How Thoughts and Emotions Affect Our Immune System
As most of you likely know, cancer is a dysfunction of the immune system, and while there are many interrelated causes of cancer, none is more important than what we think and feel. Research shows that the capacity of white blood cells to attack, engulf and destroy cancer cells is impaired with the imbalance in neurotransmitters that is produced when our thoughts and emotions lead us to feel anxiety and depression.
This is one reason I will often prescribe specific products like Uplift by Natura to treat depression, and Tranquility, also by Natura, to help with anxiety. Neither of these sedate or prevent the patient from functioning well during the day. Also, I often prescribe adaptogenic herbal combinations like Power Adapt and Botanabol to strengthen the HPA, or hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis, which stress can weaken in many of us. I myself take these on a daily basis.
I also not uncommonly will prescribe a product called low dose naltrexone, or LDN, which some oncologists are prescribing for their cancer patients. Unfortunately, few oncologists know of or even use this often-effective therapy, in spite of all the documented research on it. You can read more about this at this website: http://lowdosenaltrexone.org. Suffice it to say that “a body of research over the past two decades has pointed repeatedly to one’s own
endorphin secretions (our internal opioids) as playing the central role in the beneficial orchestration of the immune system, and recognition of the facts is growing.” And… “with LDN, cancer can–in some cases– become a manageable chronic disease. Patients have the possibility of living free of symptoms, without, in many cases, the crippling side-effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatment.” Most of us have heard of killer-T cells, and how our thoughts and emotions can influence these, either weakening or strengthening them in fighting cancer cells wherever they are in the body.
There are many other things that can be done to address our inner imbalances so that they do not weaken our immune systems and eventually contribute to the development of a cancer. There is a wonderful old saying: “When the guest comes, make hot tea. When the guest leaves, throw it out.” In other words, when an emotion arises, greet it and meet it and see what it has to say. When it passes, don’t hold on to it–let it go.
We are beginning a new Cancer Support Group this month, a series of 6 biweekly sessions, to address this very subject, to EMPOWER you to take charge of your life in effective ways. (Scroll down this newsletter for more information or see the flyer in our office.)
Our co-facilitator, Ms. Laraine Herring, is a cancer survivor and a former psychotherapist, with much to share with attendees as to what you can do in daily life to help healing the psychological imbalances which cumulatively can weaken our immune systems. I also will be present as a co-facilitator with Laraine, who has much to share to help empower you in this area of life.
Victoria Abel, our wonderful nutritionist who has previously practiced as a psychotherapist, will also attend a couple of our sessions to assist participants in addressing any issues they may have around food habits and emotions.
If you want to be proactive, buy the book by well-known author and psychotherapist, Dr. Lawrence LeShan, called “Cancer as a Turning Point.”
Remember, cancer is a word, not a sentence. You are not defined by what you are going through. You are not your disease.