Factors Effecting our Bodies Natural Immunity to Disease
Most modern maladies are caused by prolonged exposure to a combination of negative lifestyles and toxic environmental factors, including junk food and malnutrition, pesticides, antibiotics, microwaves, chemical pollution of food, water and air, lack of exercise and chronic stress.
These factors are further aggravated by the failure of modern medicine to recognize them as agents of dis-“ease” and death and the consequent failure to take preventative measures against them.
By rebuilding immunity, health is naturally restored and disease disappears. If health and immunity are thereafter conscientiously maintained, the individual is no longer vulnerable to disease.
Dr. Russ Jaffee, who specialized in the treatment of AIDS, categorically states: “I do not believe that healthy people will get AIDS”.
This is heresy to the Western medical establishment, but there are significant external factors associated with the groups at high risk of AIDS.
Junkies, who do not usually lead healthy lives, have been dying of AIDS-like symptoms caused by blood poisoning ever since the hypodermic needle was invented.
Gay men often use immune suppressive drugs such as amyl nitrite and antibiotics for venereal disease; anal sex is also a risk factor, because when semen is introduced into the anus, it triggers a heavy auto-immune response.
In central African countries, many pesticides and toxic pharmaceuticals, which are now banned in the West and many parts of Asia, are sold cheaply over the counter.
In the opinion of many traditional healers, AIDS is caused by a failure to guard the Three Treasures (essence, energy, spirit).
This does not mean that you need not bother with safe sex, because unsafe sex can lead to common VD, which requires heavy antibiotic treatment, which in turn is one of the main destroyers of immune function.
What it does mean is that the sort of health care required to restore immunity and prevent disease begins at home, not in the clinic, by eliminating factors which impair immunity and cultivating habits which boost it.
The allopathic (Western) approach to treating disease is at least partly responsible for the world’s health crisis, because many of the chemical drugs widely prescribed have side effects which are cumulative and impair immunity.
The very fact that allopathic doctors dispense antagonistic drugs at the slightest sign of disease or dis-“comfort” indicates a basic lack of faith in the innate power of the human body to heal itself.
That power is what immunity is all about, so lets take a look at how it works and how you can immediately benefit from this.
Immunity: The body’s defence department
Immunity is a manifold defence system which protects the body from external threats such as harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites and toxins, as well as from internal hazards such as cancerous cells, arteriosclerotic plaque, cholesterol deposits and free radicals.
This defence complex works on all three levels of essence, energy, spirit.
On the basic physiological level of essence, the body is endowed with numerous glands and tissues that produce immune factors when prompted by proper signals from the brain via the central nervous system.
Primary among these defence installations are the following:
Located behind the sternum near the heart, the thymus produces special immune factors cal T-cells, which roam constantly throughout the body in the bloodstream on search-and-destroy missions against foreign invaders.
The bone marrow is responsible for producing several varieties of white blood cells that attack, kill and digest foreign invaders as well as malfunctioning pre-cancerous cells. Bone marrow also products red blood cells, which carry oxygen from the lungs to all tissues of the body. The white blood cells generated by bone marrow also produce specific antibodies to fight specific bacteria and viruses.
Spleen and Pancreas
These organs are actually large glands which produce and secrete vital enzymes as required by the body. Diets consisting largely of overcooked and processed foods diverts so many enzymes into the stomach and intestines for digestion that immunity is compromised owing to insufficient supplies of enzymes for antioxidant and other immune functions.
Pituitary and Pineal Glands
These two tiny glands are located in the mid-brain and their secretions regulate most of the body’s basic functions and biorhythms, including immunity. Especially important for immune functions is the growth hormone secreted by the pituitary gland.
Located on top of the kidneys, the adrenals secrete a wide range of vital hormones involved in sexual functions, immunity and the fight-or-flight response. The latter response is triggered by stress and severely impairs immune functions. When balanced and undisturbed by stress, adrenals secrete hormones that play important roles in immunity; they also function as “batteries” for storing the primordial energy which feeds the radiant shields of protective wei-chee around the body.
Lymphatic fluids absorb toxins and wastes from tissues and blood, transporting them to the colon, lungs and pores for excretion.
Liver and Kidneys
These two organs are responsible for filtering toxins and metabolic wastes from the blood, thereby purifying it so that it can properly perform its nourishing and cleansing functions throughout the system. The liver is also responsible for manufacturing many enzymes that are essential for optimum immunity.
The vital fluids of the spinal cord and brain regulate all communication within the human system and trigger either immunisupportive or immunosuppressive responses by mutual biofeedback with hormones, depending on one’s state of mind and emotions. These fluids are the messengers through which mind and body communicate and cooperate to guard health in the cerebro-physical defense system knows as psychoneuroimmunology (PNI).
