Science & Medicine

Except for Patricia Wagner’s excellent report on The Mind – Body
Connection, there hasn’t been much attention paid to the connections
between healthy minds and healthy bodies in MPNforum as yet. There are ever increasing numbers of people, world wide, who are turning to these approaches either as supplements to or as significant parts of (some would say “instead of”) traditional science based allopathic medicine. Actually “traditional” is a misnomer as many of our present alternative
ideas are much older.
In a gentler time when I began practice, I thought that I knew all the
methods and ground rules for curing, controlling and preventing disease.
Now I am on the sidelines as an observer of the current landscape in
doctoring and being doctored. The issues have multiplied and changed and
serious debate and discussion is commonplace. They have become so
complicated and emotionally charged that I hesitate to take a position.
Of course, y’all know I will. Fools rush in, but what one fool can
learn, another can.
Are approaches not based on current science and evidence-based medicine
being afforded their rightful place in our hospitals and out patient health care systems? I hear a lot about this happening, but I don’t see much of it in my world. My personal medical care is pretty much business as usual although the medicine of today is said to incorporate several philosophical concepts of health and disease.
Refill your cups and let’s laugh and scratch together while we consider one approach; the previously mentioned mind-body connection as espoused by Patricia Wagner in the MPNforum. I’ll begin with the musings
of a retired MD. I’ve invited Mrs. Wagner to join our corner, hoping she
will add further information and comment and suggest corrections. I
enjoyed Patricia’s article in the July issue of MPNforum and reread it
with interest and determination. You will find it worthwhile to review
it and her current offering in this issue as well.
I’m sure we all want to learn more with open minds. Admittedly that’s
difficult with the monolithic bias of this elderly self confident,
no-nonsense internist from another era hoping to find some practical
cash value in her concepts. Regarding the ‘mind-marrow connection’, I
believe in miracles, but I depend on CBCs. That it was a bit of a
struggle to understand what she was trying to have me understand
suggests, as with any philosophy, it takes study and contemplation and
likely reflects my narrow world view rather than her interpretation of
the inexplicable.
I am not shooting the messenger here. What, me! disagree with a blue
eyed lady with strong opinions backed up by study and intelligence
worthy of a national (PBS) platform? As Mrs.Wagner clearly wrote, she is
not the subject of her article. As a MD and MPN caretaker, I am sincere
with no hidden agendum in believing that her position is that of a
reasonable and caring individual. She seems to have a ’cause,’
a valid one I think, and she surely has all the credentials for
writing to a MPN magazine. I haven’t viewed her video or seen her PBS
program yet so Patricia’s message did “startle (my) closed eyes”, but I
wasn’t dismayed.

As with most physicians, I considered the mind-body connection as a causal relationship between psyche and soma more ruled by the laws of physics and chemistry than by the mysteries of mind and miracle. The ‘whats’ and ‘whys’ weren’t satisfactorily explained by the science of my teachers learned from their teachers passed down from their teachers and so on with rarely a seriously different look.

Only after leaving practice and becoming a patient with time and
inclination to think outside the profession did I truly acknowledge and accept the importance of the mysterious and emotional in clinical medicine. I’ve seen it verified over and over, but my ‘scientific’
training is deeply ingrained. Am I really convinced or am I paying lip
service? I wonder.
Patricia’s stated subject was: “A mysterious (to some) field of our
creative visualization as divine children of divine parents.” Although
couched in references to the mysterious it seems a paradigm for a
religious or a theosophical alternative to secular medicine. If so she
presents a strong case.
Her subject seemed (again to me) to be presented in a mildly defensive
and slightly proselytizing manner, seemingly unnecessary for the open
and inquisitive minds of our readers. I don’t see logic, statistical
proof, and the scientific method as enemies of the mysterious and
unexplained. Instead I see them as method and process in attempts to
learn and explain the unknown for practical use. Perhaps this construct
is too rigid and narrow and doesn’t give the emotional and mysterious
their due and proper place as healing entities.
Yes, I am writing beyond my competence with an obvious absence of comprehension, much less wisdom. However, who can umpire in games between mystery and logic? So if I’ll just shut up for once, perhaps
you all can elevate this conversation. I’m glad Patricia presented this
subject with her firm belief in its verity backed up with personal
experience. It deserves further careful consideration by open minded
people. I hope she will continue to enlighten us about her mind-body
philosophy. How about some of you pitching in with your take? Don’t be
hesitant, there’s no rule book for miracles. When it comes to
thaumaturgy (ok, I looked it up) your guess is as good as anyone’s.

I’ll end my musing about this matter of the mind – body connection witha quote from Mark Twain. “If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter”.

So ’til next month I hope to see y’all at

Best, Arch

© Dr. Arch M. and, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Dr. Arch M. and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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