Mind-Body Medicine Can Effectively Limit Heart Attacks

Posted 01/27/2016 | By HealthCorps

What is mind-body medicine?

Mind-body medicine uses the power of the mind, thoughts and emotions, in order to influence and hopefully optimize one’s physical health. The notion that the mind is critically important in health and illness dates back to ancient times. During the Renaissance and Enlightenment eras in the West, there was a clear separation of mind and body in health practices. In the 20th century, the notion of a link between mind and body began to re-enter Western medicine, thanks to studies that linked pain control to placebo effect, and also due to the exploration of how stress impacts health. NCCAM is the arm of the National Institute of Health (NIH) that studies complementary and alternative medicine opportunities like meditation, hypnosis, tai chi and yoga.

Can mind-body medicine (MBM) help to lower the risk of heart attacks?

A new study suggests that MBM can have a positive impact on blood pressure, atherosclerosis and coronary events in the cardiac patient, compared to conventional therapies. MBM specifically can target the three most common variables for coronary heart disease – lack of exercise, excess weight and stress.

How does MBM impact the three risk factors for heart disease in these patients?

The study which analyzed a group of past studies, looked at conventional medicine, which typically uses prevention techniques like traditional exercise and advice on nutrition, two lifestyle modifiers that a lot of times just doesn’t resonate with the patients who need them most. Mind-body medicine does use these two approaches, but also tends to recommend relaxation methods and psychological motivation techniques to invoke positive changes. In the analysis of the studies, 68 out of 307 patients who received standard medical therapies had coronary events, compared to only 33 patients in the pool who received MBM therapies.

Did the results show any impact on overall mortality?

The research team did acknowledge that despite the positive results on health, MBM did not reduce rates of mortality in the cardiac patients. But lowering the overall rates of coronary events is quite beneficial in terms of quality of life and healthcare costs.

Conventional doctors should begin to enhance traditional therapies with mind-body perspectives, in order to optimize the patient’s treatment protocols. There’s really no downside to making these recommendations.

Don’t wait until disease is present to use mind-body practices

Adopting a yoga or Tai Chi habit can also have an overall positive influence on your health. The HealthCorps curriculum includes yoga and stress reduction techniques to help teen students manage their health.


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