This is Part One of the Discovering My Truth series, entitled The Journey Begins. I am a male breast cancer survivor. You see, breast cancer does not discrimina…
According to the scientific study of Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) the answer to stress is yes. But we are humans, living in an amazing complex body where most things can be not only black or white but where there’s many shades of gray.
To begin with Stress is a subjective phenomenon. Generally speaking though, it is accepted that stress is a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work, etc.
To make things a little less simple, there is “good stress” and “bad stress”. Good stress is deemed “good” because it can give an extra boost of energy or alertness to increase performance. Bad stress is stress that is unrelenting and can be detrimental to mental and physical health. Chronic stress is good stress gone bad if you will; when the fight or flight response does not turn off once the threat is over 1.
So How Does Stress Weaken Your Immune System?
Chronic stress creates high levels of hormones like cortisol and other corticosteroids, which, if persisting over a long period of time can impact us both mentally and physically. People who suffer from chronic stress may experience mental issues including: anxiety, depression, and sleep issues. Physical symptoms can range from high blood pressure and heart disease to digestive issues and a weakened immune system.
The immune system is comprised of organs, tissues, cells, and cell products that work together to fight harmful pathogens that cause infection and disease. There are two ways that stress has a direct, negative effect on the immune system. It can create chronic inflammation and lower the immunity of those who otherwise might have a healthy immune system.
Cortisol suppresses inflammation during a stress response, but if cortisol stays in the blood for long periods, the body can develop a resistance and will not respond to it properly. Instead, the body will increase production of substances that promote inflammation causing chronic inflammation in the body that can eventually lead to autoimmune diseases, chronic conditions, acute illnesses, and lengthy healing times 1.
Here are a few examples of how stress can influence the immune system:
How Do Our Thoughts Influence The Immune System?
There is a science that studies the interaction between psychological processes and how these affect the body’s nervous and immune systems. It’s called psychoneuroimmunology or PNI for short. PNI takes into account many of the body’s systems and how they are interconnected combining:
PNI looks at the entire body and how all the systems function in tandem with one another to provide the patient with whole body care 3.
Avi Lerner is a clinical hypnotherapist specializing in cancer recovery and the author of The New Cancer Paradigm.
His innovative approach to cancer recovery highlights the multidimensional nature of our being and the need to treat illness not only on the level of the body but also on the level of Mind. Avi offer patients seeking to play a more active role in their care, a practical, meaningful and effective path to do so. This path allows patients to engage the creative power of their Mind to revive their body’s innate immune response and strengthen its capacity to defend and fight cancer.
Avi’s guiding belief is that for true and lasting recovery we must transcend the mechanistic-reductionist-Newtonian view of disease and recognize that illness is a whole person event. As such he works with patients in all stages maximize their healing potential, increase resiliency and enhance their outlook and attitude toward a favorable medical outcome.
As a respected professional, Avi has been a guest speaker at the Dana Farber Blum Patients and Family Center as well as a leader of healing seminars at the Dana Farber Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies.
After earning his degree in Holistic Health from the Ridman College for Complementary Alternative Medicine in Israel in 2000, Avi was certified by the National Guild of Hypnotists (NGH) as well as the National Federation of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) in the USA.
Much of Avi’s work is founded on the work of Dr. Ernest Rossi as described in his breakthrough book The Psychobiology of Mind Body Healing and Dr. Al Barrios, a clinical psychologist and a pioneer in the field of immunotherapy.
Contact Avinoam at 617.564.0707
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