Dejay Davison

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The Importance of Psychoneuroimmunology

Psychoneuroimmunology: The effects your thoughts have on health and immunity.

Due to the nascency of the subject the learning opportunities are very scarce and scattered. I have left school to pursue the intellectual discipline mentally but more importantly, physically. Here is an article of me that I believe is the beginning of my journey.

I wish to raise awareness, following the footsteps of Wim Hof (who has run half marathons barefoot & bare chested near the polar circle and swum in antarctic rivers) who does so not to encourage people to do the same crazy things, but to inspire what the human body is truly capable of. It has a primal, innate ability that modern times and lifestyles are hindering, and neglecting without understanding the sad significance of doing so. Exposing yourself to 'harsh nature' has many psychological implications and benefits which are of grave importance, but more so the physiological factors, a more robust circulatory system, more efficient arteries and most prominently huge immunity improvements. The cold is but a teacher, an exemplar to what is truly and innately possible when we embrace nature rather than resist. Thus I will traverse this spectrum of knowledge to communicate in a language the Western World seems to listen to; science.

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    Sep 21 2012: you are 17 and willing to" torture" yourself in the name of science? man ,you have all my respect..keep up the good work :)
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      Sep 21 2012: It is not torture at all! :)
      I have learnt to 'embrace rather than resist'; and the physiological and psychological benefits are absolutely wonderful.

      Thank you very much!
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    Sep 22 2012: Hi Dejay....haven't seen you for awhile....good topic!

    First of all, I needed to make sure I understand the meaning of the word:

    The human body and mind is capable of much more than we give ourselves credit for. Personally, I am living with two conditions that are expected, by the medical profession, to be totally disabling, and yet, I function at a higher mental and physical level than a majority of people.

    What you are talking about very basically is holistic (looking at the body/mind as a whole, rather than parts). It can also be called balance. When the body/mind is in balance, we have much more strength and capabilities than when it is imbalanced.....yes?

    One of the most important statements I see in your introduction is:
    "embrace...rather than resist". Resistance uses up a lot of energy that can be used to facilitate a more balanced condition.
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      Sep 22 2012: Yes absolutely :)
      There are a few PNI dissertations taking a reductionist approach to understand how and why someone who is happier is healthier; reassuring us of our common sense really.
      In-fact, much of it is common sense; but something I wish to emphasize and elucidate is the prominent physiological benefits of exposing yourself to the cold, challenging conventional wisdom that has for so long deprecated such decisions!
      I guess I just want to be part of enlightening the Western world to the important benefits of esoteric Eastern World disciplines; in scientific terms!
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    Sep 22 2012: Always good to see the future in 'cognitive philosophy' being more and more practically used.
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    Sep 21 2012: First of all, psychoneuroimmunology is not someone pushing the physical limits of the human body. Lots of people been doing that for centuries in Tibet, India etc. It is not mind over body.

    The study of psychoneuroimmunology is about how how the brain functions affect the immune system. In very simple terms it is looking at why peoples immune systems go down when they are under stress and they get sick. It is looking at can we mediate what the brain is doing to affect the immune system. If they can get this right, they might be able to utilize the body's own resources to affect diseases like cancer, infections, healing etc.

    This is a new area of research and is looking at the body as a whole instead of diseased parts.
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      Sep 21 2012: You simply just defined the conventional implications of PNI...
      I'm sure you can understand the relevance of my actions and the science, as well as my choice of studying it. I am but taking an anomalous approach to a nascent science, who are you to put walls and boundaries on such a new intellectual discipline Linda?
      Wim Hof has consciously influenced and controlled his Autonomic Nervous System and nearly tripled his immunity through cold exposure, 'by utilizing the body's own resources'. He has exemplified not 'mind over body' but a deeper understanding and coalescence of them.
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        Sep 21 2012: Um no. You can't "triple immunity." By what measure? Just because someone does tricks does not constitute PNI. So they can tolerate cold. Like I said, people been doing that for centuries. There are even religions around that. People have also stared into the sun, fasted for long times, endured pain etc but it is not PNI. Others have controlled their ANS and are said to control digestion and heartbeat etc. Mind-body stuff was really big in the 1970's. At least in the US. That stuff is not a nascent science.

