As a result of a grant from the National Institute of Health National Center of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), Georgetown University School of Medicine has integrated a course in Mind-Body Medicine into its medical school curriculum. In addition, an annual professional training program in Mind-Body Medicine is being offered to the faculty of Georgetown University School of Medicine and Georgetown University Law Center.
Mind-body approaches - including self-awareness, relaxation, meditation, guided imagery, biofeedback, physical exercise, art, music and movement - are among the best known and most widely used of the complementary, alternative or integrative approaches to healthcare.
Mind-body approaches are particularly important in another way. By their very nature they put high value on, and teach the power of self-awareness and self-care. In so doing, they help shape the new integrative model of healthcare - one in which treatment is balanced with teaching; in which prevention and self-care are given as much respect as procedures and pharmacological interventions.
In order for students to understand the potential of mind-body approaches, as well as apply them in clinical practice, we believe that they should experience these approaches themselves. It is not enough to hear about mind-body medicine and to read and comprehend the scientific basis for its efficacy. Rather, for students to appreciate their patients' capacities for self-awareness and self-care, students should experience and realize their own abilities.
To that end, the Mind-Body Medicine Program, supported by the administration and faculty, takes medical, and graduate students through a series of exercises used to promote overall well-being, stress management, empathy, self-awareness and self-care.
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