Transitional Medicine & Psychoneuroimmunology
For a more comprehensive view on this
topic read this accompanying article.
Since the times of the Greeks conventional medicine
has traditionally utilized the biomedical model. This model focuses on
dualism involving the mind and the body interactions. The biomedical model
treats disease as a pathology that occurs within the person. The doctor's
function is to control the pathology, repair the body and restore health.
The limitation of this model is that it excludes any psychological, social
or ecological factors. 
In contrast, the humanistic model utilizes a pleuralistic
approach considering interactions and the interconnectedness between the
mind, the body and the spirit when treating "dis-ease" within a person.
The health or well-being of the body can no longer ignore the impact of
the mind, the emotions or the spirit on the process. [1,2]
This pleuralistic model, considering mind-body-spirit
is being scientifically supported in the relatively new field of study—Psychoneuroimmunology
(PNI). New scientific research in this relatively young field has
demonstrated that the mind can and does play a significant role in the
disease and healing processes.
The field of Psychoneuroimmunology explores how
the mind can and does impact the body in a multitude of systems—the immune
system, the endocrine system, the nervous system, and the cardiovascular
system. Sometimes the impact is positive e.g. when the immune system is
enhanced to combat diseases, other times the impact is negative e.g. when
heart disease (and the immune system) is significantly negatively impacted
by the effects of stress. Regardless of the impact, with the current research
in this field demonstrating otherwise, we can no longer ignore the impact
of the mind, the emotions or the spirit on the health or well-being of
the body or on the disease and healing processes.
The term Psychoneuroimmunology can be defined
by it's component parts:
Psyche - the mind component or study of
psychology, the cognitive and emotional processes involving mood states.
Various Definitions of Psychoneuroimmunology:
Neuro - the neurologic connections e.g.
neurotransmitters and neuroendocrine secretions, or study of neurology
Immunology how the immune system e.g.
the cellular and humoral components is impacted, or the study of immunology.
The study of the interaction of behavioral, neural,
and endocrine factors and the functioning of the immune system. 
The study of interactions, bidirectional communication
occurring between behavior, brain, the immune and endocrine systems. 
The best working definition is the one below:
An interdisciplinary science that
studies the interrelationships between psychological, behavioral, neuroendocrine
processes and immunology.
Transitional Medicine is also based
on concepts of psychoneuroimmunology, recognizing that that the mind can
and does play a significant role in the disease and healing processes.
Therefore many different areas—medicine, psychiatry, counseling, spirituality,
art, color, poetry, and biblio- therapy—are utilized in combination to
enhance the mind-body-spirit connections and create the healing experience
needed following a loss.
For a more comprehensive view on the topic of
Psychoneuroimmunology read the article
on this subject prepared as part of the syllabus and lecture for the "Somatic
Aspects of Loss & Grief," taught in August 2001 at the University of
California Berkeley Extension as part of their Professional Program in
the Study of Loss and Grief.
1. Tamm ME. Models of health and
disease. British Journal of Medical Psychology. 1993;66:213-228.
2. Pert CB. Molecules of
Emotion: The Science Behind Mind-Body Medicine. New York, N.Y.: Touchstone,
1997, p. 9, 184
3. The American Heritage
Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company:
2000. Available at: http://www.bartleby.com/61/59/P0635950.html .
4. Maier SF, Watkins LR,
Fleshner M. Psychoneuroimmunology: The Interface between behavior, Brain
and Immunity. American Psychologist. 1994;49;1004-17.
The three traditionally
separated fields of neuroscience, endocrinology and immunology, with their
various organs—the brain, the glands, the spleen, bone morrow, and lymph
nodes— are actually joined to each other in a multidirectional network
of communication, linked by information carriers known as neuropeptides.
See the Emergency
911 Page for links to immediate resources
if you are feeling helpless,
hopeless, overwhelmingly depressed, or suicidal.
| A Healing Place
| Loss & Grief
| Emergency Pick-Me-Ups
| Condolence & Sympathy
| Transitional Medicine
| Butterflies & Blazes
About this Site