Sunday, 5 June 2016

Mind over Matter

by Aaron Henry

Our minds are perhaps more important than our physical strength or conditioning when it comes to realising the fullest potential of our power.
The Hapkido student looks to co-ordinate as much of his or her power as possible when delivering techniques. However long before any of our muscles were put into action to develop our Hapkido skills, all of us somewhere along the line, made the choice to undertake this effort.
Without that force of will, without our power of the will, our physical power would remain unused. The simple act of choosing is an example of will-power in action. And there is much more mind-power that is available to us.   
Popular examples of the ‘mind over matter’ phenomenon are visualization, for athletes, meditation and having a positive outlook, all these examples employ our mind towards achieving an actual effect in what we are intending to do.
However just how much a certain way of thinking can go to achieve physical results can be seen in research relating to ‘the placebo effect’. 
The placebo effect is a positive physical outcome caused by a drug, which cannot be attributed to the properties of the drug itself because the drug which was given to the patient was inert, fake and is usually just a sugar pill. 
The positive result must therefore be due to the person’s belief that the drug will work for them. 
Placebo treatments have been seen to stimulate real physiological responses, from changes in heart rate and blood pressure to chemical activity in the brain, in cases involving pain, depression, anxiety, fatigue, and even some symptoms of Parkinson’s.
In a 2013 article from Harvard Magazine it was reported that two weeks into a clinical drug trial, nearly a third of 270 subjects complained of awful side effects. 
All the patients had joined the study hoping to alleviate severe arm pain: carpal tunnel, tendinitis, chronic pain in the elbow, shoulder and wrist. 
Half the patients received pain-reducing pills; the others were offered acupuncture treatments. 
In both cases, people began to call in, saying they couldn’t get out of bed. The pills were making them sluggish, the needles caused swelling and redness; some patients’ pain ballooned to nightmarish levels.
The side effects were simply amazing but even more astounding was that the pills which had been given to the patients were actually made of corn-starch. The “acupuncture” needles were retractable shams that never pierced the skin
However the side effects were exactly what patients had been warned their treatment might produce. 
There are good reasons why Hapkido students train mind AND body to the best of our ability.

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