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Body & Soul with Gail Harris
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Gail Harris, a national Emmy award-winning television journalist who is the executive producer and host of Body & Soul, believes the new series really started back in 1977 when she was able to view her own brain waves. Reporting from Northeastern University for a television piece on biofeedback, she was hooked up to a machine that showed how her brain waves moved when she raised her arm. When she didn't move her arms -- but just thought about doing it -- the brain waves showed the same pattern.

Ten years later, Harris, now a correspondent for ABC News, Nightline was preparing a story on the emerging field of mind/body medicine. The report featured the work of Herbert Benson, M.D., a pioneer in the study of how the mind influences physical health.

Dr. Benson showed her footage of Tibetan monks inside a mountain cave in 40-degree temperatures. The monks took wet linen sheets, wrapped them around their bodies, and went into a deep meditative state. After five or six minutes, the sheets began to steam. After 30 minutes the sheets were completely dry.

A few years later, Harris began a daily meditation practice herself, and found it to be "extraordinarily helpful" in keeping her busy life on course. Drawn ever closer to the fields of holistic health and spirituality, she decided in the fall of 1997 to see if she could create a regular weekly series exploring these topics. After getting a go-ahead from PBS Plus, the series went into production in the spring of 1998.

"Aspects of health and well-being that have been worthwhile for thousands of years are worth another look," Harris says. "And until now, there's been nothing on the television landscape that covers these subjects regularly. Clearly, it's time that television -- especially public television -- offer an ongoing series dedicated to wellness."

 

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