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Personal Statement

As a gastroenterologist, I spend at least one third of my professional life helping patients who have functional gastrointestinal conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, functional dyspepsia and non-cardiac chest pain of esophageal origin, in which medical tests do not explain the cause of the symptoms. It has been my experience - and the scientific research confirms - that many to most patients with functional gastrointestinal syndromes also suffer from one or more non-gastrointestinal functional symptoms and syndromes, such as fibromyalgia. These functional problems are all related. I began to study medically unexplained body distress and realized that there have been important scientific breakthroughs that can help both patients and doctors understand and manage functional illness. There is a great deal of misinformation that confuses people, and it seems difficult to find comprehensive information that makes sense. Furthermore, I became increasingly frustrated that both I and physicians in general usually do not have sufficient time available to provide adequate patient education and assist patients to help themselves.

It is for all of these reasons that I have written two books for patients who suffer with functional symptoms and syndromes, which focus upon the science and neurobiology of the Mind/BrainBody Connection and its interrelationship with the environment (the world around and within us). Finally, empiric and scientific evidence continues to confirm that there is a spiritual dimension to the Connection and that spirituality and religion can be beneficial to health. In this regard, an inclusive term is the Mind/BrainBodySpirit Connection.

Overview of Mind/BrainBodySpirit Medicine

The last century has brought remarkable advances in biomedical technology and treatment. As a society, we have come to expect that effective treatments and cure should be available for many to most medical conditions. Yet, most of the symptoms, syndromes, and illnesses that people and patients experience cannot be explained by organic disease identifiable by currently available medical tests and the biomedical model of illness, disease, healing, and health.

Most of these medically unexplained "functional" symptoms and illnesses are related to medical labeling (medicalization) of functional symptoms as functional syndromes (e.g., fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome), stress and the stress response, the emotional brain and emotional distress, negative thinking and beliefs, and unhealthy lifestyle choices and behaviors. These factors also cause or contribute to serious diseases, such as insulin resistance syndrome (metabolic syndrome X).

Parkview Publishing explores these factors through an understanding of the Mind/BrainBody Connection and its interrelatedness to heredity (genetics) and the environment, both physical and social. There is a scientific and neurobiologic basis of the Mind/BrainBody Connection that is common to all healing traditions. Understanding homeostasis (internal stability), the stress response, the emotional brain, distinctions between treatment and healing, the placebo response, and our innate capacity for self-healing represents the intersection and convergent common ground of ancient, traditional, complementary, alternative, and Western biomedical approaches to health, disease, illness, and healing.

Finally, empiric and scientific evidence continues to confirm that there is a spiritual dimension to the Mind/BrainBody Connection and that spirituality and religion can be beneficial to health. In this regard, an inclusive term is the Mind/BrainBodySpirit Connection and MindBodySpirit medicine.

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