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Psychoneuroimmunology and NLP

by Nancy Blake(more info)

listed in mind matters, originally published in issue 78 - July 2002

From childhood, I have been obsessed with the desire to understand what makes us happy or unhappy. Understanding emotional pain, and discovering ways to alleviate it, has been and continues to be the major driving force in my life and work.


In my early adulthood, this urge to understand became focused on seeking knowledge that could link all the influences on human behaviour. Starting with genetics, moving through the relations to the mother, the father, siblings, peers, this understanding would have to include the effects of specific life events and broaden out to the influence of education, cultural influences, going back in time back through the history of the individual, the family, including previous generations, the ethnic group, the nation, the religion. Externally, this study would lead outwards from the individual to the political. Internally, it would move from the individual into physiology: organs, systems, right down to the cellular level. Obviously no one person could gain all this knowledge, yet it seemed equally obvious that one could not understand human beings by considering just one or two of these elements.

But education was split: mathematics and science were opposed to 'soft' topics: literature, languages, social studies. Psychology was split, with clinical and experimental psychologists in separate and warring camps. Freud or Eysenck, psychodynamic theories or behaviourism: there was no common ground; you believed in one or the other. At Boston University, where I studied (Boston, Massachusetts, USA), the Department of Clinical Psychology and the Department of Experimental Psychology were located in separate buildings, half a mile apart!

Barriers to Making the Necessary Paradigm Shift

As practitioners or clients of what are known as holistic, alternative or complementary therapies, we are constantly made aware of the split between 'science-based' allopathic medicine, which mostly looks at symptoms of 'diseases', single causes and single 'cures', most usually in the form of a prescription drug; and our practice, which attempts to understand the whole individual in the context of the entire environment, external and internal.

Although today the splits are healing, Western 'allopathic' medicine and the holistic practices have traditionally been at daggers drawn. We who practise from a holistic perspective too often find ourselves criticized and discounted by the reigning paradigms of the medical professions. The field of psychoneuroimmunology, largely pioneered by Candace Pert and like-minded researchers in previously separate disciplines, is the major factor in bringing these approaches together.


Science has been regarded as the only source of valid truth. When science 'discovers' something that healing traditions have taught for thousands of years, suddenly it is given credence. Scientific method, based on carefully controlled experiments designed to test one or two hypotheses at a time, which must be verifiable through the ability of other scientists or scientific laboratories to study the method, reproduce the experiments, and get the same, or very similar results, does provide ways to approach certain types of truth. But like any other field of endeavour, it can be influenced by prejudice, fashion, self-interest – and the very human difficulty in giving up long-held 'truths' when new information challenges the accepted ideas about how the world works. Advancement in the scientific world depends upon getting funding for research (very difficult if one's work undermines or contradicts accepted beliefs), getting publication (which also can be difficult if one's work is original enough to depart from accepted beliefs – the reigning paradigm), and getting other scientists interested enough to do the work of verification.


Physics, regarded as the epitome of the 'hard' sciences, gives us an example of a 'paradigm shift'. Before 1900, Newtonian mechanics was thought to be potentially able to explain all physical processes, and its model of the world seemed unchallengeable, until relativity theory came along and paradoxes were discovered, such as the fact that certain aspects of the way light performed could only be explained if it was thought of as waves, and other aspects could only be explained if it was thought of as separate tiny units: quanta. Despite incontrovertible experimental evidence demonstrating these new ideas, many physicists of Einstein's day were simply unable to make the shift in thinking required by the new paradigm.

Dichotomized Thinking

Another limitation on our ability to deal with complex ideas is a Western tradition, going back to Plato, of dichotomized thinking, that is, thinking in terms of polar opposites: black-white, off-on, right-wrong. These are mutually exclusive – if I am right, then you are wrong. There are more flexible models of thinking involving 'shades' of right or wrong and even more complex situations involving feedback loops: systems in which information fed back has a regulatory effect. In these more complex examples, 'right-wrong' thinking isn't going to be adequate to describe what is going on.

