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Psychoneuroimmunology

New Research In Mind-Body Medicine Shows That Social Interaction Accelerates Healing

Friday, August 06, 2004
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com (See all articles...)
Tags: psychoneuroimmunology, mind/body medicine, mind/body connection


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A new study conducted at Ohio State University and published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology has revealed that having social interaction makes wounds heal faster. In fact, this study demonstrated that wounds heal twice as fast in subjects who had social interaction compared to those who were isolated. This effect is well-documented, and the intermediary cause of this is the production of the stress hormone cortisol in response to being in isolation.

These tests were conducted on hamsters, and when these hamsters were in the presence of other hamsters they produced less of the stress hormone cortisol and healed twice as fast as those who were in isolation (who produced far more of the stress hormone cortisol.) It appears that stress delays healing through the production of stress hormones. When these stress hormones are present, healing potential is diminished, and we know from other studies that chronic stress suppresses the function of the immune system. Apparently, not only is stress a critical determining factor in the wound healing rate in hamsters, but engaging in social interaction seems to be a fantastic way to reduce stress and create an environment that supports healing.

So what does all of this have to do with you and me? Even though the research was conducted on hamsters, the primary conclusions are fundamentally true with human beings. Both hamsters and human beings are mammals, of course, and the reason these tests are being conducted on hamsters is because they are biologically similar to humans. They have the same organ systems -- such as the adrenal glands -- which produce the stress hormones just as they do in human beings. Hamsters are also highly social, which makes them especially appropriate for this sort of study.

What this is showing is that wound healing is not simply a technical science. It's not merely having the right chemicals in the right place in the right time. There's also a mind-body connection when it comes to healing wounds and supporting the proper immune function of the human body. A person needs social interaction, and they need friends and family around in order to heal more quickly.

Unfortunately, this is not happening much in our modern medical system. If you think about hospitals, patients are usually kept in isolation. In fact, hospitals go to great lengths to isolate patients from each other by using curtains and walls and doors and other physical barriers. Of course, this is often necessary to reduce the spread of potentially contagious bacterial infections, but at the same time, we should recognize that this degree of isolation actually suppresses the wound healing ability of human beings.

Patients whose families visit them will no doubt heal much more quickly than those who have no visitors. The social interaction will lower their stress levels and accelerate their healing speed. It's also interesting to note that nursing homes and retirement centers are in many ways social environments that support the patient's healing ability -- but only if they are good nursing homes. In nursing homes where patients are kept isolated, and where families don't visit and there are few social opportunities, patients will no doubt heal very slowly from various wounds and immune system attacks. But when there is ample opportunity for social interaction, family visitations, and other forms of engagement with human beings, patients no doubt heal much more quickly.

The journal in which this is published, Psychoneuroendocrinology, is an interesting journal that attempts to explore the links between the mind and the body. In fact, the term psychoneuroendocrinology really means mind-body medicine. It's just a more technical way to say it. For decades, mind-body medicine has been ridiculed by western medicine. Even to this day, there are many old-school doctors who believe that the mind has absolutely no role whatsoever in health or healing. Such a belief is, of course, absurd. The mind is intricately tied with the body in determining the body's reaction to wounds and bacterial invasions (among other health compromising situations).

The field that studies the interaction between the mind and the immune system is of course called psychoneuroimmunology, and this is a fascinating field of emerging knowledge that attempts to document the links between the mind and the immune system. As it turns out, these links are very, very strong, and patients who exist in an environment that supports healthy brain function and engage in social interaction, brain exercises, exposure to natural sunlight, and so on, universally demonstrate stronger immune systems as well. In fact, it can be accurately stated that one of the best ways to support your immune system is to make sure you have a healthy mind and brain.

A final point of interest in all of this is the fact that most Americans exist in a state of chronic stress. It's little wonder that their immune systems are so depleted and they are unable to quickly heal from wounds and bacterial infections. Not only is chronic stress a fact of life for most Americans, but the vast majority of people in civilized nations also suffer from nutritional deficiencies that inhibit the healing response of the human body. They eat extremely unhealthy foods, such as junk foods and fast foods, they consume ingredients that strip nutrition from their bodies, such as refined white flour and high-fructose corn syrup, and they fail to supplement their diets with nutritional supplements that enhance human health and immune system function. Those supplements include vitamins, minerals and trace minerals, medicinal herbs, and of course, superfoods.

So you put all of this together, and add on a heaping dose of chronic stress through commuting, relationship difficulties, work problems and financial challenges, and it's a wonder that people can heal their bodies at all. In fact, it is a testament to the miraculous healing potential of the human body that it can overcome these incredible anti-healing forces and yet manage to accomplish healing milestones on even on the most diseased bodies in our society.


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About the author:Mike Adams (aka the "Health Ranger") is a best selling author (#1 best selling science book on Amazon.com) and a globally recognized scientific researcher in clean foods. He serves as the founding editor of NaturalNews.com and the lab science director of an internationally accredited (ISO 17025) analytical laboratory known as CWC Labs. There, he was awarded a Certificate of Excellence for achieving extremely high accuracy in the analysis of toxic elements in unknown water samples using ICP-MS instrumentation. Adams is also highly proficient in running liquid chromatography, ion chromatography and mass spectrometry time-of-flight analytical instrumentation.

Adams is a person of color whose ancestors include Africans and Native American Indians. He's also of Native American heritage, which he credits as inspiring his "Health Ranger" passion for protecting life and nature against the destruction caused by chemicals, heavy metals and other forms of pollution.

Adams is the founder and publisher of the open source science journal Natural Science Journal, the author of numerous peer-reviewed science papers published by the journal, and the author of the world's first book that published ICP-MS heavy metals analysis results for foods, dietary supplements, pet food, spices and fast food. The book is entitled Food Forensics and is published by BenBella Books.

In his laboratory research, Adams has made numerous food safety breakthroughs such as revealing rice protein products imported from Asia to be contaminated with toxic heavy metals like lead, cadmium and tungsten. Adams was the first food science researcher to document high levels of tungsten in superfoods. He also discovered over 11 ppm lead in imported mangosteen powder, and led an industry-wide voluntary agreement to limit heavy metals in rice protein products.

In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Through the non-profit CWC, Adams also launched Nutrition Rescue, a program that donates essential vitamins to people in need. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.

With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource featuring over 10 million scientific studies.

Adams is well known for his incredibly popular consumer activism video blowing the lid on fake blueberries used throughout the food supply. He has also exposed "strange fibers" found in Chicken McNuggets, fake academic credentials of so-called health "gurus," dangerous "detox" products imported as battery acid and sold for oral consumption, fake acai berry scams, the California raw milk raids, the vaccine research fraud revealed by industry whistleblowers and many other topics.

Adams has also helped defend the rights of home gardeners and protect the medical freedom rights of parents. Adams is widely recognized to have made a remarkable global impact on issues like GMOs, vaccines, nutrition therapies, human consciousness.

In addition to his activism, Adams is an accomplished musician who has released over a dozen popular songs covering a variety of activism topics.

Click here to read a more detailed bio on Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, at HealthRanger.com.

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