There is a mental aspect to every physical disease. The term psychosomatic is derived from 2 Greek words – psyche, meaning mind or soul, and soma, meaning body. Studies leave no doubt that body and mind are inextricably intermeshed. It is impossible to establish a point at which body leaves off and mind begins, or vice versa. The action of one seems automatically to become the action of the other.
Some physical diseases are known to be made worse by mental factors such as stress and anxiety. For example: psoriasis, eczema, stomach ulcers, high blood pressure, heart disease, and chronic pain. The actual physical part of the illness (the extent of a rash, the level of the blood pressure, intensity of pain, etc) can be affected by mental factors.
Conventional treatments, being disease specific, most often include pharmaceuticals that exacerbate symptoms and have serious side effects. For example: The use of opioids for chronic pain sets up a condition known as hyperalgesia, a state of nociceptive (pain arising from the stimulation of nerve cells) sensitization caused by exposure to opioids. The condition is characterized by a paradoxical response whereby a patient receiving opioids for the treatment of pain could actually become more sensitive to certain painful stimuli.
This happened to me. At times, my physical pain would increase to severe levels. After discussing this with my Doctor, he would increase my dosage, but shortly thereafter, the experience would repeat itself. It was a nightmare. Then I learned about hyperalgesia and realized what I was doing to myself. My pain was going to continue to get worse as my nociceptive sensitization increased. After getting off opioids, in time, the sensitization corrects itself.
Today the list of physical diseases attributed to be caused by mind and emotions has broadened considerably to include organic illnesses such as bronchial asthma, arthritis, hay fever, heart disease, gastric ulcer, mucous colitis, diabetes, tuberculosis, dental caries, cancer, paralysis, and eczema; the list increasing yearly.
It is not beyond the realm of possibility that some day every illness of man will be proved to arise out of his own worried, confused, disintegrated, deeply buried emotional states. That which is now being seen as disease may soon be seen to be only the outward and visible symptom, the disease itself being the distorted thought life of the patient.
The conviction is steadily growing that healing, if it is to be permanent and thorough, must be the healing of one’s disordered mental patterns. Where this is done, patients are being brought daily into a new world – that of a superior mind producing a superior body.