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Sonnberg, BURGENLAND 4180
Link Between Mental Attitude and Physical Illness

The link between mental aim attitude gallery and physical illness is finally being taken seriously by the medical establishment, and in the past decade a whole new field of study called psychoneuroimmunology, a combination of the fields of psychology and immunology, has emerged. During the 1980s, research conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health, New York's Mt. Sinai Hospital, and other major institutions has documented surprising new evidence that employment of the techniques used in this book to change a person's self-defeating state of mind— stress-reducing relaxation therapies, moderate physical exercise, visualization, cognitive restructuring, meditation, positive affirmations, and confronting traumatic memories—actually enhances the body's immune system. The new studies confirm what many already believed— that people who think sick are more likely to be sick and that people who think well are more likely to be well.


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The concept that emotions affect physical health has been around in medical circles for a long time. In the second century a.d., a Greek physician noted that unhappy women were more prone to develop cancer than happy women, and a belief that psychic imbalance (the four humors) caused disease was central to the practice of medicine in Europe until the rise of modern science in the seventeenth century. After that, however, the relationship between emotions and physical health was given as much credence among medical practitioners as witch doctors and faith healers. It is only in the last decade that we have seen a surprising turnaround in their thinking. Hundreds of studies have now been done that show that a person's state of mind affects the immune system.

These days, protecting your immune system is as important as getting a polio vaccination was in the 1950s, for our bodies' natural line of defense is under attack from many sources—AIDS and other viruses that attack the immune system such as Epstein-Barr, herpes, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, plus cancer, environmental contaminants, and high levels of stress.

In order to understand how we can help our immune system, we need to take a look at how that system works. It is a marvel of complexity, much of it still a mystery. A healthy immune system operates much like a well-disciplined army. The first line of defense is at the skin level. A wound or lesion will be surrounded by swarms of phagocytes, white blood cells that eat the transgressing bacterial cells until the phagocytes die in the process, forming the yellow-white substance commonly known as pus around the wound.

The secondary line of defense are the lymphocytes, such as B-, T-, and natural killer cells. They roam the bloodstream searching for antigens, foreign substances such as bacteria, viruses, or toxins. The lymphocytes then release antibodies, which destroy the invader.


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