Wellness has been an important HAUTE topic for years. Yet, now with the current Presidential election in the USA, and mind- boggling dynamics of a political campaign season unlike any other in the history of the United States, statistics show that more and more people are feeling stressed and are overwhelmed with anxiety about what is happening in the world, in their communities, and in their lives and need to heal and want help. What is the solution? “Haute Healing” of course, and one place that can help is located at 151 Merrimac Street, 4th Floor, Boston, MA 02114. Since 2006, the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine (BHI) has been integrating the field of mind body medicine into Massachusetts General Hospital’s clinical care, research and training programs and helping to give people the tools to better care for themselves.
Their main objectives are:
- Documenting and furthering the understanding of Mind Body Medicine through research
- Providing treatment that reduces the physical and emotional impact of stress
- Training health care professionals, medical students, post-doctoral fellows, and educators
and their mission is to fully integrate mind body medicine into mainstream healthcare.
Boston has been known as the brain capital of the United States forever – from the world’s leading schools, colleges and universities – to the world’s leading healthcare – hospitals and doctors and so forth. And Herbert Benson, MD, has been a pioneer in mind body medicine, and one of the first Western physicians to bring spirituality and healing into medicine. Dr. Herbert Benson has worked to build awareness of mind body medicine, to validate it through research, and to bridge the gap between Western and Eastern medical practices for more than 40 years. As the Director Emeritus of the Benson-Henry Institute (BHI), and mind body medicine Professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, his goal is the Integration of mind body medicine into current health care models. Empirical evidence shows, “60% to 90% of doctor visits are for conditions related to stress” says the BHI, and furthermore, “This stunning statistic tells us that stress is a massive public health issue, and that addressing it or, better yet, preventing it is essential to effective health care. The BHI is helping to make mind body medicine an integral aspect of our health care system, which increasingly recognizes the importance of disease prevention through self care and healthy lifestyle choices.” This is the only genuine and viable solution to solve a horrific challenge and health crisis of our time. From weight management, to stress and anxiety, to diabetes, these major health issues are real and must be addressed in a reasonable and wise way.
There are many holistic health, yoga, and fitness facilities in Boston, so what exactly does the BHI offer that can be helpful on your wellness journey toward healing and living a healthy lifestyle? “The BHI see Mind Body Medicine as the third leg of a three-legged stool, the first leg being surgery, the second leg, pharmaceuticals and the third leg, self care, in which patients learn techniques to improve their own health through Mind Body Medicine, nutrition and exercise.” Therefore, it may not be for everyone, but certainly can and does provide help to thousands of people that are being treated at the Benson-Henry Institute each year. And one would expect no less than the most experienced, efficient, and well respected clinicians in the field using techniques and tools that help promote healing via both in-person and online trainings for physicians and other practitioners. Yet, this important work is global so not only are they reaching the Boston community, but their work is helping people around the world. In addition, BHI brings relaxation response-based programs to classroom teachers and students, the corporate sector and the general public.
“Putting the patient at the center of care, in order to address the full range of physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual influences affecting health.” and “Helping people build personal resiliency: the ability to “rise above” or “bounce back from” stressful situations.” These are just two of the main mantras of the Benson- Henry Institute (BHI) For Mind Body Medicine At Massachusetts General Hospital and I had the wonderful opportunity to discuss wellness and more with Dr. Darshan H. Mehta, of the Benson- Henry Institute (BHI) For Mind Body Medicine At Massachusetts General Hospital. Here is what he shared:
1. Where were you born? When were you born?
Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India in 1977.
2. What’s your favorite style of clothing, homes, cars, people? Who inspires you? Business casual – looking professional, but in comfort. I prefer modern, urban living, energy-efficient cars and outgoing, interesting people. Gandhi inspires me.
3. What inspires you?
4. Are you a spiritual or religious person? What is your favorite color?
5. What is the most important thing in the world to you? What is your favorite food?
World peace. Pizza.
6. If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, then who would it be? What is your favorite music? Favorite song?
President Obama. “With or Without You,” by U2.
7. Do you think that humanity is living in a peaceful time? If yes, then why? If no, then what would you do to bring more peace to humanity?
No. Teach meditation in school.
8. What is your 1 year goal? What is your 5 year goal?
1 year goal is to learn to be a good father. 5 year goal is to be a great father.
