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Mind-Body Science Psychosomatic Disorders

The Mind-Body Connection

The word psychosomatic when broken down becomes psyche, meaning soul and soma, meaning body. Fused into one word suggests a kind of connection between the two. Emotion is found in both aspects of mind and body and will transform the body, by creating disease or healing it, maintaining health or undermining it. Emotions are felt throughout the body as sensations. We have all felt immediate sensory responses in the body due to emotional feelings—sweaty palms, pounding heart, butterflies in the stomach, tensed muscles, etc. Elmer Green, the Mayo Clinic physician who had pioneered in biofeedback for treatment of disease, had said, “Every change in the physiological state is accompanied by an appropriate change in the mental emotional state, conscious or unconscious, and conversely; every change in the mental emotional state, conscious or unconscious, is accompanied by an ​​​​​​​​​​appropriate change in the physiological state.”

“Today, brain scans (e.g. PET, CAT & SPECT) and neurofeedback devices reveal the dynamic interplay between our thoughts and feelings, how feelings are "stored" in the body, and how they affect our thought processes. Typically, we know when we're stressed, excited, or emotional because we think we are. Yet, the way the brain is wired, it is usually only when body sensations alert us, that the mind gets engaged. In other words, our emotions and sensations appear first in the body, and only then are noticed by the conscious mind. Traditional therapy attempts to change your emotions or behavior by changing your thoughts (i.e. through the left brain). Body psychotherapy works in the reverse, by using the body and your emotions to change how your nervous system responds. That is, it works through the right brain, not the left. You see, although thoughts can marginally change our emotions, it is far more efficient - in terms of the way the brain is designed to work to address body sensations, emotions, unconscious processes first "from the bottom up", says Dr. Amen, Neuroscientist and Psychiatrist. "You see, although thoughts can marginally change our emotions, it is far more efficient - in terms of the way the brain is designed to work to address body sensations, emotions, unconscious processes first "from the bottom up". Using a left-brain strategy to change a right-brain-based emotion is a prescription for futility. For the most part, traditional forms of counseling focuses on left brain strategies and underestimates the transformative power of the right-brain”.

Dr. Eric Kandell and his associates at Columbia University of Physicians and Surgeons have proved that biochemical change wrought at the receptor level is the molecular basis of memory. Using neuropeptides as the cue, our "bodymind" retrieves or represses emotions and behaviors. These discoveries are important in appreciating how memories are stored not only in the brain, but in a psychosomatic network extending into the body, particularly in the ubiquitous receptors between nerve cells and bundles of cell bodies (ganglia) which are distributed not just in and near the spinal cord, but all along pathways to internal organs and the surface of our skin. “The decision about what becomes a thought rising to consciousness and what remains an undigested thought pattern buried at a deeper level in the body is mediated by the receptors. The fact that memory is stored at the receptor level means that memory processes are emotion-driven and unconscious, but can be made conscious”, says Dr. Candace Pert Ph.D.


Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) or the study of the brain and immune functioning is an interdisciplinary study that includes immunology, neurology, endocrinology, neurobiology, neurochemistry, psychiatry, neuropharmacology, and neuroanatomy. PNI was first described in 1981 by Dr. Robert Ader, a researcher in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York who coined the term. PNI looks at how both positive and negative states of mind can affect immune system responses. The mind and body communicate with each other in a bidirectional flow of chemical messages. In the 1970s, studies by Dr. Ader and other researchers opened up new understandings of how experiences such as stress and anxiety can affect a person's immune system.

In the 1970s, Dr. Ader conducted the first study of how our body is conditioned to associate external events with foods ingested during those events, such as a person eating when a traumatic event happened. He performed experiments on mice, which showed that environmental factors could impact the immune system. Ader did this by first lowering the effectiveness of the immune system of mice by giving them an immune suppressant drug in a saccharine solution, and then by observing that saccharine alone produced a similar decrease in immune system function. The mice quickly began to associate the taste of saccharine simultaneously to immune suppression, just as the human body may associate a trauma to foods or smells linked in time to a trauma. Hundreds of studies explored various interactions between the immune system and other mental and physical processes confirming Ader's findings and the field of PNI has blossomed and become widely accepted in both mainstream and holistic medicine.

Studies show that deviations in the immune system can also trigger psychological and behavioral changes. PNI researchers look for the physical links that allow the immune system to respond to psychological factors, such as the will to live to a certain date. They look at the ways that mental states, such as hopelessness, can signal the immune system to lower the body's defenses. In addition to an overworked immune system, allergy-like reactions are known to increase after a trauma. Sensitivities to particular substances can arise when a person is traumatized while being exposed to that substance. Repressed traumas caused by overwhelming emotion if unaddressed can be stored in a body part, affecting its ability or function and even our ability to feel that part or move it. Peptides and other informational substances are the biochemicals of emotion; their distribution in the body’s nerves has all kinds of significance. The body is the unconscious mind. This suggests that there are almost infinite pathways for the conscious mind to access and modify the unconscious mind or the body, providing an explanation for a number of phenomena that the emotional theorists have considered. PNI gives credibility to many long-held folk beliefs about the effect of the mind on disease and healing. By demonstrating the physical means by which the mind influences the body, and vice versa. PNI provides a measure of validity to holistic approaches to healing.

