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John W. Travis, M.D. & Regina Sara Ryan
  Home  > Personal Wellness  > Psychoneuroimmunology


Research in the modern science of psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) - literally meaning the interrelationship among the psyche, the nervous system, and the immune (glandular) system - verifies what folk healers and metaphysicians have known for centuries: that thoughts and their resulting emotional states directly affect the body's chances of healing. Since the immune system is the body's first line of defense against disease, if we can strengthen the immune system we have a much better chance of maintaining the health of the whole body.

For ages, teachers of Ayurveda have known that passionate desires and emotional states could sometimes overwhelm the body's ability to maintain homeostasis. Patients who were unwilling or unable, physiologically, to make the changes necessary to heal their disease were rejected as candidates for treatment.

The pioneering research of neuropharmacologist Candace Pert, PhD, revealed that naturally occurring chemical messengers called neuropeptides, found in both the brain- cell walls and the immune system, constantly circulate throughout the body in the blood, lymph, and cerebrospinal fluid. This knowledge opened the door between body and mind much wider. Basically, neuropeptides (nerve proteins) regulate almost all life processes on a cellular level and thereby link all body systems - glandular, immune, muscular, and so on. There are dozens of different neuropeptides that send numerous chemical messages from the brain to receptor sites on cell membranes throughout the entire body. These messages affect not only physiology but also emotional states. The neuropeptides known as endorphins and enkephalins, for instance, are known to be triggered by thought patterns, as well as by physical exercise. Their release by the brain promotes a sense of wellbeing throughout the body.

Many popular programs for cancer patients make use of the cutting-edge research in this revolutionary science. Such programs inspire people to visualize an outcome they desire, keep a strong affirmative attitude, and uphold an exercise and fitness regimen as a means of stimulating the immune system through neuropeptide activity.

If you can relate to what we have been discussing, then you have a good appreciation for the vital connection between thinking and wellness.

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