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PARAPSYCHOLOGY The scientific study of psi experiences relating specifically to the human mind, and normally encompassing the study of unusual mental phenomena such as telepathy, astral projection, out of body experiences and ESP.

Para means 'beyond' in Greek, and para psychology phenomena indicate the operation of factors currently unknown or unrecognised by orthodox science, popularly referred to as paranormal factors. Proponents of the existence of these phenomena unusually consider them to be a product of unexplained abilities.

Throughout its history parapsychology has met with a lot of resistance and scepticism by the scientific community. As a science it could be said to date back to the late nineteenth century with the formation of the Society for Psychical Research in London. Before the beginnings of parapsychology, paranormal phenomena in Western culture were typically associated with divine or malevolent forces. The ancient Greeks, for example, believed that precognitive dreams were messages from the gods. The Old Testament contains many references to paranormal phenomena including levitation, prophetic visions and apparitions but in the Middle Ages the Catholic Church declared all such phenomena diabolical unless associated with a holy person.

The nineteenth century saw the rise of spiritualism and interest in mediumship and communication with the dead. In 1872 physicist Sir William Crookes conducted experiments on the famous medium D D Holme and came to the conclusion that he had without doubt witnessed paranormal phenomena. Another physicist, Sir William Barrett, was not convinced and in 1876 started to experiment with hypnotised subjects and mediums. Barrett was devoted to the idea of forming an organisation to study the paranormal and he relaxed this goal in 1882 with the founding of the Society for Psychical Research. To be continued

PAST LIFE RECALL The remembering of alleged previous lives on earth. It is not known if the memories are actually of past lives or if they spring from the subconscious. Even though scientific investigation of past life recall has been impressive enough to support a belief in the possibility of reincarnation, to date the evidence is insufficient to prove it conclusively. Other explanations of past life recall suggest that the memories are not image of past lives but are produced by telepathy, inherited memory cryptomnesia [information that is forgotten or repressed but which comes to the surface in mediumship or past life recall]

Past life recall can be induced by a number of methods such as hypnosis, meditation or rhythmic activity such as chanting, dancing or long distance running. Bodywork, such as acupuncture, has also been known to stimulate memories.

PEAK EXPERIENCE a moment of intense and ecstatic feeling when body and mind are lost in bliss. Psychologist Abraham Maslow [1908-1970] coined the phrase to describe getting so totally absorbed in an experience or moment that an individual is 'lost in the present', and experiences 'detachment from time and space'. It often occurs in response to intense emotions such as love, or intense life experiences such as childbirth, and also occurs when communing with nature, listening to music or viewing great art or theatre. Physical exercise, meditation, religious experiences, mediumship or magical rituals and selfless behaviour can also trigger peak experiences. Maslow believed that peak experiences were within the reach of everyone and people who experienced them felt an increased sense of connection, confidence and happiness with the universe.

PENDULUM a suspended weighted object, usually a crystal, used in dowsing and divination to locate lost people or items and answer questions. The pendulum is suspended from a fixed point and allowed to swing freely to and fro. In dowsing it acts like a pointer and in divination it is used to answer yes or no questions.

A pendulum is used in radiesthesia diagnosis to locate the source of illness in a person body. A pendulum is held above a chart on which is placed a patients blood sample and the movement of the pendulum are thought to determine the nature of the illness.

Dowsing has its roots in ancient civilisation. Its revival in the twentieth century has led to a refinement of the art, and while willow branches and metal rods are still popular tools for detecting underground water and mineral sources - sometimes even buried treasure - the pendulum is often the tool of choice for modern dowsers, because it is attractive, portable and easy to use.

Like the dowsing rod the pendulum is thought to work on the principle that every single organism is encased in positive or negative energy and, just as radios pick up information from unseen radio waves, pendulum dowsers believe that pendulums are powerful antennae that receive information from the vibrations and energy waves emitted by people, places, thoughts and things. The process by which this takes place is unknown but users claim to be to 'tune in', perhaps using psi, to the energy of what is being sought and requested.

Others believe that the pendulum creates a bridge between the logical and intuitive parts of the mind and the basis of using a pendulum for divination purposes can be explained by ideomotor effect. This is when thoughts or ideas are automatically translated into specific patterns of muscular activity. The pendulum works by measuring ideomotor response when a question is asked. In many ways it could be said to work on the same principle as a lie detector. The involuntary muscular response is translated as answers by the direction of pendulum movement. This process bypasses the conscious mind or ego and allows direct access to intuitive information from the unconscious. The pendulum therefore has no power of its own, as it is a persons thoughts and muscle responses that bring about the pendulums motions.

