Walking around neighborhoods in San Diego, you may see signs sprouting up that advertise Chiropractic medicine, Acupuncture, Massage, Counseling, Naturopathic medicine, and Yoga. Alternative medicine is becoming more popular in San Diego and offers people a chance to approach health through the mind-body connection. So what is the mind-body connection in healthcare?
For the most part, the medical field has been ‘body’ medicine which focuses on symptoms and the prescriptions that help fix those symptoms. Typically medicine also isolates each organ during treatment, while in reality all the organs work together for good health. This more physical approach to healthcare ignores the effect thoughts and emotions have on the body and vice versa.
During stressful times, however, not only the body but also the mind reacts to the high pressure. The body may show sweaty palms, headaches, stomach aches, and a host of other signs. Meanwhile on the mental level you find worries and anxiety. There is a reason for this. Two types of molecules called neurotransmitters and hormones help the mind communicate with the body to help you adapt to and get through the stress in the best way.
If you break the word neurotransmitter into two, you get ‘neuro-‘ which means nerve and ‘-transmitter’ which means send. Nerves are electrical fibers that communicate like a web all around the organs, including the brain, using neurotransmitters to send the correct messages. Hormones are also released by organs and travel through the blood vessels to the correct spot in the body.
The mind-body connection is essentially like a bunch of phone connections via nerves and blood vessels that allow the brain and all the other organs to talk to each other using different phone numbers, which are specific neurotransmitters and hormones. For example, during stress the body releases the hormone cortisol that travels through the body to release sugars for increased energy. Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that rushes to get blood to your muscles in case you need to fight-or-flight, or run fast from an annoying coworker at work.
Here are five simple tips that can help you pay more attention to your mind-body health:
- Take 10-15 minutes out of your day for yourself, and check in on how you’re doing overall.
- If you are feeling stressed, talk to a friend or someone you trust to help process your feelings.
- Write an e-mail to yourself. The simple act of articulating where you’re at can work wonders.
- Take a walk away from work or other pressures. Preferrably walk outdoors for some fresh air too.
- Even light exercise can help the mind process worries better afterward.
The mind with its thoughts and emotions has an important effect on how the body functions, and likewise the health of your body can affect your mood and how you are feeling. Paying attention to this connection can save you time and money on long-term healthcare. Whether you are in the market for an alternative health practitioner in San Diego, or would like to pay attention to your own health habits on a daily basis, the mind-body connection can expand your horizons for feeling less stressed, healthier, balanced, and ready to tackle your day.