Take the familiar story of the five blind men trying to figure out the elephant. The one holding the tail assures the others that the elephant is like a rope. The one holding the ear contradicts him: the elephant is demonstrably like a large leaf. And so on, through the one holding the trunk, the one holding a leg, and the one leaning against the side. Each can 'prove' that the other is wrong, but no matter how 'right' the winner is, no one is going to be able to find out much about the elephant.

If, instead, the gentlemen in question respected one another's information, accepted it as accurate, and asked questions that allowed them to fill out the picture ("How far are you from me?" "How high from the ground is the part you are holding", and so on) this collaborative (systemic) rather than competitive way of approaching the problem is going to produce a much more accurate description of the elephant. Human beings are much more complex than the elephant, at least when taking into account feelings, behaviour, and all the internal functions required for our continued life. Medical science, however, has been limited by its laboratory techniques, the simplified mathematical models it has had to use, and by competitive rather than collaborative thinking among different specialities.

A blind man trying to figure out the elephant by holding its trunk
A blind man trying to figure out the elephant by holding its trunk

The Effect of the Emotions on Health

Psychologists have studied emotions, thought processes and behaviour. Endocrinologists have studied the complex functions of the glands, which regulate many of our bodily functions (and which respond to perceptions and emotions). Neurologists have studied the brain and the nervous system. Immunologists have studied the immune system. (Experimental methods involving taking elements of the immune system and studying them in test tubes had, by default, supported the assumption that the immune system is not influenced by other systems in the body.)

In the middle years of the 20th century, scientists who were studying the stress response began to provide both statistical and physiological evidence to support the common-sense view that emotions do affect health, although there were still many questions to be answered.


I am ten years old, coming home from my friend's house, in the dark. With the help of wind blowing through the autumn leaves, my imagination conjures up Someone Following Me. Terror rises, I start to run, and the running itself increases the terror. Fear has produced biochemical reactions that enable me to run even faster, impelled by the feeling of terror that produces and is produced by these biochemical reactions. I get home, and glance round to see a peaceful, empty street. All this has been produced just by an idea.

Terror rises, I start to run, and the running itself increases the terror
Terror rises, I start to run, and the running itself increases the terror

Relatively early in my career as a psychotherapist, a young man I had been working with mentioned in passing that during the course of the therapy, he had become unable to drink his usual six or eight pints of beer a night. Yet drinking had never been discussed. What had been happening to his metabolism?

More recently, a client asked me to help her to stop smoking. She told me she had to, because her blood pressure was dangerously high and she had reacted badly to every medication offered by her doctor. Smoking, however, provided her with an excuse to go out in the garden and spend a few minutes away from her domineering and critical husband, and I felt concerned about the loss of this opportunity. I did a hypnotic induction about breathing fresh air, etc., mentioning more or less in passing that her unconscious could remember how it used to be able to regulate the pulse of blood through her body just exactly as was needed. She came back the next week: she was still smoking, but her blood pressure had returned to normal. (Her doctor couldn't understand it, so she told him about what I had done. "That won't have anything to do with it", he assured her!)

Another client suffering from diabetes used memories of riding horseback – the lovely horsey smells, the feeling of the wind in her hair as she galloped along – to associate into a time of happiness and good health. Her blood sugar count began to drop. "How does this work", became part of my questioning.

What Does Psychoneuroimmunology Have to Do with It?

Candace Pert, PhD, is a neuroscientist who for many years led a research laboratory within America's prestigious National Institutes of Health. She is now Research Professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, DC. Her original research centred around the study of opiate receptors in the brain. In her book,[1] defending a feminine approach to her subject (she ascribes much of her success to the female brain's ability to entertain more than one way of thinking at a time), she interweaves her personal history, the course of her scientific research, and the course of her struggles with the male-dominated world of science, as her work and that of her colleagues took her closer and closer to understanding how all of our systems, traditionally studied separately, are interlinked by 'information substances', which are also the molecules of emotion.

