Science Discovers Mind-Body Connection

A Wandering Ninja’s Wisdom for the Inner Outer You.

Knowledge is helpful in many ways. I’ve seen people with just a little information in the right area make incredible changes in their life for the better. As a professional coach, speaker and seminar leader, I can truly say that I love what I do. More so, I truly enjoy seeing people bring greater harmony and quality into their lives. I’ve been coaching people in one manner or another for thirty years now. At the age of 16, I began teaching martial arts to kids and adults. By the time I was in my early twenties I started coaching individuals and even

Sifu Terry Hodgkinson & Dr. Bronwen Gates at www.PositiveChangesEtobicoke.com

groups on lifestyle changes and personal issues. Later in life I opened Positive Changes Etobicoke, a hypnotherapy and coaching centre where Dr. Gates and myself have helped thousands of people create positive changes for over 14 years now.

One of the main themes I’ve always impressed upon my students and clients over the years is the strong connection between mind and body. This is something I discovered for myself a long time ago, during years of martial arts training. I might have discovered it there but I also found the discovery equally applicable in so many other areas of life. Especially when it came to health and well-being. I’m happy to say that over the last twenty years main stream society has come to accept this fact more so. This is why practices like, Tai Chi, yoga, breathing exercises, meditation and hypnosis are popular more so now than ever before.

This week I’ve posted a small excerpt from the meditation chapter of my book, Memoirs of a Wandering Ninja, regarding some research on the mind-body connection. I hope you enjoy it and perhaps come to a pivotal point of realization, for your own life changes.  Have a wonderful week!

 

                   Science Discovers Mind-Body Connection

The following is an except from Terry Hodgkinson’s book called Memoirs of  a Wandering Ninja – Walking the Path of Enlightenment. Chapter 12: Mastering Your Meditation:

Shlomo Breznitz, a psychologist at HebrewUniversity, Jerusalemand former professor of psychology, conducted an experiment. He had several groups of Israeli soldiers march forty kilometers (about twenty-five miles), but he gave each group different information. He had some groups march 30 kilometers, and told them they had another 10 to go. He told other groups they were going to march 60 kilometers, but in reality they only marched 40. He allowed some to see distance markers, and provided no clues to others as to how far they had walked. What he discovered was truly remarkable. At the end of the study, Breznitz found that the stress hormone levels in the soldiers’ blood always reflected their estimate and not the actual distance they had marched. In other words, their bodies responded not to reality, but to what they were imaging as reality. So in actual fact, their bodies responded not to the reality of their walk as much as to what they imagined the reality to be. (Source – Bernie T. Siegel, Love, p. 29)

Psychologist Alan Richardson of Australian took three groups of basketball players and tested their ability to make free throws. He then instructed the first group to spend 20 minutes a day practicing. He told the second group not to practice and had the third group spend 20 minutes a day, but only visualize that they were shooting perfect baskets. The results of the experiment were that the group that did nothing didn’t improve, the first group improved by 24 %, and through the power of using imagery or visualization alone the third group improved an astonishing 23 %, identical to that of the group that practiced physically. (Source – Mary Orser and Richard Zarro, Changing your Destiny, New York, Harper & Row, 1989, p. 274)

In 1995, Alvaro Pascual-Leone had a group of volunteers practice a five-finger piano exercise, and a comparable group merely think about practicing. They focused on each finger movement in turn, essentially playing the simple piece in their heads, one note at a time. Actual physical practice produced changes in each volunteer’s motor cortex, as expected. But so did mere mental rehearsal, and to the same degree as that brought on by physical practice. Motor circuits become active during pure mental imagery. Like actual, physical movements, imagined movements trigger synaptic change at the cortical level. Merely thinking about movement produced brain change comparable to those triggered by actual movement. (Source – Journal of Neurophysiology, 74, pp. 1037–1045)

The results of these experiments were of little surprise to me. Practicing martial arts, there were times I couldn’t physically practice, like when I was riding the streetcar to school or sitting in class listening to a boring teacher. I would take time and visualize my martial arts movements. I got so good at this, I could do it with my eyes open! Whether it was a technique, a form or combative fighting skills I would go over and over it in my mind’s eye while sitting there. While I might have missed my streetcar stop a time or two, and perhaps a few boring lectures, I did find that my martial arts performance became stronger and I advanced more smoothly. I have had hundreds of martial arts students that I have taught comment on how powerful the different meditations and visualizations have been for them, not only for their training but in improving the quality of their life experience.

