In an emergency situation the brain tells the body to go on alert, and produces hormones which will jolt us into action - the 'flight/fight reaction'. Fear also stops the instinctive sexual process. We can only lose interest, but he penis can refuse to work and the vaginal muscle can contract sharply, preventing penetration. On the other hand, meditation can slow the body rhythms down, and correct breathing can control blood pressure. People on biofeedback machines watch the dials and control their brain rhythms. The mind-body connection is an observable fact.
The mind-body connection is also now a proven scientific fact. Indeed, one leading researcher in the field of brain chemistry, Candace Pert, says '...your mind is in every cell of the body'. Candace Pert, who was formely Chief of the Brain Biochemistry Section at the American National Institute of Mental Health and is now a Professor at the Centre for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience at Rutgers University, discovered the opiate receptor and many other peptide receptors in the brain chemistry and inspiring a whole generation of scientists, who now recognize that the chemicals in the brain form a continuous circuit not only with receptors in the brain, but receptors in the immune system , the nervous system and the hormone system. In other words, it is impossible physiologically to separate the mind from the body.
What we are talking about here is peptides - strings of amino acids and the building blocks of proteins. The brain's own morphine, enkephalin, is a mere five amino acids long, while the peptide insulin is a couple of hundred amino acids long. there are about twenty-three different amino acids which, when put together in different arrangements, make different peptides. These peptides connect with receptors on cells, telling them whether or not they should divide, whether or not they should make a particular protein, and whether they should turn on one gene or another - and the thing about all this is that emotions and thoughts run the system.
When Candace Pert discovered that neuropeptide receptors were found on cells of the immune system , in the 1980s, the scientific community went into shock and denial mode. Only after about fifteen years of further research and rehabilitation at the University of Texas Health Science Centre, has found that with visualization techniques people can be trained to increase the level of a particular types of immune system cells running around in their blood. Depending on what they were asked to do, participants in the trial could increase their T-cell count or their neutrophils (a type of white blood cell).
Stress is now recognized as an important co-factor in the development of cancer while, conversely, some claim to have cured cancer by reducing the degree of stress in their lives. People with cancer are told they can live longer if they keep up a fighting spirit and often take up meditation, or laughter therapy, and re-organize their lives so they can actually do what they really want. Be honest, they are told, admit your problems, air your views, say what you want, get it off your chest, decide your priorities, and act on them - good advice for anyone.
The time has long gone since the mind and body were seen as two different things. According to Michael Talbot in The Holographic Universe, 'deeply hypnotized persons can control allergic reactions, blood flow patterns, and nearsightedness. In addition, they can control heart rate, pain, body temperature, and even will away some kinds of birthmarks'. He even reports the case of a sixteen-year old body suffering from an advanced case of Brocq's disease, a genetic condition that makes the skin thick and horny - like a reptile, who was cured by hypnosis. This means that the genetic code can be interfered with mentally!
Psychosomatic illnesses are defined as 'physical disorders that seem to have been caused, or worsened, by psychological factors'. Eczema, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome and peptic ulcers are among many conditions which are often psychosomatic in origin. The reproductive system can also be sensitive to psychological factors - think of the number of women one hears about who were infertile until they adopted a child, then suddenly become pregnant. And just as the mind can influence life, it can influence death - stress can lead to heart disease, and the grave. Never underestimate the importance of mental health in our lives. By attending to it, we attend to our whole being - mind, body and soul.
Reference:The Fragrant Mind: Valerie Ann Worwood