Psycho Neuro Immunology
Psycho-neuro-hormonal-immunology is commonly known as PNI. It is the study of how the mind and the body communicate.
Since ancient times, illness, well-being and healing were strongly connected to the mind, society, morality and spirituality. In the 19th and 20th centuries in the West, this approach was replaced by a mechanistic, reductionist one. Recently an enormous amount of research has found that there was wisdom and truth in these ancient approaches.
PNI reminds us that psychological states like chronic stress, depression, anxiety, fear and social context produce profound effects on the body. These effects express themselves all the way down from muscle tension in headaches and spastic colon; to the way in which genes express themselves in genetic illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Over time, mental and emotional states take a heavy toll on the body and are a significant risk for illness.
The field of PNI has documented different physiological responses to stress. Various forms of stress management have been found to be helpful in modifying the body’s stress response. These include mindfulness meditation, yoga, counseling, exercise, volunteerism, stream-of-consciousness writing, humour, music and social connectedness.