Healing Mind

Paul Martin, Author St. Martin's Press $25.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-312-18664-7
In an engaging manner, behavioral biologist Martin takes a comprehensive look at the relationship of mind and body, contending that the dualism so entrenched in Western thought is misleading. Steering well clear of New Age thought, Martin presents a scientifically sound case demonstrating that mind and body are integrally linked. ""The mind affects the body and hence physical health,"" he writes. ""Conversely, physical health affects the mind and hence our thoughts, emotions and behaviour."" Martin's focus is largely on the newly developing field of psychoneuroimmunology, the ways in which psychology and neurobiology come together to influence the functioning of the immune system. Possible mechanisms through which our mental state can affect the onset and course of such maladies as cancer, heart disease, AIDS and bacterial infections are examined, and although the hypotheses discussed are still somewhat speculative, they are also tantalizing. Discussed in addition is the role, both positive and negative, that stress plays in regulating the immune system. Throughout, Martin does a fine job of presenting information in an evolutionary context, although he does rely rather excessively on classic literary texts (from King Lear to Crime and Punishment and beyond) to demonstrate the ""links among the mind, emotions, behaviour, disease and death."" (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/29/1998
Release date: 07/01/1998
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