Mind body communications happen between:
1. The Nervous system,
2. The Endocrine system,
The endocrine system is composed of the pituitary,- thyroid,- parathyroid,- adrenal,- pineal,- thymus glands. Hormone releasing organs such as the pancreas, ovaries, testes, hypothalamus also contribute to the make up of the endocrine system. Completing the endocrine system are tissues such as pockets of cells in the small intestine, stomach, kidney, and heart. The endocrine glands produce informational mass, called hormones. It is these substances which influence the body as needed to monitor or alter bodily processes.
and 3. The Immune system.
The immune system is made up of the thymus and the spleen, as well as lymphocytes and other white blood cells occupying the lymph nodes, lymph vessels, intestinal lining, appendix, tonsils, and humoral fluids.(4)
The peripheral nervous system also includes the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). The nervous system expedites information from your surroundings to the mind and body. Another responsibility of the nervous system is to keep surveillance on bodily functions, relaying any information back to the brain (mind).
The nervous, endocrine, and immune systems interact by the means of two exclusive mind-mediated pathways that can be mobilized by stress reactions or conditioning. The immune system is the protector of the body by prohibiting entry of foreign invaders such as bacteria, viruses, and foreign proteins.
Lets take a look at the first and most direct brain pathway, the
Sympathetic-Adrenal-Medullary (SAM) axis.
The SAM pathway functions by activating the ANS. Motor neurons of the ANS supply lymphoid tissues, cardiac, and smooth muscles by means of neurotransmitters and neuropeptites. This informational matter can communicate via direct route with immune cells and tissues and alter immune reactivity.(6)
I know this is a lot of technical information to digest but it is essential in understanding why stress, and prolonged exposure to stress may be one of the biggest culprits compromising our health and well being. By understanding how our body processes information and how our body reacts to this information we will be able to employ methods to prevent stress related disease. Great research has been done on the autonomous nervous system which has been thought to be "acting" on its own until now. There is promising data showing us that we actually can control vital bodily functions through thoughts and visualization. More on this later.
What we have to do as a society is combat chronic stress not with toxic medication but with relevant stress management and relaxation techniques eliminating the need for toxic pharmaceuticals.
Part three will continue with the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal HPA axis.
Breathe! It does the body good…
2."Complete Home Medical Guide" © Dorling Kindersley 2004
4.Lyon M. Psychoneuroimmunology: the problem of the situatedness of illness and the conceptualization of healing. Cult Med Psychiatr. (1993):17:77
6.Felten D. et al. Noradrenergic and Peptidergic Innervation of Lymphoid Tissue. J Immunol. (1985):135:755S
6. Felten S., Felten D. Innervation of Lymphoid Tissues. In Ader R., Felton D., Cohen N., Editors: Psychoneuroimmunology. New York. (1991) Academic Press