For years, mind-body research has been conducted at the perimeters of the scientific mainstream, but that marginalization appears to have ended, as the National Institutes of Health funnels money and personnel into interdisciplinary investigations of the relationship between mental states and physical health. Oddly, the way mind-body medicine has achieved this acceptance is by establishing the very molecular and cellular evidence of the role that the mind plays in bodily health that it once eschewed.

During the 1920s in Germany and Austria, a movement arose to counteract laboratory-based medicine by emphasizing mental and behavioral aspects of disease treatment.1 That movement, dubbed psychosomatics and today often called mind-body medicine, experienced ebbs and flows of favor over succeeding decades. But under a $50 million initiative, NIH has established 10 centers around the country for mind-body research since 1999. Esther M. Sternberg, director of the National Institute of Mental Health's integrative...

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