On the level of energy, the body is protected by an aura of radiant energy that envelopes the entire body and shields it from invasion by aberrant environmental energies, including such natural elements as wind, heat and cold, as well as artificial sources such as microwaves, power lines and electrical appliances. The strength and protective power of this shield depends upon nutrition, breathing, purity of blood, regular exercise, supplements, emotional equilibrium, positive mental attitudes and other basic factors of health.
In addition, each of the 60 trillion cells in the human body generates its own electromagnetic field, which protects the cell from invasion by aberrant energies. When a cluster of cells in a particular tissue lose their electromagnetic shields through extreme toxicity, stress, injuries, heavy metal deposits, or other adverse factors, they become vulnerable to invasion not only by aberrant energies, but also by pathogens such as viruses and toxins.
If the cells are not promptly rebalanced by corrective measures, the cumulative harm eventually reaches their nuclei and causes genetic damage, which in turn can cause cancer and other cellular derangement’s. While protective energy depends upon nutrition, emotions, mental attitudes and other factors of essence and spirit, the primary mechanism for enhancing it is deep abdominal breathing and internal energy circulation.
On the level of spirit, immunity is strongly influenced by thoughts, emotions and attitudes. These mental factors are mediated by biofeedback between the nervous and endocrine systems, which form the powerful immunological mechanisms of PNI.
Consistently ignored by orthodox allopathic physicians, who try to impose matter over mind with drugs but feel threatened by the innate powers of mind over matter, the mental factors which trigger the PNI system constitute the human body’s most effective and most powerful defense mechanism.
By cultivating this innate psychophysiological healing response with meditation, chee-gung, and the power of positive thinking, individuals can learn how to cure and prevent disease at home.
Maintaining optimum immunity revolves around the following primary factors:
Clean blood and lymph
Blood plays a front line defensive role by delivering nutrients and immune factors to diseased and toxic tissues and carrying away metabolic wastes, toxins and pathogens. Lymph in turn keeps the blood clean and also purifies cellular fluids. The efficiency of their defense functions depends entirely upon their degree of purity, including proper pH balance. Clean blood also depends upon proper maintenance of the liver and kidneys, which filter the blood.
Balanced endocrine function
In order to produce the hormones required for immunity, the entire endocrine system must be maintained in proper balance, for glandular secretions influence once another by biofeedback. Endocrine balance is achieved and maintained by the parasympathetic branch of the autonomous nervous system and excessive stimulation of the sympathetic branch throws the endocrine system off balance.
In order to keep the body clean, the immune system needs a place to dump all the garbage it dredges from the system. Therefore, all the excretory organs, including colon, lungs, kidneys and skin MUST be maintained in proper working order. Whenever excretory functions are impaired, the body dumps its garbage into joints, body fat, lymph nodes, colonic sacculations and other nooks and crannies seemingly isolated from the bloodstream.
Proper nutrition is absolutely essential for maintaining immunity, for nutrients are the building blocks of human defense installations. Nutrients are also required for antioxidant protection against free radical damage, rebuilding injured tissues and metabolic conversion of essence into energy.
Physiologically, the traditional Chinese view of the human immune system is remarkably similar to the modern Western model. In the Chinese system, the first line of defense is provided by the thymus, adrenals and spine, followed in order of priority by the bone marrow, blood, brain (pituitary, pineal and hypothalamus), liver and kidneys, spleen and pancreas.
The Chinese however, also attach great importance to the immunological powers of energy and spirit, which are factors consistently ignored and misunderstood by modern Western medicine, much to the peril of patients.
Traditional Chinese doctors and Taoist healers frequently prescribe chee-gung to boost immunological response and meditation to mobilize the immunological powers of the mind, usually in conjunction with herbal and dietary prescriptions that work synergistically with energy and spirit.
Without sufficient energy, neither drugs, herbs, nor nutrients can be properly utilized in defense of health and negative mental attitudes such as cynicism, doubt, fear, confusion and self-loathing can negate the therapeutic benefits of even the most potent medications.
While modern Western medicine has a firm grasp of the “essence” of immunity, it has much to learn from traditional Chinese medicine about the “energy” and “spirit” of the human immune system and the sooner it does so, the better the health of Western societies will become.
Traditional Chinese immunology attaches particular importance to the role of the adrenal glands in guarding health and recent Western research on the immunosuppressive effects of stress scientifically validated the Chinese view. The Chinese refer to the adrenals as the “Root of Life” and cite them as the primary source of pure primordial energy, sexual vitality and immunological resilience. Since they are attached to the kidneys, the technical Chinese term for the adrenals is “kidney glands” and their functions are directly influenced by kidney organ energy.
