Celeste L. Amaya, M.D.
Most of us are familiar with the fight or flight effect, where the body produces high amounts of steroid hormones and stress response cortisol. These chemicals (also known as stress-related inflammatory hormones) are important in regulating systems through out the body such as the heart, lungs, blood circulation, immune response, skin, brain functions, nervous system, etc. For example, we have trained ourselves to perceive consciously or unconsciously many situations as stressful and when this happens our body responds by increasing the heart rate, blood pressure goes up, breathing becomes rapid, blood flow increases 300% to 400%, muscles become tense, mouth is dry, we feel cool, clammy, sweaty skin, less digestive activity, etc.
In general, repeated stress response puts a strain in the body and this contributes to physical and psychological problems.
What is mindfulness-based Medicine?
Why does stress have a physical effect on your body?
Stress has real health consequences and we have developed a treatment modality that is helping all our patients overcome acute and chronic illnesses successfully.
Mindfulness is about experiencing the now. What this means is that we must be aware of what is happening to our mind and body at this particular moment in time and be able to embrace and understand what they are telling us. When mindfulness and medicine are combined, we are able to achieve a higher level of health never experienced before.
The health benefits of mindfulness are tangible and there are multiple studies that have shown the effects on alleviating pain, stress, etc., but recently we found that the effects go deeper. Mindfulness therapy shrinks the brain's area responsible for "fight or flight." Other studies have shown that people who practice mindfulness have different patterns of brain electricity leading to higher potential for learning and concentration.