Those who’ve read my Statement of Patternology on Beyond the Blog (About page) will be aware that, whilst we need specializations, the world suffers from a lack of academic discipline that looks at the whole picture of life.
To me, we need a new kind of non-specialised specialization with a working knowledge of many disciplines. Otherwise we will miss important elements of knowledge at the point where the separate disciplines meet. And nowhere is this more obvious than in health.
To most medical practitioners, there are two major areas of medical understanding – the physical and the psychological – and rarely do the two areas meet. Yet it is quite obvious that there is a large amount of cross-over between the two.
For instance, there is a suspicion that there may be a psychological factor to cancer. Certainly stress – a psychological element – can play a big part in heart conditions. And it is well known that if you sit around moping when you have a cold, it will get worse. Where the two areas do meet is in what is known as the ‘placebo effect’.
In most illnesses, the placebo effect can have up to a 30% effect on the condition. But what do the doctors do about it? Accept that it exists. But even though they don’t know what causes the effect, they leave it at that.
The most obvious avenue to follow in the physical/psychological realm is to note that chemicals in the body can have a great effect on health. Yet we know, for certain, that emotional states can regulate the prevalence, or not, of such chemicals.
The psychological factor of illness and disease has been ignored for too long. Indeed, I find it a strange quirk of the English language that if you put a hyphen in disease you end up with ‘dis-ease.’
There is a realm of illness I would call ‘psycho-physicality’, which branches out into most areas of health. And it is about time the medical profession began to take it seriously and study the true effects on mind upon the body. Until they do so, too many people will live a poor quality of life, and many may even be dying needlessly.
© Anthony North, Feb 2007