Psychophysiology is the branch of Physiology that is the scientific study of the interaction between the mind and the body also referred to as the psyche and physiological processes. Historically, there has been a large chasm between the allopathic (mainstream) and alternative medical worlds with regard to views on Psychophysiology. While the allopathic medical field continues to follow the Cartesian model of health, in which mind and body are seen as separate, the alternative medical field stands firmly on the notion that the mind and body are intricately connected.
In general, the treatment in the mainstream medical system is oriented towards fixing or curing isolated symptoms in the body. Alternative health providers strive to look at the symptoms, as well as the underlying pathology, or cause. While the first focuses isolated parts of a whole system, the latter group strives to address the whole being, mind and body, emotions and physical symptoms. They believe that mental processes intricately affect bodily ones, and vice versa.
With a more holistic mentality, the population at large is experiencing an ever-progressing paradigm shift in which the body and mind are no longer viewed as separate, but rather as intricately interrelated. Medically, as well as culturally, Western society has reached the point at which the focus is increasingly on integrative mind/body healthcare. More patients and Physicians are choosing to utilize therapies and treatment models built upon the holistic models in which psyche (mind) and soma (physical body) are seen as one, or intimately related. They are utilizing such modalities as meditation, yoga, mindfulness, bodywork and visualization techniques in efforts to relieve overall stress and to heal various psychosomatic illnesses.