It's not precisely known how pendulum dowsing and/or divination works, and scientists remain sceptical; but despite this pendulums continue to be universally popular and, according to those who use them, uncannily accurate.


Pendulum power

Pendulums can be particularly helpful if you have a question that requires a simple yes or no answer. You may wish to buy a pendulum or simply make your own.
Tie a thin white or red natural string to a golden ring, a needle, a crystal tip, acorn or hazelnut or herb bundle. In all pendulums had with string, leave enough string so that, when held at one end, the pendulum can dangle freely from the other.

Before using your pendulum you must charge it. Hold the string in your hand between the thumb and forefinger with your elbow slightly bent at your side and let the string hang down. It is important to let the natural vibrations of your body move the pendulum. The pendulum works like muscle testing or kinesiology; your unconscious knows what you need to know. The pendulum will show you the answer by picking up and amplifying the subtle vibrations from your subconscious, causing the pendulum to swing.
Tell you pendulum which direction will indicate Yes, it can be clockwise or counter clockwise or a straight line - either horizontal or vertical. You decide. Then tell the pendulum to indicate No. This time tell it to move in another direction. After you've charged it, ask it to show you Yes and see if it moves as you had directed it. Do the same for No.

The pendulum can provide a good second opinion. Remember, it draws its strength from your energy so it should not be touched by others who might impart their vibrations into the pendulum and thereby reduce its reliability. Keep the pendulum with you as much as possible during the first few weeks to have it absorb your own energy. Ask the pendulum simple questions that will help build your trust in the answers. The pendulum will learn to resonate with you, within your own energy field.

Your pendulum will answer any question with either a 'yes' or 'no', so it is important ask questions correctly. For example, 'will I pass my driving test?' is a good question as the answer will either be a yes or no. A poor questions is 'Will I pass or fail my driving test?' This does not give the choice of a yes or no answer.

You can hold your pendulum over any object to determine a range of answers. For example, hold the pendulum over food to determine if it is suitable for you to eat. If you need to determine a date to do something, you can use your pendulum over a calendar. Hold the pendulum over each date of the month, waiting until the pendulum registers an answer. The more you use your pendulum the more likely it is that the answers will become almost instant.


PHOTOMEDICINE Licht has indicated how the practice of heliotherapy in ancient time was largely based upon religious beliefs and superstition prehistoric man defied the sun and consequently sunlight, being holy, was thought to be able to drive out evil spirits which were believed to be the cause of disease. The ancient sun gods were thus considered to be gods of health and healing: the Phoenicians and early Hebrews worshipped Baal as god of sun and health, and the Greeks praised Helios as god of light, sun and healing [it is from Helios that the contemporary term 'heliotherapy' is derived]. Sun worship was not confined to prehistoric times: it survived as a monotheistic religion for almost four centuries before finally being assimilated into Christian orthodoxy during the rise of the HIld Roman Empire. Early Christina Suppression of sun worship as the reason why no further mention of heliotherapy can be traced in the literature from then until the 18th century.

The latter part of the 18th century and early 19th centuries saw a rediscovery of the beneficial effects of heliotherapy. This was largely as a result of the inevitable illness caused by poor housing and dark, sunless streets within rapidly expanding towns where soft coal was in abundant use. Sun baths were recommended for scurvy, rickets, oedema, dropsy, rheumatic arthritis and depression.

POLTERGEIST from the German words 'poltern', to knock, and 'geist, spirit, a poltergeist is the term used to describe a ghost or energy which specializes in making sounds and moving things about a house or building, often resulting in breakages. These spirits can be malevolent but on the whole are through to be mischievous nuisances. Some believe poltergeists to be manifestations of telekinesis due to the frequency of their occurrence in households with disturbed adolescents experiencing frustration and emotional tension.

Characteristics of a poltergeist attack typically include flying objects, especially dirt and rock throwing, extremely loud noises, terrible smells, raps, strange lights and apparitions and the opening and shutting of doors and windows. Up to date characteristics include light bulbs exploding or spinning in their sockets and telephone malfunctions. In a small percentage of cases physical assaults, such as scratching, biting, spitting and sexual molestation, are reported.

In most cases poltergeist activity starts and stops suddenly and lasts from a few hours to a few years, although most often it is a few months. Activity usually occurs when a particular individual is present and that individual is most often female and under 20 years of age.