Mind

At my Health Centre I see people making changes all the time using imagery and visualization. Of course I always tell my prospective clients before they begin that the changes they want to make will happen only if they really want them to happen and if they participate in the process 100%. Here are a few cases with testimonials from actual clients. When you walk into my Health Centre the walls are lined with testimonials like these.

John came to the health centre as a smoker. He had been smoking cigarettes since he was 13 years old, and had smoked for 45 years.  He knew he needed help because after 18 treatments of chemo, 15 treatments of chest radiation and 10 shots of radiation to the head, his lung cancer went into remission, but his smoking habit did  not. Even after this traumatic experience and all the treatments he had endured, he still could not see himself as a non-smoker! Finally, after six weeks of working with visualization techniques, John was successful in becoming a non-smoker with no cravings at all.

Pat originally came in to see me about losing weight. She was to find out during that time that she had breast cancer. We switched the focus of her sessions to visualizing a relaxed and calm state of mind and a strong immune system. Here is what she said in her written testimonial:

“We had a couple of sessions, which really relaxed me. I was listening to my (session) tapes while I was waiting for my treatments and waiting for my surgery. When I arrived on the operating table and was hooked up to the monitor, the O.R. nurse was amazed at my relaxed heart rate. It really relaxed me and calmed me right down. Hypnotherapy made me cope a lot better. It stopped me obsessing about it anymore and I was able to carry on with life.”

Pat fully recovered from her breast cancer and leads a healthy life today.

Roger came into the Health Centre due to his experience of feeling psychologically paralyzed by the stress and anxiety in his life. Dr. Bronwen Gates, a colleague of mine, was working with Roger. After one session with Dr. Gates helping him to visualize inner calmness he said this, “The first session was fantastic.” Roger had tried to get better in the past with prescribed medications, but found the medications just made him feel a lot worse. After a number of sessions, Roger was able to come off the prescribed medications and said, “I feel like myself again, without any medication, and I believe this is a permanent result. I also noticed that I am a lot more cheerful now. I’ve gone back to work and all my co-workers noticed the big difference; they can’t believe that I was sick.”

Alexandra a young lady in her early 20’s, inquired about sessions for an extreme snake phobia. Even though there were no snakes ever around her, she was suffering tremendous emotional stress from the snakes imagined in her mind. These images kept her awake at night and were interfering with her life’s activities. It had become so bad that she found herself unable walk into a pet store, watch TV, or even sleep in her own bed due to the snakes she thought might be in her blankets. She had seen a school councilor but wasn’t able to find any relief. After a few sessions with me she wrote a testimonial saying, “I am not scared of snakes any more. After the first session I noticed changes. My father noticed the changes right away, too. After the second session I was watching snakes on TV and my mother was like WOW!!! … Now I can go into the pet store to the section where there are snakes, and I can watch shows like Fear Factor and the Discovery Channel. I even have books with pictures of snakes in them… I am living a normal life now.”

 

 Quote for the week:

“We can either change the complexities of life … or develop ways that enable us to cope more effectively.” Dr.Herbert Benson

Note:  You will find more information regarding Terry’s coaching and hypnotherapy by visiting these two sites:

Positive Changes Coaching & Hypnotherapy Centre: http://www.positivechangesetobicoke.com

Inner Outer You: http://www.innerouteryou.com

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About Terry Hodgkinson

Terry J. Hodgkinson is a MindFit consultant. He owns Positive Changes Hypnotherapy and Meditation Centre in Toronto, Canada. As a corporate trainer, keynote speaker and retreat leader he enjoys his work so much that he calls it his passion. In 2009 Terry's book, Memoirs of a Wandering Ninja - Walking the Path of Enlightenment was published. *For information on Terry's international retreats visit: www.TaoJourneys.com *Book Terry for your next event visit: www.TerryHodgkinson.ca *Martial arts training visit: www.ChungFuMartialArts.com
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