able to fight off every attack with ease. That's my visual. That's how see life's challenges, and some challenges can very difficult, but still, I fight like Neo. And believe without a doubt, that 'this too shall pass'.

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    1. It certainly does take a conscious, continuous, concentrated effort to circle the light needed to address our challenges. I can tell you are far along that continuum of care and I admire all that you have done, and are doing, to stay the course. Thanks for your thoughtful comments. You have a potent visual. I like it!

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  5. Diana, I first learned about the body not distinguishing between actual experiences and visualized experience in the context of storytelling. There is a substantial body of research around this phenomenon and no question of its validity! Using that power to heal ourselves is something I began tapping into only in the past 5-10 years, and I know its power firsthand. I'm really looking forward to reading Dr. Hamilton's book. Thank you so much for sharing this, my friend!

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    1. The fact that you tap into this power somehow emanates from you. I can sense it. I'm making a conscious effort to get back into my healing zone. I hope this book provides you with new insights or inspiration. I appreciate the way you contribute through your comments and healing presence.

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