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The Brain-Fertility Connection
by Joanne Verkuilen, Founder, Circle+Bloom, June 10, 2010
Just how powerful is this connection?
I'm Joanne Verkuilen, founder and creator of Circle+Bloom, and I’m passionate about helping others understand the power of their brain and how to unleash this power to improve fertility, well-being and general health. Having struggled with secondary infertility, I felt strongly moved to help others use what I learned about fertility and the mind-body connection. In this first blog, I'll share the basic concepts.
We all have a superpower and it is called the internal communication between mind and body. The fancy and scientific name for it is Psychoneuroimmunology, which means your thoughts and feelings (psycho) affect the chemicals in your brain (neuro), which affects the hormones that fight disease or replicate viruses (immunology). Research centers have sprung up at Harvard, Ohio State, The University of Rochester, and the University of Miami, and UCLA to continue to expand the understanding around the mind-body connection.
The revolution of the acceptance of the mind-body connection can be partly traced back to Norman Cousins, according to Anne Harrington, a professor of the history of science at Harvard University. In the 1970s, Cousins, the editor in chief of Saturday Review, was hospitalized with a mysterious, crippling disease. Doctors diagnosed degenerative bone disease that would eventually kill him. Cousins, facing a death sentence, decided to take matters in his own hands. Checking himself out of the hospital and into a hotel room, and he decided to wage war against his disease by flooding his body and cells with laughter and good cheer.
Knowing that research at the time proved that negative effects and emotion were bad for you, he decided to do an experiment and see whether or not good emotions could have a positive effect on your health. He felt he had nothing to lose and began his treatment regimen by constantly watching funny and uplifting shows and movies. Non-stop. He found that 10 minutes of belly laugh gave him 20 minutes of pain-free sleep. Slowly but surely, he laughed himself back to health. His experience was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and thus began the movement towards scientists and researchers under the field of Psychoneuroimmunology.
It’s my understanding, however, that even though Psyconeuroimmunology is as widely accepted today by scientists, it’s still not taught in medical school. Thinking back on my own experience with infertility, it was a "neck-down" problem treated with fertility drugs and procedures.
We know the tools we can employ to unlock this connection, so for us, it is very exciting to share this treatment approach where YOU take control and YOU can wage your own war with laughter, good cheer - and other tools such as relaxation and guided visualizations.
In future blogs, I'll expand upon the mind-body connection and offer easy ways to incorporate mind-body science into your everyday life. Our goal is educate and promote the concept of using simple and easy-to-use mind-body programs that are effective and allow women to feel in greater control over their health, fertility, mind and bodies.
Any questions? You can ask me below.