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  The MindBodySpirit Connection

The MindBodySpirit Connection


There is a new and comprehensive scientific and neurobiologic understanding of the connection of mind, brain and body, and its interrelationship with heredity and the environment, which permits a new way of understanding symptoms, syndromes, illness and disease. Scientific evidence continues to confirm that there is a spiritual dimension to the connection and that spirituality and religion may be beneficial to health. The appropriate term is the MindBodySpirit Connection. It is no longer appropriate to separate mind from body, mind from gut or mindbody from spirit. The MindBodySpirit Connection is central and common to all medical and healing traditions.

The brain plays the central role of translating the content of the mind – perceptions, thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, hopes, memories, expectations, and emotions – into patterns of nerve cell firing and chemical release. The mind/brain connects with the body by way of three MindBodySpirit communication systems: (1) the central nervous system (CNS), (2) the chemical messenger system (CMS), and (3) the autonomic nervous system (ANS).

There are also three subsystems, called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis), the Mind/Brain-Gut Connection and the pain and symptom modulation systems.

Interrelationship with Heredity and Environment

Heredity (genetic factors) or early life events can alter the MindBodySpirit Connection for the better or worse. One example of a genetic factor is a person’s increased risk of developing high blood pressure if one parent is hypertensive. Another is that irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia tend to run in families.

An example of the effect of an early life event is one’s increased likelihood of developing irritable bowel syndrome or fibromyalgia if there is a history of early life abuse (physical, sexual, or emotional).

Environmental factors that can trigger illness and disease include physical (e.g., infections, hormones, and dietary substances) and social (e.g., interpersonal problems and family conflict).


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