When Alternative Information Goes Wrong – Losing Our Knowledge, Understanding and Wisdom from the Past
I read something today that annoyed me a little and felt the need to point it out.
I was looking for information to answer a question I was asked about the concept of how our thoughts create how we feel. The questioner found the work of Louise Hay and wanted more information concerning this approach for healing. Additional authors and places to look to broaden the understanding.
While I had a few resources, I wanted to find some additional and more academic sources to share. If you don’t know, this concept of healing from a science perspective is called: Psychoneuroimmunology. Say what? Yeah, it’s a big word but it’s not new. Not by a long shot.
The academic concept Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) is:
…the study of the interaction between psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the human body. PNI takes an interdisciplinary approach, incorporating psychology, neuroscience, immunology, physiology, genetics, pharmacology, molecular biology, psychiatry, behavioral medicine, infectious diseases, endocrinology, and rheumatology. Wikipedia: Psychoneuroimmunology.
What got me riled up a little was this statement on an alternative healing website:
“Psycho-neuro-immunology is the study of how emotions impact your health and well-being. Both Louise Hay and Bruce Lipton are pioneers in this scientific field of study“.
Ok, what’s the big deal you ask? I would have been fine with the statement had it not proclaimed these authors as “pioneers”. That word alone is what got my irritation. It shows a lack of research and understanding behind both the field of science and the historical contributions of those that came before the modern science. It also does a disservice to both the spiritual concepts that generated this field and the impact of the spiritual teachings that go along with them to bring about change and healing in the here and now.
The psychological influence of health has long been of interest to mainstream medicine. It has actually been part of early research since the beginning of scientific study. Whither the interest comes from older pseudo-science concepts, old wives tales or early spiritual teachings doesn’t really matter. The idea of “how you think, creates how you feel” has existed long before the scientific research began in earnest.
All Shamanistic societies have held some form of this concept and have been taught by that cultures healers. From early pagan days in Europe, to Buddhist and Hindu teachings as well as the shamanistic cultures in the Americas. ALL of the Americas, North, Central and South.
Ayurveda is a Hindu approach to healing that also incorporates a mind/body/spirit connection. Ayurveda states that a balance of the three elemental substances, the Doshas, equals health, while imbalance equals disease. Wikipedia: Ayurveda.
As a reminder, Pagan Metaphysical principles define balance as the most important thing to life and spirit. Attaining balance is the key to both an embodied lifetime as well as a spiritual existence. Living out of balance creates karma, along with emotional distress that can impact mental thought which manifests in the physical body. Ayurveda and the Metaphysical principles set forth by the early Greeks are one in the same.
Again, these are not the only forms of this approach. From the Buddhist perspective, the mind not a physical thing, it has no gender. It has the ability to “Know”, it is limitless, pure and pervasive. It is like the sun on a cloudless day. Shining upon all things, even beneath the shade. Illness comes from the mind when it is not at ease with itself.
In these situations the person can become very guilty, depressed or angry. In many cases, they just give up hope. To avoid these problems, it is necessary to consider a more comprehensive view of healing that incorporates not only physical healing but mental healing.
In order to heal the mind and hence the body, we have to eliminate negative thoughts and their imprints, and replace them with positive thoughts and imprints – Buddhanet.net:Tibetan Healing.
Isn’t that what Louise Hay teaches? I believe so. Many Eastern cultures have long-held this view and understanding. One implementation of this concept was built into the healing art of Reiki. This form of healing works to imprint Divine energy (whatever that is to you), into problem areas of the body to stimulate healing. (Read more about Reiki – An Introduction To The Art on Spring’s Haven.)
One of the processes of this stimulation is to unblock the negative patterns held within the body so they can come to the surface and be acknowledged, accepted, forgiven, healed, and let go. Holding onto any part of the pattern risks the potential for the disease or ailment to return.
Western cultures have long dismissed these concepts and put them aside as irreverent or as spiritual non-sense. Now that modern science has begun to accept the understanding and connection of Mind/Body/Spirit; some arrogantly assume these concepts are from new understandings, scientific research and “pioneered” by modern psychology. Hog wash!
The Scientific Study
A French physilogist, Claude Bernard is credited with establishing the Milieu Interieur (indoor environment) study of the body, in the mid-1800s. We may know more about him had it not been for the brutality of his experiments upon animals to further his research. He was a heartless bastard to say the least. But from western medicine, he is the first to take the concepts of inner thought and apply them to physical condition.
Walter Cannon, a professor of physiology at Harvard University coined the commonly used term, homeostasis in his book The Wisdom of the Body,1932, from the Greek word homoios, meaning similar, and stasis, meaning position. In his work with animals Cannon observed that any change of emotional state in the beast, such as anxiety, distress, or rage was accompanied by total cessation of movements of the stomach (Bodily Changes in Pain, Hunger, Fear and Rage, 1915).
In 1975 Robert Ader and Nicholas Cohen at the University of Rochester advanced PNI with their demonstration of classic conditioning of immune function, and coined the term “psychoneuroimmunology”.
In 1981 David Felten, then working at the Indiana University of Medicine, discovered a network of nerves leading to blood vessels as well as cells of the immune system. Ader, Cohen and Felten went on to edit the groundbreaking book Psychoneuroimmunology in 1981, which laid out the underlying premise that the brain and immune system represent a single, integrated system of defense. Wikipedia: Psychoneuroimmunology.
That integrated system of defense is the scientific reasoning or proof of what all Metaphysical practitioners have always known to be true. How you think directly affects the systems of the body and creates how you feel. Well imagine that.
History & Tradition
Louise Hay and Bruce Lipton are great proponents of these concepts. I have no intention of taking anything away from their work or teachings. In fact you’ll find Ms. Hay’s name and mentions of her work all over my websites. I’m a big fan. But they are not the pioneers. Great teachers? Yes. Wonderful authors? Absolutely. Recommended for any research into these concepts? Definitely.
But let’s make sure we give credit where credit is due and not dismiss or forget the contributions of the earlier teachers. Let’s remember that psychoneuroimmunology is only a modern western concept of earlier spiritual concepts that have existed long before these ideas were tested through the use of modern science.
If we don’t remember the lessons of the past (no matter how far back that past goes), we are doomed to repeat the lessons and the knowledge gained from their experience.
© 2014 Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D. Springwolf Reflections / Springs Haven, LLC. All Rights Reserved.