Fear, for example, is an aberrant emotional energy associated with the kidneys in the Chinese system and chronic fear is thus regarded as a major suppressant of immune functions. This view is confirmed by Western medical science, which cites fear as a form of stress that triggers adrenal secretions of adrenaline and cortisone, two hormones known to suppress immunity severely. When fear of any other source of stress becomes chronic, adrenal burnout soon follows and the victim acquires a chronic immune deficiency that renders the body easy prey to formerly harmless microbes in the environment.
Adrenal burnout and elevated levels of cortisone in the blood are major contribution factors in chronic fatigue syndrome, AIDS, cancer, sexual impotence and infertility, allergies, migraine and other debilitating conditions.
According to the Chinese system, weak adrenals not only impair immunity on the level of essence, they also weaken resistance by cutting the main source of energy which maintains the radiant shell of protective wei-chee round the body. And since kidney organ energy governs bone marrow and brain tissue, deficient kidney/adrenal function also impairs production of white blood cells, hormones and other immune factors in these vital tissue.
Therefore, the traditional Chinese view of the kidney/adrenal complex as a primary regulator of immunity functions on all three levels of essence, energy and spirit has been confirmed by modern medical science and provides adepts of Taoist alchemy with a powerful protective mechanism that can be cultivated with physical, energetic and spiritual practices.
Traditional Chinese medicine cites four major forms of immune deficiency, or “immune emptiness”: blood, energy, yin and yang. The term “empty” refers to a condition of energy deficiency that impairs the vital functions of the organ, gland or tissue which that particular energy governs. In Western medicine, which does not recognize the roles of bio-energies, various forms of immune burn out, bone marrow impairment, cerebral insufficiency and so forth.
In order to gain a proper perspective on the rapidly growing problem of immune deficiency, we will now discuss some of the primary causes and most effective remedies in terms of essence, energy and spirit.
Immunity and Essence
Until about 1960, the biggest killer of children under the age of fifteen in America was accidents, but now it is cancer.
Most cases of immune deficiency begin during childhood with the first glass of pasteurized cow’s milk and the first bowl of processed cereal sprinkled with white sugar. The overall physical and mental health of American children has been declining at an alarming rate and the primary reason for this is their diet.
In adulthood, the debilitating effects are compounded by alcohol, drugs (medicinal as well as recreational), contaminated beef, artificial fats and other factors. Let’s take a quick look at some of the most immunosuppressive elements that people routinely allow to enter the inner sanctum of their bodies.
Refined white sugar triggers the release of insulin from the pancreas. With daily consumption of sugar, the bloodstream is always laced with insulin, which suppresses secretion of growth hormone from the pituitary. Growth hormone is a prime regulator of the immune system.
Hydrogenated vegetable oils
An ingredient in virtually all processed foods, baby formulas, non-dairy creamers, salad dressings etc., these artificial oils rapidly oxidize in the human system, releasing a deadly barrage of free radicals which destroy cells and cause genetic damage. They impair the immune activity of white blood cells and have been conclusively linked to increased risks of cancer.
Beef and cow’s milk
Steroid hormones, antibiotics and other drugs routinely fed to cattle are absorbed by the people who consume the meat and milk of such contaminated animals, throwing the endocrine system off balance and impairing immunity.
Malnutrition is a primary cause of immune deficiency throughout the world, not only where people are starving. The most glaring deficiencies in modern diets are essential amino acids and essential fatty acids, both of which are required in the production of immune factors such as white blood cells and antibodies. The thymus gland and lymph tissues for example, immediately begin to shrink and atrophy when these nutrients are absent from the diet.
Toxic heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, mercury and aluminum suppress all branches of the immune system, inhibiting T-cells, B-cells and antibodies and depressing bone-marrow function. Cadmium also blocks assimilation of zinc, which is an essential element required by the body to manufacture the potent antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase, one of the body’s most important immune factors. Heavy metals enter our bodies in tap water, contaminated fish, polluted air, fresh produce grown with synthetic fertilizers and cigarette smoke.
These commonly prescribed drugs are powerful immunosuppressors and also destroy the friendly lactobacteria in our intestinal tracts, thereby permitting candida and other harmful yeast’s to proliferate throughout the system, where they further inhibit immune functions.
Coffee, alcohol, tobacco, opiates, barbiturates, amphetamines and other popular drugs, when used to excess, severely inhibit immunity by releasing toxic by-products into the bloodstream and suppressing liver function.
Coffee has been specifically linked to increased risk of pancreas cancer; the offending agent is not caffeine, but other elements contained in coffee beans. When coffee is consumed with refined sugar and no-dairy creamer, the immune system gets battered with a triple blow.
Immune deficiency can be prevented and cured by first eliminating as many immunosuppressant elements as possible from your diet and lifestyle, then taking some or all of the following immunity-boosting foods and supplements daily.”