The widely held view is that poltergeists are a type of unconscious psychokeinesis on the part of the living, the so-called agent. In other words unconscious thought processes produce the phenomena. At first attention focused on repressed sexual tension as a cause or factor but later researchers theorized that poltergeists were projections of repressed anger and hostility.

PSI an acronym derived from 'paranormal sensory information' and used to describe ESP, psychokeinesis and other related powers. Psi is also the 23rd letter of the Greek alphabet and was traditionally associated with psychic phenomena because was the first letter of the word psyche, meaning 'breath', 'spirit', 'life' and 'soul'. Occultists believe psi to be a vibration that manifests in the universe but scientists are unwilling to accept this explanation due to lack of evidence.

Decades of research on psi have brought researchers no closer to understanding how it functions; all that is known is that it operates outside the boundaries of space and time. It has been suggested that psi is some kind of wave, force or particle but all these theories have been discarded, as psi is not affected by the laws of physics. Neither is it subject to the laws of thermodynamics or the law of gravity. It does not require any exchange of energy and is not governed by the laws of relativity, which holds that nothing can move faster than the speed of light. The inability of researchers to explain psi scientifically has forced some to look for alternative explanations.

One way researchers have attempted to identify psi is through measurements of involuntary physiological processes in the autonomic nervous system. The Galvanic test response [GSR], which measures sweat gland activity, the plethsymograph, which measures changes in blood volume, and the electroencephalograph {EEG], which measures brain wave activity are the most common measures used. The measures monitor emotional arousal and show that automatic nervous system activity increases when information that is emotionally charged for the subject appears to be conveyed psychically.

Ganzfeld stimulation experiments have revealed that an alpha state of brain wave activity is most conducive to psi. Psi performance also seems to improve with positive thinking and expectation and a friendly atmosphere. It decreases with anxiety, negative thinking, boredom and a hostile atmosphere.

PSI an acronym derived from 'paranormal sensory information' and used to describe ESP, psychokeinesis and other related powers. Psi is also the 23rd letter of the Greek alphabet and was traditionally associated with psychic phenomena because was the first letter of the word psyche, meaning 'breath', 'spirit', 'life' and 'soul'. Occultists believe psi to be a vibration that manifests in the universe but scientists are unwilling to accept this explanation due to lack of evidence.

Decades of research on psi have brought researchers no closer to understanding how it functions; all that is known is that it operates outside the boundaries of space and time. It has been suggested that psi is some kind of wave, force or particle but all these theories have been discarded, as psi is not affected by the laws of physics. Neither is it subject to the laws of thermodynamics or the law of gravity. It does not require any exchange of energy and is not governed by the laws of relativity, which holds that nothing can move faster than the speed of light. The inability of researchers to explain psi scientifically has forced some to look for alternative explanations.

One way researchers have attempted to identify psi is through measurements of involuntary physiological processes in the autonomic nervous system. The Galvanic test response [GSR], which measures sweat gland activity, the plethsymograph, which measures changes in blood volume, and the electroencephalograph {EEG], which measures brain wave activity are the most common measures used. The measures monitor emotional arousal and show that automatic nervous system activity increases when information that is emotionally charged for the subject appears to be conveyed psychically.

Ganzfeld stimulation experiments have revealed that an alpha state of brain wave activity is most conducive to psi. Psi performance also seems to improve with positive thinking and expectation and a friendly atmosphere. It decreases with anxiety, negative thinking, boredom and a hostile atmosphere.

PSYCHIC used as a noun the term psychic describes someone with the ability to acquire information through extrasensory perception [ESP] and a host of other paranormal abilities such as telepathy, precognition, clairvoyance, etc. Used as an adjective it is an umbrella term used to describe the essence of these paranormal powers.
The word psychic comes from the Greek word psyche meaning 'spirit' or 'soul'. Throughout history psychics have appeared. They have taken many roles, from priests and priestesses to prophets, healers, shamans and witches. In recent times there have been efforts to integrate psychics into professional fields such as archaeology and criminology. Psychics are not necessarily the same as mediums, who obtain their information from spirits of the dead, buy a psychic may possess mediumistic abilities. Occultists believe that everyone is born with psychic ability and tapping into it is just a matter of training and practice. A large number of people do claim to be psychic but few reach the level of exceptional psychics, and even the latter are not accurate or able to perform on demand 100 per cent of the time. Psychics are either born with their talents, or some emotional or physical stress triggers that ability later in life, or their psychic ability is developed through study and practice. Typically psychics find their ability unsettling, confusing and in some cases terrifying at first, but in time the majority learn to live with their gifts and use them.


