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A Letter to Skeptics of Mind Body Medicine

Dear Skeptic,   On my recent holiday in the US, I met a father of three young kids who has a chronic illness which conventional medicine says is likely to slowly progress until he is disabled. He has Multiple Sclerosis. I asked him if he was familiar with the work of Professor George Jelinek who has developed a program showing that it is possible to recover from MS. What astonished me was that he had heard of the program, but that he dismissed it as if it was quackery.  

If you haven’t seen my film, The Connection you may not be familiar with Jelinek’s work. He is one of the most respected emergency physicians in Australia and was the first person in Australia to be given a professorial appointment for the discipline. He has written and edited several emergency medicine textbooks, was the founding editor of the journal Emergency Medicine Australasia and has not only been awarded the College Medal of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (its highest individual honor) but he’s also been nominated for the Australian of the Year award in Western Australia. People don’t get much more credible than that.  

On top of all this, Jelinek was diagnosed with MS, a crushing blow to a man in the prime of his career, who witnessed his own mother’s tragic experience with the illness ultimately resulting in her suicide. But instead of giving himself up to the disease and trusting solely in medication that promised no chance of recovery, he used his research skills to delve into the depths of peer reviewed academic papers to come up with a program.  

The result is the Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis program, and recently Jelinek and his team have been publishing a series of papers demonstrating that the program can dramatically improve life for people with MS. The program doesn’t promise a cure but it does offer hope and some people have experienced a complete reversal in symptoms. In addition to a strict diet, the OMS program incorporates lifestyle changes that involve stress reduction through techniques like meditation.  

Needless to say, Jelinek’s story is exactly what I was looking for when I was researching my film, which is about how the latest science is showing that there’s a direct connection between your mind, body and health. I’m a journalist who was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and after extensive research, I felt compelled to make a film to show others that they have far more power over their health than they may have realized.  

Jelinek is one of sixteen people featured in the film. Many of the others in the film have as equally esteemed backgrounds. In fact fourteen of the sixteen people have the title ‘Doctor’ or ‘Professor’ before their first name. These experts come from places like Harvard and Stanford. The integrity of the information I put in my film was paramount.  

The result has been a tremendous response from medical circles. We partnered with the Benson Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine for a screening in Boston where the full cinema, which housed 450 people, consisted mostly of medical practitioners attending a conference at Harvard Medical School.  

Our London premiere featured a panel discussion afterwards including Dr. Peter Fisher who happens to be physician to Her Majesty the Queen as well as the Clinical Director and Director of Research at the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine.   Dr. Eric Dickson, the President and CEO of UMass Memorial Health Care (who is responsible for about 60% of the healthcare needs in Massachusetts), is showing the film next week to his medical staff. If they attend, they get credit towards the hospital's incentivized wellness program.  

The integrity of the research and experts in the film has meant that medical communities see it as being on par with their own agenda of providing world’s best medical practice in order to help people get better, or encourage people to stay well.   I know there’s a lot of pseudo science out there and I know it’s hard to believe that lifestyle changes can reverse cellular ageing. I know it’s hard to believe that meditation can flip the switch on genes affecting disease or that the words your doctor uses can change the way your body responds to an illness. But these things are now being proven by some of the world’s brightest people and being published in peer reviewed academic journals. More importantly, programs are being developed based on this research with astonishing results that conventional medicine alone cannot achieve.   I sent a copy of my film to the man I met with MS who had dismissed the OMS program as quackery, but I never got a response. This makes me very sad, sad for the man’s wife and sad for the man’s three kids. MS is a horrible disease and before him is a chance to live better. Maybe not longer or without disability, but better.  

When the evidence is so compelling, why would you choose to ignore it, especially when your health and the health of the people around you depend on it?   Wishing you wellness, Shannon Harvey, Director of The Connection


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