        PNI is a science based on immune system and that means immunoglobulins and white blood cells and all manner of cytokines. Along with what causes or hinders their release or activity. The connection the science is making is how signals from the brain can amplify or hinder the immune system. Some are looking at biofeedback loops. And if we can tap into that perhaps we can figure out how to prevent, control, or cure disease.

        It's not about mind over body in the way you are talking about. Not my boundaries. Maybe you should pick up a journal once in a while. You can call your approach anomalous but it simply has nothing to do with PNI.

        I have done research in this area. It is NOT parlor tricks. No matter what Wim Hof says.
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          Sep 21 2012:

          I'm sorry but you do not define how an intellectual discipline in used and where it's implications lie.
          Wim Hof's books, and many of the physiological and immunological case studies done on him represent huge possibilities to control, and prevent disease.
          You have not studied or even looked into him.
          I suggest watching his Discovery Channel doco, or even reading his blog which has some case studies before making such claims.
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        Sep 21 2012: Oh we are not disagreeing. You are simply wrong.
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        Sep 22 2012: Wim Hof is a circus performer. What is so difficult to understand? He gets PAID for this stuff. It's a crock at best and a probable scam!

        I don't care what you call it just don't call it PNI. It's not PNI.
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        Sep 22 2012: Are you familiar with the name Uri Geller? He was someone in the 1970s that claimed to bend spoons and keys with his mind. Stanford research institute was researching his amazing powers. He even had the researchers fooled. Guess what. It was a cheap magicians trick. Not until other magicians came forward did they figure it out. But he was on the television, there were books and signings and a lot of people were duped. I guess some of them still are. Back in the day these were called geek tricks. That was before geek became associated with technology.

        People been making money like this for a very looong time.

        If you notice, your first link states it is not science. And that when he was injected, his body actually SUPPRESSED the immune system. Cortisol is released when the body is in fight or flight mode or extreme stress. That means he was LESS able to fight infection. My guess is that he is needlephobic.

        Oh and I did visit your website about the science. I tried to download both links under the publish research. Guess what? They didn't open.
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          Sep 22 2012: Bending spoons?
          That is completely un-related.
          They opened completely fine for me and were very interesting, AND reassuring considering I didn't just believe it from seeing him do it, I believed it because I started doing it.

          "After endotoxin administration, the increase of the stress hormone cortisol in Hof was much more pronounced compared to other healthy volunteers. We know that this hormone is released in response to increased autonomic nervous system activity and that it suppresses the immune response. In accordance, the levels of inflammatory mediators in Hof's blood were much lower. On average, Hof's immune response was decreased by 50 percent compared to other healthy volunteers. In addition, hardly any flu-like symptoms were observed. These results are definitely remarkable."

          You're trying to ridicule and undermine a discipline you haven't gone further than your computer chair to understand? You are a fine example of why I passionately wish to challenge conventional wisdom.
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        Sep 22 2012: I know it says it right there in your post. " suppresses the immune response." According to the article by 50 percent. He was 50 percent LESS able to fight infection than the healthy volunteers. Mind you it does not list which mediators were lowered.

        I told you I have done research in this area. I know about this scientifically. My research was an interdisciplinary cognitive-behavioral intervention to affect disease symptomology.

        You on the other hand are 17 years old and sitting at your computer. Do you even know about general adaptation syndrome and cortisol?

        Once again, this is NOT psychoneuroimmunology.

        The E in TED stands for entertainment. And that is what Wim Hof is.
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          Sep 22 2012: Yes, you know about this scientifically.
          This is ONE realm of understanding.

          You are taking the conventional reductionist approach and I am taking an anomalous, holistic & reductionist approach to the field.
          Maybe you should learn from this!
          If it does not fall under PNI, I will find what is does fall under.
          Though regardless, an understanding of PNI will inevitably help and contribute.
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    Sep 21 2012: That is one mouthful of a word...
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    Sep 21 2012: I hope they throw your vid session up Dejay,i would love to watch it,all the best matey.