In the early 1900s, the idea that mind and body were entirely separate from one another was supported by research which used the inability of large molecules of dye to cross the membrane containing the brain to confirm the 'brain-blood' barrier. In the second half of the last century, however, researchers had demonstrated that certain chemicals, secreted by the glands, interacted not only with other organs, but also with cells in the hypothalamus, the part of the lower brain associated with emotions, and with regulation of responses such as those of my physiology when I was fearfully running from an imagined danger, the stress response.

At the beginning of her career, Candace Pert developed ways to study the distribution of opiate receptors in the brain, and found that these receptors appeared not just in the hypothalamus, but in other parts of the brain, including the cerebral cortex (the centre of consciousness), and in other parts of the body. The body is also able to produce natural opiates, such as endorphin, which is one of many small-celled substances called peptides which serve the function of regulating physiological functions, and their study also led Pert to believe that as well as affecting our physiology, they are associated with emotions. (My subjective experience of fear was associated with the production of adrenaline and noradrenaline, which set off a shower of peptides enhancing my physiological ability to engage successfully in a 'flight' response – to run faster. As I engaged in 'flight' behaviour, this response, both emotional and physiological, was strengthened. And all this, useful in escaping from a real danger, was generated, in this instance, not by danger, but by my perception of danger: my imagination.)

Pert's work led to the study of many other peptides, and receptors for these were also found in the brain and in other parts of the body. Endocrinologists had previously thought that these substances were secreted by the various regulatory glands and proceeded directly to the organs which they regulated. Now it appeared that these responses were mediated through the brain, including the frontal cortex – the conscious mind.

Science had finally recognized the intimate links between 'mind' and 'body'. Still, the brain was considered the locus of the mind, and therefore of the self – our sense of ourselves as both actors and spectators to our actions, conscious awareness, which is believed to be the ultimate distinction between human beings and other animals.

A New Model of the Immune System

The immune system, however, still resided safely in its test tubes, and was still believed to operate independently of other systems in the body. We consisted, apparently, of body-mind, and the immune system. The major breakthrough, with all its implications for having to rethink completely our ideas about consisting of separate, independent systems, was made in 1982, by Edward Blalock. Blalock had been studying interferons, peptides made by lymphocytes, cells that are part of the immune system. He did an experiment consisting of putting lymphocytes in a dish and stimulating them to produce interferons. To his amazement, he discovered that the lymphocytes were producing a number of other peptides, previously thought to be produced only by glands in the endocrine system. It seemed that each immune-system cell was a little peptide-producing factory, producing as well as receiving peptides: the molecules of information, the molecules of emotion, which had already been found in the brain and other sites throughout the body. Predictably, attempts were made to discredit this information, it was so counter to the accepted model of the immune system. However, Pert and her co-workers immediately began to explore this possibility, and eventually there were too many confirmations and extensions of Blalock's original work for it to be dismissed.

"What we were now seeing was astounding and very revolutionary. The immune system was potentially capable of both sending information to the brain via immunopeptides and of receiving information from the brain via neuropeptides (which hooked up with receptors on the immune cell surfaces). Our work confirmed Blalock by pointing irrefutably to the existence of a chemical mechanism through which the immune system could communicate not only with the endocrine system but with the nervous system and the brain as well. Previous work my colleagues and I had done demonstrated quite convincingly that the brain communicated with many other bodily systems. But the immune system had always been considered separate from the other systems. Now we had definitive proof that this was not the case.[2]

The 'information substances', which are also the molecules of emotion, link a network which includes the immune system, part of our system which is designed to learn, to remember and to adapt. Linked with the rest of our physiology, this means that we can, on a conscious and an unconscious level, communicate with our immune system, as our immune system communicates with the rest of us. All of our cells are linked in an intricate dance of these networks of communication, of emotion. Emotions influence immunity; the immune system influences emotions.

