the healing power of community

Eli Camp NDI was recently at a medical conference and a quote from the late Dr. Bill Mitchell was shared with the group – the gist of it was that docs forget to prescribe people and community (communion) as a healing modality. I spent some time reflecting on this and what it means for my patients and myself. How often do I prescribe or self-prescribe communion? Is this really a treatment that can be given out like one prescribes Ibuprofen, Ignatia, Vitamin C or hot chicken soup? How about in place of Nexium, Lisinopril or Lipitor? Could it induce more powerful healing than acupuncture, meditation or 30 minutes at the gym? The research indicates that it very well could be just as powerful, if not more, for some people than other kinds of medicine and therapies.

What can it do for you? Well, it can help boost and regulate immune function, lower stress hormones that are abnormally elevated, increase feelings of peace and well being which in turn lead to better functioning in the body overall, improve the health of your GI tract, help your body get rid of cancer cells, help you sleep better, help you absorb nutrients better and the list goes on. The field of Psychoneuroimmunology has a vast amount of research and evidence that shows us people who regularly commune with supportive and loving members of their family and social group live longer, healthier and happier lives.

Some of my favorite communing activities: a weekend cookout with friends, and some mellow music, a hike along the beach with my grandchildren, a girl’s get together at our local sushi restaurant, sipping hot tea with my best friend as the sun is setting over my pond, watching Star Trek with my husband at night, Sunday morning breakfast where the whole family is helping to prepare something for the meal, a stroll with my puppy Asia, lunch with my students and of course, communing with myself in a long hot bath on Sunday afternoon.

I regularly prescribe this for my patients and while it may be hard at first for some of them, it quickly becomes in integral part of their healing journey. Consider this “therapy” for yourself and build in regular times in your day and week where you are simply interacting with people.

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