Dr. Sandi Radomski creator of Allergy Antidote, has combined her medical background with her extensive training in Energy Psychology to create her Allergy Antidotes system. One of the goals of the Allergy Antidotes system is to understand the possible contribution of sensitivity reactions to a person’s behavior and health. Allergy Antidotes is a comprehensive system for assessing, identifying, and treating substance sensitivities, with the goal of eliminating undesirable physical and emotional symptoms, mean-while locating hidden traumas and negative beliefs. The Allergy Antidotes system has been highly successful in reducing symptoms from substance sensitivities, which continue to rise at an alarming rate. It is becoming apparent that it is difficult for many people to cope with the numerous chemicals we are being exposed to in our modern world.


Reactions to various substances can produce a myriad of both mental and physical symptoms including ADD, anxiety, depression, arthritis, respiratory problems, menstrual difficulties, digestive problems, chronic fatigue, brain fog, panic attacks, headaches, weight gain, learning disabilities, hyperactivity and aches and pains. The severity of the symptom can range from nasal congestion to psychosis. In turn, any substance can trigger a reaction. The possible culprits range from toxic chemicals such as petrochemicals to non-toxic substances such as eggs and vitamin C, which would be harmless to most people. A patient who is weak or sensitive to a nutrient is unable to absorb and utilize that nutrient properly. For example, if you are sensitive to calcium, you would not absorb the calcium in your foods or supplements. Another example is a common cause of iron-related anemia. Often people may be sensitive or allergic to iron from animal sources because the body may interpret it as “foreign” and may try to reject it. This in turn can cause an iron deficiency leading to an anemic response if the person is getting most of their supply of iron from animal rather than plant sources. Toxic chemicals and heavy metals tend to set the body up for further problems with bacteria, viruses, yeast, molds and parasites. Likewise, research findings increasingly link childhood vaccinations with impaired functioning.

NAET can successfully alleviate adverse reactions to egg, milk, peanuts, penicillin, aspirin, mushrooms, shellfish, latex, grass, ragweed, flowers, perfume, animal dander, animal epithelial, make-up, chemicals, cigarette smoke, pathogens, heat, cold, and other environmental agents.


NAET is available all over the world. Over 12,000 licensed medical practitioners have been trained in NAET procedures and are practicing all over the world. Dr. Penny Montgomery and Dr. Margaret Ayers have conducted two landmark studies with great relevance to the treatment of allergy-like reactions to substances. Using real time EEG findings, Drs. Montgomery and Ayers have discovered specific brain wave patterns that denote sensitivity to a particular substance. In the first study, they have successfully proven that brain waves return to normal after using N.A.E.T. (a similar procedure to Spinal Release - to clear the reaction). The importance of this research is in documenting not only the presence of the sensitivity but the effectiveness of the treatment as well.


Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D.1, Devi S. Nambudripad, M.D., Ph.D., D.C., L.Ac.2, Yvonne Tyson, M.D.3, Ming Chen, M.D.4, Robert Prince, M.D.5, Mala M. Moosad, R.N., L.Ac., Ph.D.6, Laurie Teitelbaum M.S.7 This study has been published in Integrative Medicine Vol. 10, No. 5 Oct/Nov 2011 issue. Outcome Measures: The primary outcome measure was the Autism Research Institute Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ARI-ATEC). Secondary outcome measures included the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS), Neuromuscular Sensitivity Testing (NST) and the Allergy Symptom Rating Scale (ASRS). The participating children were evaluated using these instruments at the beginning and at the end of the 1-year study.


Subjects & Intervention: Sixty children (5-10 years old) with a diagnosis of autism were randomly assigned to either the treatment or control groups. The treatment group consisted of 26 boys and 4 girls and the control group included 25 boys and 5 girls. The treatment group (30 children) received NAET treatments (combining acupressure and kinesiology) for 50 key allergens for 1 year. The children in the (non-blinded) control group did not receive any NAET treatments. Each group was allowed to continue with any other therapies they had been receiving. The NST (kinesiology/muscle response testing) was used to determine which substances triggered sensitivity reactions in each child and NAET acupressure treatments were then used to eliminate the sensitivities.


56 children (26 in the NAET-treated group and 30 in the control group) completed the study. After one year, the children receiving NAET treatments exhibited clinically dramatic and statistically significant improvements in performance compared to the control group, as demonstrated by the mean 68.4% decrease in the total ARI-ATEC Score (compared to the mean 0.8% decrease in the control group; p<0.0001) and the 64% to 82% mean decreases on the 4 ARI-ATEC subtests (all p<0.0001). Similarly, the CARS rating improved by an average of 47.4% among the NAET-treated children, compared to only 0.4% in the control group (p<0.0001); the NST Score improved by an average of 65.5%, compared to a mean improvement of 0.0% (p<0.0001); and the total ASRS Score decreased by an average of 85%, compared to 2.3% (p<0.0001). In addition, NAET treatment also produced statistically significant improvements in each of 30 of the 35 symptoms assessed using the ASRS. Clinically, 23 of the 30 children in the treatment group were able to return to regular school classes with their healthy, non-autistic peers after treatment while all of the children in the control group continued to require special education.


Ader, R. Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI), (Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine) | 2005 | Woodward, A DeVito, Paul L. "The Immune System vs. Stress." USA Today Magazine (July 1994): 27.​

Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington D.C

Kiecolt-Glaser, Janice, K., et al. (2002). "Emotions, Morbidity, and Mortality." Annual Review of Psychology : 83.​

Pert, C. B. (2010). "Molecules of Emotion", the science behind mind-boyd medicine. Department of Physiology and Biophysics;

Radomski, S., Allergy Antidotes – Energy Psychology Treatment of Allergy-Like Reactions, Oct. 2000

​Viljoen, M., et al. "Psychoneuroimmunology: From Philosophy, Intuition, and Folklore to a Recognized Science. South African Journal of Science (July/August 2003): 332–6.