In her book, Pert makes many connections between her scientific research and that of her colleagues, and holistic practices. She points out that memories, with the associated emotions, can be 'frozen' within certain muscular configurations, which supports practices such as healing massage and bioenergetics. Nodal points, where there are concentrations of particular peptides and peptide receptors, appear to correspond to the traditional acupuncture points used in Chinese medicine. "Conscious breathing, the techniques employed by both the yogi and the woman in labor, is extremely powerful. There is a wealth of data showing that changes in the rate and depth of breathing produce changes in the quantity and kind of peptides that are released from the brain stem. And vice versa!"[3] Emotions are seen as the link between our conscious, subjective experience, and the complex regulatory processes that take place in the body, "the nexus between matter and mind, going back and forth between the two and influencing both".[4]

The links between cancer (in which the immune system has become unable to deal effectively with potentially cancerous cells) and the suppression of emotion, particularly anger; the links between susceptibility to heart attack and the overly hostile personality, between 'feeling happy' and having a high resistance to some viral infections, are only some of the areas of research that are illuminated by this new knowledge. (A simple example is Pert's speculation that we don't get colds when we are happily looking forward to something – in her case, skiing – because norepenephrine, an informational substance associated with happy frames of mind, blocks the receptors through which the rheovirus – a cause of the viral cold – normally enters the cells.[5]

And NLP!

Many articles about NLP have been published in Positive Health, and it is too extensive a field to cover in a brief addendum. NLP deals with the way we code our thought processes, in particular the ways we code experiences that let us know how to feel about them. To go back to my ten-year-old self, running in terror through a windy night landscape, my responses in this case were entirely generated by an imagined image of a dark and frightening pursuer, to which I ascribed an intention to harm me. When, from the safety of my front porch, I dared to look around at what the scene actually was, I saw an empty street, lamp-lit at intervals, and trees blowing in the wind. Much later in my life, when my work had brought me into contact with some realistically frightening, somewhat psychopathic individuals, I used to counter my fear of the dark by imagining that these dangerous individuals were there as protectors!

Personal Testimony

My father died at the age of 62, of a coronary thrombosis. Knowing now that hostility is a better predictor of a coronary attack than any other factor, including smoking (he gave up smoking, but didn't know that he also should have given up being angry!) and that the Type A, impatient, aggressive personality is also implicated, I could say that his habit of rages finally got the better of him. I used to be pretty good at rage, and I definitely have a Type A personality. Having burned the candle at both ends for a number of years, and become physically and emotionally stressed and exhausted, at the age of 50 I was literally struck down by a mysterious illness which left me unable to cross the room, or open drawers, or even sit for more than a few minutes without extreme discomfort and distress. It was as though I had climbed a mountain too quickly, with every symptom of the consequences except being out of breath. After this went on for several weeks, with no indication of a change, I began to feel very frightened. Was it leukaemia? MS? Was it going to get worse? Would I die? Eventually a friend brought me an article about the mysterious illness, myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). It seemed to describe very accurately what I had been experiencing, and I found it reassuring that there was no fixed diagnostic test, no treatment, just that one needed to heed the body's need for rest. The literature said that if you had had the illness for two years, there was a 50% chance of being fully recovered in six years. So I didn't have to worry if there was not much improvement in a few weeks or months, or pester my doctor for tests or treatments.

I was very fortunate in that family and friends helped me in many ways, that I got a new job which included control over my own timetable, a telephone allowance and a mileage allowance (going to meetings and writing reports), and that my son and his friends were mostly unemployed and therefore free to drive me to meetings and push my wheelchair. ME, now known as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), is a desperate, life-destroying tragedy to many, if not most sufferers, as doctors become hostile, family and friends and employers may be unsympathetic, and for many years it was not possible to get any form of disability allowance, on the grounds that the disability is not permanent. (But the more one has to do, physically, in the 'early' stages, the more likely it is to become permanent.) However, I have not brought this up to enter into the debate about CFS, but rather to make a point about NLP.

