Every day, dozens of new medical studies are written about by science journalists, explaining in laymen's terms where the cutting edge of health care is at this very moment. Often, these findings are big news, and they give hope to millions of people who suffer, or whose loved ones suffer, from these illnesses.
However, these articles always end the discussion at who the treatment helped. The fact of the matter is that all studies, even very successful ones, have outliers: people who do not respond to the treatment.
In a study of 100 patients, if 90% saw an improvement in their symptoms after using drug XYZ, that means 10 people didn't get any better while taking the drug. It is only recently that scientists have become interested in why some people in every study don't respond to treatment like most people do.
Antidepressants are a perfect example. Some people respond so well, that, after a year or two on pharmaceuticals, their depression becomes treatable without drugs. Other people are helped by the same antidepressant for a couple years, and then grow resistant to it, and require additional treatment. Still other people have no positive reaction to the antidepressant at all, and have to go through six weeks of trying the drug out before realizing it just isn't helping them.
This is all to say that medicine, yes, even mind-body medicine, is not a one-size-fits-all situation. But, mind-body medicine does has some distinct advantages when it comes to making unique treatments for each individual.
Mind-body medicine has no "trial period." If you don't feel good in the first one or two days of Tai Chi, then it's on to another mind-body treatment. Mind-body medicine also gives the patient incredible control over their "dosage," so to speak. You can do 10 seconds of mindful stretching, 20 seconds, 27 seconds, 1 minute, or however long it helps you relieve the soft tissue tension without creating soreness. It's cheap, too.
So don't feel defeated if one treatment doesn't work for you. Whether it's a drug or and exercise or something else. Consider all your options, and know that you aren't alone. There are a lot of other people in your exact position, looking for treatment that works.
Quick reminder to come to my two functions this Sunday and Monday! Sunday is a meditation workshop at Yang's in Andover, and Monday is the Integrative Therapies Fair at Dana-Farber. Hope to see lots of you there!