Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The New Medicine (Meditating Brain)

A dramatic movement is taking place in hospitals and clinics across the country, integrating the best of high-tech medicine with a new attitude that recognizes it is essential to the healing process to treat the patient as a whole person rather than a cog in an assembly line.

THE NEW MEDICINE suggests that medical practice in America may be on the brink of a transformation. Driven by new scientific findings revealing that the mind plays a critical role in the body's capacity to heal, doctors are beginning to embrace a new range of treatments, including many once considered on the fringes of science.

Hosted by Dana Reeve, in one of her last public projects, THE NEW MEDICINE goes inside medical schools, healthcare clinics, research institutions, and private practices to show physicians at work on the cutting edge of this new approach. By paying attention to a person's cultural values and lifestyle, stresses and supports, these doctors acknowledge the important role that patients can and should play in their own healing and healthcare.

American Buddhist monk meditating with electrodes attached in PBS's the New Medicine (photo courtesy of Middlemarch Films/TPT)

Can we train our minds to make us more resilient to illness? Tibetan Buddhists are able to achieve astounding control of mind over body through meditation. Buddhist monk Barry Kerzin, an American who has lived in India for almost 20 years, agreed to participate in a research study with several other monks with the support of the Dalai Lama.

The study measured the effect of meditation on the brain as well as the body, using both EEG to detect electronic patterns in the brain and MRI, which pinpoints the areas of the brain that are being activated. The first hour of The New Medicine follows stories where meditation and self-hypnosis are integrated with high-tech medicine to treat chronic pain, promote recovery from surgery, and improve a premature baby's chances of survival.

No comments: