Mind-Body Therapies for Treating Stress-Related Disorders

January 19, 2012

As founder of NYU’s Stress Disorders Medical Services Program, Dr. Reed Moskowitz, Life Coach, pursued a career in clinical psychiatry for decades. In his practice, he emphasized a mind-body therapy approach in treating a wide range of stress-related disorders.

In 1992, Dr. Moskowitz authored the book Your Healing Mind, which presents numerous case studies examining the mind-body paradigm for treatment for disorders such as heart disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple chemical sensitivities, and infertility. Dr. Moskowitz’ program involves learning and practicing techniques such as abdominal breathing and progressive muscle relaxation. These practices encourage the relaxation response, effectively shutting off patients’ stress responses.

posted at townelakeyoga.com

 

While many of the specific techniques of mind-body therapy have been developed in the past few decades, they draw on a much wider lineage of traditional practices, including Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines. Whereas traditional Western medicine has tended to emphasize a dichotomy between the physical self and the mind, many Eastern practices stress the opposite. One of the pioneers of the modern mind-body approach was psychiatrist George Solomon. In the mid-1960s, he became aware of the negative physical effects of depression on patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. This led to focused research on the effect of emotions and mental states on the immune system, spawning the discipline of psychoneuroimmunology.

A critical element in any mind-body practice is habituating the mind to pay focused attention to the body without distractions. One technique involves biofeedback, through which individuals are trained to control body processes such as blood pressure and heart rate, which would otherwise occur involuntarily. This approach is most effective in treating issues such as chronic pain,as well as tension and migraine headaches.

Cognitive behavioral therapy parallels the biofeedback approach, but concentrates on recognizing harmful thoughts and consciously changing them. Depressed patients may learn techniques of replacing negative thought patterns with positive ones, while patients with phobias may be guided in confronting and overcoming their fears.

There are a number of relaxation techniques associated with mind-body therapy, including meditation, autogenic training, hypnosis, progressive muscle relaxation, and spirituality. In Your Healing Mind, Dr. Reed Moskowitz introduces readers to the fundamental concepts of mind-body therapy, providing a primer of self-help techniques that can significantly improve wellness and self esteem.

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