Historically, Western medicine has separated the mind from the body. But research has established the complex links between the mind, emotions, and physical health that should be considered in medical care. Mind-body therapy focuses on the connections between mental health issues and physical health.
Treatments used in
Mind-body therapy includes treatments such as biofeedback, relaxation techniques, cognitive behavior therapy, mindfulness, behavioral training, counseling and more. Therapy is administered by a trained, certified, and licensed psychologist.
Your role in treatment
Every patient’s success in mind-body therapy may vary. To get the most out of your sessions, follow your treatment plan and honestly communicate with your therapist.
Treatment spotlight: behavioral counseling and biofeedback
Behavioral counseling is a system of therapy used to help individuals make changes in their lives by looking objectively at behaviors, feelings, and thoughts during troubling situations.
At UCHealth, behavioral counseling is often enhanced through other specific mind-body therapies like relaxation training and breathing techniques. This not only makes therapies more powerful, but also allows patients to take a proactive, self-care role in their therapy.
Research has shown behavioral counseling to have a positive effect on emotional, mental, and physical health. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), about 75 percent of people who partake in cognitive behavior therapy experience some benefits.
Biofeedback is a powerful therapeutic tool used to teach patients how to self-regulate their bodies and behaviors. During biofeedback therapy treatment, sensors are attached to the skin, allowing providers to monitor the patient’s involuntary bodily functions: heartbeat, blood pressure, hand temperature, muscle contractions, and brain-wave activity. They can then associate certain behaviors and mental stimuli with pain, anxiety, and other disorders.
Through psychologist-led training, mental exercises, and trial and error, biofeedback studies can help patients learn how to control these involuntary functions and positively improve their conditions. For example, thermal biofeedback has been shown to improve migraine symptoms by 37%, according to the American Family Physician (AAFP).
Conditions treated by mind-body therapy
- Coping with a chronic illness
- Fibromyalgia and other pain conditions
- Grief and identity issues
- High blood pressure
- Mood swings or disorders
- Motion sickness
- Pain (reduction of pain intensity and pain unpleasantness)
- Sleep problems
- Smoking cessation
- Weight management
Your mind-body treatment session
Before your session
Our model of mind-body therapy emphasizes a coordinated team approach. To accomplish this, your therapist will collaborate with your outside health care providers as well as with your other providers at the Integrative Medicine location and UCHealth. We will always ask for your consent to do this. Everything discussed during your appointments is legally confidential and cannot be released without your consent. Your therapist will discuss confidentiality with you in detail before you begin treatment.
Have questions ready. Write down some questions to ask when you meet with your doctor for the first time. You may be asked questions about your medical history including injuries, surgeries, major illness, and any medications you take.
During your treatment
You will begin therapy by identifying conditions and behaviors in your life that you’d like to change. Your therapist may ask you how you’d like things to be different, or they may recommend places to start making adjustments. After you’ve established what you’d like to change, you and your therapist will determine goals and targets, which will function as markers for progress.
Over the course of your treatment, your therapist may recommend a variety of mind-body medicine techniques, including biofeedback, relaxation techniques, cognitive behavior therapy, mindfulness, and behavioral counseling. Work with your therapist to determine the best approaches for you.
How many sessions will I need?
Every mind-body medicine and therapy plan is specially designed for the individual. The length of your personalized treatment program depends on your specific condition and your goals. Regular home practice is important.
During your first session, your therapist will help you determine the length of time it should take for you to see changes. Our care is characterized as short term, typically six months or less.
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). Mind and Body Practices (https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/mind-and-body-practices)
National Cancer Institute (NCI). Definition of mind-body practice (https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/mind-body-practice)