Gabor Maté: Mind/Body Unity and the Stress- Disease Connection

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Stress is ubiquitous these days — it plays a role in the workplace, in the home, and virtually everywhere that people interact. It can take a heavy toll unless it is recognized and managed effectively and insightfully. Western medicine, in theory and practice, tends to treat mind and body as separate entities. is separation, which has always gone against ancient human wisdom, has now been demonstrated by modern science to be not only artificial, but false. e brain and body systems that process emotions are intimately connected with the hormonal apparatus, the nervous system, and in particular the immune system. Emotional stress, especially of the hidden kind that people are not aware of, undermines immunity, disrupts the body’s physiological milieu and can prepare the ground for disease. ere is strong evidence to suggest that in nearly all chronic conditions, from cancer, ALS, or multiple sclerosis to autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease or Alzheimer’s, hidden stress is a major predisposing factor. In an important sense, disease in an individual can be seen as the “end point” of a multigenerational emotional process. If properly understood, these conditions can provide important openings for compassion and self-awareness, which in turn are major tools in recovery and healing.

Dr. Maté’s presentation includes research findings, compelling and poignant anecdotes from his own extensive experience in family practice and palliative care, and illuminating biographies of famous people such as athlete Lance Armstrong, the late comedienne Gilda Radner, or famed baseball legend Lou Gehrig. The presentation is based on When the Body Says No, a bestselling book that has been translated into more than ten languages on five continents.

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