9. What is the most important message you want me to communicate to my audience /my readers? What is the greatest accomplishment in your life?
Doing stress reduction work is quite simple, but it does require some guidance. Becoming a father.
10. Where is your favorite place to be in the world?
11. Tell me about your latest work? Is the focus on stress management? I understand that Dr. Herbert Benson still leads the way in terms of the best mind body medicine tools and techniques on how to manage stress.
It focuses on genomics and its applications in mind body medicine, looking at costs of healthcare associated with patients who practice mind body care.
12. How long have you been the medical director of the Benson-Henry Institute(BHI) For Mind Body Medicine At Massachusetts General Hospital? What is the most important part about the Mind Body Medicine program that one needs to know? Please talk about your role at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine. Do you wish to see more collaborations with other wellness centers? If yes, then why and what are your hopes to achieve?
Seven years. The BHI’s 8-week Stress Management and Resiliency Training (SMART) program provides participants with the skills they need to practice self-care. These tools include meditation, mindfulness, breathing, yoga and healthy living. Studies show the benefits of such practices to overall health and wellness.
In both roles – at BHI and Osher – I work with teaching the next generations of physicians around the role of utilizing mind body and integrative practices in health care.
13. Why is teaching mindfulness so important at this time in humanity from your perspective?
Today’s world has tremendous stress-related problems from the individual, societal, political and spiritual fronts; these simple approaches have tremendous power on a global scale.
14. Your center is located at Massachusetts General Hospital, 151 Merrimac Street, Boston, MA 02114, can anyone join a class and/or come in for care? And if yes, then how can one participate and join? What is required? How can one register for class? Is it best one calls phone: (617) 643-6090?
Patients would call in and be initially evaluated by a physician who would then determine the best treatment plan for the patients which may include participation in one of our group-based clinical programs.
15. October 20-23, 2016, the institute’s annual conference at Harvard Medical School is taking place and this year the title is, “Mind Body Medicine: Its Role in Compassionate Care,” please tell me more what one can expect during the 3 ½ day Continuing Medical Education (CME) course? I understand that this years event is being held at the Joseph Martin Conference Center in Boston? What do you think the highlight of the conference will be in terms of the most pressing health issues of our time?
The latest in scientific advances in the field.
16. What motivates you the most about being the Medical Director of the Benson-Henry Institute (BHI) For Mind Body Medicine?
I get to do work that very few people get to do in medicine.
17. How did you meet Dr. Herbert Benson?
I met him when I was a clinical research fellow at Harvard Medical School.
18. What inspires you most about Dr. Benson and the fact that he has been a pioneer in Mind Body Medicine, and one of the first Western physicians to bring spirituality and healing into medicine. As stated on your Website, Dr. Benson has worked for more than 40 years to build awareness of Mind Body Medicine, to validate it through research, and to bridge the gap between Western and Eastern medical practices. What would you say are the benefits of authenticity on the pathway of healing and how can one determine what is genuine and true and what is a fad and not truly holistic and healthy?
He’s been a trailblazer and his career pathway has changed the trajectory of how we think about health and wellness. Being in academic medicine, we have the benefit of being critical of the work we do and that critique inspires new directions in authenticating the health benefits we observe.
19. The following question is for you and Dr. Benson, Director Emeritus of the Benson-Henry Institute (BHI), and Mind Body Medicine Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School. How do you combine spirituality and science to build bridges as pathways for healing? What is the difference between integrative and integrated?
We want to understand patients’ beliefs and practices to the degree that we can identify belief systems that cultivate the physiology we believe is health promoting. In that regard, science and spirituality can be symbiotic. I see no difference between integrative and integrated.
20. Please tell me whatever you want me to be sure that I write about you, Dr. Herbert Benson, the Benson-Henry Institute (BHI) For Mind Body Medicine, and your teachings. What do you want me to be sure to include in my story?
There is also a tremendous problem of health care provider burnout and a new focus of the institute has been to restore the wellbeing of healthcare providers through Stress Management training.
This weekend, Dr. Mehta will be giving workshops and presenting RR Skills: Imagery, Mindfulness and Contemplation on Saturday, October 22, 2016 at 9:30 AM and again at 2:15 PM and Sunday, October 23, 2016, he will present “Establishing a Mind Body Clinic” at 9 AM. For more information, https://www.bensonhenryinstitute.org. and/or call (617) 643-6090.