Psychosomatic Illness and Acupuncture

There is a very interesting report recently in the Guardian newspaper on the recent dramatic crisis between the USA and Cuba which, apparently, involves a case of mass psychosomatic illness and brings to mind the fact that Acupuncture treats Psychosomatic illness very effectively. In a moment I see that psychosomatic illness is not simply “all in your head.” In fact, its in your nervous system, which is why acupuncture can treat psychosomatic illness. Acupuncture directly stimulates the sensory nervous system. But first, the update:

The USA has expelled all but a few Cuban diplomats, while at the same time withdrawing our entire Embassy staff, while making wild and undocumented claims that the Cubans have been bombarding the US Embassy in Havana  with”sonic warfare”. Leaving out that one would have to wonder what the Cubans motive would be, since they are very glad of the renewal of diplomatic relations,

Senior neurologists are describing what a slew of American foreign service workers are experiencing as stress and anxiety induced functional disorders, also known as psychosomatic illness. This is so interesting to me because I treat so many people with tinnitus, headaches, dizziness, and vertigo, and almost all these cases have been related to stress or anxiety. And acupuncture treats stress and anxiety induced vertigo, headaches, and dizziness really well. But people feel so stigmatized if you try to explain the link between emotional states like fear, anxiety, and anger, with nervous system states and diseases. It does not have to be.

Chronic stress, frustration, anger, fear, and anxiety are quite capable of affecting our nervous systems profoundly, to the point where we develop disease. Unfortunately people seem very stigmatized by the term psycho-somatic itself (which i consequently never use), associating the ancient Greek noun “psycho” with the slang version of the word, and with mental illness in general. They also seem to hear the word as an accusation, as if they are being accused of making their disease up, of slacking, of being weak, or not wanting to be “productive”.

And most folk don’t know that the word Soma simply refers to the body. In fact, psycho-somatic illness are illness in which our nervous systems, which are where our psyche lives, affects the body. In fact, the mind, or psyche, and the body, are not only not separated, they are not even points on a continuim, rather the mind and body cohabitate in exactly the same place. What affects one affects the other.

Somatic expressions of stressors are as common as bread and water, from Tension headaches to IBS to eczema, even to interstitial cystitis, heart disease, and diverticulitis. Our wonderful nervous system, which is the link between emotional states and physical states, follows its own laws. The autonomic (automatic) nervous system is beyond our normal control and is hard wired to react, powerfully, to real or imagined danger via the fight, flight, freeze response.

More from the article,

But US and Cuban investigations have produced no evidence of any weapon, and the neurologists argue that the possibility of “functional disorder” due to a problem in the functioning of nervous system – rather than a disease – should be considered….

“From an objective point of view it’s more like mass hysteria than anything else,” said Mark Hallett, the head of the human motor control section of the US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

“Mass hysteria” is the popular term for outbreaks among groups of people which are partly or wholly psychosomatic, but Hallett stressed there should be no blame attached to them.

“Psychosomatic disease is a disease like anything else. It shouldn’t be stigmatised,” said Hallett, who is also president of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology. “It’s important to point out that symptoms like this are not voluntary. They are not a sign of weakness in an individual’s personality.”

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