The Mind-Body Medicine Approach

Dr. Amy Davis

By Dr. Amy Davis, MD

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to make many changes in our daily lives. We are experiencing pandemic fatigue, social isolation, anxiety, anger, sadness and loss. Because long-term stress is more constant, the body never receives a clear signal to return to normal functioning. This has real impact on our emotional and physical well-being. 

Chronic stress impacts our immune, digestive, cardiovascular, endocrine, nervous and reproductive systems. People may experience, digestive stress, high blood sugar and blood pressure, headaches, sleeplessness, irritability, anxiety and depression. 

Mind-body approaches use the conscious mind to directly affect the workings of the brain and the rest of the body. The techniques exert their effect on the hypothalamus, the switching station in the brain, which controls the autonomic nervous, endocrine and the immune systems. 

Scientific literature on these approaches is now rich and robust. Studies dating from the late 1960’s have shown the power of mind-body techniques to balance the over-activity of the sympathetic nervous system (“the fight or flight response” and “stress” response) which is implicated in many physical and emotional diseases and conditions, with parasympathetic stimulation that promotes relaxation. 

More recently, these techniques have been shown to create beneficial changes in many of the body’s physiologic responses (blood pressure, stress hormone levels, pain response and immune function) and to make a significant clinical difference in conditions as diverse as hypertension, chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Mind-body medicine focuses on the interactions between the mind and the body and the powerful ways in which we can participate in our own healing and health. Thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes can shape every aspect of our biological functioning. What happens in our bodies and how we care for them can, in turn, affect how we think and feel and what we believe. We have many opportunities and ways to care for ourselves. Mind-body techniques can impact our overall health and well-being. 

Mind Body Skills Groups provide a way for us to learn skills for taking care of ourselves and to practice them with others in a compassionate, supportive environment. Skills include various forms of meditation, guided imagery, biofeedback, writing, and drawing. These groups are designed to assist us in coming to know ourselves better and in learning and using tools that support us in our healing journeys. 

Please contact us if you are interested in participating in a Mind-Body Skills group. 

Stay well, 

Dr. Amy Davis M.D. 
Crossing Back to Health
11477 Olde Cabin Rd. 
Creve Coeur, MO 63141