The question of whether and how body and soul influence each other has occupied people since there is written evidence of illness and health. Also, psychosomatic explanatory approaches to the development and course of diseases have long been linked 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 inserted 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, PsychoNeuroImmunology (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 it has been proven, for example, with relaxation and anti-stress programs, the stress levels and immune system in HIV patients have been positively influenced. 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 sets the body, so to speak, on alert and an increased attention mode. 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 use in modern society. Instead of wild mammoths hunt today dates, money and Zeitnot, career needs and other demands. Where in the past the stress level only increased 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 US, 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 (for example, a specific genetic predisposition or a virus)
- A psychological component (for example stress or problems with one's own personality structure)
- A social component (for example, the family situation or problems at work)
"Order" in mind and soul
During the treatment, the patients should above all learn to activate their self-healing powers. For this purpose, physiotherapeutic 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 patterns of thinking and behaving. This approach is also used in the treatment of cancer.
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 about it. The tips of the professionals 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 reduces tension and releases "happiness hormones".
- Laughing is healthy. Humor helps with relaxation, 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.