Stimulating your psychic senses

The exercises below are classic psychic development exercises for beginners. They are all designed to stimulate your mind and help you become more open to psychic impressions. They will help you cross a very special line - the line between your non-psychic self [your physical self and five senses] and your psychic self [your mind, thoughts and spirit].

Walking backwards
For this exercise you don't have to walk backwards, you have to remember backwards. It sounds simple but it's harder than you think and is an extremely powerful way to stimulate your mind.

Choose a quiet, comfortable place where you can pay attention to your thoughts and not be interrupted. Take a deep breath and relax your body and prepare your mind. Start from this moment and remember the events of the day backward to the moment you got up.
If you get stuck go back for just a chunk and then work forwards to untangle yourself. As you think backwards don't push yourself. You may only manage five to ten second bursts at first, but a mere ten or fifteen seconds now and then is sufficient for psychic purposes.

Different levels
Choose something familiar that you see or use every day - your coat, for example. Now you are going to think about coat on four different levels:

Level one - think about your particular coat. What colour is it? Where did you buy it? Have you had good or bad times wearing it? In short just think about your coat and your associations with it.

Level two - think about coats in general - think of all coats everywhere. Coats you like. Coats you dislike. How coats are made.

Level three - think of the purpose of coats. What do they do? Why do people wear them?

Level four - think about the quality coats have in the abstract, universal sense. For example, protection and warmth are the main features of coats. So let your mind focus on the image of warmth in the broadest sense. You might think of fire, or the taste of warm comforting soup.

Scanning is about seeing the energy of others. The next time you meet someone new take a moment to imagine that person as a ball of light or pure energy. Now scan that person from top to bottom, bottom to top, noticing any words, images, colours, thoughts and sensations that you feel.

If you can, write these impressions down, once you get to know the person better, look back at your notes. Do your first impressions make sense?

Tomorrow is another day
Choose a comfortable place where you can concentrate your thoughts. Close your eyes and breathe deeply, then project yourself into the next day. See yourself following through your plans for tomorrow. See, hear, feel and taste what your day will be like. What will you be wearing? Who will you meet?

When you are through write down your impressions and read over them tomorrow night to find out if you were able to make any predictions.


PSYCHIC ATTACK all alleged supernatural attack that causes physical and/or emotional distress to a human or animal. It is typically caused by non-physical agents, such as thought forms, spirits and demons, which attach a person, mentally and/or physically. In most, but not all, cases these agents are sent by one person to another.
Occultists believe that psychic attacks are the manipulation of supernatural energies and forces. They occur when dark and negative energetic vibrations are sent from one individual to another or to a place, creating disturbances in the energetic and physical bodies of that person or place.

This negative energy can be called a spirit, an entity, a thought form or a dark negative energy. Each of these energies can create harmful effects with the person receiving them. Some of these dark energies are sent unconsciously, for example, when a person thinks negative things about someone else. Others are sent intentionally to create harm and damage, often to control, manipulate or punish the individual. They can involve the psychic powers of the mind and/or ritualistic techniques or ceremonies, typically when the moon is either new or waning, as the moon is said to govern psychic forces and these phases rule the so-called left hand or evil path of magic.
Almost every culture has its techniques of psychic attack, from the Huna death prayer, to Voodoo dolls of Haiti. In sorcery the equivalent of psychic attack is the curse. One of the most well known examples of psychic attack is hag syndrome, in which a victim awakes from their sleep to feel a crushing weight on their chest.

In her classic text, 'Psychic Self Defence' [1930], occultist Dion Fortune said that psychic attack was much more common than believed. She gave an account of her own experience of psychic attack. When she was 20 she believed she was psychically attacked by her employer, which depleted her aura to such an extent that she suffered a nervous breakdown.

According to Fortune symptoms of psychic attack include overwhelming feelings of dread and fear, nervous exhaustion, mental breakdown, poor health, bruises on the body and poltergeist phenomena. The prescribed defences against psychic attack are to sever all contact with the suspected people and places; avoid go to the sea, for water is the element of psychic forces; to keep the stomach full as this shuts down the psychic points of entry; to get plenty of sunshine; to avoid being alone; and to undertake certain protective and banishing rituals. See Psychic protection.

Most psychical researchers assume that if psychic attack works it is through suggestion, and that superstitious, poorly educated people are likely to be the most gullible and therefore the most vulnerable. It seems, however, that well educated, non-superstitious people are not immune to psychic attack, and that even domestic animals, not normally expected to react to suggestion, are affected. Occultists believe that psychic attack is real and, although they admit that in certain circumstances suggestions plays a part, they believe that the real technique operates via the astral plane.

