Book Review: Cure:Journey into the Science of Mind Over Body May 26, 2017 11:45:54 GMT -5
Post by Admin on May 26, 2017 11:45:54 GMT -5
Cure: A Journey into the science of Mind Over Body
Jo Marchant,PhD 2017
Jo Marchant,PhD 2017
While this book does not have the word 'mindfulness' in its title, it is highly relevant to understanding the practice of Mindfulness of the sort we learned at the Wilmington VA (MBSR). The author is a British PhD in genetics and molecular biology with time as a researcher. More recently she's become a prominent science writer. Here are my take-aways from reading this book which asks, among other things, What is the role of mind in medicine and health?:
In the last 25 years or so, modern Western science has made dramatic gains in understanding the workings of the body-brain as a single unit. Research in various sub-fields of Neuroscience are growing exponentially. With the advent of constantly improving technology to study the mind-body in process (in vivo), science is now not only probing the physical body, but also now pointing its ever-improving medical devices at things like meditation, happiness, depression, positive psychology, Flow, Enlightenment & Transcendent experiences, Emotional Intelligence, PTSD and something called 'the placebo effect' (lovingly called the sugar pill).
Marchant traveled around the world, visiting places as diverse as Lourdes in France (place of miracles), British hospitals, Poor rural Southern USA small towns, Virtual Reality Pain Clinics and a Central American area with extremely high longevity (which seems to be because of their social practices), and many more. The many anecdotes in this book are chock full of fascinating bits of science knowledge as the author pursues links between the many different studies of the role of Mind in the healing process.
This journey to understand the role of mind in healing and health makes many stops along the way: Marchant includes a good discussion of how one's mind and world-view are as central to understanding health and wellness as anything our highly sophisticated medical technology teaches us. She dabbles also in how the modern medical establishment sits stubbornly in its materialistic medical model, resisting to this day what other branches of science have taught us since the start of the Twentieth Century.
The biomedical model focuses on the symptom and the body-part of the patient, not factoring in the whole person and his/her mind or personal narrative. Such a model looks down on -- or tolerates as inferior -- anything which is based in a model of mind-body as one, or which integrates insights from New Physics or traditional Asian holistic world-views.
While what is called Integrative Medicine has grown in the West and become increasingly accepted, Marchant laments that research which will not benefit Big Pharma or the medical establishment simply doesn't get funded as well. She further states that the philosophical issues of Newtonian Physics versus Quantum Physics intertwine with the contemporary biomedical model somewhat, but funding goes mostly to that which can be studied using the double-blind, empirical model of research.
I recommend this book as it is helpful in placing the burgeoning research into mindfulness in a larger context. The author is hopeful that as we move deeper into the 21st century that more attention will be paid -- and money allocated -- to the critical role of Mind in medicine. A fun read, especially if you're a science nerd like this reader.