At a minimum there are three positions it is possible to adopt regarding the relationship between mental attitude and physical health. Each position includes many differences of degree. One position states that all illnesses or disease originate at a non-physical level, whether mental, emotional or spiritual. Holistic medicine of all kinds, and many alternative therapies, treat mental attitude and physical condition as inseparable.
'Nothing in nature can hurt us when we are happy and in harmony.' If this is so then physical cure can only be effective if there is a change in attitude, in other words attitudinal healing. This is a vital element of self-healing and can involve the patient determining what might have been the basis of the condition, or what purpose it might serve. It has been shown that mental attitude is often linked with cancer and with the prospect and rate of recovery. Opinions vary to a wide degree on the extent to which these attitudes are important and relevant.
Many people accept that there is probably a connection between attitude and general well-being, and perhaps even susceptibility to disease. However there are many that maintain that to claim that attitude can achieve actual healing is to confuse health-building with the elimination of disease. This latter position sees that positive mental attitudes appear to be conducive to positive health, but at best have preventive rather than curative benefit.
The third position that recognises the link between mind and body as somewhat weak, is to consider attitude important only in so far as it helps the patient to deal with illness. A positive attitude is then simply a part of the coping strategy when faced with disease or illness.
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