Mann presents a meticulously researched look at the connection between the mind and physical health.
It’s widely understood that stress takes a toll on our health. But what about anxieties that are decades removed, or fears we have never expressed, even to ourselves? Though the physical impact of these factors is rarely researched, the author, a physician, argues that overlooked and repressed stress plays a crucial role in our long-term health (“Repressed emotions…though unfelt, do persist within. And, ultimately, they can affect us medically more than the day-to-day emotions we do experience”). Drawing upon research and abundant case studies from his own patient population, Mann lays the groundwork for a mind-body connection that operates beyond conscious awareness and impacts our health in life-altering, and sometimes life-ending, ways. Mann chronicles the maladies of patients whose severe and unresponsive illness appear to have been triggered by past stressors; many enjoy dramatic recoveries when those feelings are addressed. A must-read for anyone interested in exploring the mind-body connection, Mann’s work has fascinating implications for medical practitioners and patients alike. Encouraging providers to engage with their patients’ pasts, Mann suggests that the origin of some unresponsive ailments may lie within the sympathetic nervous system. His research also calls for a more inclusive and relative understanding of trauma, recognizing that the impacts of emotional experiences can vary significantly among patients. The role of repression is also extensively explored, both as a necessary coping mechanism and as a barrier to accurate medical diagnosis. To this end, the author encourages medical professionals to be mindful of the fact that some patients may not consciously perceive a given event as traumatic, even as their bodies respond otherwise. Recognizing this distinction may open the door to the treatment of underlying causes, and empower physicians to save more lives every year.
A compelling and convincing argument positing that the path to healing begins within.