The question of whether and how body and soul influence each other has occupied people since there is written evidence of illness and health. Psychosomatic explanations of the development and course of disease have long pointed to connections between the psyche and the body. However, only a few years ago, it was only possible to speculate about the biochemical prerequisites for such relationships because too little was known about the functioning of the immune, nervous and endocrine systems. Treatment approaches from natural medicine were quickly plugged into the esoteric corner and smiled at by conventional medicine. This has changed in the meantime.
Psychoneuroimmunology: connecting soul, body and defenses
With the realization that there are simply no physical causes for some complaints, the interest in the emotional causes grew. In the meantime, a separate branch of research, Psycho Neuro-Immunology (PNI), has developed from this. The PNI combines soul (psycho), the nervous system (neuro) and the body's immune system (immunology). Psychoneuroimmunologische research findings document impressively that these three systems in a close exchange of information with each other.
This biochemical network is the experimental basis for exploring how behavior affects the immune system. While the mental component of some illnesses has long been accepted - for example, in gastric ulcers or high blood pressure - only cancer and HIV have led to a real rethinking. There are two approaches to activate the self-healing powers of humans:
- Existing diseases use relaxation and visualization techniques.
- Treatment approaches from psychoneuroimmunology should ensure that diseases do not even arise.
Mind Body Medicine: help for mind and soul
The practical implementation of the PNI research results is the so-called mind-body medicine. Here, mind, mind and body are treated together. The beginnings of these therapeutic approaches are in the USA, where, for example, with stress relief and anti-stress programs, the stress levels and defenses in HIV patients have been shown to positively influence. Even with unfulfilled children wish relaxing programs. Many women become pregnant when they free themselves from the pressure to have a baby.
At first stress has a very important meaning for the body. He puts the body on alert and an increased attention mode, so to speak. The adrenaline level rises, heart rate and blood sugar go up. This mechanism, which since time immemorial has provided for increased chances of survival in dangerous situations, has been thrown out of joint in modern society. Instead of wild mammoths chase us today appointments, money and time shortage, career needs and other demands. Where in the past the stress level only rose for a short time, continuous overwork is the order of the day. And here lies the research field of PNI.
First model tests in Germany
While mind-body medicine is practiced relatively frequently and intensively in the USA, the Federal Republic is still looking for access to this field of work. In a pilot project at the Knappschaftskrankenhaus of the Essen-Mitte Clinics, Department of Naturopathy and Integrative Medicine, a concept was developed that combines conventional medicine, natural medicine and American mind-body medicine. According to this approach, illness always has three causes:
- A biological cause (eg a specific genetic predisposition or a virus)
- A psychological component (eg stress or problems with one's own personality structure)
- A social component (eg the family situation or problems at the workplace)
"Order" in mind and soul
During the treatment, patients should first of all learn to activate their self-healing powers. For this purpose, conventional medical treatments, naturopathic approaches or even acupuncture are used for conventional medical measures.
One of the cornerstones of the treatment is the so-called order therapy: Here, the patients learn to bring "order" into the mind and soul. Because every serious illness requires a reorientation of life, there is an approach to revising thought and behavioral patterns. This approach is also used in cancer treatment.
These therapies are supported by exercise and conscious nutrition. Accordingly, anti-stress programs can also be carried out at home. Since stress is inevitable in life, one should learn to be positive with it. The tips of the experts are as simple as they are effective:
- Screw down the claims. You do not always have to do everything perfectly! Those who have this claim are constantly putting themselves under pressure.
- Think positive! The question of the half-full or half-empty glass is an assessment with different results. A positive attitude to oneself helps to cope better with stressful situations.
- Let frustration and stress out. Sport is just good. The physical activity breaks down tensions and releases "happiness hormones".
- Laughing is healthy. Humor helps to relax, laughter stops the release of stress hormones. In conjunction with targeted breathing training and "breathing away" from stressful situations, the heartbeat can be slowed down and the muscles relaxed.
- Live consciously and enjoy. This includes healthy food - fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low alcohol. Have a good night's sleep: If you are well rested, you can handle many problems more easily.