What are the causes of illness?
Thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs trigger a range of emotions from happiness to sadness, joy to despair. Emotions affect the body, either positively (strengthening it) or adversely (weakening it).
Emotional stress is a big factor in causing physical distress–such as headaches, neck, shoulder and back pain. Hawaiian shaman, Serge Kahili King, is the author of several books on self-healing. He discusses the effects of stress in his book, Instant Healing Now. He emphasizes: “Chronic stress held in the body for long periods of time can lead to major pain and serious illness.”
Intense fears can cause breakdown of cellular tissue, or blockages in vital organs. Unresolved emotions from our past can be buried deeply within vital organs, muscles and bones. Ongoing stressful situations pile on emotions into weakened areas. Eventually, the immune system is compromised and cannot function normally. The body begins to break down and can become diseased.
Doubts and fears are based on negative beliefs. Negative “beliefs” can cause illnesses. Strong beliefs, such as going out with wet hair will cause a cold; or, thinking: “If someone sneezes/coughs on me I will catch their cold” — can create a cold.
The lost healing arts of the ancestors
In ancient cultures, the medicine man or shaman used a holistic, mind-body-spirit approach, which meant complete healing of the patient on all levels–physically, emotionally, and spiritually. But now, we rely solely on physicians to heal our bodies. We have lost the necessary co-treatment of mind and spirit.
Limitations of our culture’s healing practices
While physicians are dedicated to easing pain, suffering, and saving lives–traditional medical training is limited to the treatment of physical symptoms. The only choices a doctor usually has are surgery and medications. In many cases, surgery can be life-saving. Medications can help to stabilize the patient, as in insulin treatment and high-blood pressure medications.
Yet, invasive techniques and pills aren’t the answer for everyone. Serious side-effects can and often do occur from standard medical options. Deepak Chopra, M.D., former Chief of Staff at New England Memorial Hospital, is a prolific author of books on the mind-body connection. In his tape series “Magical Mind, Magical Body” he mentions a report in an AMA Medical Journal, which stated that 30% of all illnesses are a direct result of prescribed medication. Others purport it to being higher, as high as 50%. Add to that the medication mistakes, and bacterial dangers of our hospitals, which do cause many unnecessary serious illnesses and deaths.
What we need to know modern medicine and the holistic healing approach
Dr. Chopra and a few other well-known physicians now embrace the holistic approach to healing as a way to expand the impact and effectiveness of conventional medicine. They have discovered that when emotional cause of an illness is also dealt with in some way, a patient is more apt to be completely healed, with no recurrence of the problem.
Dr. Chopra believes that correctly channeled, the mind has enormous power. It can make us depressed or joyful, sluggish or dynamic. He tells about a researcher who visited a ward of heart attack patients to discover if emotional distress might be a factor in heart disease. When interviewed, each patient told a story about a life situation that had “broken their heart.”
Dr. Chopra teaches that every cell in the body has consciousness. He says that you do not think with your brain alone. “Cells in the body pick up the slightest shift of mood and they respond accordingly. Think confidently and your body becomes strong for you. Think negatively and your body goes weak.” Dr. Chopra also says that cells have a limited shelf life. Before dying, each cell must program its consciousness into the new cell that takes its place. If the dying cell has taken on a program of disease or damage, this message gets imprinted or passed on into the freshly birthed cell. He stresses that cellular memory can be changed. Reprogramming can be done to imprint replacement cells with health and vigor instead of disease or injury.
Patients who feel hopeless might have more difficulty in healing because they already feel like victims. However, when it is discovered that a past emotional problem set-up an illness, a person then has power over it. The mind can be used to heal the body!
Dr. Bernie Siegel, a cancer specialist, is one of many physicians who have begun to look into mind-body connections to pain and illness. He was frustrated by the methods taught in medical school. He felt like a mechanic working on machines, instead of a true healer.
Dr. Siegel researched alternative healing methods. In his book, Love, Medicine and Miracles, he says that our state of consciousness and disease are inseparable. He tells many stories about his patients and how their minds influenced illness and healing, dying or living. He emphasizes that he has seen time and time again, how we sensitize the target organs of our bodies in a form of negative biofeedback. Dr. Siegel now includes visualizations, affirmations, art therapy, and understanding the messages of dreams in his healing work.
Andrew Weil, M.D., author of Spontaneous Healing, is another physician/author teaching about the mind-body-spirit connection. Dr. Weil says that spontaneous healing is not a miracle or lucky exception. It is the result of the natural healing system that is our birthright. He believes that stress and negative influences are the cause of many illnesses. He studied botany and uses of healing herbs because he had a problem with prescribing traditional medicine–about which he states:
• “Patients are exposed to risk because medicine is toxic and can create serious side effects.”
• “Prescribed medications strengthened disease processes instead of resolving them.”
Dr Bruce Lipton, a world-famous cell biologist, author of The Biology of Beliefs, states that we do not have to believe that we are victims of our genetics. His pioneering work with stem cells proved to him that it is the individual’s environment that causes 95% of distress, pain and illness. He stresses that one can reverse illness through changing ones beliefs; and that one can heal by transforming past memories from negative to positive. His colleague, Gregg Braden, author of The Spontaneous Healing of Beliefs, agrees wholeheartedly.
Carolyn Myss, PhD., a medical intuitive, “looks” into a patient’s body and “sees” illness and its cause. In her book, Why People Don’t Heal And How They Can, she states that forgiveness is necessary for healing. Letting go of the past releases patterns locked in the body.
Louise Hay recovered from cancer after her teacher helped her to let go of anger and resentment about a childhood rape. In her book: Heal Your Body, Louise teaches that the body tries to alert you to internalized stress through the metaphorical language of illness and pain.
The diagnosis of cancer is frightening. But one does not need to die of this disease. In a serious cancer study, researchers interviewed thousands of people who had cancer. They found that many of these people had suffered a great loss, then had buried this unresolved loss deep within. This can be a loss of a loved one, money, or career, or even loss of one’s identity. (Examples: A woman who dedicates herself to husband and family, but has given no credence to her own needs or personal identity. A person who has lost a beloved home to foreclosure. The man who lost most of his money in a stock market recession.)