How The Mind Can Heal

August 10, 2010

We are all familiar with the phrase “mind over matter” but how much do we really believe it? I am certainly a great believer in the power of the mind to help us accomplish many things and healing is certainly one of them. Now a new study published in the journal Diabetologia has found that your mental state affects your ability to heal from an illness that this is certainly not a new concept and is much used particularly in the area of cancer treatment at places like the Bristol clinic.

This particular study by Professor Kavita Vedhara, a professor at the University of Nottingham’s Institute of Work, Health and Organizations, focused on people with diabetes. With this condition it is quite common to develop foot or leg ulcers, (roughly 15 percent of diabetes patients), and many of them experience a much lower quality of life than other patients because they end up falling into depression and this can stall proper healing. Using this as the base, the study evaluated diabetes patients on all levels of the depression spectrum and found that those with the worst depression were the least likely to heal quickly from their foot ulcers.

Throughout the 24-week monitoring period of the study, patients who took a “confrontational” approach — meaning they desired to take control of the treatment and healing of their ulcers — were less likely than others to have a healed ulcer by the end of the treatment period. The research concluded that individuals with confrontational coping may experience distress and frustration because their attempts to take control do not result in rapid improvements.

I am not sure I agree that desiring to take control of your treatment is confrontational unless that leads directly to depression, but I am certain that having a positive outlook will help healing. We already know from previous research that having a positive outlook on life can increase longevity by 7 1/2 years so it makes perfect sense that approaching illness in the same manner will also impact it.

In this particular area meditation and stress management are the keys to success, even finding some time in the day to sit and relax and listen to music that soothes you be in a positive frame of mind will all help. If you are looking for music that is particularly useful, then I can recommend music used at the Bristol Cancer clinic, and other places, to relax patients and their relatives. Initially performing only in hospices the group was invited to participate in a research project at the Bristol Cancer Help Centre and the results quantify scientifically the remarkable effect of Sulis’ music on the listener.If you visit you can listen to sample tracks and I can particularly recommend the lullaby from the Chameleon album.


Article by  


What do you think of this health article by ? Join the discussion...