PSYCHIC PROTECTION a phrase used to define practices and routines designed to protect a person's energy from psychic attack and curses. These routines can be complex and detailed, such as conjuring up spells and charms, or they can be extremely simple, such as imagining oneself surrounded by a spinning wall of light that protects against negative energies. Psychic protection routines can also be performed by healers prior to treating someone so that they don't pick up the ill energy of a patient. They can also be used, as a guard against everyday energy drains, like pollution or angry and depressed people.

Occultists believe that most forms of psychic attack take place through the astral plane by making contact with the victim and manifesting in his or her subconscious mind, because of this astral association psychic protection will normally involve the visualisation of defence structures on the astral plane to stop external influences coming in. Methods of psychic protection vary but most involve the use of visualisations where a person imagines him or herself surrounded and protected by a shield of healing light. Amulets can also be worn for protection. The theory behind all these techniques is to activate and strengthen the aura, the energy field that surrounds everyone. A strong aura is thought to protect against psychic attack.


Psychic protection

Here are some simple psychic protection/self-defence exercises that only take a few minutes to do and can be done as many times a day as you feel a need.

Shield of light: when sensing a negative atmosphere it is easy to imagine yourself wrapped or surrounded in brilliant light of whatever colour most appeals to you. Once this is done, imagine yourself and those you love being covered in this protective light, which acts like a reflective shield, to bounce negative energy away from you and yours.

Orb of light: this can easily be combined with the method above. Imagine an orb of white [or blue if this seems more effective] light hovering and sending out rays of light about 9 inches to a foot above the crown of the head.

Colour defences: Imagine strong colours of white, silver or gold light around you. Let these cling to your body and then move out to about a foot away from the body.
Mirrors: Another way to protect yourself if you feel threatened is to envision a circle of mirrors around you that face outwards. Do not visualise these mirrors reflecting the negativity back to whomever or whatever it came from but rather upwards towards the heavens to be dissipated.

PSYCHIC VAMPIRE term used by occultists for someone who is believed to suck mental energy out of another person. This can be done unconsciously through the presence of a needy and/or gloomy person or it can be done through a concerted spiritual attack, such as curses or voodoo.

Everyone has experiences with people who seem to lower their energy level rather than raise it. They are the kind of person who has low self-esteem, is never satisfied with anyone or anything and always wants constant reassurance from other people to make them feel better. They are not, however, interested in getting better but only in feeding off the optimism, energy and care of others, which is why they are always attracted to caring people.

There are numerous methods of psychic protection to use and see psychic attack.

PSYCHOKINESIS is a general term for using the mind to control matter- without using any outside physical force. The term psychokeinesis comes from the Greek words psyche, meaning 'breath', 'life' or 'soul', and kinein, meaning 'to move'. It is thought to occur spontaneously and therefore unconsciously, as may be the case in haunting, apparitions and poltergeists, but it is also though to occur deliberately and through conscious effort.

Psychokeinesis could be said to be a form of psi where the mind influences matter through invisible means, but what psychokeinesis is and how it actually operates remains a mystery. Psychokeinesis can include activities such as prayer and healing to influence the outcome of events or amazing feats like table tilting, fire walking, metal bending and the movement of objects. An individual who is psychokinetic can influence an object from a great distance or in a close proximity to their selves. Some psycho kinetics can also manipulate their own bodies and minds.
Since the 1930s psychokeinesis has been a major interest to parapsychologists and researchers, particularly in the United States and the former Soviet Union. Statistical results from laboratory experiments have so far produced inconclusive reports. The conclusion frequently drawn is that psychokeinesis does occur but it is not know how or under what circumstances, although there are indications that it affected by anxiety and boredom.

A significant contribution to psychokinetic research was made by J B Rhine at Duke University, North Carolina. He began studying the subject in 1934 and experiments with a gambler who claimed to be able to influence the way a dice fell yielded positive results beyond the possibilities of chance. Unfortunately follow up research yielded uneven results but it was found that subjects tended to score better early in the experimental sequence, before boredom set in. Rhine noticed that psychokeinesis did not seem to be connected to any physical processes of the brain or the laws of physics. It seemed to be a non-physical force of the mind that could act on matter, even if that matter was far away. Rhine also found that psychokeinesis is affected by the mental state of the subject and is similar to extrasensory perception [ESP]. In fact he concluded that ESP is a necessary part of the psychokinetic process and one is unlikely to occur without the other.

