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Chronic Illness Q&A with Dr. B.

larryB&W@300This question & answer column is for people living with chronic health challenges and their family caregivers, who want to learn to increase the odds of improving their health by learning to live with mastery & wellbeing.

I invite you to post your questions in the comments box below. When I get a certain number of related questions, I pick one that covers them all and I answer that one.

I post to this blog three times per week. Monday posts are relevant published articles. Wednesday posts are interviews—mostly video. Friday posts consist of questions about living better with chronic health challenges, and my answers to them.

Here is today’s question:

QUESTION: Is there evidence from scientific studies proving that mind training improves health outcomes?

ANSWER: There are many studies published in the finest refereed medical journals proving that mind training is medically efficacious. However, there are no mind training methods that have proven to cure any diseases or medical conditions. What mind training does is reduce emotional distress and improve psychological flexibility. Those two changes then serve to reduce physiological stress, which contributes to better immune function and that can improve health outcomes. In some rare cases, mind training has made enough of a difference to allow patients to beat the odds and fully recover unexpectedly. Unfortunately, most of the evidence for this is anecdotal and only seems to occur with extreme commitment to some form of mind training practice, such as a mindfulness or concentration practice and it must be practiced with great intentionality.

However, anything that helps patients learn how to reduce emotional distress and increase psychological flexibility will improve the odds at least to some extent. Good psychotherapy also fits into this category, especially the newer forms.

This website is offered as a free public service, supplying information that has been found helpful to certain people living with chronic health challenges. No treatment is offered on this website. The advice is general, and may or may not apply to your individual situation, and is not a substitute for psychotherapy or medical treatment.

What questions do you have about how to live better with chronic health challenges that are related to the relationship between states of mind and health? Just scroll down and type your question in the comment box. I will post a reply to your comment, but your question may not appear in this column.

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