I am like my father in temperament as well as physically in other ways. On a conscious and unconscious level, I had wondered if I, too, would die of a heart attack at the age of 62. In this frame, my illness came like a knight in shining armour, to rescue me from my possible destiny: if I had an illness that meant I had to lie down for five years, I was very unlikely to die of a heart attack!


The Language of NLP


In the language of NLP, the tragedy of this illness was reframed as a life- saving event, and I am sure that this attitude has done a great deal to help me both to adapt ruthlessly in order to conserve energy for activities that really mattered, and to keep the illness from becoming my identity, instead of just something that was going on in my life along with many other things. Reframing, as this example demonstrates, can be a very powerful tool in relation to health issues.

Coding Experiences at Logical Levels

The topic known in NLP as "logical levels" also comes into this. We experience some things as part of our environment, some as things we do, some as abilities, some as beliefs and values, and some as part of our identity, or even, at a higher level, our spiritual connectedness – our sense of our relationship to higher universal values. The lower we code things on this scale, the easier they can be to deal with. If CFS is one thing that is going on, something that requires that I do a few things differently, it is going to be easy to let it fade out of my life. If being a CFS sufferer becomes part of my identity, I am going to have a big space to fill when it goes, and if it becomes my spiritual mission to deal with it, I could even lose a sense of my life's purpose if I 'got better'. It is useful to keep ill health coded as part of something that happens, and being fully healthy as part of our identity, our mission.

Associated and Dissociated Memories

On a very practical level, NLP makes use of the distinction between associated and dissociated memories. When one assists a client to dissociate from a traumatic memory, and to consider it from the perspective of an observer, several changes can take place. The client who may have been self-blaming (therefore sending unhealthy peptides around their bodies) can begin to reassign their perception of power and responsibility. The adult, who may also be a parent, can see that as a child they had neither power nor responsibility for events such as a parent's depression, marital conflict, or physical or sexual abuse, and shed the 'victim guilt' which can shadow one's adult life. The carer of a demanding and critical invalid, who may be feeling very guilty about angry thoughts and feelings, can be helped to look at the situation from the perspective of a sympathetic friend, to see and appreciate the fine job they are doing. These changes can affect long-standing emotional patterns, shifting the patterns of peptides circulating in the body from unhealthy to health enhancing.

Seeking out memories of life- enhancing experiences, times when our client was happy, healthy, experiencing high levels of well-being, and assisting our client to associate fully into these memories ("see what you were seeing, hear what you were hearing, be in the memory") will encourage the production of peptides which can restore the patterns of good health associated with that time. Hence the lowering of blood pressure, the lowering of the blood sugar count, in the clients mentioned in the examples above. I can only surmise that the client in the first example also had, as a result of resolving some painful issues, returned to a healthier intolerance for poisoning his system with alcohol.

Our Representational Systems and Their Submodalities

We perceive the world through our five senses, and think about it also in terms of visual images, sounds, words or music, feelings (sensations and emotions) smells and tastes, and an important subcategory of sound called internal dialogue. Within these representational systems are the qualities, or submodalities, of these representations. Association and dissociation, already discussed, are important submodalities, whether you are 'in' a memory, or outside, looking at it from another perspective. Working with other submodalities can also be helpful: clients can be asked to represent good health to themselves in a number of ways – a clearly focused, life-sized, realistic colour, three-dimensional moving picture, complete with movement and sound, of what they would be like in a state of well-being, projected into wherever they see the future, can help shape their entire system into a movement towards that way of being.