Many common foods have potent immunity-boosting properties when consumed regularly in sufficient quantities, including the following:
The members of this family of vegetable, including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and turnips, are rich in betacarotene and protect mucous membranes, especially in the lungs and intestinal tract, from cancer and free-radical damage.
Garlic is probably the foremost immune-enchanting food on Mother Nature’s menu. It has a wider spectrum of antibiotic activity than penicillin, inhibits many viruses and helps prevent cancer.
It is also one of the richest natural sources of selenium, which is required to produce the potent antioxidant enzyme gluthione peroxidase.
It is most effective when consumed raw.
Deep-water fish such as salmon and tuna are rice sources of omega-3 fish oils, which contain the essential fatty acids required to produce immune factors such as white blood cells in the body.
They also prevent heart attacks by keeping the arteries clear of cholesterol deposits.
These elements are most abundant and easy to assimilate when the fish is consumed raw, but if you prefer it cooked, then lightly steam or poach it.
Seaweed’s are known to lower blood cholesterol, neutralize radiation toxicity and enhance overall immunity.
Raw almonds are one of the best natural sources of essential amino acids and essential fatty acids, both of which are required for optimum immunity.
For vegetarians, who often become deficient in these vital nutrients, raw almonds are an excellent substitute for meat and other animal products.
Another good source of essential fatty acids, be pollen is also loaded with enzymes and other potent nutritional elements which boost immunity. Pollen also helps eliminate many food allergies.
Because of environmental pollution and denatured diets, food alone is no longer sufficient to sustain optimum immunity today.
Without supplements, the body simply does not get the full range and quantity of vital nutrients and other elements it requires to maintain health and vitality, regardless how much food you eat.
Judicious use of the following supplements will supply the elements the body needs most to fight disease, neutralize toxins and free radicals and guard against premature degeneration of bodily tissues.
Many vitamins function not only as nutrients, but also as potent antioxidants.
When the body is dis-eased or di-stressed, it utilizes vitamins at a far greater rate than under normal conditions, a fact that shows how important these nutrients are to immune functions.
Most important is vitamin C, which helps prevent cancer, counteracts the immunosuppresive effects of cortisone, protects the heart and boosts overall immunity. The optimum maintenance dose is 2-6 grams per day and double that amount when ill.
Other immunity-boosting vitamins include, in order of potency, vitamins A (preferably as betacarotene), vitamin E and vitamin B1, B5, B6, and B12.
The minerals selenium and zinc are indispensable to the human immune system, because they are required to manufacture antioxidant enzymes, which protect the body from free-radical damage.
Zinc, for example, is used to synthesize eighty different enzymes, including the body’s most potent anti-aging enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
Other minerals essential for immune function include magnesium, potassium, maganese, sodium, copper and chromium.
Argine, when taken with synergistic cofactors such as vitamin B, stimulates the pituitary to secrete growth hormone, a vital immune regulator. Argine also enlarges the thymus gland (which produced T-cells), greatly enhances the body’s healing powers and helps prevent cancer.
Other immune-boosting amino acids include ornithine, cysteine, taurine, methionine and glutathione.
Essential fatty acids
These nutrients, including omega-3 fish oils, oleic acid and caprylic acid, provide the best protection against arteriosclerosis and other forms of heart disease.
Since few Americans get adequate levels of these essential nutrients from their food (as clearly evidenced by the fact that heart disease now accounts for 53 per cent of all deaths in the USA), supplemental sources are required.
Fatty acids are also essential elements in white blood cells, antibodies and brain cells.
Since modern diets consist primarily of cooked and processed foods, the body must divert much of its enzyme power to the stomach and duodenum for digestive duty, thereby sharply reducing the availability of enzymes for antioxidant activity and other immune functions.
When taken on an empty stomach, enzyme supplements go to work digesting microbes, pre-cancerous cells, toxins, pus, mucus and other disease causing agents.
Supplemental sources of lactobacteria such as acidolpholis, bifidus and fermented cabbage juice replenish the colonies of “friendly” bacteria in the intestinal tract. Lactobacteria are the body’s only natural defense against candida and other yeast infections, which have powerful immunosuppresive properties.
They also facilitate rapid elimination of toxic digestive wastes and improve assimilation of essential nutrients from food.
Many herbs have potent immune-boosting properties.
In Chinese medicine the most widely used herbs for enhancing immunity are ginseng, ginkgo, astralaglus, gotu kola, ligustrum and codonopsis.
The North American herb Echinacea (purple Kansas cornflower) is also a highly effective immune-system tonic and was widely used by the Plains Indians to cure and prevent many ailments. Other North American herbs that boost immunity are chaparral (Larrea divaricata), yerba mansa (Anemopsis californica) and osha (Ligusticum porteri).
