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Bodymind Connection: Psychoneuroendoimmunology

Updated: Aug 9, 2021

Life in 2021 may not come with a map. Still, everyone will experience twists and turns from everyday challenges or traumatic events with a more lasting impact. Each change affects people differently, bringing a unique flood of thoughts, strong emotions, and uncertainty.

Many things can happen in our lives to disrupt our emotional balance and create thoughts and feelings of stress, anxiety, or sadness. Unresolved negative thoughts remain in the body and can affect every area of our lives; from sleepless nights, poor health, relationship, or financial challenges. Emotional stress is linked to chronic inflammation, lowered immune function, increased blood pressure, and altered brain chemistry.

Psychoneuroendoimmunology (PNI) is the study of the effect of the mind on health and resistance to disease. Psycho (mind/emotions), neuro (nervous system), endo (endocrine system), immunology (immune system).

PNI researchers have studied how emotions and thoughts impact the brain, hormones, nervous system, and the immune system’s ability to protect. Research has shown that people in stressful situations have measurable changes in physical responses to injury, whether it be slow wound healing, a higher incidence of infection, or a worse prognosis as in a debilitating illness. Emotional stress is linked to chronic inflammation, lowered immune function, increased blood pressure, and altered brain chemistry. These are promising scientific discoveries on the mind-body connection.

Being aware of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors is the first step toward maintaining emotional health. People who are emotionally healthy have learned the ways to cope with stress brought on by challenges that are part of life. A healthy routine of adequate rest, proper nutrition, exercise, and let go of adverse situations can be enhanced by the use of aromatherapy.

Essential oils can be applied in a variety of ways; including diffusion, a nasal inhaler, body oil, and in the bath. A drop or two in your palm with a teaspoon of jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) oil and rubbed on the back of your neck or the chest and abdomen as support at the end of a long day.

Here are a few essential oils that can be incorporated into your day to help manage the everyday emotions we experience.

Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) – Soothes the mind, creating an atmosphere of peace by helping to eliminate anxiety, irritability, and nervousness. Chamaemelum nobile is a wonderful addition to the bath. Noted precaution: Not recommended for use with those that are allergic to ragweed.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) – Promotes consciousness, love, peace, and a sense of well-being. Lavender aids verbal expression and helps address fears. Very nice in the bath.

Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides) – As a very grounding oil, Vetiver assists an individual in becoming more rooted in life. It is profoundly relaxing and well-suited for depression, insomnia, and nervous tension. Can also be used in the bath.