“Giving and receiving love and intimacy are healing for both the giver and for the recipient.”
Dean Ornish, M.D.
Many years ago, while taking a health psychology class, I happened to read the book Love and Survival by Dean Ornish, M.D. I was intrigued! While I valued (now value even more) love for many reasons, this book gave me the scientific background for love in healing. He cites many studies on love and connection, some dating back into the 1950’s. Connecting with others and creating a support system is a major component in the Dr. Dean Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease.
When I initially read the book in 1999, his program was doing so well that Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company was helping to fund his integrative health research. I was impressed! Now, his program for reversing heart disease is covered through Medicare. I am, again, impressed!
Back to love and connection: Many wonder what love has to do with it. Love is about building connections of all kinds. With love and these connections, people live longer and better. They are happier, more joy-full and have more fun. Love gives us a brighter, more positive perspective on life. And, love protects us from getting diseases and is instrumental in fighting them off.
Ornish talks about us having an emotional heart, a psychological heart and a spiritual heart as well as the physical heart that pumps blood through our bodies. We have to take care of all of them! Love and connection is just as important as nutrition, exercise and managing our stress. They all work together! Plus, they work throughout the whole body!
While love and intimacy play a powerful role in our health, and there are hundreds of studies that show this, it is still a mystery as to the ‘why’. Ornish includes a chapter, ‘The Dialogues on Science and Mystery’, where he interviewed various colleagues to ask them ‘why’. One is Jon Kabot-Zin, PhD. who’s stress reduction programs focus on meditation, intimacy and healing. Another one I especially like is Candace Pert, PhD. who uses a ‘bodymind’ connection between emotions and our health. While Ornish may not agree with all of them, they are very interesting and worth exploring. See what you think?
Have a great day and more on love tomorrow! Cheryl