Pathway to Wellness | Reader's Digest

Pathway to Wellness

Good health is a state of mind.

By Patricia Curtis from Reader's Digest | February 2008

Our brain controls so much of how we heal. Some say it’s the work of the vagus nerve, which runs from your brain to your abdomen, letting your brain communicate with the rest of your body. And evidence is mounting that the more you practice mind-body techniques, the more powerful they become. Some of the benefits:

     

  • 1.

    Pain Relief Without Drugs

    Biofeedback, tai chi, yoga, hypnosis and progressive muscle relaxation may help ease chronic pain, according to a review of studies, mostly on adults 50 and up. How do these techniques help? Study author Natalia Morone, MD, says they may simply distract you from pain, or they release muscle tension or help you cope with the anger and depression that often accompany chronic aches.

  • 2.

    Flu-Fighting Boost

    The Chinese exercises qigong and tai chi seem to boost the effectiveness of the flu vaccine in older folks.

  • 3.

    Healing From Afar?

    No one knows for sure how the mind-body connection might make this leap, but praying for someone who is sick really seems to work, according to a recent Arizona State University review of 17 studies on people with heart disease, cancer, infertility and other conditions.