Exploring the Stress-Disease Connection, The Wholistic Way, with Dr. Gabor Maté

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. This separation, which has always gone against ancient human wisdom, has now been demonstrated by modern science to be not only artificial, but false. The 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. There 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.

This presentation by Dr. Maté includes research findings, compelling and poignant anecdotes from his own extensive experience in family practice and palliative care, and illuminating biographies of famous people

Gabor Maté M.D. is a physician and best-selling author whose books have been published in twenty languages internationally. His interests include child development, the mind-body unity in health and illness, and the treatment of addictions.

“I’m often asked how people should approach their physicians, who may be very adept at their craft but limited by the narrowness of the medical ideology. “It’s the same as going to a bakery,” I reply. “When you enter a bakery, don’t ask for salami, just as when you go to the butcher, it is no use to ask for cookies.” Receive, I suggest, what the physician can offer—and often that can be miraculous—but do not seek what the doctor cannot. Find alternative sources for what most physicians cannot provide: a holistic approach that considers not organs and systems but the entire human organism. Take responsibility for how you live, the food you ingest, your emotional balance, your spiritual development, the integrity of your relationships,” mentioned Maté.

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