Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fertility and Mind-Body: How Your Thoughts and Emotions Affect Your Health

We are honored to welcome certified nutritionist, Virginia Watkins, to our advisory board. Virginia works with women to help them optimize fertility and overall health through good nutrition and great-tasting food. She counsels women from pre-conception through their pregnancies and into post-partum. She'll be helping us to answer some of your nutritional questions.

Finally, we are grateful to have Joanne Verkuilen, founder of Circle+Bloom, write a guest blog for us today.  Her well-researched, innovative mind-body fertility programs are amazing, so please check them out. We've even reviewed their program, and what visualizations are all about, in a previous blog.

We all have a superpower and it is called the internal communication between mind and body.
The fancy and scientific name for it is Psychoneuroimmunology, which means your thoughts and feelings (psycho) affect the chemicals in your brain (neuro), which affects the hormones that fight disease or replicate viruses (immunology). Research centers have sprung up at Harvard, Ohio State, the University of Rochester, the University of Miami, and UCLA to continue to expand the understanding around the mind-body connection.

The revolution of the acceptance of the mind-body connection can be partly traced back to Norman Cousins, according to Anne Harrington, a professor of the history of science at Harvard University. In the 1970s, Cousins, the editor in chief of Saturday Review, was hospitalized with a mysterious, crippling disease. Doctors diagnosed degenerative bone disease that would eventually kill him. Cousins, facing a death sentence, decided to take matters in his own hands. Checking himself out of the hospital and into a hotel room, and he decided to wage war against his disease by flooding his body and cells with laughter and good cheer.

Knowing that research at the time proved that negative effects and emotion were bad for you, he decided to do an experiment and see whether or not good emotions could have a positive effect on your health. He felt he had nothing to lose and began his treatment regimen by constantly watching funny and uplifting shows and movies. Non-stop. He found that 10 minutes of belly laugh gave him 20 minutes of pain-free sleep. Slowly but surely, he laughed himself back to health. His experience was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and thus began the movement towards scientists and researchers under the field of Psychoneuroimmunology.

It’s my understanding, however, that even though Psyconeuroimmunology is as widely accepted today by scientists, it’s still not taught in medical school. Thinking back on my own experience with infertility, it was a “neck-down” problem treated with fertility drugs and procedures.

We know the tools we can employ to unlock this connection, so for us, it is very exciting to share this treatment approach where YOU take control and YOU can wage your own war with laughter, good cheer – and other tools such as relaxation and guided visualizations.

Our goal is educate and promote the concept of using simple and easy-to-use mind-body programs that are effective and allow women to feel in greater control over their health, fertility, mind and bodies.

This is an edited post that was first published on our special blog on Fertility Authority. If you haven’t done so already, you should really explore the wonderful resources that website has to offer.

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