Creating Results that Last a Lifetime !
My Philosophy at Reclaiming Life is research and implementation of the latest leading-edge breakthrougH mind/body therapies.
The Reclaiming Life Programme evolved from the concept that beliefs, feelings, attitudes and lifestyle are important factors affecting health. Psychoneuroimmunology is the study of this principle.
Psychoneuroimmunology in itself describes the process – (Psycho) Thoughts, affect (Neuro) the nervous system, and then affects (Immunology) the immune system.
Central to our Philosophy is the process of releasing past emotional pain and trauma. Unresolved and repressed trauma manifest in the body as disease. Illness is the body’s way of allerting the patient to their inner state. Reclaiming Life specialises in implementing Healing and Relapse Prevention Techniques pioneered by the leading researchers of our era.
The Dance of Soma and Psyche © William Collinge M.P.H., Ph.D. (Excerpted from The American Holistic Health Associations Complete Guide to Alternative Medicine, Warner Books, 1996)
Our thoughts and feelings influence the body via two kinds of mechanisms: the nervous system and the circulatory system. These are the pathways of communication between the brain and the rest of the body. The brain reaches into the body via the nervous system. This allows it to send nerve impulses into all the body’s tissues and influence their behavior.
The brain can thus affect the behavior of the immune system with its nerve endings extending into the bone marrow (the birthplace of all white cells), the thymus, the spleen, and the lymph nodes.
It also reaches into all the glands of the endocrine system, all the bones, muscles, all the internal organs, and even the walls of veins and arteries. It can influence the behavior of the heart with its nerves penetrating the heart tissue, affecting heart rate and other aspects of the heart’s functioning. The entire body is literally “wired” by the brain controlling the immune system.
The brain is also a gland. It manufactures thousands of different kinds of chemicals and releases them into the bloodstream. These chemicals circulate throughout the body and influence the activity and behavior of all the body’s tissues. The brain could be described as the ultimate apothecary, producing many more drugs than science has ever invented.
The cells of the body have receptors on their surfaces that function somewhat like satellite dishes. These receptors receive the chemical messages being released by the brain and respond accordingly.
Finally, the mind/body connection is a two-way street. In addition to sending messages into the body’s tissues, it also receives feedback, both in the form of nerve impulses and its own receptors that sense what chemicals are being released by other tissues in the body.
Research into how the brain can influence immune system responses has given rise to the new field called psycho-neuro-immunology (PNI). Findings in this field have brought great hope to people dealing with such difficult illnesses as cancer, AIDS, CFIDS (chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome), and other immune-related diseases. It is only a matter of time before similar acronyms are defined for other fields such as psycho-neuro-cardiology (PNC), the study of the mind-heart connection, or psycho-neuro-hematology (PNH), the study of how the mind can influence bloodrelated disorders, such as clotting problems in hemophilia.
Turning Down the Dial on Pain
Jim is a forty-six-year-old assembly line worker who received a disc injury in his neck and developed a chronic pain syndrome involving head, neck, arm, and shoulder pain. He was referred by his physiatrist to Karen Carroll, a biofeedback clinician practicing in Waterloo, Iowa, for pain control.
Carroll used EMG, first for general muscular tension and then for muscular tension around the upper body and neck. Jim was able to discover a direct connection between his thoughts, his level of nervous system arousal, muscular tension, and eventually his pain level.
After eight sessions spaced progressively further apart and accompanied by home practice of breathing exercises and progressive relaxation, his headaches and neck pain completely disappeared. He was then able to use physical therapy to further strengthen his neck and shoulders, and subsequently returned to work. He stated, “I never really knew what it felt
like to relax until now.” According to Carroll, this case illustrates the benefits of commitment to self-regulation and daily practice at home for someone who was motivated to avoid medication and surgery if possible.