Sunday, December 25, 2016

Chapter 15 THE THOUGHT THAT KILLS

Chapter 15: Lessons from the Miracle Doctors - 127 - The Thought That Kills

THE THOUGHT THAT KILLS

   For years stress and/or depression have been suspected of somehow increasing the risk of contracting numerous infectious diseases. In addition, there is mounting statistical evidence that
increased levels of stress and depression also correlate with an increased incidence of cancer. And finally, there is strong statistical evidence linking stress and depression with death itself. Now,
there is a new field of research, called pyschoneuroimmunology that is dedicated to unlocking the connection between our thoughts (i.e. our nervous systems) and our immune systems.

Psychoneuroimmunology

Researchers have discovered several links between our thoughts and our immune systems:

>For one, we know that when we are stressed, our bodies produce more adrenaline. And while it is true that adrenaline helps to mobilize the body's energy reserves, it's also true that adrenaline causes a decrease in available antibodies and a reduction in both the number and strength of lypmphocytes.

>We have also learned that the brain is directly wired to the organs of the immune system (the spleen, thymus, lymph nodes, and bone marrow) and that stress and depression affect their performance.

>But most interesting of all is the connection between the neuropeptides produced by brain cells and the rest of the body. In much the same way that the immune system uses the Interleukins to communicate with itself, the brain uses the hormone-like neuropeptides to communicate with itself and the rest of the body, including the immune system. The cells of the immune system carry receptors for the various neuropeptides produced by the brain. When we are happy, for example, the brain produces one kind
of neuropeptide. The cells of the immune system have specific receptors for these "up" chemicals. Once received, these neuropeptides literally cause the immune system to strengthen and build. Correspondingly, when we are depressed, we produce a different set of neuropeptides. Immune cells also have receptors for these "down" communicators, whose net effect on the immune system is to shut it down.

 Incidentally, this is by no means a one-way communication. The cells of the brain have receptor sites for the interleukins and interferon produced by the lymphocytes of the immune system. Even better, it turns out that some macrophages and activated
lymphocytes actually are capable of producing their own neuropeptides—to communicate directly with the brain in its own language.

    Beyond Psychoneuroimmunology

Basically, through the same two systems (the nervous system and the circulatory system) that our minds interact with our immune systems, our minds also connect with every organ and cell in
our bodies, affecting the performance, functioning, growth, etc. of our:

>Immune systems

>Bones

>Bone marrow

>Glands

>Heart (everything from heart rate to the heart tissue itself)

>The walls of our veins and arteries

>The functioning of individual cells in the body

>Even, as we will see, the very structure of our DNA

  The entire body is literally created and run by the brain—with equal input back from the organs and cells themselves, again through both the direct wired connections of the nervous system
and the neuropeptides traveling through the circulatory system. The net result is that in addition to what medical researchers have been able to verify and explain, there are a number of "incidents" that hint at so much more. 

  Depression and Heart Attacks

A group of medical researchers in Montreal tracked 222 post heart attack victims, both men and women. The researchers found that those who were depressed (who felt sad, hopeless, and listless) were more likely to die of another heart attack within 18 months of their first heart attack than those who were not—10 times more likely, in fact.

The January 95 issue of the American Journal of Medicine reported on a study of patients with a history of heart disease that found that those who were depressed were eight times more likely to develop potentially deadly heart rhythms than those who were not depressed.

A ten-year study was conducted to follow the mortality rates of people who had experienced stroke. Those who had been diagnosed with either major or minor depression were 3.4 times as likely to have died within the follow-up period. The death rate among depressed patients with few social contacts was especially high—over 90%!

In a study of 194 heart attack patients, those who reported lower amounts of emotional support were nearly 3 times more likely to die within 6 months than those with higher levels of emotional
support.

  The Monday Morning Blahs

  Have you ever wondered when most people die? Statistically, it turns out that people are more likely to die on Monday morning before going to work than at any other time of the week.
There has been much speculation as to why this happens; but in general, most people agree it's something along the lines of: "Most people have heart attacks on Monday morning, because they
are stressed that they are heading back to jobs they can't stand after a weekend off."

  Placebos

  On average, 35% of all people who receive a given placebo experience a significant effect.