The South American herb pau d’arco (Tabebuia pentaphylla) enhances the body’s ability to resist pathogens and also directly attacks outside invaders. Shiitake mushrooms and a rare Chinese mushroom call ling-jir also have strong immunity-enhancing properties and are frequently included in herbal formula’s that boost immunity. Many of these herbs are currently being used to treat AIDS patients.
As the human body ages, secretions of growth hormone naturally decline. A synthetic growth hormone that costs about US$20,000 per year has recently been shown dramatically to reverse the symptoms of aging in several studies in America.
At less cost, you can take other supplements, such as argnine, which stimulate the pituitary gland to secrete elevated levels of natural growth hormone.
Another effective growth-hormone-releasing supplement is the drug bromocryptine (sold as Parlodel), which is conventionally used to treat senility, infertility, and other symptoms of growth-hormone deficiency. By taking this supplement, which has no adverse side effects, for a month or two once or twice a year, you can help prevent growth-hormone deficiency and its related symptoms.
Women who have gone through menopause should note that bromocryptine can reverse menopause and restore menstrual cycles and fertility, even in 60-70 year-old women, so if you use it in this stage of life, you should take appropriate precautions against unwanted pregnancy.
One of the most effective of all immune-system boosters turns out to be fasting, which all animals do naturally whenever they are ill.
When properly conducted, fasting can cure virtually all diseases, including cancer and completely rebuild the immune system.
Fasting is the most effective of all methods for stimulating elevated secretions of growth hormone, detoxifying the blood and all other bodily fluids and tissues, excreting accumulated wastes from the colon and other organs, dissolving tumors and cysts, repairing tissues and healing internal and external injuries.
Immunity and energy
Aberrant energies always exert an immunosuppressive influence on the human system by upsetting the delicate balance of internal bioenergies upon which immunity depends.
Aberrant energies can invade the human energy system from external sources such as exposure to microwaves, radiation, fluorescent lights and other forms of electromagnetic pollution, or they can be generated internally by emotional turmoil, toxins, ailing organs, or obstructed energy channels.
Either way, the first casualty of aberrant energy is immunity and the first aid to repairing immune deficiency caused by energy imbalance is the internal alchemy of Taoist energy exercises.
Energy factors that impair immunity
Abnormal electromagnetic fields
We have already discussed in detail the hazards to human health generated by power lines, electrical appliances and a growing array of electronic gadgets.
By suppressing the pineal and pituitary glands and impeding cerebral functions, abnormal electromagnetic fields impair immunity at its central headquarters in the brain.
Not only do microwaves suppress the same glands and tissues as abnormal electromagnetic fields, they also constitute a primary stimulant of the human stress response today.
You don’t have to be uptight, paranoid or stuck in a stressful job or marriage in order to suffer chronic stress.
Passive exposure to microwave radiation triggers stress response in even the calmest most balanced individuals.
In laboratory tests conducted on rats, exposure to microwaves at levels twenty times below the current safety standards set in the USA provoked sufficient stress to exhaust and cause a complete breakdown of their immune system.
Air pollutants such as motor-vehicle exhaust, smoke and industrial emissions fill the air with heavy positive ions that negate the activity of negative ions, the tiny charged particles which hold atmospheric energy and carry it into the human system via breath.
Air conditioning and central heating have the same effect, robbing the air in closed buildings of vital negative-ion energy.
Atmospheric negative-ion energy, along with the energy extracted from food by digestion, constitutes a primary ingredient in TRUE HUMAN ENERGY.
Unless you compensate for such “dead” air with internal energy practices such as chee-gung and deep breathing, or alternatively you purchase an ionizer, your immune system will gradually wind down like a clock, leaving you chronically fatigued and vulnerable to the mildest pathogens.
Light is the primary source of energy for the pituitary gland, which receives the energy through the retina and optic nerve.
Light also influences the pineal gland. Light is required by the body to produce vitamin D, which is why this nutrient is called the “sunshine vitamin”.
Light also regulates many human biorhythms, particularly sleep.
The sort of wholesome light that nourishes the body is called “full-spectrum light”, which means that it contains all the wavelengths of natural sunlight.
Ordinary light bulbs are deficient in many vital frequencies; the light from fluorescent tubes and television screen is not only deficient, it also vibrates erratically and thereby irritates the pituitary gland and the central nervous system via the optic nerve.
Numerous studies conducted in American schools have shown that many of the abnormal behavior patterns and learning impediments which increasingly impair classroom discipline and education in the USA are quickly corrected when fluorescent lights are replaced with full-spectrum lights.
