This view that our energy patterns influence reality and that our thoughts actually shape our bodies has been incorporated into the medical practice and educational approach of many professionals and institutions. The whole field of biofeedback/neurofeedback training, discussed in Wellness and Thinking, makes use of mental imagery and verbal suggestion to relieve stress conditions in the body. At the Norman Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, at UCLA, research is conducted on the effects of psychological and body-mind interventions on immunity and immune-mediated disease, with special emphasis on the role of stress and immunity. Today, cancer treatment programs, both conventional and alternative, almost always include positive self-talk and visualization exercises like those developed in the 1970s by Carl Simonton, MD, and his associates.* While these visualizations may not cure cancer, they have been shown to decrease stress and to help patients cope better (both physically and emotionally) with the side effects of treatment.
Whether in the arena of sports, or in the examples of those who have endured enormous pain and physical deprivation in prisons or concentration camps, we learn that those who succeed most or survive best are those who can manage their minds. Thought and visualization have long been used to maintain a vision of hope, or as a means of transcending current circumstances by remaining focused on some broader reality.
* Simonton, C., S. Matthews-Simonton, and J. Creighton. Getting Well Again
(Bantam, 1991). Contact the Simonton Cancer Center, PO Box 890, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272, (800) 459-3424 (818) 879-7904, www.simontoncenter.com.