    Idle Chatter in the Operating Room
  For years it has been suspected by many doctors (and pooh poohed by many more) that patients under anesthesia can hear their surgeon's comments, and that what they hear affects them.
There were many anecdotal stories of doctors, who upon opening a patient up, would see a tumor and comment out loud that it looked malignant. And then, even though the tumor would later prove to be nonmalignant, the patient nevertheless would fade rapidly and be dead in a matter of days.

Well, new studies are now proving that not only is this true, but to a degree far higher than previously imagined. Dr. Henry Bennett, a psychologist from the University of California Medical School at Davis, suggests that, under anesthesia, patients might be especially vulnerable to upsetting remarks they overhear since their normal coping techniques aren't available to them. Specifically, the studies that support this statement include:

>A number of patients were given the suggestion during surgery that one of their hands was becoming warmer and the other cooler. The temperature of both hands changed accordingly.

>In another study, patients were played a taped message while they were anesthetized during surgery that told them that if they heard the same message later, they should signify that they heard it by touching their ears in a postoperative interview. Later, in the interview, all of the patients absentmindedly tugged at their ears—although not one of the patients could recall having heard the message.

>During back surgery, which normally causes urination problems for the patients after surgery, researchers suggested to the anesthetized patients that they would be able to relax their pelvic muscles after the surgery, and thus would need no catheter. None of
the patients who received the suggestion subsequently needed a catheter.

DNA

In 1952, the British Medical Journal reported on an extraordinary case[1] concerning Brocq's disease, a genetic disorder that causes the skin to resemble the scales of a reptile.[2] What was so
extraordinary about this case is that although Brocq's disease is an hereditary genetic condition, and considered incurable by the medical community, it was nevertheless cured in this particular
case through hypnosis. To put it simply, under hypnosis, the patient, a 16-year-old boy, was able to "go in" and literally reprogram his DNA. The net result is that within 10 days of starting treatment,
the boy was symptom free—and remained so for at least 5 years, at which point his therapist lost touch with him.

  Cancer
   A now well-known example was reported by Dr. Bruno Klopfer in the Journal of Projective Techniques back in 1957. A patient of Dr. Klopfer's, whose cancer had metastasized and whose body was riddled with tumors, had reached the point where all available medical approaches had failed, and he was confined to bed with only a few days to live. Then, just before the end, the patient
heard about Krebiozen, an experimental drug then being tested. Desperate, he demanded that his doctors include him in the experimental trials. Believing that the man was as good as dead anyway, and that they therefore had nothing to lose, they put him on Krebiozen. Miraculously, the man's tumors began to melt away. He made a remarkable recovery and was discharged from the
hospital.

  Two months later, however, reports began to appear that continuing research on Krebiozen had raised serious doubts about the efficacy of the drug. Within a few days of the patient's reading these reports, his tumors had returned and he was once again on the verge of terminal. At this point, his doctor did something unusual in the medical profession—he lied to his patient. He told the man that they now had available a newer and more potent version of Krebiozen. He then proceeded to inject the man, not with a new and improved version of Krebiozen, not even with the original version, but with plain old water. Astoundingly, the man's tumors once again began tomelt away. As before, the man made a remarkable recovery and went home.
He then remained perfectly healthy, in full remission for seven whole months, until he saw a news report that declared "Nationwide AMA Tests Show Krebiozen to Be Worthless as a
Cancer Treatment." Two days later, he was dead!

[1 A.A. Mason, "A Case of Congenital Ichthyosiform," British Medical Journal. (1952), pp. 422-23.]

[2 Many so-called "alligator people" in circus sideshows are victims of Brocq's disease.]

  Stress and Depression

  For years, stress and/or depression have been suspected of increasing the risk of contracting numerous infectious diseases. In addition, there is mounting statistical evidence that increased levels
of stress and depression also correlate with an increased incidence of cancer. And finally, there is strong statistical evidence linking stress and depression with death itself.

Stress 

Stress is your body's response to all of the demands made upon it. Your body responds to all stresses, both positive and negative, by trying to get back to normal.

> 43% of all adults suffer adverse health effects due to stress.

> 75-90% of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress-related complaints or disorders.