Thanks to Rhine's pioneering work, from the 1940s onwards psychokeinesis was no longer limited to physical mediumship but fell into two classes: macro PK [observable effects] and Micro PK [weaker effects requiring statistical analysis to evaluate], with emphasis placed on the latter.

In the late 1960s, American physicist Helmut Schmidt devised an apparatus called the 'electronic coin flipper', which operated on the random delay of radioactive particles. Subjects were asked to exert mental energy to flip a coin to tails or heads so that bulbs on the device would light up in one direction or another. Some were successful. The electronic coin flipper was the precursor for random event generators, computerised methods that have played a significant role in recent tests for both ESP and psychokeinesis. Schmidt also conducted experiments on animal psychokeinesis, but it proved difficult to tell if it was the animals or the researchers that were using psychokeinesis ability.

During the 1970s and 80s a number of psychokinetic experiments were conducted on humans, animals, plants and microorganisms and enzymes. In many of these experiments a so-called 'linger effect' has been noticed. For example, temperatures that have been influenced by psychokeinesis continue to rise and fall for a period of time after the experiment has finished. Although results have been less than impressive there have been some successes and researchers continue to believe that the area has potential, particularly for healing purposes.
In recent years, the term 'remote influencing' has become popular to describe the application of psychokeinesis to biological systems. This may be to impact either positively or negatively upon health, mood or to influence decision-making.

PSYCHOMETRY is the ability to gain intuitive impressions of an objects past history and associations simply by touching or handling it.

The theory is that everything that has ever existed has left its mark, and this applies to people and places too. People can be psychometrized. The percipient focuses on a person and tries to pick up impressions and information. Places can also be psychometrized and a psychometrist can tune into past events when they are receptive to the vibrations of a place. It has been suggested that haunted houses demonstrate this on a large scale - events have taken place and left their impressions in the rooms to be picked up by psychics.

Many psychics regard psychometry as a form of clairsentience, which is perhaps the most common form of psychic ability. For this reason it is often recommended that beginners focus on psychometry as their first step to awakening their psychic abilities. It is said that the ability can be mastered in a few months and lends itself to a natural progression towards more challenging skills.

Psychometry exercise

It is thought that everyone has the ability to psychometrize, although regular practice id needed to tap into it. The steps are easy and the following exercise will help develop the ability.

Take five samples of different substances - cloth, cotton, leather, fur, wood, metal or stone. Sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes, take a few deep, relaxing breaths. Choose an object and hold it in your hand. Concentrate fully on that object; feel its texture; think about its origins. Don't rush. Pay attention to images that come to your mind; you may receive fragments of information. They may come in words, feelings, symbols or a physical sensation. Some people just hold the object in their hands, others hold it over their forehead or their heart. Experiment till you find what comes naturally to you. If you pick up a strong impression that is upsetting try to shift your perspective to being an observer of the information and not an absorber of it.

Go through each of the five objects several times, ideally for five to ten minutes, and then place the samples in individual envelopes. The envelopes should all look the same from the outside so you have no idea what is inside.

Go through the concentration exercise again, but this time try to pick up a clue regarding what is in the envelope. You may find that you get a clear impression of its origin - tree, animal, mountain, etc. When you are finished you may want to shake or wash your hands to release any of the vibrational impressions that came to you from the objects you were handling.

Move on to actual objects to see how you do with them. Take a friend's ring, watch or brooch. As you hold the object first think of the thing itself. Then ask yourself who has handled it the most? Where has it come from? How was it made? See if you can get a picture of a previous owner. Practise as much as you can with a wide variety of objects from a number of different people. Initially concentrate on personal objects and avoid coins, as they have been handled by too many people. You can also do this with letters: hold a sealed letter in your hands and try to pick up what is in the letter and who wrote it. Check your results and keep a record of them.


[PNI] Mind-body medicine focuses on the interactions among the brain, mind, body, and behavior, and 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.

Mind-body medicine typically focuses on intervention strategies that are thought to promote health, such as relaxation, hypnosis, visual imagery, meditation, yoga, biofeedback, tai chi, qi gong, cognitive-behavioral therapies, group support, autogenic training, and spirituality. A The field views illness as an opportunity for personal growth and transformation, and health care providers as catalysts and guides in this process. a Certain mind-body intervention strategies listed here, such as group support for cancer survivors, are well integrated into conventional care and, while still considered mind-body interventions, are not considered to be complementary and alternative medicine.
Mind-body interventions constitute a major portion of the overall use of CAM by the public. In 2002, five relaxation techniques and imagery, biofeedback, and hypnosis, taken together, were used by more than 30 percent of the adult U.S. population. Prayer was used by more than 50 percent of the population.

