The Relationship Between the Brain and the Immune System
The mind-body connection is more than an idea or theory. It is a scientific and physiological fact. As Vancouver-based physician, speaker and author, Dr Gabor Maté points out: it is impossible to separate the two.
“The emotional centres of the brain, which regulate our behaviours, and our responses, and our reactions, are physiologically connected with the immune system, the nervous system, and the hormonal apparatus. In fact, it’s no longer possible to speak of these as separate systems.” – Dr Gabor Maté
Dr. Maté explains that whatever happens emotionally has a direct impact on the immune system because the brain and immune system are physiologically connected and in constant communication. In addition to this, white blood cells are capable of manufacturing all the hormones manufactured by the brain – and visa-versa. “The brain and the immune system are always talking to each other” explains Dr Maté.
The Physiological Connection Between Negative Emotions and Disease
Scientific research has discovered that the emotional state of those who suffer from chronic illness, including autoimmune diseases, mirrors the state of their immune system – resulting in the physical condition. Apart from this, when you consider the fact that any negative emotion is a level of the “fight-freeze-flight” emergency state, with stress chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol coursing through the blood stream, the effect of emotional pain on the physical body is clear. During the fight-freeze-flight state, stress chemicals trigger an emergency response in the body, which includes: pumping blood away from the organs to the extremities, ready for running away or fighting; digestion and healing shut down, along with any other functions that are not essential for fighting or running away.
When in this emergency state, the cells of the body go from growth mode to protection mode – which means they are not reproducing and absorbing nutrients as they need to in order to maintain health or heal the body. This state is, of course, perfectly harmless when it is temporary – as we were designed to survive short-term stress to thrive in our environment. The damage comes when we live in this emergency state. And while we are not constantly in physical danger, because the body and brain don’t know the difference between reality and imagination, every time we have a thought that causes a negative emotion, the body goes into the same emergency state it would if we were faced with physical danger.
The result is: For those who feel negative emotions on a regular, daily basis, the body is not able to heal simply because the organs and other tissues are not getting the blood they need – which means they are not receiving the oxygen they need. The cells are not receiving the nutrients they need – because the digestive system is not working properly in that emergency state, and because the cells are in protection mode. Protection mode, caused by the stress chemicals of this fight-freeze-flight state, also results in the cells of the body never getting the opportunity to reproduce effectively and heal the body.
Allowing the Body to Heal Itself
Although techniques that reduce the feelings of stress, such as meditation and exercise are effective in the moment, the most effective way to allow the body to get back into a state of health and healing, is to address the original cause of that stress. The emergency fight-freeze-flight state is created when the brain triggers the organs to produce stress chemicals. And it is the subconscious that prompts the brain to do this – based on the references it holds. It is the subconscious that recognises a threat, according to the references it holds from life experiences, and then prompts the brain to trigger the fight-or-flight response in order to survive. The problem is that the subconscious has no ability to use logic or reason, and is unable to tell the difference between real physical threat and emotional triggers.
Using FasterEFT we are able to change the references in the subconscious to change the brain and body’s response to emotional triggers, allowing the body to heal itself.