Over the past two weeks I have been sharing some of the fascinating stories told by the author David Hamilton PhD. His work makes it clear that your brain – in fact your mind – can cure your body and slow the ageing process! If you missed the first two instalments you can read them here: #1, #2.
Here is the third and final instalment:
David Hamilton PhD, the cheerful Scotsman with a warm, undulating voice is completely fascinated by how we use our brain to cure the body. In a two-hour lecture and a very readable book he explains how we can change our mind to change our body and even slow the ageing process! His tips are beautifully simple. Here’s more ways you can do it:
Don’t ditch the drugs; just add the power of the mind.
In a experiment measuring finger flexion strength, researchers demonstrated the extra-ordinary power of the mind. People completing a finger flexion exercise, for a short period of time every weekday for 3 months, saw a 58% increase in muscle strength. Staggeringly, the improvement in muscle strength for a second group who sat down and visualised doing the same finger flexion exercise, for a short period of time every weekday for 3 months, was 35%. Let me say that again; strength improved by 35% by just imagining the exercise! When you imagine the exercise, your brain sends signals, down the relevant nerves to the relevant muscles, and the muscle fires as if it had actually completed the exercise.
After visualising the presentation a few times it begins to feel very familiar to me
This experiment explains why elite sports men and women use visualisation as part of their preparation. Actors do it when rehearsing lines. I do it before a big presentation. My thoughts cause my neurons to fire as if I am actually doing the presentation in front of the audience. After visualising the presentation a few times it begins to feel very familiar to me; as if I’ve already done it. It’s a great feeling that boosts my confidence.
Examples of the power of the mind also come from cancer care. Patients who imagined their chemotherapy drug acting like piranha fish gnawing away at their tumor, saw a more rapid reduction in the size of their tumor compared to patients who just took the drug. The belief is that this, and many other similar visualisations, stimulate the immune system to fight faster.
So I asked David about UC (Ulcerative Colitis). Did he have some advice for my daughter, who is seeing her student days slip by without being able to really enjoy them? Enthusiastically he offered me this, a common but equally odd metaphor in autoimmune disease: “She needs to help her immune system stop attacking her body. Tell your daughter to put glasses on her immune system and white blood cells. That way they will be able to see they are attacking the wrong thing.” Intriguing. The big question now is can I convince a very self-assured twenty year old to try it? I will have to keep you posted on that.
For the rest of us, if we want to benefit from this phenomenon, we need to learn to visualise really well. In my next article I will guide you through my own experience with visualisation, from my first session with Tim our Hypnotherapist to hearing the voice of my subconscious speak to me, while I spoke to my audience of 800 people!!
Whether you are fit and healthy or not, I hope this series of articles has been useful to you or your friends, family, work colleagues or neighbours, so please share.