Shifting the Tonality of Our Internal Dialogue

One of the most useful submodality changes that NLP offers is a shift in the tonality of our internal (usually self- critical) dialogue. (I think that when we talk to, or criticize ourselves, we are just replaying inner 'tapes' of things our parents said – or shouted – when they were either angry at us or frightened for us. In that sense, negative as they often seem, these remembered voices are speaking out of concern for our welfare.) The problem with the positive affirmations which we are encouraged to use to counteract negative self-talk is that we don't believe them! When we keep the negative words (which we do believe because we have heard them so often!), but start to play with their tonality, interesting things can happen. Speeding the voice up, as though on a runaway tape, until it becomes a series of squeaks and then disappears into a frequency we can no longer hear, can often make the words meaningless, and bring a smile to our face. Another ploy is to imagine them being sung by one of those vast opera singers, in a hugely melodramatic style. If this makes the negative words sound ridiculous, that can be useful. Bandler recommends imagining the words being spoken in the tonality that would be used by someone who really loved us, (or the tonality we might use to a baby or tiny animal: that 'awwww, isn't it sweet' tonality). That can produce results, either that the words make no sense at all, completely change their meaning, or that the words themselves actually change – in ways that will be good for our immune system!

Pessimism and Optimism

Pessimism and optimism are overall states of mind that have bad or good effects on health. In the book NLP and Health by Ian McDermott and Joseph O'Connor, the 'pessimism and optimism strategies' are spelled out.[6]

The pessimist takes a bad experience, generalizes it ("this is what life is like") and blames him or herself ("this has happened because of the kind of person I am") and projects it into the future ("this is the kind of thing that always happens to me"). Good experiences and experiences of success are coded as rare accidents for which the individual cannot take any credit.

The optimist reverses this style of thinking. Bad experiences are one-offs, from which one can learn, and which are mostly due to external factors. Generally the universe is a benign place, and when I am successful, I can take credit for it, and think of it as a result of the kind of person I am.

In fact, good things and bad things happen; some are not within our power to influence and some are. As we go through life, we will encounter some good and helpful people and some who are not. The way we choose to think about this is within our power to influence, and it is the way we choose to think that will influence the way we move through the world, and the way that we affect our mood-peptides-immune system!

In Conclusion

The Western medical model is tremendously effective with many injuries and illnesses. But it often overlooks the fact that it can only work its miracles in conjunction with the healing powers of the body-mind. Some forms of treatment, such as the use of antibiotics, while freeing my generation from the fear of many illnesses and infections that used to be life-threatening, do, in the long term, undermine the body's natural defences. Stress, depression, low self-esteem make us vulnerable to biological agents that we can normally fight off.

We also know that there are a whole range of dis-eases with which Western medicine appears to be relatively helpless: disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus erethematosis, and, some believe, CFS, in which the immune system seems to be 'confused' into attacking the body; allergies, in which the immune system responds massively to a normally harmless substance; disorders such as motor-neurone disease, in which inappropriately programmed cell death (apoptosis) gradually destroys a particular set of brain cells; cancer, in which the programmed cell death that normally protects the body from endless proliferation of certain tissues fails to take place. These could all be described as 'misunderstandings' of the immune system, misunderstandings that Candace Pert might see as possible effects of the blocking or distortion of the flow of information substances, the flow of emotion.

In so far as our holistic approaches to helping our clients achieve positive health can have a positive effect on immune system functioning, we have a contribution to make with these types of disorder, and there is enough evidence already to support the effectiveness of complementary approaches so that some are, as we know, being, albeit reluctantly, welcomed into the mainstream of conventional treatments. Still there will remain many doctors who will assure patients reporting improvements based on complementary treatments that "That won't have anything to do with it!"

Finally, the excitement for me in reading Candace Pert's book and learning about psychoneuroimmunology is that it recognizes and explains the complex interactions that have fascinated me, creating the understandings that I have sought for so long.

There is so much scope for us to work in our various fields, in assisting our clients to achieve the state of positive health that is our natural birthright, and we can only be grateful for the research that has done so much to further scientific understanding of their processes.


1. Pert Candace B. Molecules of Emotion, Why You Feel the Way You Feel. Pocket Books. Simon & Schuster. London. ISBN 0-671-03397-2. 1997.
2. Ibid, p164.
3. Ibid, p186.
4. Ibid, p189.
5. Ibid, p190.
6. O'Connor Joseph and McDermott Ian. NLP and Health. HarperCollins. 1996.


