What is Mind-Body Medicine? “The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well.” Hippocrates (Greek physician, 460 BC- 377 BC). Mind-body medicine rests on the fact that the mind and the body are intricately woven together. When we understand the nature of the mind-body relationship each one of us becomes our own “greatest force in getting well.” The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institute for Health offers the following description: “Mind-body medicine focuses on the interactions among the brain, mind, body, and behavior, and on the powerful ways in which emotional, mental, social, spiritual, and behavioral factors can directly affect health. It regards as fundamental an approach that respects and enhances each person’s capacity for self-knowledge and self-care, and it emphasizes techniques that are grounded in this approach.” While empowering and helpful for nearly any medical or psychological condition, mind-body approaches are particularly beneficial for the following: Anxiety/Depression • Stress • Hypertension, Coronary Artery Disease • Migraine Headaches • Chronic or recurrent pain including fibromyalgia, low back pain, irritable bowel syndrome • Insomnia • Fatigue • Overeating
THERAPIES: Stress Reduction Individual and/or group instruction in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) as developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn. The MBSR curriculum includes instruction in mindfulness meditation, a form of attention training. With practice, we learn to move away from habitual thoughts and reactive behaviors and to live more fully in the here and now. A growing body of research supports the profound effect that increased mindfulness has on our physical, psychological and spiritual health. For details on 8 week MBSR program see our MBSR webpage (currently under construction, please return soon) and The Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society: http://www.umassmed.edu/cfm/home/index.aspx For a summary of research related to mindfulness, please visit Mindfulness Research Guide: http://www.mindfulexperience.org
Guided Meditation and Visualization We use these practices to increase vitality, resiliency, self-compassion and other positive emotional states. The field of positive psychology has taught us that happiness and well-being are not simply the absence of negative states such as anxiety or depression. Positive emotional states may themselves be intentionally cultivated and reinforced with regular practice of simple meditations and visualizations. For more information on positive psychology please see: http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/about/
Biofeedback Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback is an opportunity to directly explore the relationship between our thoughts, feelings and physiology as reflected in heart rate variability (HRV). Decreased HRV is a well-known marker for chronic stress. Using HeartMath emWave technology (www.heartmath.com) we can custom design practices to increase your HRV restoring you to a more balanced and resilient state. Temperature based biofeedback is also offered for those who experience Raynaud‘s Phenomenon.
Gentle Yoga and Breathing Exercises Gentle yoga and breathing exercises may be suggested to bring greater awareness to the body, to release chronic muscular tension, and to improve strength, flexibility and oxygenation. Using LifeForce Yoga® approaches, yoga postures and breathing exercises are chosen specifically to calm or invigorate your nervous system and to balance your mood. For more information: http://amyweintraub.com/web/index.html
OFFICE VISITS: An initial visit, generally 1 -1.5 hours long, will include a comprehensive review of your past medical history, current health concerns, patterns of sleep, exercise, and nutrition, social and spiritual supports, and your current goals. Following this review, we will collaborate to develop a customized plan of mind-body practices that fits your life and moves you in the direction of your goals. A commitment to home practice of mind-body interventions is essential for success. At follow up visits, generally 1 hour in length, we will review and refine your home practice plan as needed. Most individuals benefit from 4-8 weekly or bi-weekly sessions. Periodic follow up visits during periods of stress or transition may be helpful. While useful for nearly any medical condition, mind-body approaches are not a substitute for comprehensive medical care. Traditional medical practices under the care of your primary care and consulting physicians should be maintained. With regular practice, it is possible that mind-body approaches may lead to decreased need for medications such as those for hypertension, depression, anxiety, and pain. Please make any such changes in consultation with your prescribing physician. Also, be certain to maintain your practice of mind-body skills.
INSURANCE: Coverage of mind-body services varies widely among health plans. Therefore, patients are responsible for payment of services. Payment may be made by cash, check or credit card (M/C or Visa) at the time of service. Documentation for submittal to insurance plan for possible payment will be provided upon request. If you have any concerns, please check with your insurance carrier in advance. LOCATION: The office is located at 15 R Church Street in downtown Vineyard Haven. There is ample 2 and 4 hour parking nearby. For those coming from off-island, the office is a short walk from the Steamship Authority‘s Vineyard Haven ferry terminal. Please call 508-687-9505 to schedule an appointment, review our fees, or for additional information about our services.
ABOUT WENDY: Wendy graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a B.S. in Zoology and earned her MD from Tufts University School of Medicine in 1984. Subsequently, she completed a three -year pediatric residency at Baystate Medical Center, a Tufts affiliated teaching hospital in Springfield, MA. Since 1987 she has provided pediatric primary care, largely in western Massachusetts. As a primary care pediatrician Wendy became increasingly aware of the frequent and harmful effects of stress on health. Always interested in prevention as the ultimate cure, she began to study stress, stress physiology, and the mind-body connection. In 2007 she completed the Practicum in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction at The Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. In the same year, she completed a 200-hour yoga teacher‘s training at The Yoga Center in Amherst, MA. She pursued further yoga training with Amy Weintraub, a Kripalu yoga teacher and author of Yoga for Depression and the upcoming book Yoga Skills for Therapists: Effective Practices for Mood Management. Wendy continues to pursue additional areas of interest including positive psychology and mindfulness-based therapies such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). She benefits greatly from her own daily practice of yoga, meditation and visualization. “…..healing… consist(s) only in … allowing, causing, or bringing to bear those things or forces for getting better (whatever they may be) that already exist in the patient.” Dr. Eric J. Cassell in The Nature of Suffering and the Goals of Medicine.