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Mind-body therapy is based on the belief that thoughts and physical health are closely connected. Your attitudes, beliefs, and outlook all can affect your physical health. And your physical health also can impact your mental and emotional well-being. By being aware of the connection and by learning new ways to relax, you can enhance your general health.
Mind-body therapy is a way to improve the link between mental and physical health. By doing so, you may find untapped resources within yourself that may enhance your general health and mental outlook.
The power of suggestion is key to this type of therapy. A therapist may give suggestions that can help you better unite mind with body. Or, a biofeedback machine that makes sounds as body functions change may give the suggestions.
The way you receive the suggestion matters less than what it teaches you about how to relax. A relaxed mind and body are key to this therapy. In fact, enhanced relaxation is often a main goal of therapy.
Before you decide whether to have mind-body therapy, talk with at least one professional who practices it. Asking him or her some of these questions may help you make an informed choice:
What is your training? How long have you been practicing?
What results have you had working with people who have problems like mine?
What will a typical visit be like?
How long will treatment take? How much will it cost?
Biofeedback: Sensory feedback is used to help control body function.
Guided imagery: Suggestion or thought is used to enhance awareness.
Hypnosis: Suggestion or relaxation is used to help influence mental state.
Meditation and prayer: Thought or spiritual belief is used to improve health.
Progressive relaxation: Focused awareness of the body is used to reduce stress.
Yoga: Movement, breathing, and thought are used to improve well-being.
Research mind-body therapy in the library, on the Internet, or by contacting:
Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback 800-477-8892 www.aapb.org
The Academy for Guided Imagery 800-726-2070 acadgi.com
Center for Mind-Body Medicine 202-966-7338 www.cmbm.org