What is Mind-Body Medicine?

Mind-body medicine has been defined as the deliberate harnessing of positive thought and emotion, using them for the purpose of enhancing health.

It has been well established that poorly managed pain and stress can activate the inflammatory cascade, depress immune function, and increase the risk of chronic depression, anxiety disorders, and posttraumatic stress disorder. The field capitalizes on the inverse association that positive emotions and use of self-regulation skills can trigger beneficial physiologic reactions, including enhanced immunity, decreased inflammation, and improved mental health.

A wide variety of mind-body techniques can be used to achieve a state of calm, positive focus. The modalities that have the best supporting evidence of efficacy in pediatrics currently are biofeedback, hypnosis, guided imagery, mindfulness, music therapy, and yoga.

 

Challenges in Mind-Body Medicine

New fields of medicine present unique challenges, and this is no exception. This broad, wide-ranging topic rarely is addressed in medical education. Mastery of new skills is required, treatment is highly individualized, insurance reimbursement may vary, colleagues may be skeptical, and pressure to prescribe medication rather than suggest an unfamiliar therapy may deter physicians from recommending it.

 

Why is this Important?

Mind-body therapies encourage children to become active participants in their care and are low risk and cost-effective. They can be used as evidence-based alternatives to conventional therapies if conventional treatments have undesirable adverse effects, as adjunct supportive therapies, or as primary treatments in cases where they offer superior…

Read the full American Academy of Pediatrics Report here, and if you’re still looking for more information, explore Mind-Body Medicine in Clinical Practice, which provides rich resources and practical tools to help clinicians incorporate evidence-based mind-body medicine therapies into adult and pediatric patient care. This book is an invaluable reference for medical and nursing students, as well as for residents, fellows, nurse practitioners and physician assistants across a wide variety of specialties.