As most of my readers are aware, my practice is holistic and specializes in Myofacial Pain Dysfunction (MFPD), Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD), and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Why would I care about neuropsychology?
The word HOLISTIC will explain. My goal is to diagnose why my patient is suffering; not write a prescription for it, but take a holistic approach to find the problem and solve it. Out of frustration, I wrote my book, WHY, The Question That Could Save Your Life, designed to give readers the information needed to be proactive in healthcare.
New research findings about the Vagas nerve have revealed its critical role in holistic health. The Vagas nerve is the tenth cranial nerve and controls almost every organ in the body. Recent immunology research findings have shown that this nerve controls the immune system. Malfunction of this nerve may be the cause of many autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and scleroderma. It appears that one of the activities of this nerve is to stop the production of immune compounds of the innate immune system (your first defense against any attacking intruder). If these malfunctioning defenses are not regulated, they will go beyond attacking the intruder…they will destroy our own cells (the definition of autoimmune disease).
Psychological research has profound evidence that one’s attitude can have a major effect on the function of the Vagas nerve, to the extent that serious health problems can result. Dr. Bethany Kok, PhD, head of the University of North Carolina BLESS Project Building Lives of Engagement and Satisfaction, has been a part of numerous studies that have concluded that the function of the Vagas nerve is greatly enhanced by positive, happy, loving attitudes. The contrary has also been proven: introverted, lonely, doubtful and unfriendly negative attitudes create low Vagas activity, resulting in poor health. In a nutshell: Bad attitudes poison the body.
Now that we understand that happiness, friendships, laughter, love, prayer, meditation and kindness have been scientifically proven to be part of a healthy, long-lasting life and a healthy immune system, it’s time to use this to our advantage. The bad habits of living in a “poor-me pity party” must be abandoned. In medicine we used to think that the “poor me” syndrome was caused by adrenal stress. Now we can see that the “poor me” syndrome is quite capable of causing adrenal stress.
Applying this new knowledge of the affects of positive thinking can have life-changing impact for ourselves and, more importantly, our children. Raising our children to have positive, responsible, and charitable attitudes can create not only healthier childhoods, but start them out with the best chance for a beautiful, rewarding, long-lasting life. Applying this knowledge to our diagnosis and treatment procedures has the potential to radically change the future of medicine.