Last night I went to the world premiere of The Connection. The event, including a panel discussion with cast and crew afterwards, was sold out and the premiere in Sydney later this week is as well. It’s coming to Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Tucson, New York and London later this month.
Featuring a list of internationally recognised scientists that reads like the “who’s who of mind body medicine”, it’s a documentary following Australian journalist Shannon Harvey as she travels the world in search more options after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease she is not willing to accept will rule her life.
The Connection reveals how frontier research is proving there is a direct connection between our mind and body when it comes to our health. Mindfulness takes centre stage and the neuroscience of its’ benefits are described with ease – the case to get started is compelling!
It is jam-packed with life-affirming stories and hopeful, scientifically backed antidotes to the accelerating stress epidemic we are facing as the pace of modern life increases. It encourage us to take back control of our health and well-being, whether we are facing a chronic illness or not.
“It was always obvious to the ancient wisdom traditions that mind and body were interconnected but somewhere along the line we have created a dichotomy as if they were separate.” Dr Craig Hassed, Monash University (interviewed for mindfulness4mothers – see About us and Our Experts).
“There is no doubt that the mind and body are connected and when those connections are broken, you have disease”, Dr Esther Sternberg, University of Arizona
“The brain can influence the body even at a cellular level” Sara Lazar, Harvard Medical School
“It’s staggering to think that we could be sitting in a chair practicing a simple meditation and at the same time be conducting genetic engineering” Dr Craig Hassed, Monash University
“I can’t tell you how many patients have said things to me like – having a heart attack was the best thing that ever happened to me….what are you nuts? No, that’s what it took to get my attention to begin making these changes in my life” Dean Ornish, University of California
Let’s not wait for that wake up call.
Here are some of the exciting things I heard about in this film:
- infertile women undergoing in vitro feritilsation (IVF), using mind body techniques have a 55% conception rate, compared with 20% not using the techniques. (“If you had a pill that could do that, every infertility patient would be taking it” Dr Alice Domar, Phd)
- in a study of patients with psoriasis, mediators were healing 4 times as fast as the non-meditators (Jon Kabat-Zinn)
- the amygdala, a region in the brain known to play an important role in anxiety and stress, gets “turned down” or quieter when you meditate
- the placebo effect can perhaps be better understood as the healing affect of the mind – for example, researchers have been able to show that morphine is almost half as effective when patients don’t know they received it. In other words, the effect of a drug is the combination of the pharmacology of the drug and the effect of your brain knowing that you’re having the drug and the therapeutic ritual of the drug administration.
- Diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, autoimmune disease and stress induced conditions like chronic headaches and fatigue are all illnesses responding well to Dr. Benson’s programs which integrate modern scientific medicine, psychology, nutrition, exercise physiology and belief to enhance the natural healing capacities of body and mind.
- Perhaps one of the most astounding of Dr. Benson’s findings discussed in the film, and described in the filmaker’s blog is how profoundly and how quickly mindfulness meditation can affect gene expression. “a recent study … shows that a simple 8-week mediation program can help to switch off genes affecting disease. What was more staggering about his findings was that the gene expression changes start happening the very first time we evoke the Relaxation Response. The more we do it, the more anchored the changes.”
And I loved Dr Craig Hassed’s comparison of living under stress to continually driving a car at full throttle: of course the mechanic will tell you that repairs will cost more and the parts will wear out more quickly!
Modern Science has shown us that the mind has the power to heal. We should use that capacity. Dr Dr. Herbert Benson
As Dr Alice Domar, Phd asks – “why wouldn’t everyone be doing it?”
See this film if you can!
Screenings information: http://www.theconnection.tv/screenings/
Find out more about the science and the stories: http://www.theconnection.tv/the-science/