The Connection – Documentary (2014)
At 24 years old filmmaker Shannon Harvey was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. Her immune system had become hyperactive and was attacking normal, healthy tissues. Her muscles and joints were inflamed and she was told if her disease progressed she could end up with organ failure, or wheelchair bound. In search of a cure, Shannon tried everything from drugs to alternative therapies and everything in between. But she was still sick. There was one thing she did know. When she was stressed, she got worse and with a background in journalism, Shannon sought answers in pioneering science. On her journey to getting better, Shannon realized that in order to change her health she needed to change her mind.
The Connection is about how frontier research is proving that there is a direct connection between your mind and your health.
The film features scientists, researchers, writers and doctors, as well as remarkable true stories of people adding mind body medicine to their healing toolkit to recover from severe back pain, heart disease, infertility, cancer and multiple sclerosis. While the science is complex, the solutions for people suffering with illness are astonishingly simple. The film shows that we can counter the harmful affects of stress with an equally powerful relaxation response triggered through specific techniques such as meditation. It shows that emotions can impact the course of an illness for better or for worse and could even be the difference between life and death. The film explains the mechanisms behind belief, which scientists now know contributes 30 to 50 percent of the effect of any known biological cure and explores how scientists at the cutting edge are now learning that the mind can even influence the expression of genes and the rate at which we age.
“We have more say in our own health than even our doctors.”
Jon Kabat Zinn, Ph.D.
Founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
This is a film for people who have tried everything. It offers answers and proves that you can change your mind, change your health and change your life.
Until recently mind body research was considered quackery in scientific circles. But with the advent of new technology the scientific fields of psychiatry, neuroscience, immunology, endocrinology and genetics are increasingly coming together to consider how the mind, brain and biological systems work together to affect health. It’s a field of research often called to as Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI), which looks at the interaction between different processes in the body that have traditionally been studied separately.
“If there was a patentable product that has those kinds of effects, we’d be all over it; we’d be spending billions of dollars on research and rolling it out in no time at all.”
Craig Hassed MD, Monash University.
Mind body research is now in a golden age with scientists around the world learning increasingly more about how the mind and body interact. They study things such as the physiology of the stress response and how we can counter its harmful effects with the relaxation response.
Researchers are looking at the biological mechanisms triggered during meditation which can influence the expression of genes, and even the rate at which we age. They’re starting to understand role of belief and the powerful placebo and nocebo responses, how emotions can impact the course of an illness, and ultimately how the mind can affect the outcome of disease.
With: Herbert Benson, Alice Domar, Craig Duncan, Damien Finnis, Ian Gawler, Craig Hassed, Dean Ornish, David Spiegel, Jon Kabat-Zinn.
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