Shallow breathing and physical stagnation
Lack of sufficient exercise and shallow breathing create conditions of chronic fatigue and physical stagnation in the human body, lowering resistance and impairing immunity.
Such habits deprive the body of sufficient oxygen, impede circulation and blood, restrict distribution of nutrients, shrink the protective shield of radiant energy around the body and inhibit internal alchemy.
Frequent outbursts of extreme emotions are regarded as the primary internal source of disease in traditional Chinese medicine and the new Western science of psychoneuroimmunology has confirmed this ancient Taoist premise.
It is well known that grief, for example, such as that experienced after the death of a spouse, renders a person highly vulnerable to disease and degeneration.
Emotional equilibrium is a precondition for maintaining strong immunity and nothing throws human energy off balance more quickly and extremely than sudden outbursts and prolonged bouts of uncontrolled “energies in motion”.
Fortunately, there are simple and effective ways to remedy and prevent assaults on the immune system by aberrant energies. When practiced in conjunction with methods that boost immunity on the level of essence, these “energy supplements” become even more effective by virtue of synergy.
Energy boosters for immunity
Chee-gung counteracts the immunosuppressive effects of stress by switching the body over to the parasympathetic branch of the autonomous nervous system.
This gives the adrenals a chance to rest and recuperate and stops their secretion of adrenaline, cortisone and other immunosuppressive hormones.
Chee-gung also strengthens the radiant shield of energy that protects the body from invasion by aberrant environmental energies, balances yin and yang, Water an Fire and other polar energies, harmonized the Five Elemental Energies of the vital organs and recharges every cell in the body with fresh energy.
It greatly enhances circulation, thereby enabling blood to deliver immune factors to all tissues and carry away accumulated metabolic wastes.
Chee-gung also establishes immune-enhancing biofeedback between the nervous and endocrine systems.
Deep breathing is an essential part of chee-gung, but it also has therapeutic benefits of its own and should be practiced at all times.
By practicing chee-gung daily, one gradually learns how to breath correctly at all times.
Deep breathing causes the diaphragm to massage and stimulate the adrenals with each breath, providing rejuvenating physical therapy to these much-abused glands. It enhances cerebral circulation of oxygen and nutrients, thereby boosting cerebral functions, which in turn maintain immunity.
It maximizes assimilation of negative ion energy from the atmosphere and keeps the autonomous nervous system from constantly driving the body into the high gears of the sympathetic branch, which enervates immunity.
The great Tang-dynasty physician and Taoist adept Sun Ssu-mo extolled the benefits of deep breathing as follows in his medical masterpiece entitled Precious Recipes: “When correct breathing is practices, the myriad ailments will not occur. When breathing is depressed or strained, all sorts of diseases will arise. Those who wish to nurture their lives must first learn the correct methods of controlling breath and balancing energy. These breathing methods can cure all ailments, great and small”.
Just as there are ways to supplement essence with vitamins, herbs, enzymes and so forth, so there are ways to supplement energy.
Traditionally, quartz crystals and various gems have been used to attract positive cosmic energies from the planets and stars and channel them into the human energy system. This is the mechanism by which talismans work. Gold also helps the body to collect and store beneficial environmental energies.
In addition to these traditional methods, modern electronic technology has devised a wide range of pulsed audiovisual aids and many others.
The ancient Taoist science of geomancy (feng-shui) calculates the flow of celestial and terrestrial energies in a designated area in order to determine the best locations for homes, temples, offices and other buildings, so that these natural environmental energies harmonize favorably with human energies in order to promote the health and longevity of the occupants and users.
Though little understood and often debunked in the West, geomancy definitely works, as anyone who has lived in the Far East for a while can readily attest.
Even such common problems as insomnia can often be completely remedied simply by relocating a bed or sleeping in a different room and thousands of business firms in the Far East have gone from the brink of bankruptcy to the pinnacle of profit overnight by calling in a qualified geomancer to rearrange their offices, seal off doors that leak energy out, turn the boss’s desk to a more favorable angle and make other adjustments in the flow of the invisible but highly influential energies of sky and earth.
If you’ve tried everything else to no avail, you might give geomancy a chance to improve your fortunes and boost your energies. Wherever you find a sizable overseas Chinese community, you are bound to find a practicing geomancer.
Immunity and spirit
Chronic stress is probably the primary cause of immune deficiency in the modern world, especially in the crowded urban centers of industrially developed societies.
The human body is equipped to deal with the sort of stress people faced in the pre-industrial world, such as crossing paths with a saber-toothed tiger, tribal warfare, avalanches, floods and other situations that provoke the fight-or-flight response.
In such situations, the adrenal glands spurt adrenaline into the bloodstream and switch the nervous system over to the action mode of the sympathetic branch.