  When a stressor is perceived, the hypothalamus triggers your adrenal glands to release corticosteroids to increase metabolism to provide an immediate increase in energy. Simultaneously, your pituitary releases a hormone called ACTH, which causes your adrenal glands to release epinephrine and norepinephrine, which work to prolong your body's fight-or-flight response.

  If a stressful situation goes on for too long without any relief, you may feel tired, irritable, depressed, or anxious. You may have trouble sleeping or eating, or you might experience diseases
and disorders, such as headaches, insomnia, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular and kidney diseases, colds, ulcers, asthma, heart attack, and/or stroke.

>Stress has been linked to all the leading causes of death, including heart disease, cancer,lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis, and suicide.

 >Stress is said to be responsible for more than half of the 550 million workdays lost annually because of absenteeism.

  Eventually, your body's energy reserves are exhausted; it breaks down. Recent research has confirmed the role of stress in cardiovascular disease, cancer, gastrointestinal, skin, neurologic
and emotional disorders, and a host of disorders linked to immune system disturbances, ranging from the common cold and herpes, to arthritis, cancer, and AIDS.

 Depression

  Depression works on your body in different ways than stress, but the results are the same.

 Your body is a product of your thoughts. The cells of your body have receptor sites for the various neuro-hormones you produce. Your immune cells, to use just one example, have receptor sites for each of those hormones. When you are happy, you produce a set of neuro-hormones that are picked up by the cells of your immune system. These particular neuro-hormones tell your immune
system to jack up—which it does. In other words, happy thoughts improve your health. However, when you are depressed, the opposite happens. The neuro-hormones your body produces
literally shut down your immune system. In effect, negative thoughts can actually kill you.

The Pharmaceutical Solution

Prozac

The major pharmaceutical companies, as usual, have developed a set of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to "manage the symptoms" associated with stress and depression.
You might know them as Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Luvox, Celexa, Effexor and Serzone.

  Thanks to millions and millions of dollars in promotion, some misguided books that jumped
on the bandwagon, and our own marvelous tendency to believe in magic bullets, we have become
a "Prozac Nation."

  But not without cost.

>SSRIs cause mania and delusions of grandeur in one out of every 25 children taking the drugs.

>A tendency to violence has been reported in 1 out of 16 Prozac users

>In 70% of all murder/suicides involving women and children, the women were on SSRIs

The Colombine Tragedy, et al

.Specialized testing during the autopsy of Eric Harris, one of the Colombine shooters, showed "therapeutic" levels of Luvox in his blood. In addition, he was also taking cough syrup. The interaction between cough medications containing dextromethorphan
(found in Robitussin, for example) and the SSRIs can greatly increase the possibility of a toxic reaction known as serotonin syndrome leading to PCP (Angel Dust) reactions. In effect, Eric Harris was unknowingly on the equivalent of Angel Dust. That explains a lot.

>Kip Kinkle, who shot his parents and then shot his classmates in Oregon, was on SSRIs.

>Brynn Hartmann, the actor Phil Hartmann's wife, was on Zoloft when she shot her husband and committed suicide.

>In March of 1998, Matthew Beck went on a bloody rampage at his office, the Connecticut Lottery Corp. headquarters, killing four senior lottery officials before committing
suicide. He was on 2 antidepressants, including Luvox.

>Many children under the age of 3 have already been given Prozac.

>And soon, a special "flavored" Prozac will be available just for children.

  The Herbal Solution

  For the vast majority of people bothered by stress or depression, there is a safe, effective solution.

  A well-designed herbal formula made from high-quality herbs and that makes use of the complementary synergies inherent in many herbs can prove remarkably effective. Look for an herbal formula that contains herbs such as:

>Valerian root. For centuries, Valerian has been used to treat nervous tension and panic attacks. A wonderful herb, Valerian is calming and quieting to the nervous system.

>Kava kava is the herb of choice to relax the body, relieve stress, to combat mild to moderate anxiety, for relief from headache and back pain. Kava is now recognized by many doctors as an alternative to drugs like Xanax and Valium.

>Lobelia is an extremely powerful anti-spasmodic and sedative. It helps improve breathing dramatically by dilating the bronchial tubes—great for asthmatics.

