The Wisdom, Science, and Art of Medicine
The connection between mind, body, and soul is being revisited after a separation for the “good of science.” (Link here) Modern medicine now realizes that doctoring without nurturing the whole person has its pitfalls; furthermore, traditional medicine is seeing the benefits gained with exciting scientific advancements. This leads integrative clinicians to have a wide-array of choices, but also some very confusing clinical decisions to make on the best combination. What really is the best of both worlds?
One of the puzzling issues is that the “language” and “proof” of conventional medicine and integrative medicine is not always the same…
Wellness promotion vs. disease destruction.
Symptom suppression vs. dissecting to find the root cause of illness.
Evidence-based medicine terminology vs. traditional healing words spoken.
Physicians are becoming more aware that that there are many aspects of “science” and the pitfalls of rigid thinking on either side of the coin can cause a decline in patient satisfaction and care. The time has come to use the model of the “gold standard” with discretion and embrace all healing forms to consider what’s best for the patient. This includes the doctor honoring the patient’s belief and acknowledging the importance of their emotions, beliefs, and religious customs.
The Science of the Soul
The acceptance of mind-body medicine is slowly being integrated into mainstream medicine. (See here.) However, the connection between “spirituality and medicine”, which is just as ancient, is not often discussed at a conventional doctor’s appointment.
Recently, it has also gained more consideration due to various studies reporting on the many benefits on physical health associated with religion, spirituality, and prayer. One review on religion/spirituality (R/S) reports:
Religion, medicine, and healthcare have been related in one way or another in all population groups since the beginning of recorded history . Only in recent times have these systems of healing been separated, and this separation has occurred largely in highly developed nations; in many developing countries, there is little or no such separation. The history of religion, medicine, and healthcare in developed countries of the West, though, is a fascinating one. The first hospitals in the West for the care of the sick in the general population were built by religious organizations and staffed by religious orders. Throughout the Middle Ages and up through the French Revolution, physicians were often clergy. For hundreds of years, in fact, religious institutions were responsible for licensing physicians to practice medicine. In the American colonies, in particular, many of the clergy were also physicians—often as a second job that helped to supplement their meager income from church work.
The author states that integrating spirituality into healthcare is important for eight powerful reasons:
- Many patients have unmet spiritual needs that can adversely affect health and increase mortality. This is independent of physical, mental, and social health.
- It helps patients cope with their illness.
- R/S beliefs can conflict with medical treatments and effect patients’ compliance.
- Physicians’ views on R/S can affect treatment decisions and these should be more transparent to patients so they can make more informed choices.
- The effect of R/S on medical outcomes due to associations with mental and physical health. The author cites studies on links between R/S and cardiovascular health, mood disorders, mental health, mindset, health behaviors, immune function, endocrine function, mortality, and pain.
- R/S influences care received at home.
- “Seventh, research shows that failure to address patients’ spiritual needs increases health care costs, especially toward the end of life .”
- “Finally, standards set by the Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Hospital Organizations (JCAHO) and by Medicare (in the US) require that providers of health care show respect for patients’ cultural and personal values, beliefs, and preferences (including religious or spiritual beliefs) .”
Body, Mind, Soul…Oils
We can no longer deny that the body is connected to the mind and the soul and vice versa. Since biblical and ancient times, essential oils and herbs have been a form of medicine that is powerful in supporting all three of these aspects. (See here)
Since Biblical Times, Essential Oils Have Been Touted to Heal the Body and Spirit
Sacred trees have been honored in religious and spiritual traditions throughout history. I’ve written previously about the famous trio of ancient essential oils that were brought to the Christ Child in biblical times. I also submitted, for my readers’ approval, the initiation of a quadruplet to the mighty three, Palo Santo. Finally, with sacred sandalwood now available, we now have a quintuplet to “count on”…
One oil I have recently become fascinated with is spikenard, first introduced in the Old Testament. Here is some of the modern research on the physical and mood benefits of this ancient oil. Though the evidence isn’t as robust as some of the more “famous” sacred oils, I find the discovery process intriguing.
Four Scientific Reasons I’ve Learned So Far to Try Spikenard
1. It’s Calming
Certain volatile components found in spikenard (valerna-7,7 (11)-diene, being one) were studied to determine if they had calming effects on rodents “high on caffeine.” The authors stated, “The continuous sleep time of pentobarbital-treated mice was prolonged by about 2.7 times with valerena-4,7(11)-diene, an effect similar to that of chlorpromazine administered orally.
I found one abstract title that also indicated that spikenard could be relaxing to the cardiovascular system. I am waiting for the full text.
2. It’s Been Reported to Be and Antioxidant and To Assist with Tissue Irritation
Several in vitro and in vivo studies have touted spikenard oil to have antioxidant properties and that it may alleviate tissue irritation.
3. Supportive to the Immune System
There is pre-clinical evidence and statements in articles that spikenard may protect the body from unwanted microbes.
4. For healthy skin and hair
Since ancient times this oil has been reported to be beneficial for the skin and hair.
We are just beginning to uncover some of the most ancient essential oils and plants and take advantage of their health supporting properties again. I believe as more research is revealed on the benefits of these oils, the merger of the body, mind, and spirit will become more evident.
Disclaimer: This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin.
This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.
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