There are names for various impacts that the mind has on the health of the physical body. For instance, there is hypochondria, which is noted when an individual accepts a suggestion in the mind that they are suffering from a particular illness. Even if they are not at the time having that particular illness, the very suggestion tends to create an imbalance and can make them very sick and lead to various types of physical symptoms. Fear of illness is another causative factor of actual illness, as it opens up a hole in the protective vital envelope. This is particularly visible when there is a pandemic and everyone is talking about and fixated upon a particularly virulent disease.

In many cases, the suggestions are subtle and not noticed by the active mind when they arrive. For instance, one may see someone suffering from influenza and not actively dwell on it, but the impression gets into the being and the physical body reacts over time.

Just as suggestions can help to cause illness, they can also help to cure. One of the most telling of these is the functioning of what Western medicine calls the ‘placebo effect’. They find that giving a harmless pill to an individual can actually lead to the body’s prompt immune response and cure! The placebo effect is actually a very significant causative factor in healing from an illness.

Some people try to lump homeopathy into the “placebo” category, but the results on horses and dogs shows that it is something more than that. The subtle vibration that homeopathic medicines set up in the being, although not measurable, seems to provide a “suggestion” to the body about how to vibrate a cure for itself!

Another known phenomenon is placing a sick or weak plant in an environment surrounded by strong and healthy plants. In many cases, the plant will quickly recover its strength when it picks up the vibration of the healthy plants in its environs.

Many modern-day practitioners utilize the power of conscious affirmation or suggestion to aid in the healing process, while in the past, doctors relied heavily on what is euphemistically called their “bedside manner” to project confidence and healing energy to the patient.

Sri Aurobindo writes: “The suggestions that create illness or unhealthy conditions of the physical being come usually through the subconscient — for a great part of the physical being, the most material part, is subconscient, i.e. to say, it has an obscure consciousness of its own but so obscure and shut up in itself that the mind does not know its movements or what is going on there. But all the same it is a consciousness and can receive suggestions from Forces outside, just as the mind and vital do. If it were not so, there would not be any possibility of opening it to the Force and the Force curing it; for without this consciousness in it it would not be able to respond. In Europe and America there are many people now who recognise this fact and treat their illnesses by making conscious mental suggestions to the body which counteract the obscure secret suggestions of illness in the subconscient. There was a famous Doctor in France who cured thousands of people by making them persistently put such counter-suggestions upon the body. That proves that illness has not a purely material cause, but is due to a disturbance of the secret consciousness in the body.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Disturbances of the Body and Physical Consciousness, Faith and Suggestion, pp. 94-98

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at and podcast at He is author of 16 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.