What a big word! What does it mean? Let’s break it down. Psych – having to do with the mind, thoughts, emotions, feelings, and behavior, neuro – having to do with our nervous system that is electric and intricate busy sending and receiving signals, assisting all functions of the body while helping us sense and interact with the world, immuno – our immune system, our ability or lack there of to resist illness and maintain health, ology – the study of.
So, if we put it all together, Psychoneuroimmunology is the study of how our thoughts, feelings, emotions and behavior affect our nervous and immune systems and vice versa. Pretty cool.
This is the mind-body connection. Candace Pert, Ph. D. in pharmacology, refers to it in her book “Molecules of Emotion” as the ‘bodymind.’ She states in her section titled “Mind in Body”:
“The concept of a network, stressing the interconnectedness of all systems of the organism, has a variety of paradigm-breaking implications. In the popular lexicon, these kinds of connections between body and brain have long been referred to as “the power of the mind over the body.” But in light of my research, that phrase does not describe accurately what is happening. Mind doesn’t dominate body, it becomes body- body and mind are one. I see the process of communication we have demonstrated, the flow of information throughout the whole organism, as evidence that the body is the actual outward manifestation, in physical space, of the mind. Bodymind, a term first proposed by Dianne Connelly, reflects the understanding, derived from Chinese medicine, that the body is inseparable from the mind. And when we explore the role that emotions play in the body, as expressed through the neuropeptide molecules, it will become clear how emotions can be seen as a key to the understanding of disease.
We know that the immune system, like the central nervous system, has a memory and the capacity to learn. Thus, it could be said that intelligence is located not only in the brain but in cells that are distributed throughout the body, and that the traditional separation of mental processes, including emotions, from the body is no longer valid. ”
Therefore, it seems that our bodymind can effect our health, either positively or negatively. This knowledge gives us power. Power to learn ways to positively affect our bodymind, be healthier, and lead more joyful and fulfilling lives.
Thank you, Dr. Pert, for your scientific validation of the mind-body connection!