Mind It: It’s Your Immunity

Words: Dr Rajgopal NIDAMBOOR

Psychoneuroimmunology is an exciting, new extension of medical science. It studies the interaction between your mind and immune system. It elucidates how your mind-body system works and how your immune system is correlated to your healing mechanisms in the defence of your body — and, why your health and wellness depend on the strength of your immune system to function at its best.

Put simply, psychoneuroimmunology drives our knowledge with regard to the connexions that exist between our psychosocial factors, the central nervous system and immune system, aside from health and illness. It proposes too that psychological and emotional states, including exposure to stress, anxiety and depression, among others, could influence health and also illness by altering our immunological states.

It goes without saying that our healing and immune systems are decidedly different, and they also have certain similarities. One similarity is that they are affected by your thoughts, emotions, attitudes, and activities of your mind. Psychoneuroimmunology enables us to understand in-depth the wonderful healing resources that exist within us. It puts to rest a host of hearsay, or flawed myths, about how our bodies’ functions are ‘not synchronous’ with our minds and vice versa. One major myth that has gone bust is what goes on in the mind has absolutely nothing to do with what goes on in the body — a legacy that has dominated medical teachings for hundreds of years. There was also, for another, the much-believed, erroneous belief that the immune system functioned entirely autonomous of the brain. Psychoneuroimmunology has set the record straight.

There is now indisputable corroboration that our mind ‘speaks’ directly to our immune system in the following manner: 1] specialised receptor sites for neurotransmitters exist on specific white blood cells [WBCs], or ‘soldiers of health;’ 2] tiny nerves connected to lymph nodes provide tangible evidence that the immune system and lymph nodes that contain WBCs are directly connected to the nervous system and the brain; and, 3] powerful hormones are produced and secreted by specific white blood cells. This substantiates the principle that our immune system ‘speaks’ to the endocrine system and directly participates in one’s emotional experience.

This is nothing short of a harmonious advance brought about by psychoneuroimmunology. It lends tangible scientific credence too to what our ancient physicians, including Suśruta, the father of Indian medicine and surgery, Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, Samuel Hahnemann, MD, the founder of homeopathy, and several others, had observed for centuries — that a positive mental and emotional state holds the key to our mind-body’s ability, and vice versa, and to healing itself from the inside out.

Dr RAJGOPAL NIDAMBOOR, PhD, is a wellness physician-writer-editor, independent researcher, critic, columnist, author and publisher. His published work includes hundreds of newspaper, magazine, web articles, essays, meditations, columns, and critiques on a host of subjects, eight books on natural health, two coffee table tomes and an encyclopaedic treatise on Indian philosophy. He is Chief Wellness Officer, Docco360 — a mobile health application/platform connecting patients with Ayurveda, homeopathic and Unani physicians, and nutrition therapists, among others, from the comfort of their home — and, Editor-in-Chief, ThinkWellness360.

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