Welcome to November, I hope this blog finds everyone safe and well. This month there is quite a lot going on. Hurricane Sandy, US and Chinese Elections, Diwali, Thanksgiving and of course my birthday!
This month I wanted to share about the importance of our emotional well being in relation to overall health. The more medical term for this is ‘PsychoNeuroImmunology’, but that is a bit of a mouthful so I will stick with calling it PNI for now.
Over the last month I have had one case after another of either asthma, bronchiolitis, chest infections or persistent coughs. We all know that these can be triggered by the seasonal change, whether this seasonal change is because the individual is affected by the damp, cold or lack of sunshine. The latter being a key ingredient for optimal immune health of course!
It is always interesting to hear parents in clinic say ‘we never go out in the cold as the kids get a chest infection or a cough that lingers for sometime. But let’s just stop and think for a few minutes, why would the cold impact one child over another? Why is it that one sibling can run around in a t-shirt in the winter and be totally healthy and if another sibling from the same genetic gene pool forgets to wear a hat gets a chest infection?
It has somewhat to do with the individual’s history. All the way from conception through to their present ‘emotional health’. This is also the case for adults but we adults are a bit more complex (as we all know).
What has this to do with the PNI? Well the chest area in naturopathic terms is related to travel, change, moving and grief. Let me give you an example; a case that has just recently been cleared from asthma.
I had been seeing Ethan a 7 year old boy for the last 3 years,. Winter was his ‘low season’ according to his mum. During his first year of life he got bronchiolitis (inflammation of the bronchioles). During the second year of his life he managed to get another two chest infections. All these imbalances were treated with antibiotics. Unfortunately by the third and fourth year of Ethan’s life he was not only prescribed antibiotics when he got a chest infection but also an inhaler and steroids for the ‘wheeze’. He was diagnosed as having asthma. By the time I saw Ethan 3 years ago (just after his fourth birthday) he was pretty hyper from the steroid medication, which was ONLY given during the winter season but he was also admitted to A&E four times within that year.
Over the last two years Ethan’s mum has used nutrition, homeopathy and a few herbs to see him through the winter season and this October he came back for a top-up and he had not been to A&E in the last two years since starting the naturopathic approach to boosting his health.
So here is the history link, ready? …Ethan’s mum and dad are both South African. They both live in a nation (UK) that is not their native home. In naturopathy this can mean that when their children fall ill they could possibly get lung, ears, nose, throat and skin issues (interestingly Ethan’s brother has eczema). Why is this ? We don’t exactly know, some say it is due to change in climate, others say it is due to the migrating culture. Some individuals move and ‘adapt’ readily, others do not or find it difficult to adapt. They may find the winters too damp, daylight too short or may not ‘feel at home’…in other words still ‘home sick’. Ethan’s mum missed her home in South Africa. When Ethan was born she was more ‘home sick’ than ever and felt pretty low for the first 12 months of his life.
Two years ago I had prescribed Ethan a grief remedy called Nat Mur (grief also being linked to the lungs) after his mum mentioned again about missing South Africa. Sounds weird right? BUT since taking this remedy Ethan has not had an asthma attack or a chest infection. Why then would Ethan’s asthma clear up when he displayed no symptoms of grief ? you ask. Well his mother did …and she was also breast feeding him at the time he first experienced bronchiolitis…and it is well known that ‘baby feels what mum feels’. Although Ethan did not present with the grief aspect, he did show many other indications for Nat Mur., such as desiring salt and salty foods, incredibly thirsty, watery eyes and runny nose with the cough. He was always well dressed, reserved and pretty ‘well behaved’ which can also indicate Nat Mur.
So this is where the PNI system works in all its glory! Although the PNI system is taught and studied by medics nowadays, you will be hard pushed to find a physician that will ‘treat’ the asthma or re-current chest infections by prescribing a grief remedy right? And no thanks to anti-depressants.
There are numerous cases that I could share that are PNI based but I just want to share a more recent case that actually was quite astonishing. This family had been through so much trying to help their daughter, Tammy’s asthma.
Tammy a 5 year old girl was suffering from quite acute and ‘life threatening’ asthma. She would get a cold and then it would go to her chest and her asthma symptoms would come on suddenly and she would go blue. Tammy’s parents had her on a dairy and gluten free diet with very little sugar intake for the last 3 years. Interestingly Tammy’s vitamin D status was good (she is the only person I have seen in clinic for a first appointment that had a good Vitamin D status!) indicating the importance of everything her parents were implementing. So I started with the most obvious asthmatic remedy that fitted her ‘symptoms’ (Laurocerasus). I had only seen Tammy for the first time two winters ago, straight after an asthma ‘episode’. I did not see her again until this summer and now just last month. Since the first session after the remedy Tammy has not had a single asthmatic episode!
What was the PNI link here? Well Tammy’s sudden asthma ‘attacks’ ALWAYS occurred around her birthday in November no matter what the weather was doing. I prescribed this remedy (also prescribed for babies born with a cord around their neck) and Tammy was born with a cord around her neck. Her asthmatic symptoms matched the state she was in when she was birthed. Somehow, her mind or ‘P’ (in the PNI) would connect to this ‘birth’ trauma on her birth-day resulting in her acute asthmatic symptoms.
These cases are only two that I pulled out from my notes linking the PNI with the so-called chest infection ‘winter season’. However there are numerous PNI related cases to other health imbalances, it is not just the chest that manifests emotions as physical symptoms. So in essence let us not forget about our emotional well being when it comes to our overall well being
So in essence let us not forget about our emotional well being when it comes to our overall wellbeing.
To a healthy mind!