Hypnosis in Autoimmune Diseases

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  • Topic: Autoimmune diseases, Immune system, Autoimmunity
  • Pages : 17 (4384 words )
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  • Published : June 4, 2012
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Choose a medical condition that interests you and research it. Write about the possible uses of hypnosis in the treatment of the condition as you see them.

Author: MARIANA DUMITRIU

Tutor: ALAN DAVIDSON

Course Code: BOURN1S

Bournemouth, March 2012

This essay will aim to compile the hypnotherapy approaches in the treatment of the autoimmune diseases. I have a personal interest in this area, which prompted me to research this particularly growing medical group. The first chapter will be dedicated to the general medical knowledge about these conditions. The second chapter will refer to the practical information which needs to be taken into consideration in order to start planning the hypnotherapy sessions. In the third part of this essay I will include information about effective suggestions to use throughout the therapy. The conclusions will summarize the most important researches which were available to me at the time of writing this essay.

1. Medical considerations

The autoimmune diseases[i] arise from an inappropriate immune response[ii] of the own immune system against substances and tissues normally present in the body. The role of the immune system is to keep the body safe from injury and invasion. It is a complex system operating at all levels[iii] from the molecular to the systemic, always with the inborn goal of maintaining the body and its functions. In autoimmune diseases, the immune system mistakes normal, healthy structures with foreign bodies, is activated against the body's own proteins and starts destroying them.  In autoimmune inflammatory diseases, it is the overreaction of the immune system, and its subsequent downstream signalling. The medical treatment of autoimmune diseases is typically an immunosuppressive one – medication which decreases the immune response. For a disease to be regarded as an autoimmune disease, it needs to answer to Witebsky's postulates (first formulated by Ernst Witebsky and colleagues in 1957 and modified in 1994): - Direct evidence from transfer of pathogenic antibody or pathogenic T cells, - Indirect evidence based on reproduction of the autoimmune disease in experimental animals, - Circumstantial evidence from clinical clues.

While medical researches confirm inclusion of illnesses such as multiple sclerosis or lupus erythematosus in this group, other conditions are suspected to be caused by abnormal autoimmune responses as well – such as glandular fever, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or cancers. Although autoimmune disorders run in families and susceptibility genes have been identified, identical twins of patients usually don't get the disease. It is thought that there must be an environmental trigger to set off the autoimmune response. In 1995 researchers found that foetal cells survived in the mother's tissues for years, and the mother can form antibodies to such cells. "Pregnancy is exposure to a body that's half foreign," researchers Rose and Nelson said. Babies in the womb pick up some of their mother's cells, so foreign "maternal cells could also engraft and persist in a child," Nelson says. Scleroderma occurs in 14 of every million people, and is much more common in women than in men. Faustman studied a genetically identical line of mice that usually develop type 1 diabetes, but rather than develop diabetes, some of the mice developed rheumatoid arthritis instead. Similar to humans, the arthritis occurred about 75% of the time in females, and it occurred in middle age. The results of both studies could help researchers find "novel ways of approaching treatment and even possible prevention of autoimmune disease," Rose says. Today, the best physicians can do is to treat patients with drug that dampens the immune response, but in the future drugs that target foreign cells could help. What's more, the fact that both men and women have cells from...
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