Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: New York
| | For Marcus & others, the mind body connection
Hi guys, I wanted to hear some of your thoughts on the mind body connection. If you have a few moments to read through this post, I'd love to hear your thoughts. I guarantee you, it's some really cool stuff and well worth the read.
This segment aired on CNN on February 13th, 2006 with Anderson Cooper 360. I was so mezmerized after seeing the actual shocking footage, I tried to find it again online. I couldn't, but I did hunt down the transcript. Here is what I dug up;
COOPER: We're about to take you on an extraordinary journey to the outer limits of pain where the mind and body merge and science and religion intersect. Our guide tonight is 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta.
A journey that begins halfway around the world in Kurdistan, with a ritual rarely seen by anyone outside the mystical branch of Islam called Sufism. Some of its followers attempt to connect directly with god through meditation, dancing, and other rituals, including self-mutilation.
I want to stress that not all Sufis practice what we're about to show you. And a warning as well. What you are about to see is hard to watch. The images are extremely graphic. But they're also illuminating.
Dr. Gupta's report may also change they way you think about pain and the connection between the mind and the body. What they suggest about the connection between our minds and our bodies is nothing short of remarkable.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's after midnight in a mosque in Sanandaj. Dr. Kaveh Alizadeh, a plastic surgeon from New York, is here among a Sunni sect of Sufis.
He came to Kurdistan to perform cleft lip and palate surgeries.
But a Kurdish colleague has brought him to see a secret ritual that Westerners rarely, if ever, are allowed to see.
Inside the mosque, it's all men and boys. Women aren't allowed here. By day, these men hold jobs and have families. But once a month, they gather to do something only extreme Sufi Sects do -- mutilate themselves. Their ritual begins with a driving drumbeat and chanting to Allah.
DR. KAVEH ALIZADEH, PLASTIC SURGEON: They started mentioning lines from the Koran, which essentially, as it relates to Mohammad being the prophet of God and there's no god but God. So they started taking those sequences of the Koran and essentially making it shorter and shorter as they started increasing the pace of the chants, as they started getting into the trance itself.
GUPTA: It's rare to even see a Muslim man's hair, but during this ritual, they remove their turbans. The spell deepens. And they begin their journey to show their God the power of their faith. Their minds over their bodies.
ALIZADEH (voice-over): It was almost as if they wanted to be more liberated. So, in this sense of taking their turban off and losing that sense of identity that they have and becoming who they are -- really are.
(On camera): As we were standing there, we felt drawn into this, the passion of what was going on there. It's pretty intoxicating.
GUPTA: Dr. Alizadeh is transfixed as the ritual takes a shocking turn. The self-mutilation begins. This man bites into a fluorescent light bulb. Outwardly, showing no pain.
ALIZADEH (voice-over): He walked towards us, sort of almost an act of defiance to say look at me and look at what I can do to myself. And that's when he broke the fluorescent light bulb and he started chewing it in front of us. And he very much wanted us to know that he doesn't feel anything.
GUPTA: The men are in a frenzy. Several have taken these skewers and thrust them right through their face. In one side, out the other. No hesitation, and no apparent pain. Of course, I was left wondering, why? Why do this?
Dr. Alizadeh says this is how they explained it to him.
ALIZADEH: The idea behind -- at least this sect of Sufis -- or as to show that by proving to themselves that they don't feel pain, to prove that they don't have the human experience at that moment and they have detached themselves from the sense of the self. And therefore, they can enter their spiritual self.
GUPTA: Now, the chief appears. He deftly pulls skewers from this man's face. There is no blood.
And this old man barely flinches as two skewers pierce his chest. Remarkably, he doesn't bleed as the chief pulls them out.
After the ritual, we spot this man again, with only drops of blood dotting his white shirt.
ALIZADEH: From a medical perspective, I was constantly trying to understand. How can you actually train yourself to within minutes, to be able to be in a phase where you don't feel pain as much and you don't have as much bleeding?
GUPTA (on camera): We wanted to show you this incredible footage, not because it's something you should ever try yourself, but to understand whether we as humans can control the way we feel pain.
For some answers, we turn to Dr. Herbert Benson, one of the country's top researchers in the mind body connection.
This is some of the most remarkable, dramatic stuff.
DR. HERBERT BENSON, PRESIDENT, THE MIND BODY INSTITUTE (voice- over): Isn't that painful, just to imagine what that's like?
(On camera): Our mind is an incredibly important medical tool that can certainly counteract the harmful effects of stress, but often extend itself into these remarkable feats, such as we're viewing here.
GUPTA (voice-over): Our first question, how do the Sufi mystics control pain?
BENSON (voice-over): The peripheral nerves are, of course, transmitting painful stimuli, but the interpretation aspects of the brain are shut off. So you feel no pain.
(On camera): You see this in athletes. Often they can perform under what would be tremendously painful stimuli for others. They just ignore it and keep on going, often injuring themselves in the process.
GUPTA: So the mind can turn off, not registering pain. But explaining the lack of bleeding is harder to do. It could be all the adrenaline surging through their bodies. Or it could be that they willed themselves not to bleed.
(On camera): I mean, to a lot of people listening, this sounds outrageous. This sounds like quackery. How can your mind not only control pain, but control bleeding?
BENSON: I don't know that. But clearly we are seeing mind body affects that traditional medicine does not teach us.
GUPTA (voice-over): Dr. Benson has spent 40 years looking beyond traditional medicine, to the mind for answers. He conducted landmark research, showing Tibetan monks who, while in frigid conditions, could generate enough body heat to dry wet bed sheets, just by using their minds.
Benson says this is something the rest of us can learn to do as well, through meditation.
New neuroscience research shows brain scans of people who meditate actually show less aging than people who don't.
BENSON (on camera): I would approach a patient.
GUPTA: Meditating, as Dr. Benson showed me, is something we can all learn to do.
(On camera): Choose a word or phrase you're comfortable with. I chose the word, gentle.
BENSON: Gentle. OK, let me show you how to do this.
GUPTA: Each time you exhale, repeat this word to yourself. Try not to think of anything else. After about three minutes, Dr. Benson observed my facial muscles were far more relaxed.
(Voice-over): Given 60 percent of all trips to the doctors are stress-related, Dr. Benson insists shutting off the mind like this helps the body revert to its innate healing state.
BENSON: We can effectively treat many forms of hypertension, anxiety, mild and moderate depression, insomnia, PMS, many aspects of infertility. They all can be affectively treated by a mind body component to our modern medicines when needed.
GUPTA: So yes, take medicines and see doctors. But the rest of the time, take care of your body and relax your mind.
ALIZADEH (on camera): We're realizing as doctors that not only can we control the body, in terms of the process of the bodies, where we can actually help our patients mentally to control the physical and physiological aspects of the body.
GUPTA (voice-over): Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.
COOPER: That is just extraordinary. I've never seen anything like that. It is a fascinating phenomenon.
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the complete transcript
"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mystical. It is the source of all true art and science."
- Albert Einstein
Last edited by Cassie; 12-19-2006 at 03:05 PM.
Reason: made type bit easier to read see your eyes wouldn't bleed