How can inflammation signal healing yet at the same time, be the culprit in undermining our good health?
We’ve all had the experience of inflammation – we trip or fall, our ankle or knee swells. We get a surface cut, it bleeds. We get blisters or hotspots, there’s redness and warmth. These signs of inflammation just mean that “the body” is rushing in with the “first aid” it needs to heal.
And after a few days, the swelling goes down, redness begins to dissipate, and our white blood cells and T-cells return to their usual “at ease” patrol.
Healing is happening and we’re good to go.
But there’s more to this inflammation story. Over time, inflammation gets out of control and, instead of healing the body, it contributes to its decline, especially as we age.
Let’s look at how that happens.
When we are stressed or feel certain kinds of emotional states such as anger, fear, or anxiety, these create a response in the hypothalamus, which ultimately triggers a response in the adrenal glands.
Many of us are familiar with adrenalin, epinephrine or even cortisol responses that act on the body to produce proteins called cytokines.
These cytokines beef up the immune response, which leads to an increase in immune cells. That, in itself, is not the problem.
But all this can become a problem when the body produces far more than we absolutely need. Then, it’s like a huge brigade of soldiers trying to wedge themselves into a small place. And what results when this happens over time is a gradual degrading of the body.
So yes, inflammation does bring health-promoting benefits and signals that our body’s defense system is working.
But it’s beguiling nature can seriously impact the body over time.
This is an important topic practitioners need to know more about, especially because it’s one of the issues where mind/body medicine approaches are making great strides.
Through the use of basic interventions including easy-to-learn hypnotic approaches, skilled practitioners are bringing relief to their patients and making a huge difference in reducing inflammation.
For more information on how we can take direct action through hypnotic approaches and other health-promoting interventions to prevent the impact of inflammation on our bodies, check out our mind/body programs.