The body then responds by fighting, running or some other high-energy physical reaction, burning off the simulative hormones and extra glucose pumped into the bloodstream for the purpose, then returning to normal.
Such situations occurred occasionally, not chronically and when they passed, the body naturally recovered its energy and endocrine balance.
Today, the same biochemical responses are triggered, hundred of times throughout the day and night by frustration in the office, marital strife, repressed rage, bad news on television, exposure to microwaves and abnormal electromagnetic fields, fear alienation, peer pressures and other hazards of modern life.
However, instead of making high-energy physical responses, people repress their rage, fear and other negative emotions provoked by stress, thereby failing to utilize the powerful hormones and aneurochemicals released into the blood.
These potent biochemicals quickly break down into various toxic by-products that poison the system, suppress immunity and impede other vital functions.
Under chronic stress, the body never has a chance to excrete these toxins thoroughly and restore proper balance in essence, energy and spirit.
Stress is basically a sudden demand on the body to adapt quickly to a new situation and therefore it depends largely upon perception and sensory input, which belongs to the realm of spirit.
However, the effects of stress instantly reverberate down through the realms of energy and essence via biofeedback and the nervous system. Stress thus preoccupies the entire human system whenever it strikes, engaging body, mind and energy in a vicious circle of tension and turmoil that has no outlet.
In recent years, stress has finally become recognized as a major immunosuppressant and a primary cause of dis-ease.
Unfortunately, the tendency of modern Western medicine is to treat stress with tranquilizers, which temporarily relieve the overt symptoms but compound the physiological damage.
Stress causes the adrenals to secrete adrenaline and cortisone, the latter being a particularly powerful immunosuppressant, especially in the thymus, lymph nodes and spleen.
Cortisone also impairs production of interferon, one of the body’s most potent immune agents. Disease associated with high cortisone levels include cancer, hypertension, arthritis, stroke, chronic infections, skin diseases, Parkinson disease and ulcers.
Elevated cortisone is also associated with an increased tendency towards suicide. In Maximum Immunity, Dr. Michael Weiner states: “Psychological stress releases powerful hormones that suppress our immune defenses”. In Eat Right or Die Young, Dr. Cass Ingram states the case against stress even more bluntly.
The role played by stress in the causation of cancer is so great that it would not be an exaggeration to say that 80% or more cancer cases have their immediate origin in some form of mental pressure or strain.
Grief, distress, fear, worry and anger are emotions which have horrible effects on the body’s functions. Researchers have discovered that these emotions cause the release of chemicals from the brain call neuropeptides.
These potent compounds have a profound immune-suppressive action.
Scientists have traced a pathway from the brain to the immune cells proving that negative emotions can stop the immune cells dead in their tracks. This results in part from the release of chemicals from nerve endings. Once this happens, harmful microbes or cancer cells can invade any tissue in the body.
Dr. Ingram’s analysis is virtually identical to the traditional Chinese medical view of negative emotions as potent causes of disease.
Since the central nervous system has branches with nerve endings that terminate in the glands which regulate the immune system, there is constant biofeedback between hormones and neurochemicals. The immune system functions much like a sensory organ, responding to external stimuli based on sensory input mediated by the nervous system.
A fight-or-flight response from the brain immediately triggers a similar response in the adrenals and other glands and those glandular secretions in turn sustain continued activity of the neurochemicals that triggered the original stress response.
Similarly, calming, soothing, neurochemicals stimulate secretion of calming, soothing hormones, which in turn sustain the activity of those neurochemicals through biofeedback.
Recall the statement of Master Luo Teh-hsiou of Taiwan that the primary mechanism by which chee-gung generated vital energy and rejuvenates the body is by establishing soothing biofeedback between the nervous and endocrine systems.
Dr. Weiner states in Maximum Immunity: “By learning how to control our mind, subtle hormonal changes emerge that then control our biochemical reality”. Yale university’s cancer surgeon Dr. Bernie Siegel agrees: “Psychological and spiritual development are capable of reversing the disease process”. This is virtually a paraphrase of a statement in the chapter entitled “The Oldest Truth” in the 2,000 year-old Internal Medicine Classic; “If one maintains an undisturbed spirit within, no disease will occur”.
The PNI system can be stimulated into a mode of positive biofeedback, which heals the body and restores immunity simply by adopting the right mental attitude. PNI explains, for example, the placebo effect. If the mind can be made to believe that a sugar pill or a capsule of vitamin C is actually a miraculous new drug, it promptly mobilizes the immune system, triggers the healing response, and orchestrates a cure. The “Power of Positive Thinking” is thus rooted in the physiological and biochemical effects it triggers in the body via the nervous system. As Norman Cousins writes; “The will to love is not a theoretical abstraction, but a physiologic reality with therapeutic characteristics.
