Psychoneuroimmunology is a big word that stands for the small changes that matter.
The main interests of PNI are the interactions between the nervous system, immune system, mental processes, and health. In simple terms, PNI is looking at why peoples immune systems go down when they are under stress.
Please note: the areas highlighted in green throughout this site are key points of PNI information, in relation to the PNI Awareness Test.
PNI is a pathway that opens up discussions on topics relating to self-care and self-efficacy, and how emotionally induced illnesses and emotionally induced wellness are formed by the way we perceive ourselves and the world around us.
PNI highlights the importance of combined mind and body and care, and how we need to take responsibility for ensuring that the interrelated aspects of ourselves are attended in unison; mind, body, spirit.
With the above in mind we pay specific attention to the benefits of connecting our mind and body care, whilst paying attention to the way we view our ability to be well and stay healthy.
Through PNI research we can understand that the mind is the body and the body is the mind, and what we think generates a chemical response that we will refer to herein as the Bodymind.
Psychoneuroimmunology - PNI
P "Psychological" for the mind emotions, feelings, and perception.
N "Neuro" for the neuroendocrine system - the nervous system and hormone systems.
I "Immunology" for the immune system.
The inter-connective nature of the mind and body means that we can inadvertently compromise a persons level of wellness when we deal with the body or mind independently; without unity.
Robert Adler and Nicholas Cohen
'PNI was the gateway that informed us that the immune system is not autonomous.'
PNI is the systematic study of the relationship between the brain, thoughts and emotions and the immune system.In 1975 Robert Adler (a psychologist) and Nicholas Cohen (an immunologist) demonstrated, at the University of Rochester, that the nervous system can affect the immune system, and termed the name Psychoneuroimmunology.
PNI emotions are considered in direct relationship to the impact on our health and the immune system.
The nervous system and the immune system work together.
'Emotions are chemicals that can help or harms us'
'what we think we feel.'
'So every thought, emotion, and belief in the past, present, or future, real or imaginary has a neurochemical consequence.'
The PNI spotlight is on our internal environment and how it is affected by stress, highlighting what we can do to change the negative biochemical response that stress generates.
How we perceive an event directly impacts our immune system affecting our emotional and physical health; this provides us with an understanding of the importance of managing internal and external emotional conflict which aggravates stress.
The central nervous system modulates the immune and endocrine systems.
The endocrine system is made up of hormone-secreting glands which modulate the function of the body. Detangling this diverse and complex chemical regulating system is impossible. Only we don't need to understand precisely how it works to respect the scientific findings relating to our internal hormonal response system.
PNI does not disregard the organic nature of illnesses such as bacteria and germs nor does it deny that some illnesses are genetically inherited.
Traditional mind and body and alternative medicine can effectively alleviate the symptoms of many illnesses, but they are not the whole package.
Self-efficacy is key to building the emotional resilience required to generate health promoting natural chemicals that help us in the desire to manage stress.
PNI demonstrates that it is the direct association of the mind and body where we need to pay attention; we will discuss in depth later in the course, under the sub-heading 'DAC' Direct Associated Care.
When individuals are offered the appropriate resources and support their potential for recovery and self-improvement is increased.
The brain controls all of the functions in the body. What affects the brain and the way we think affects us physically, biologically.
Thinking is part of the bodies defence and recovery mechanisms.
We have a natural process of thinking and feeling, feeling and thinking, the point is how do we form a relationship between this system without combining our mind and body care?
What we think we feel and what we believe generates a chemical response. A response which provides positive or negative consequences depending on our state of mind.
Candace Pert Ph.D
'The body and mind are one, what you think and say impacts the state of your cells. Your spleen, every lymph node, and all floating immune cells are in close communication with the brain.'
It is put forward that molecules are a second nervous system, as it allows the different systems of the body to communicate with each other (i.e., the endocrine, neurological, and immune)
Molecules of emotions are also termed 'information substances.' It is these informational substances that form a chemical response within us, by the way we think, feel and act.
Candace Pert Ph.D. - stated in her book 'Molecules of Emotions' that 'emotions live and run every system of the body.'
This chemical exchange of information provides scientific proof that emotions are inseparable from our physiology.
The brain can link memories and emotions using chemical signals that tell other parts of the brain and the body how to respond when that memory is triggered. By understanding that these communication chemicals exist we can potentially reprogram the brain to disconnect negative emotions and feelings by turning off the cell from sending out those molecules. This is an integrative progress and we can respect this process by ensuring that we do not think of our mind and body as separates but as part of a whole system of psychology and physiology.
When we have a pain in the body it will have a direct emotional link and vice versa.
Our emotions have a direct impact on our immune system
The brain sends out information substances in response to the various problems throughout the body. It was believed that this was a one-way communication process, that the brain informed the body.
It is also now proven that the body also communicates with the brain.
We often think of the link of mind to body, but this is a multifunctional communication process.
Neuroscientist Francisco Varela defines the immune system as the 'body's brain.'
'Immune cells travel in the bloodstream throughout the entire body, contacting virtually every other cell.'
Thoughts and feelings are not simply our perception of self; they are the substance of self.
When we have experienced emotional or physical trauma our perception around the event may form a structure of self that is unmeasurable, scientifically; we cannot see the full impact that traumatic events have on our system.
The can aim is to self-generate wellness by calming the Bodymind. We can change our perception of events in a variety of ways, and remaining self-connected in mind, body, and spirit, takes a foundation of belief in our ability to contribute to the healing process.
Lack of hope, closes down our self-generating wellness potential because we disconnect emotionally, which is a form of physical misalignment and spiritual stagnation.
The body works in unity with the mind, and spirit, or we could say the mind, works in unity with the body, and the spiritual energy that we generate, or could say the unformed essence of ourselves that is difficult to measure forms our mind and body; Bodymind.
The Bodymind is not mystical, or magical, it is measurable in terms of a chemical response that is self-activated.
BodyMind is seen as the integrated relationship between the body and the mind. Here’s some news that might surprise you: the BodyMind connection is not a mystical, otherworldly, nebulous thing. It really exists—and you don’t need to be a yogi to access it! There is now scientific evidence to support a centuries-old philosophy: that the body and the mind are not two separate spheres, but are in fact deeply entwined.
The Key is Unity
Unity is singular; this sounds like a oxymoron, but we understand that two can become one, three can become one. The science of PNI shows us how this happens.
It is the way we communicate that separates our perception.
We are an entwinement of our perceptions; this is good news as it provides us a level of control over our ability our wellness status.
We are mind, body, spirit, or we could say we are mind, body, energy.
Whichever term of expression we put forward in conversation, 'mind' or 'body' 'spirit' or 'energy' etc, it is important that we do-not separate the wholeness of self by thinking of the mind or body as separate units. Many terms of expression separate the mind from the body, or the body from the spirit, but in reality we are united; mind-body-spirit.