>Passionflower is remarkably effective as a sedative to calm nerves that get on edge.

>St. John's wort. Sometimes called "Nature's Prozac," St. John's wort helps relieve stress, anxiety, and tension. In Germany, it is the most popular antidepressant, outselling Prozac 3-1.

>Black cohosh. First used by the American Indians, Black cohosh works to soothe the body by reducing the rapidity of the pulse. Black cohosh also works internally to help soothe any nervous disease or spasm.

>Skullcap, Hops, and Catnip. Three herbs that have a long history as marvelously effective
herbal tranquilizers, sedatives, and sleep aids.

   Other Solutions

  For the vast majority of people, the above type of herbal formulation will prove all that is needed to help relax, pick up one's spirits, and sleep the sleep of angels.

  For an added boost, some people might wish to add one, or both, of the following.

5-HTP

5-hydroxytryptophan, a more active form of l-tryptophan, can provide a low-cost boost to the herbal formula described above.

SAMe

200-400 mg of SAMe (S-adenosyl-methionine, which is made from substances naturally found in your body) twice a day on an empty stomach can be extremely helpful in alleviating depression.
Unfortunately, SAMe is very expensive, costing anywhere from $2 to $15 a day.

    General Recommendations

  Casting aside the extreme point of view that all illness originates in the mind ("Harriett, why are you choosing to give yourself breast cancer?"), we are nonetheless left with the fact that what we think (and how we think) does absolutely (and unequivocally) affect our health. Or as Dr. John Christopher, one of America's foremost naturopaths, was fond of saying, "Most people need a colonic between the ears."

  The bottom line is that if you want to make your mind your partner in health, you need to work at it. It takes work to move your mind out of stress and/or depression. Listed below are four exercises to help you begin the process.

>Learn to Meditate. If nothing else, just try watching your breath. Sit down. Keep your back straight. Close your eyes and watch your breath. Watch as your breath goes in and your lungs fill. Watch as it goes out and your lungs empty. Don't force; just watch.

>Learn to Visualize. After you've meditated for a few minutes and calmed down, practice a visualization. See your body as made of healing light. Imagine the light penetrating and healing every cell in your body. If you are sick, focus the light on the diseased area.

>Practice Affirmation. What we say matters. We all know, for example, someone who uses the word "afraid" all the time. As in:

- "I'm afraid I won't be able to go tonight."

- "I'm afraid I've eaten too much; I'm absolutely stuffed."

- "I'm afraid I'm almost out of gas."

- etc.

  Is it any wonder that eventually they're afraid all the time? And then there are the examples that Dr. Bernie Siegal includes in his book Love, Medicine, and Miracles, such as:

- The man who said "he was always considered spineless" and in the end developed

multiple myeloma in his backbone to support his contention.

- Or the woman who had had a mastectomy who told Dr. Siegel that she "needed to
get something off her chest."

  The bottom line is that instead of being controlled by the things we say, instead of having our health compromised by idle words, we should put words to work for us. Try repeating to yourself over and over with each step you take when you walk, or while you're driving something like:

- "I'm joy. I'm peace. I'm health. I'm light." Or make up your own. If so, make it short and rhythmical, so it sort of says itself to a walking cadence. It really does work magic. I once hiked the full length of the John Muir Trail, about 237 miles, silently reciting a similar affirmation every single step of the way. By the end of the trip, I had repeated the affirmation something over 500,000 times—and I was sailing up and down over 10,000 foot. passes and up and down the 15,000 feet of Mt. Whitney.

>Take an herbal break. Use an herbal nerve-tonic formulation that contains herbs such as Valerian Root, Kava kava,[1] Passionflower, Hops, Black cohosh, St. John's wort, and Lobelia.

[1 Recently, there have been reports that Kava kava may cause liver damage. This is based on tainted information coming from Europe, and totally erroneous reports on the FDA Medwatch site. The bottom line is that the issues of kava’s safety and efficacy have been studied extensively, including a statistical review of seven human clinical trials, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, which indicated no significant adverse

effects related to kava use and liver toxicity.

NEXT Chapter 16

EXERCISE: MOVE OR DIE


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