There are many aspects to positive thinking, foremost among which is will, which the Chinese call yi and equate with primordial spirit. But mental factors, such as enthusiasm, are also important in maintaining health.
If you are bored or frustrated by your job, hobby, marriage or other activities, your mind lacks enthusiasm for life, which in turn saps the will to live.
Simply by changing your habits or creatively solving the problems that frustrate you, you recover enthusiasm, which in turn stimulates vitality and boosts immunity.
A good example of this is the investment banker who late in life contracted “incurable” leukemia. As it turned out, he had always wanted to be a concert violinist rather than a banker, but he repressed his dream in order to please his father and went reluctantly to Wall Street. Condemned to death by his doctor’s diagnosis, he decided to shuck his pinstriped suit, retired and learned to play the violin with such enthusiasm that he actually performed on stage before an audience, realizing the dream of a lifetime. Before long, his leukemia went into what his perplexed doctor called “spontaneous remission”; his renewed enthusiasm for life triggered his psychoneuroimmunological defence system to attach the mutant cells causing his leukemia.
Visualization is another effective way to restore immunity and heal the body.
Carl and Stephanie Simonton of the Cancer Counseling and Research Center in Dallas, Texas, reported a case of a young boy with cancer to whom they taught a therapeutic method of visualization. Day after day, the boy vividly imagined jet fighters zooming into his body to strafe and bomb his tumors and sure enough, the tumors soon began to shrink and finally disappeared altogether, without chemotherapy, radiation or surgery. Using this technique, the Simonton’s have managed to double the survival times of terminal cancer patients under their care.
Despite this impressive achievement, however, conventional medicine continues to rely on radical chemical-mechanistic therapies which destroy the human immune system and make the remaining days of terminal-cancer patients utterly miserable.
Visualization is also a key technique in triggering the healing response during the practice of the Six-Syllable Secret healing chee-gung exercise introduced in an earlier chapter.
The breath mobilizes energy, the lips, tongue and throat establish the required frequency and the movements of limbs stimulate the associated energy channels; at the same time visualization directs the stream of energy into and out of the target organ.
Similarly, in order to activate “palm breathing” during chee-gung or meditation, all you need to do is visualize energy streaming in and out of the points in the center of your palms while performing deep abdominal breathing and soon you can feel it happening.
If you can’t it means that you’re not concentrating fully on the visualization, that you have serious doubts it will work, or that you’re simply not paying sufficient attention to the resulting sensations, any of which factors will negate the effects of the visualization. Mind over matter works both ways; while faith in the method delivers the desired results to the body, doubt obstructs it.
Meditation is a very effective method for boosting immunity and cultivating the power of positive thinking, visualization and mind over matter.
Simply by “sitting still, doing nothing” for a while each day, you give your mind a chance to retire from the stresses of daily life and explore its own innate powers. Even in the beginning stages of practice, when the “monkey mind” hops from one trivial thought to another, meditation still boosts immunity on the physiological level by switching the nervous system over to the restful, restorative, immune – enhancing parasympathetic mode.
Later when you’ve developed a feel for internal energy and learned how to transport it wherever you wish within your system, you can apply that power to heal injuries, balance energies, stimulate glandular secretions, enhance cerebral energy, exchange energy with your sexual partner, dissolve tumors and other useful purposes.
Though it may sound like a cliché, as so many truths do, love also has great healing powers. Dr. Siegel says: “If I told patients to raise their blood levels of immune globulin’s or killer T-cells, no one would know how. But if I can teach them to love themselves and other fully, the same changes happen automatically. The truth is “love heals”.
Love energizes the entire immune system and specifically stimulates the production of antibodies.
Lack of love for oneself and others gives rise to negative thoughts and emotions, which as we’ve already seen, releases immunosuppressive hormones and neurochemicals into the system via the PNI mechanism.
Many people, especially in crowded cities, find themselves stuck in situations they hate, but cannot do anything to change, so they end up hating themselves and others. This results in a state of chronic immune deficiency.
Many of the Chinese medical texts dating from 2,000 years ago lament the ills of “modern times” and allude to the traditional “good old days” another 3,000 years before that. A common theme in these texts is the decline in human health due to careless lifestyles and the deterioration in human relations due to lack of love: degenerative conditions that Taoist alchemy as well as psychoneuroimmunology would link as symptoms of the same syndrome.
In his essay entitled “Loving People” Chang San-fen, the thirteenth-century master, summed it up by saying: “Therefore to those who want to know the way to deal with the world, I suggest, “Love People”. This is a potent prescription for health and longevity that generates positive healing energy throughout the human system by stimulating the internal alchemy of psychoneuroimmunology.
Source: Daniel Reid. Guarding the three Treasures: The Chinese Way of Health