The Brain and Your Health
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.”
Medical researchers are learning that your thoughts can affect your health.
The cells that make white blood cells can be directly controlled by the brain through nerves. Using the language of hormones, the brain, as well as individual nerve cells, can direct the abilities of immune cells to kill invaders. Immune cells also communicate back to the brain using hormones. It has been shown that stress and highly emotional states can make this communication less efficient, hampering the immune system.
Macrophages are large amoeba-like cells that rebuild injured tissue and devour bacteria, viruses and anything else that should not be in wounded tissue. These amazing little cells can even eat iron filings. But chemicals produced by the body during times of stress – for example, during prolonged periods of feeling helpless – actually make macrophages very sluggish.
A word of caution: While many New Agers have selectively used some of these findings to promote their pagan ideas about medicine and health, there is nothing mystical going on here. Not only does this link between our brain and our health once again glorify the Creator, it supports biblical truth. In Philippians 4:8, the Apostle Paul advises, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.” Not only is this advice good for the soul, it is good for the body.
Lord, whenever I feel helpless, remind me of Your wonderful promises in Your Word that You are always with me. You gave up Your life for me, so I know that You will not spare anything to bring about my good. Amen.
Wechsler, R. 1987. “A new prescription: mind over malady.” Discover, Feb. p. 51.