Sitting comfortably, back fully stretched and hands resting softly on your knees—slowly—begin to inhale and exhale through your nose. With Enya playing in the background and a small fountain of water trickling over healing rocks, let your eyes close while relaxing the tension in your lower jaw.

Begin to feel your shoulders softening as your breath goes deeper and deeper into your belly. Visualize every part of your body becoming light, airy and free. As you center and focus, allow your thoughts to pass quickly in and out again. Remember a positive, happy experience that is clear and vivid in your mind.

Now you’re ready to begin a healing journey. Begin to pinpoint any area of your body internally or externally that seems to be a problem. Focus your breathing into that part of your body and slowly relax with every exhale.

On your next long exhale, imagine a steady stream of white cloud-like mist moving into your body. As the mist surrounds the area of most concern, mentally repeat to yourself, “By the light of the breath within me, I give myself permission to heal.” Continue the soft breath in and out, repeating this affirmation over and over again, until you feel the tension in your body melting away.

If we hooked you up to body function monitors, we would now discover: your heart rate slowed to almost a sleeping pulse; your blood pressure would be lower and your digestion would be more alkaline instead of acid; tightness, tension and pain in your joints or muscle tissue would disappear.

“Imagine being able to rid yourself of a host of medical or psychological maladies without medication or psychological therapy—you can,” according to Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa and Cameron Stauth, the best-selling authors of books like The Pain Cure and Meditation as Medicine. Each medical meditation, the authors reveal, has a specific physiological effect, targeting afflictions from arthritis to ulcers to cancer.

Khalsa details the unique qualities and clinical applications of what he calls “medical meditation,” and how effective it is when practiced in conjunction with conventional or alternative medical treatments: “It activates the healing force within you.” Imagine finding the right meditation, yoga set or mantra that would heal your arthritis!

Dr. Joan Borysenko, has also researched the mind/body connection. The pathways, she concludes, through which the mind and emotions affect the power to heal, work simply by strengthening the immunity and other physiological systems. She is an advocate of stress management through meditation.

Medical meditation uses advanced techniques, which Khalsa says consists of several unique attributes:

  • Specific breathing patterns
  • Specific postures and movements, including exact positioning of the hands and fingers
  • Particular mantras, consisting of distinct vibrating sounds
  • A unique mental focus

Medical meditation is not just relaxing, it’s a process by which specific mental cues or kyras (exercises) and yoga postures are designed to have an effect on specific problems. Each meditation channels a direct healing energy into the affected ar
The body has the capacity to regenerate, rejuvenate, repair and respond to any type of trauma by healing. The process of using a system such as medical meditation is an “adjunctive therapy.” In other words, it’s the fire that brings the soup to a boil or the water that allows the seed to sprout. The mind can heal.

Many researchers, such as Khalsa and Borysenko, describe the phenomenon of mind/body healing as “psychoneuroimmunology.” Thoughts, Khalsa says, trigger responses by certain glands such as the hypothalamus and the pituitary. For example, positive, calming thoughts heighten immunity by causing the parasympathic nervous system to begin its healing process. The more you meditate and reduce stress, the more effective is the healing system.

The mind/body effect upon healing is a bright star in the sky. According to Khalsa, mind power boosts the healing ability of medicines by an estimated 30 percent, especially when patients believe the medicine they are taking will help them. Conversely, negative thoughts create harmful effects upon the physical body.

During my presentations on the mind/body effect in healing, I often run into people who believe the positive results we see are only a placebo effect. I quickly respond by saying, “You are absolutely correct.” If the result of this placebo effect is healing a disease, then let’s package placebos!

The new millennium will open the door to the wonderful world of mind/body medicine. Meditation, as the newest of medical advances, will soon become a household practice. Don’t let the grass grow under your feet. Sign up for that meditation class or, better yet, be the first on your block to throw a meditation party.

May the longtime sun shine upon you.