Treat the mind first and then the body?
Our body is a fabulous machine that works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even though we don't realise it unless something is wrong, said David Macaulay in his book "Le Corps Humain". However, just like all machines it needs someone to control it, and to stay in good condition, it also needs someone to maintain it so that it keeps on working well. As René Descartes said, the body is a material and mechanical machine, and the mind can control the physical body by causing animal spirits to flow through the nervous system, and in this article, Super Bio Boost would like to show how traditional healers understand this concept as they provide a more holistic approach to healing, including the interconnection of mind, body, and spirit in a specific context (Bruno Marques, 2022). So how important is it to have good mental health in order to keep the body healthy?
There has been a lot of research on traditional healing practices of Chinese people, native American, aboriginal Australian, African, and Indigenous of New Zealand. The results of these researches have revealed a set of health practices and approaches embedded in the knowledge and beliefs of a cultural group, incorporating plant, animal and/or mineral-based medicines, spiritual techniques, healing techniques and exercises, often transmitted orally from generation to generation with the intent to solve health problems and maintain well-being. However, in contrast, modern medicine mainly focuses on treating symptoms of the human body (Bruno Marques, 2022).
We all know that in all aspects of our lives, when facing an issue, focusing on the symptoms instead of addressing the core problem can be risky because it gives us false sense of security by feeling better for a moment but the original problem is still there and might become bigger and more complex.
As we all now know, anxiety and depression can cause digestive disorders, heart diseases, obesity, chronic pain and other physical illnesses. We can argue that if an individual is suffering from one of these physical diseases caused by anxiety and depression, getting treatment only focusing on the physical part (the symptom) and ignoring the mental part (the core problem) will not resolve the issue. This will create a long term dependency of the individual on the physical treatment as the core problem will continue to be present, which may even become worse.
The traditional healers, by contrast, will take an holistic approach and their interventions will start by helping the patient get rid of the depression and anxiety first, and then once the patient is mentally strong enough they will prescribe a medicine to treat the physical disease. This approach can be very effective in some cases and the traditional healers have successfully used these practices for centuries.
Traditional healers help patients get their rational thinking back to normal, and as Dr Albert Ellis defined rational thinking as the ability to always have room for optimism, and positive belief that create healthy emotional consequences, it is clear that traditional healers know the importance of having a healthy and positive mind before treating the physical illness.
Now that we know how essential it is to treat the mind first and then the body, what can we do to keep our minds healthy so that they positively affect our bodies? Building and maintain a social network is definitely a good way of taking care of our minds:
Develop and maintain positive relationships with family, friends, neighbours, co-workers, etc.
Participate regularly in leisure activities that you enjoy and find time to indulge in them.
Avoid being alone or isolating yourself if you are going through a difficult situation, such as bereavement or job loss. Contact a loved one, a trusted person or a resource who can listen, support or help you.