The concept that the mind is important in the treatment of illness is integral to the healing approaches of traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, dating back more than 2,000 years. It was also noted by Hippocrates, who recognized the moral and spiritual aspects of healing, and believed that treatment could occur only with consideration of attitude, environmental influences, and natural remedies (ca. 400 B.C.). While this integrated approach was maintained in traditional healing systems in the East, developments in the Western world by the 16th and 17th centuries led to a separation of human spiritual or emotional dimensions from the physical body. This separation began with the redirection of science, during the Renaissance and Enlightenment eras, to the purpose of enhancing
humankind's control over nature. Technological advances (e.g., microscopy, the stethoscope, the blood pressure cuff, and refined surgical techniques) demonstrated a cellular world that seemed far apart from the world of belief and emotion. The discovery of bacteria and, later, antibiotics further dispelled the notion of belief influencing health. Fixing or curing an illness became a matter of science (i.e., technology) and took precedence over, not a place beside, healing of the soul. As medicine separated the mind and the body, scientists of the mind (neurologists) formulated concepts, such as the unconscious, emotional impulses, and cognitive delusions, that solidified the perception that diseases of the mind were not "real," that is, not based in physiology and biochemistry. In the 1920s, Walter Cannon's work revealed the direct relationship between stress and neuroendocrine responses in animals. 2 Coining the phrase "fight or flight," Cannon described the primitive reflexes of sympathetic and adrenal activation in response to perceived danger and other environmental pressures (e.g., cold, heat). Hans Selye further defined the deleterious effects of stress and distress on health. 3 At the same time, technological advances in medicine that could identify specific pathological changes, and new discoveries in pharmaceuticals, were occurring at a very rapid pace. The disease-based model, the search for a specific pathology, and the identification of external cures were paramount, even in psychiatry.

During World War II, the importance of belief reentered the web of health care. On the beaches of Anzio, morphine for the wounded soldiers was in short supply, and Henry Beecher, M.D., discovered that much of the pain could be controlled by saline injections. He coined the term "placebo effect," and his subsequent research showed that up to 35 percent of a therapeutic response to any medical treatment could be the result of belief. 4 Investigation into the placebo effect and debate about it are ongoing. Since the 1960s, mind-body interactions have become an extensively researched field. The evidence for benefits for certain indications from biofeedback, cognitive-behavioral interventions, and hypnosis is quite good, while there is emerging evidence regarding their physiological effects. Less research supports the use of CAM approaches like meditation and yoga. The following is a summary of relevant studies.

Over the past 20 years, mind-body medicine has provided considerable evidence that psychological factors can play a substantive role in the development and progression of coronary artery disease. There is evidence that mind-body interventions can be effective in the treatment of coronary artery disease, enhancing the effect of standard cardiac
rehabilitation in reducing all-cause mortality and cardiac event recurrences for up to 2 years

Mind-body interventions have also been applied to various types of pain. Clinical trials indicate that these interventions may be a particularly effective adjunct in the management of arthritis, with reductions in pain maintained for up to 4 years and reductions in the number of physician visits. 6 When applied to more general acute and chronic pain management, headache, and low-back pain, mind-body interventions show some evidence of effects, although results vary based on the patient population and type of intervention studied. Evidence from multiple studies with various types of cancer patients suggests that mind-body interventions can improve mood, quality of life, and coping, as well as ameliorate disease-and treatment-related symptoms, such as chemotherapy-induced nausea, vomiting, and pain. 8 Some studies have suggested that mind-body interventions can alter various immune parameters, but it is unclear whether these alterations are of sufficient magnitude to have an impact on disease progression or prognosis.

Mind-Body Influences on Immunity

There is considerable evidence that emotional traits, both negative and positive, influence people's susceptibility to infection. Following systematic exposure to a respiratory virus in the laboratory, individuals who report higher levels of stress or negative moods have been shown to develop more severe illness than those who report less stress or more positive moods. Recent studies suggest that the tendency to report positive, as opposed to negative, emotions may be associated with greater resistance to objectively verified colds. These laboratory studies are supported by longitudinal studies pointing to associations between psychological or emotional traits and the incidence of respiratory infections.