Scientific References
Martin Paul. The Healing Mind: The Vital Links Between Brain and Behavior, Immunity and Disease. St Martin's Press. New York. ISBN 0-312-24300-6. 1999.
Scientific American. Life, Death and the Immune System. Special Issue. September 1993.
Sternberg Esther M. The Balance Within. WH Freeman. 2001.

Neurolinguistic Programming
Andreas Connirae and Andreas Steve. Change Your Mind – and Keep the Change: Advanced NLP Submodalities Interventions. Real People Press. 1988.
Bandler Richard. Time for a Change. Meta Publications. ISBN 0-916-99028-1. 1993.
Bandler Richard and Grinder John. The Structure of Magic, Vol. I: A Book About Language and Therapy. Science and Behavior. 1975.
Bandler Richard and Grinder John. The Structure of Magic, Vol. II. Science and Behavior. 1975.
Bandler Richard and Grinder John. Frogs into Princes: Neuro-linguistic Programming. Real People Press. 1979.
Bandler Richard, Grinder John and Andreas Connirae. Trance Formations. Real People Press. 1982.
Bandler Richard, Grinder John and Andreas Connirae. Reframing: Neuro-linguistic Programming and the Transformation of Meaning. Real People Press. 1988.
Dilts Robert, Halbom Tim and Smith Suzi. Beliefs: Pathways to Health and Well-Being. Metamorphous Press. 1990.
O'Connor Joseph and McDermott Ian. Principles of NLP. HarperCollins. 1996.

Healing Practice using Psychoneuroimmunology
Brahe Carl. Healing on the Edge of Now. A Practical Guide for the Use of Psychoneuroimmunology. SunShine Press Publications. Hygiene, Colorado. ISBN 009615743-2-1. 1992.
Charnetski Carl J and Brennan Francis X. Feeling Good is Good for You. How Pleasure Can Boost Your Immune System and Lengthen Your Life. St Martin's Press. USA. ISBN 1-57954-346-4. 2001.
Dacher Elliott S. Intentional Healing. A Guide to the Mind/Body Healing System. 2nd ed. Marlowe & Company. New York. ISBN 1-56924-831-1. 1996.

Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI): The study of the connections between our psychology ('mind'), our nervous system and our immune system. Information herein based on Molecules of Emotion: Why You Feel the Way You Feel, by Candace B. Pert, PhD.

Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP): The study of how to influence our neurology through language.


  1. NLP Training said..

    WOW! I like your well-written article. It's good to know that you are such a living proof that NLP is really powerful, isn't it?

    I like this statement: "One of the most useful submodality changes that NLP offers is a shift in the tonality of our internal (usually self- critical) dialogue. "

    By the way, do you know Time Line Therapy®?

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About Nancy Blake

Nancy Blake BA CQSW, has worked in mental health settings since 1971. She served as Chair of the ANLP PCS (now the NLPtCA), on a National Working Party developing postgraduate standards for Psychotherapy (NVQ Level 5), and contributed to the document which led to NLP being accepted as a therapeutic modality by the European Association for Psychotherapy.  She has presented workshops at UKCP Professional Conferences on an NLP approach to working with victims of abuse, and in psychoneuroimmunology.  Recovering from ME since 1986, she is the co-author, with Dr Leslie O Simpson, of the book Ramsay’s Disease (ME) about ME, as well as A Beginner's Guide to ME / CFS (ME/CFS Beginner's Guides). Both titles are available both in paperback and Kindle formats on Amazon. Nancy was previously enrolled at Lancaster University in a PhD doctoral program; her thesis topic was Conflicting Paradigms of ME/CFS and how the Psychiatric Paradigm creates its Influence in contrast to the Medical Model. She may be contacted via Her books are available to purchase at

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