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Medical Breakthroughs… From The Trash?

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It’s amazing what folks are discovering these days. Even in the discard pile.

Not too long ago a man from San Jose, CA paid $1100 for the contents of an abandoned storage unit he’d only seen from the outside. Moments after the sale, he found a Rubbermaid container inside filled with $500,000 worth of rare coins and gold bars.

Then came the discovery by a team of international astronomers of the first circumbinary planet. These are planets that orbit not one but two stars at the same time; kind of like Tatooine for you Star Wars fans. Where did they find it? According to one of the scientists who made the discovery, from a “rubbish bin” of junk data that other astronomers had determined was too bothersome to evaluate.

But my favorite are the discoveries being made all the time about the mental nature of health, thanks to a growing number of medical researchers who are beginning to take a closer look at evidence once cast aside as nothing more than anecdotal “trash.”

What are they finding?

Basically that what you believe about your body impacts everything from disease symptoms to appetite to brain chemicals and vision, all pointing to the long-suspected though still largely misunderstood notion that the mind and body are fundamentally connected.

Here are a few examples…

  • According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, hotel room attendants who were told their jobs provided a good workout showed significant reductions in weight and body fat. Employees who did the same work but weren’t told about the benefits of exercise showed no change.
  • Unconventional approaches to dealing with pain such as attention distraction (“hey, look over here!”), guided imagery (think “clouds in the sky” not “pain in my knee”), meditation (“ommmm”), and positive thinking or “cognitive behavioral therapy” are proving to be as effective, if not more so, than conventional methods.
  • A study funded by the National Institutes of Health found that those who prayed daily were 40 percent less likely to have high blood pressure than those who didn’t pray regularly.

The common thread, of course, is the power and scope of one’s thought.

The interesting thing is, this sort of experience is pretty commonplace. It’s just taken us awhile to recognize its value, particularly when it comes to personal well-being. Given the enormous challenges society faces regarding health care, this discovery is worth its weight in gold. Even if it did require a little digging through the discarded items.

About Eric Nelson

  • P. Crenshaw

    But your link to a “study” just goes to a generic page about prayer. That’s deceptive – if there actually was a study that showed a health benefit of prayer, wouldn’t you want to point to it to make your point??

  • http://www.norcalchristianscience.com NorCalCS

    My apologies P Crenshaw… here’s a link to the actual study

  • Tony

    But… that’s from a textbook saying that the study is rubbish.

  • http://www.norcalchristianscience.com NorCalCS

    Actually, if you read further, you’ll see that although the study admits to the difficulty of studying prayer, there’s no question about what was observed in terms of the improved health of those engaged in this activity. Although a direct “cause/effect” relationship may remain to be established, the number of corroborating studies would seem to indicate that this is something that merits further study. An interesting article on this same subject can be found on Huffington Post.

  • http://www.lunch.com/DrJosephSMaresca Dr Joseph S Maresca

    ” Unconventional approaches to dealing with pain such as attention distraction “hey, look over here!”), guided imagery (think “clouds in the sky” not “pain in my knee”), meditation , and positive thinking or “cognitive behavioral therapy” are proving to be as effective, if not more so, than conventional methods.”

    The best approaches to dealing with pain include targeted physical therapy, eating high quality food, cutting out alcohol, smoking cessation, drinking in moderation, adding quality herbs like ginger to the food, acupuncture, massage and stress reduction/elimination.

    In my experience, these are the best ways – period.