Meditation and Imaging

Meditation, one of the most common mind-body interventions, is a conscious mental process that induces a set of integrated physiological changes termed the relaxation response. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has been used to identify and characterize the brain regions that are active during meditation. This research suggests that various parts of the brain known to be involved in attention and in the control of the autonomic nervous system are activated, providing a neurochemical and anatomical basis for the effects of meditation on various physiological acitivites. 13 Recent studies involving imaging are advancing the understanding of mind-body mechanisms. For example, meditation has been shown in one study to produce significant increases in left-sided anterior brain activity, which is associated with positive emotional states. Moreover, in this same study, meditation was associated with increases in antibody titers to influenza vaccine, suggesting potential linkages among meditation, positive emotional states, localized brain responses, and improved immune function.

Physiology of Expectancy (Placebo Response)

Placebo effects are believed to be mediated by both cognitive and conditioning mechanisms. Until recently, little was known about the role of these mechanisms in different circumstances. Now, research has shown that placebo responses are mediated by conditioning when unconscious physiological functions such as hormonal secretion are
involved, whereas they are mediated by expectation when conscious physiological processes such as pain and motor performance come into play, even though a conditioning procedure is carried out. Positron emission tomography (PET) scanning of the brain is providing evidence of the release of the endogenous neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain of Parkinson's disease patients in response to placebo. 15 Evidence indicates that the placebo effect in these patients is powerful and is mediated through activation of the nigrostriatal dopamine system,
the system that is damaged in Parkinson's disease. This result suggests that the placebo response involves the secretion of dopamine, which is known to be important in a number of other reinforcing and rewarding conditions, and that there may be mind-body strategies that could be used in patients with Parkinson's disease in lieu of or in addition to treatment with dopamine-releasing drugs.

Stress and Wound Healing

Individual differences in wound healing have long been recognized. Clinical observation has suggested that negative mood or stress is associated with slow wound healing. Basic mind-body research is now confirming this observation. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and the tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs), whose expression can be controlled by cytokines, play a role in wound healing. 16 Using a blister chamber wound model on human
forearm skin exposed to ultraviolet light, researchers have demonstrated that stress or a change in mood is sufficient to modulate MMP and TIMP expression and, presumably, wound healing. 17 Activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) and sympathetic-adrenal medullary (SAM) systems can modulate levels of MMPs, providing a physiological link among mood, stress, hormones, and wound healing. This line of basic research suggests that activation of the HPA and SAM axes, even in individuals within the normal range of depressive symptoms, could alter MMP levels and change the course of wound healing in blister wounds.

Surgical Preparation

Mind-body interventions are being tested to determine whether they can help prepare patients for the stress associated with surgery. Initial randomized controlled trials--in which some patients received audiotapes with mind-body techniques (guided imagery, music, and instructions for improved outcomes) and some patients received control tapes--found that subjects receiving the mind-body intervention recovered more quickly and spent fewer days
in the hospital. Behavioural interventions have been shown to be an efficient means of reducing discomfort
and adverse effects during percutaneous vascular and renal procedures. Pain increased linearly with procedure time in a control group and in a group practicing structured attention, but remained flat in a group practicing a self-hypnosis technique. The self-administration of analgesic drugs was significantly higher in the control group than in the attention and hypnosis groups. Hypnosis also improved hemodynamic stability.


Evidence from randomized controlled trials and, in many cases, systematic reviews of the literature, suggest that:

• Mechanisms may exist by which the brain and central nervous system influence immune, endocrine, and autonomic functioning, which is known to have an impact on health.
• Multicomponent mind-body interventions that include some combination of stress management, coping skills training, cognitive-behavioral interventions, and relaxation therapy may be appropriate adjunctive treatments for coronary artery disease and certain pain-related disorders, such as arthritis.
• Multimodal mind-body approaches, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, particularly when combined with an educational/informational component, can be effective adjuncts in the management of a variety of chronic conditions.
• An array of mind-body therapies (e.g., imagery, hypnosis, relaxation), when employed presurgically, may improve recovery time and reduce pain following surgical procedures.
• Neurochemical and anatomical bases may exist for some of the effects of mind-body approaches.

Mind-body approaches have potential benefits and advantages. In particular, the physical and emotional risks of using these interventions are minimal. Moreover, once tested and standardized, most mind-body interventions can be taught easily. Finally, future research focusing on basic mind-body mechanisms and individual differences in responses is likely to yield new insights that may enhance the effectiveness and individual tailoring of mind-body
interventions. In the meantime, there is considerable evidence that mind-body interventions, even as they are being studied today, have positive effects on psychological functioning and quality of life, and may be particularly helpful for patients coping with chronic illness and in need of palliative care.

"I would rather know the person who has the disease than know the disease the person
has." Hippocrates



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