Stress and the Immune System

A person begins to sneeze after seeing a flower on a restaurant table not realizing the flower is made of plastic. Experiences like this hint that stress is not the only psychological influence on a body’s ailments. Simple classical conditioning may also influence our body.

If conditioning (seeing the flower) affects the body might it affect the immune system as well? Research on lab rats has shown that conditioned immune suppression can triple an animal’s likelihood of growing a tumor when fed a carcinogen (Bloom et al, 1995).

Immune System Conditioning

Much work remains to be done regarding the immune system and the possibility of controlling its potential for healing. One often asked question is that if the immune system can be suppressed, can it not also be strengthened? Results have been inconclusive, but scientists expect answers will be forthcoming eventually (Hro’bjartsson & Gotzsche, 2001).

Mind-Body Interaction

It is important to understand that our mind and body interact. Everything psychological is simultaneously physiological. For example, just thinking about biting into an orange segment – the sweet, tangy juice squirting into your mouth – can make your mouth water.

As the Indian Sage, Santi Parva said more than 4,000 years ago “mental disorders arise from physical causes and, likewise physical disorders arise from mental causes.”

This report is not a diagnosis. We hope this information can guide you toward improving your life.

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