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That Mysterious Leap from Mind to Body

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To get a sense of where mind/body medicine is going, we need to know where it has been. Here an esteemed historian and philosopher of psychology outlines a colorful history of the discovery of the subconscious, depth psychology, the placebo effect, psycho-neuroimmunology, and neurotheology. It all begins appropriately with a man cured by a train wreck on the way to see his physician…

This article appeared in our December 2003 issue. 1872 Mind/Body Science Begins England's Daniel HackTuke is traveling on a train to see his physician when the train crashes. Tuke is physically unhurt but deeply shocked. Afterward, he finds that the symptoms of his illness have disappeared. Intrigued, he collects similar cases, which he publishes in the book Illustrations of the Influence of the Mind Upon the Body in Health and Disease, Designed to Elucidate the Action of the Imagination. It is perhaps the first book on the science of mind/body medicine. Soon thereafter, the New York neurologist George Miller Beard gives a talk to the American Neurological Association on the mind's influence on disease, calling on physicians to use the power of the doctor-patient relationship to assist recovery. The talk creates an uproar. Beard is accused of claiming that physicians should abandon the stethoscope and scalpel for the begging bowl and the robe. 1880s The Surging of the Subconscious French psychopathologists, using such techniques as hypnosis, crystal-gazing, and automatic writing, articulate the …

Eugene Taylor, Ph.D., is an executive faculty member at the Saybrook Institute, a lecturer on psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and senior psychologist on the Psychiatry Service of Massachusetts General Hospital.


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From the ArchivesPsychologyBehaviorMedicineScience And SpiritualityMind-Body

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