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THE INFLUENCE OF EMOTIONS ON HEALTHYou are here: Home> Articles> Emotions and health
This article is an excerpt from my course "PsychoNeuroRegulation - how through the mind affect the health"
THE INFLUENCE OF EMOTIONS ON HEALTH
After introducing the concept of conditioning and the basic concepts on the anatomy and physiology of the nervous and immune systems as well as their mutual connections it is easier to understand how emotions impact the nervous system and, in consequence the immune system.
Read about PsychoNeuroImmunology - mind and science
When we are suffering from a long lasting decrease in mood, it is easier to develop a disease, for example contract an infection. Many of you have already noticed this. This correlation, has also been tested by numerous scientists. For example:
As early as the XIXth century, Von Dusch claimed that people who speak loudly and have a tendency towards workaholism ten to suffer from cardiovascular diseases more often. W. Osler, who observed hard working doctors was of the same opinion.
K and W Mellinger, in turn, thought that aggressive people tend to suffer from arterial hypertension and heart disorders more often.
F. Funbar had noticed that workaholics and people living under constant pressure of time are more likely to develop atherosclerosis, while Rosenman was convinced that this disease is caused by bad diet and stress, among other factors.
Read about psychosomatic medicine
The above mentioned claims suggest that those scientists had similar views on the possible psychological background of many diseases. There is however one question: how do emotions influence the body? This will be addressed in the further part of the lesson.
EXAMPLES OF THE INFLUENCE OF EMOTIONS ON HEALTH - LITERATUREWe often hear about cases of astonishing impact of the mind on the condition of health. Everyone knows stories about people turning grey within twenty four hours as a result of an exceptionally stressful event.
In newspapers, books and on the television,we can find examples of so-called miraculous healings in sacred places of many religions. It is worth studying closer a couple of astounding cases proving that mind controls the matter.
Read about placebo effect
In his book "Healing Visualizations: Creating Health Through Imagery", Gerald Epstein discusses a case of a man who was regularly (five times a week) treated for depression through psychoanalysis, without expected results. However, after only six sessions during which he was undergoing so-called healing visualisations with the help of a qualified woman, his depression was gone once and for all.
Vicent Peale in "The Power of Positive Thinking" tells a story of a young woman who was admitted to hospital with rheumatoid arthritis. After a physician replied negatively for her question whether she will be able to get married within next half-year, her ailments quickly disappeared and she was discharged in general good health. It turned out her father was forcing her into loveless marriage with man who was supposed to help him in business. RA was an escape from an unwanted wedding.
Other example is that of a woman who came to see a doctor with a strong rash. It turned out the disease was caused by a fight with her brother over the inheritance. After they reconciled, the eczema disappeared.
Another girl was suffering from fever and catarrh every time she quarrelled with someone. Gerard Loe, a healer from Ilionois, had a cyst surgically removed from his wrist. Despite that, another one grew in the same spot. He tried to get rid of it by autosuggestion., with no results. Eventually Loe realised that the cause of this disease was in his psyche. He freed himself of it with the help of visualisations. (source: Maurey Eugene, "Power of Though"t).
Read more about the power of imagination
Joseph Murphy in "The Power of Your Subconscious Mind" describes a case of a severely ill girl. Her worried father used to say he would give his hand for her well-being. One day he actually lost it and then his daughter got better. Apparently in her subconscious there existed a strong association between her good-health and her father's handicap.
The same author also documents his own case - the healing of severe skin illness. Classical medicine was unable to cure the disease. However Murphy was lucky enough to come across a priest who explained to him that often sickness are caused by unsolved psychological problems. He also told him that his subconscious is perfectly able to handle any disease. The writer thought over this new knowledge and created a prayer adjusted to his case and based on the faith in he power of subconscious. He was saying it three times every day. After three months he was cured.
Another time a member of Murphy's family was badly suffering from tuberculosis. His son, trying to rescue him, found a splinter, had it framed in gold and told his father it was coming from the cross that Jesus died on. Of course the relic was supposed to have astonishing healing properties. The older man was holding it on his chest everyday deeply believing it will help him. His expectations were fulfilled.
A woman named Bire was suffering from atrophy of the optic nerve, which was preventing her from seeing. She went on a pilgrimage to the place considered to be sacred and healing - Lourdes. She was cured (case described in medical archive of Health Office in Lourdes).
A pastor from Johannesburg was taken ill with pneumonia. He started treating himself by relaxation combined with visualizing his body as a picture of health. He was cured.
Read about hypnosis
In the magazine "Nautilus" from March 1917 we can find a story of a boy suffering from tuberculoma of the spinal cord. He was imagining himself in perfect health, repeating positive suggestions. The disease disappeared and he is currently a lecturer at Unity School of Christianity in Kansas City.
A fortune-teller foretold a woman she would die at the age of 43. It happened that she was undergoing a minor surgical procedure. Although the surgery was successful, she died for unexplained reasons. Apparently the negative suggestion had a big impact on her.
Read about the power of mind - curious case
Maksym Gorki, Describing in his book the scene of a murder of a wife by a jealous husband so strongly envisioned inculcation of the knife to the heart, that a thin red line appeared on his skin (according to his wife, Maria).
Flaubert, describing the arsenic poisoning of Madame Bovary, was so influenced by this history that he experienced nausea as he felt the taste of the poison in his mouth.
A SHORT LIST OF PSYCHOSOMATIC DISORDERSCough and hiccup.
Da Costa's syndrome.
Ischaemic heart disease.
Excess consumption of food.
Stomach and duodenal ulcers.
Irritable bowel syndrome.
Allergies. Nettle rash.
Soft tissue rheumatism.
Pain in the spine.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Read about the power of mind - experiments
THE INFLUENCE OF EMOTIONS ON THE IMMUNE SYSTEM – YOUR HEALTHDo emotional states indeed influence the level of activity of the immune system? Let's look closer at the facts associated with the anatomy of the nervous and immune systems.
The lymphatic tissues such as thymus, spleen and lymph nodes are innervated by the central nervous system. Specific emotional states change the functioning of the CNS, which in turn regulates the immune system.
It has been proven by Rossman, Cross, Brookes and Markesbery (1985) as well as by Stein, Schleifer and Keller (1981) that the activity of the immune system depends on the activity of hypothlamus. This influence is mutual and the immune system can also affect the activity of the hypothalamus.
The lymphocytes have various receptors on their surface, including specific receptors for hormones and neurotransmitters. As you may remember, the hypothalamus is controlled by higher order centers in the brain, which also influence human emotional states. This may imply that feeling certain emotions can affect, at least indirectly the level of immunity.
In 1985 Ader, Gorczynski, Marcrae and Kennedy have shown, that methods such as conditioning can influence the function of the immune system.
Based on the results of numerous studies, it has been concluded that various psychological factors, for example prolonged experiencing of negative emotions cause diseases. They trigger a state of psychological stress, which alters the physiology of organs and systems (Palmblad, 1985; Stein 1985).
Also observations from every day life confirm, that our minds have a pronounced influence on the internal state of the body. Many people have experienced the effects of suggestion or placebo on themselves.