Mind Body Seminar: April 1977
HEALTH & HEALING
ANCIENT & MODERN
THE INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF HUMAN KNOWLEDGE
In cooperation with
ALBERT EINSTEIN COLLEGE OF MEDICINE
The Department of Psychiatry
The Office of Continuing Medical Education
April 2-3, 1977
Contemporary Western medicine is a valuable but incomplete approach to health. We have emphasized medical care while underestimating the importance of environmental and behavioral determinants of health. We have focused on technical interventions and physiochemical processes while remaining insensitive to psychosocial factors. And we have tended to regard Western scientific medicine as the only true and effective form of medicine, thus excluding all other systems.
But a new willingness is emerging within the health field to reconsider some of the ancient and traditional systems of healing in light of contemporary science and present-day health needs. This symposium will present an open-minded, yet critical examination of Chinese, Hindu, Navaho, and other healing systems in order to reveal relevant methods and perspectives which can complement our current medical effort. A new synthesis is at hand, combining the technical achievements of Western medicine with the humanistic, health-oriented, and psychosocial specializations of ancient medicine. This integration promises a more complete and holistic approach to health.
HERBERT BENSON, M.D., is Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and a fellow of the American College of Cardiology. He is Program Director of the Clinical Research Center and head of the Hypertension Section at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. Dr. Benson has done extensive research in cardiology, operant conditioning of blood pressure, and the physiology of the relaxation response. He is also the author of the book, THE RELAXATION RESPONSE.
PETER BRENT resides in England and has made several extensive visits to India to study the medical practices and beliefs of the indigenous healers. He has paid particular attention to the relevance of Indian medicine for Western culture and the relationship between the medical practices and the general cultural patterns of belief. He is author of HEALERS OF INDIA and GODMEN OF INDIA.
RENE DUBOS, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Environmental Biomedicine at the Rockefeller University. His early research involved the development of anti-microbial drugs and more recently he has been investigating the effects that environmental forces—physiochemical, biological, and social—exert on human life. Dr. Dubos is author of over twenty books including THE MIRAGE OF HEALTH, MAN ADAPTING, SO HUMAN AN ANIMAL, and BEAST OR ANGEL: CHOICES THAT MAKE US HUMAN.
JEROME D. FRANK, M.D., Ph. D., Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, is an eminent researcher and clinician in the field of psychotherapy. His major research interest has been the elucidation of the healing components shared by all methods of psychotherapy, about which he has written numerous research papers and a book, PERSUASION AND HEALING.
ARTHUR M. KLEINMAN, M.D., M.A., is Associate Professor and Head, Division of Social and Cross-Cultural Psychiatry, University of Washington School of Medicine. An anthropologist as well as a psychiatrist, his major field work has included a study of the efficacy of traditional healing systems in Taiwan and he is currently developing a “clinical social science” teaching program based upon anthropological and cross-cultural materials. He is editor-in-chief of the new international journal CULTURE, MEDICINE AND PSYCHIATRY and is co-editor and contributor to the book MEDICINE IN CHINESE CULTURES.
DONALD F. SANDNER, M.D., is a training analyst at the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco and in private practice of psychiatry. Over the past ten summers he has done field studies with Navaho medicine men and has just completed a book on symbolic healing.
DAVID S. SOBEL, Program Director of The Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge, is a Fellow in the Health Policy Program and completing his medical training at the University of California School of Medicine in San Francisco. He is editor of the forthcoming book WAYS OF HEALTH, which discusses the subjects and perspectives introduced in this symposium.
Program coordinators are David S. Sobel and Mel Roman, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Director of Group and Family Studies in the Department of Psychiatry at the Bronx Municipal Hospital Center.
Saturday, April 2
HOLISTIC APPROACHES TO HEALTH—David S. Sobel
A close look at the determinants of health reveals a striking paradox. Although we place our faith (and resources) in medical care, our health is largely determined by factors which operate outside the medical domain. An holistic approach to health attempts to view the whole person as a psychobiological unit in the context of the physical and psychosocial environment. A systems overview based on this holistic attitude will be presented as a framework for integrating the specializations of ancient and modern medicine.
HEALING AND CURING IN CHINA AND THE WEST—Arthur M. Kleinman, M.D.
Western medicine is largely concerned with biophysical processes and curing disease while various traditional systems of medicine, including the Chinese, are concerned more with the symbolic and psychosocial aspects of human illness and healing the patient. The aim of healing is not only the effective control of disease, but also the provision of meaning to the individual and social experience of illness. A complete approach to human health involves both of these complementary processes, curing and healing.
NAVAHO INDIAN MEDICINE AND MEDICINE-MEN—Donald E Sandner, M.D.
Among the Navaho people numerous medicine men are still practicing their traditional healing ceremonies, called chants or sings. The basic attitudes, beliefs, and techniques of the medicine men will be described and illustrated with slides. Also the under-lying principles and structure of this complex, subtle and effective symbolic healing system will be analyzed and their relevance to modern psychological medicine evaluated.
HEALERS OF INDIA—Peter Brent
Many of the present criticisms levelled at Western medicine are answered by Indian medical theory, however inadequate the actual practice sometimes is. As in other ancient systems of medicine, Indian healers are concerned with an inner balance in the patient and the promotion of health rather than only the removal of specific diseases. They demonstrate an awareness of factors, interpersonal and personal, and techniques which western doctors have not until recently considered of much significance. These Ayurvedic medical practices as well as Hatha Yoga are currently being investigated in research programs in India.
Sunday, April 3
MIND/BODY RELATIONSHIPS IN HEALING—Jerome D. Frank, M.D., Ph.D.
Since the person is a psychobiological unit, mental states can profoundly affect bodily healing processes. An examination of the so-called miracle cures, psychic healing, the placebo effect, and the clinical studies on the relation of mood to recuperative capacity reveal powerful psychological forces which need to be investigated and applied more effectively in therapeutic relationships.
THE RELAXATION RESPONSE—Herbert Benson, M.D.
An examination of the commonalities underlying various meditation and relaxation techniques reveals a basic psychophysiological pattern—the relaxation response—which is the counterpart to the fight-or-flight response. Since the fight-or-flight response is frequently and inappropriately elicited in our society, leading to and making worse a variety of prevalent diseases, such as hypertension, the regular elicitation of the relaxation response could counteract these undesirable effects. The physiology, history, and clinical usefulness of the relaxation response will be discussed and the elicitation of the relaxation response demonstrated. The relaxation response will also be compared with biofeedback.
SYMPOSIUM WORKSHOPS—Benson, Brent, Frank, Kleinman, Sandner, and Sobel
SELF-HEALING—Rene Dubos, Ph.D.
Human beings, like all other living systems, possess great powers of spontaneous recovery from traumatic experiences. Recovery may simply involve a return to the original state through the operation of homeostatic mechanisms. More commonly, however, it involves lasting changes resulting from adaptive responses to the forces that disturbed the equilibrium. Self-healing can thus be a creative force in development.