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THE POWER OF MIND - Experiments, studies, researches
The pioneers of psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) studies were Janice Kicolt-Glaser and Ronald Glaser. They measured the number of the leukocytes in the blood of a group of students,before and after the exams. The study has shown that the students had a lower leukocyte count after the exams, arguably as a result of stress associated with them.
Read more about stress and health
In her PhD thesis, Barbara Peavey examined the influence of relaxation with biofeedback on the number of neutrophils, which are an integral part of the immune system. The results had no increase in the number of whit blood cells but the improvement in their activity was significant.
An interesting experiment in psychoneuroimmunology was conducted by Schneider, Smith and Witcher in 1984.
They explained the role of the immune system to a group of students and told them that they can effectively influence it through visualization.
After the 6th training it was apparent that many students were able to significantly affect the number of their neutrophils. Those white blood cells interact with antigens, bacteria and viruses and participate in formation of the inflammatory process in the place of injury.
Read more about the power of imagination
In 1983, Smith and McDaniel have started to conduct studies on the psychological regulation of immune processes. In their experiments a group of patients was subject to hypnosis and suggestion, which resulted in inhibition of type IV hypersensitivity reaction (Mantoux test).
Read about hypnosis and Placebo effect and autosuggestion
This experiment has lead them to a hypothesis that a patient who regularly practices meditation or can enter the state of hypnosis independently should be able to consciously influence their immune system. This hypothesis was however yet to be verified.
In the following experiment, the subject was a woman who has been practicing meditation and other eastern techniques every day for 9 years.
The study was conducted over a period of 9 weeks and the result confirmed the hypothesis - a person who is aware of their psychological influence on their body and who knows adequate techniques to achieve this can freely manipulate their immune responses. They can consciously affect the reaction of leukocytes to infection and inhibit the disease. Their mind becomes the key to their self-healing.
Read about meditation's effects