The greatest mistake in the treatment of disease is that there are physicians for the body and physicians for the soul, although the two cannot be separated.
The amazing thing about this quote is that it is more than 2400 years old – it comes from Plato. Yet it is applicable now as it was then.
Medicine is slowly evolving. There has been an increasing scientific interest in mind and body links since Henry K. Beecher published his classic work entitled “The Powerful Placebo” in 1955. In the past 50 years researchers have begun to focus on the power of the mind in influencing the body and illness leading to:
• The establishment of the field of psychoimmunology which seeks to quantify and detail how the mind affects the immune system and through the immune system affects disease;
• The establishment of the field of psychophysiology which details the body and mind interactions;
• The change in research protocols in clinical trials aimed at quantifying or controlling for psychological factors and the body’s potential to heal itself, in order to explain the ‘placebo’ and understand what the true treatment effect is.