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Christian Counseling - Psychoneuroimmunology

Psychoneuroimmunology is the study of the relationship between behavior, the central nervous system and the immune system and health. Like any other modern branch of research, it is in its infancy. Yet, when multiple studies reveal similar results, we can have more confidence in the outcome.  Here is some of the latest news of interest.


COLDS:

-  Colds are transmitted and brought on more effectively in people with fewer types of good relationships, who exhibit poor stress responses and are depressed.

CANCER:

- In animal studies, stress accelerates tumor growth and metastasis.
- Group therapy lengthens the life of victims of breast cancer and melanoma.
- Socially isolated cancer victims have a much worse course.
- The fewer calories eaten the fewer tumors one gets.
- Fat (not from fish or vegetable oils) increases cancer, i.e. colon, and suppresses the immune system.

HERPES:

- Recurrences are associated with passive coping styles (drinking or sleeping more), which are related to depression.

DEPRESSION & GRIEF:

- Bereavement predicts worse immune responses.
- Cultivating positive thoughts and responses to the loss of a loved one is good for the immune system.
- Depression has been repeatedly shown to suppress the immune system and enhance disease progression. As depression rises so do the number of illnesses.


Here is a short list of things one can do to boost the immune system and increase health:

- Don't overdose on vitamins. They should always be taken in moderation and not exceed recommended dosages with the exception of "C" which can be taken in large doses without any known negative effect. Increasing recommended dosages is related to immunosuppression, unless it is only done so for a couple of days, i.e., zinc for a cold.
- Maintain a diet of low bad fat and sugar.
- Be sure to keep your Body Mass Index (BMI) below 30 (visit http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/ to calculate).
- Quit smoking.
- Get a massage.
- Learn to meditate and take up moderate exercise through Yoga, Qigong, etc.
- Get treatment for depression.
- Learn to relax.
- Manage stress, which is your response to external stressors.
- Develop open and supportive relationships with family, friends and your church.
- And keep on praying, as it positively affects the immune system.


Information taken from the seminar: "The Immune System: The Mind-Body Connection: Who Gets Sick and Who Stays Well" presented by Steven Keller, Ph.D. on March 11, 2011and sponsored by the Institute for Brain Potential. 

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