International Perspectives on Self-Regulation and Health

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An attractive feature of self-regulation therapies is that, instead of doing something to the patients, they teach them to do something for them- selves. Furthermore, the fact that the patient is able to do something to cope with his or her health problem can produce a significant reduction in the stress that may have contributed to that problem and in the additional stress that it produces. While the idea that the mind can playa role in the health of the body and some therapeutic techniques based on this idea are not new, remarkable scientific advances have been made recently in the area of self-regulation and health. There has been an exciting and rapidly accel- erating increase in our basic science knowledge of homeostasis, or, in other words, how the body regulates itself in order to maintain health. Technical and conceptual advances are increasing our knowledge of the details of such regulation at all levels-cells, tissues, organs, organ sys- tems, and the body as a whole. We are learning how the competing demands of different elements at each of these levels are adjusted by the brain, which, with its neural and humoral mechanisms, is the supreme organ of integration of the body.