chapter  6
28 Pages

Mind–Body Therapies

The use of mind–body therapies reaches back through history in the form of meditation and other spiritual practices focused on health and healing. In the modern medical setting, mind–body therapies are used to harness the connections between emotions and physiology to benefit health with a secular philosophy and intent. Common mind–body therapies include breath work, biofeedback, guided imagery, clinical hypnosis, yoga, tai chi, and mindfulness meditation. Interest in the use of mindfulness in medicine is also increasing as a valuable tool to prevent and address burnout among medical professionals (Fortney et al. 2013; West et al. 2014). Mind–body techniques add an important dimension to the practice of pediatrics by offering powerful, non-invasive and non-pharmacologic treatments applicable in a flexible range of settings. Often called self-regulation skills, the mind–body therapies can be especially helpful when fear, stress, and pain are amplified by a feeling of loss of control and an inability to understand the purpose of the intervention, often the case in pediatrics. Used well, mind–body skills can help a child reframe a painful or difficult experience into one that builds a sense of resiliency, self-control, and confidence (Vohra et al. 2016).