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placebo effect
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excessive stress
rheumatoid arthritis
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Mind Power

What is emerging, however, is a better understanding of the body’s immune system. While scientists cannot take one particular emotion, such as anger and relate it to a specific disease like a heart attack, they can now measure the body’s immune response to specific stresses.

What affect the immune system?

A healthful diet, physical fitness, and positive emotions states can stimulate and strengthen the body’s immune system. On the other hand, illness, drugs and excessive stress can weaken it. AIDS occurs when the entire immune system has been decimated.

Can Emotions affect it?

Definitely. Scientists report that people in depressed and negative emotional states may be vulnerable to diseases affecting the immune system, such as asthma, rheumatoid, arthritis and cancer.

How can feelings affect health?

Some scientists call it the placebo effect. Perhaps the best way to explain it would be to illustrate it with a story.

‘Working late one night, I was nearly overcome by sleepiness. Remembering that my secretary keeps a jar of instant coffee in her desk, I added several tablespoons of the powder to a cup of water, gulped it down and waited. Within 10 minutes I felt gized-yes, caffeine mobilizes blood sugar. Then came heightened alertness-yes, it also stimulates the nervous system. I rushed to the bathroom, confirming that caffeine is also a diuretic. The boost lasted the three hours I needed to finish the project. Next morning I confessed to my secretary. She listened and began to smile.’

‘I am glad my coffee helped,’ she said. ‘But did not you notice that it was decaffeinated?’

It worked because you thought it would work.

Yes. This placebo effect is commonly used to test new medicines. One group of test subjects is given the real thing, while another group receives the look-alike. Surprisingly, placebo subject often report results as good as, sometimes even better than the results of those who receive the actual medication.

In short, thoughts and emotion directly influence the mind, which in turn, powerfully affects the body. On record are reports of people who believe they were going to die on a certain day and they did, even though no direct cause could be found.

The brain's first job is to keep us wee and out of harm. the mind can accomplish this by deciding not to smoke cigarettes and by choosing to select healthful natural foods.

The immune system itself is an astonishing piece of work, rivaling the brain in its complexity and almost as difficult to track.

Street Talk

Hi Martha, This is a very nice article. The mind is a truly unique and complex "organism".

  about 1 decade ago
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