The classic medical text, Gray’s Anatomy, tells us that the nervous system is the master control system of the body, determining the function of all systems, all functions and all organs. Newer to science is the profound interconnectivity between the nervous system and immune system. Once thought of as separate, these systems are now considered intertwined. It is now widely accepted that a healthy immune system supports nervous system function, and vice versa. This is very important for us to recognize if we want to create a healthy terrain.
The nervous and immune systems are interconnected in several known ways. Adrenal glands are one common link. Chemicals and hormones that are produced by cells of both systems are another connection. Additionally, research shows that the brain uses nerve cells to communicate directly with the immune system. Chiropractic care was first linked to improved immunity during the deadly flu epidemic of 1917 and 1918, when chiropractic patients fared better than the general population. This observation spurred a study of the fiend. The data reported that flu victims under chiropractic care had an estimated .25% death rate, considerably less than the normal rate of 5% among flu victims who received no chiropractic care.
In 1936, pioneering endocrinologist, Hans Selye, began groundbreaking research on the effects of stress on our health. B.J. Palmer tells us:
“Selye’s great contribution to science was this clear concept, that disease affects people according to their previously developed ability to adapt. The writer goes on to relate that the physician prefers to hear that you have had childhood diseases rather than avoided them. He knows that a bout of harmless chickenpox while you were a child will probably immunize you for life, but that if you contract it first as an adult it could run a very serious course. This is somewhat of a reversal to medical thinking in years past. This may seem strange, but the writer has this to say regarding antibiotics. “All too often, a patient will insist on a shot of glamorous penicillin or some newer antibiotic for a mild infection. The physician will explain that the drug is not necessary – that it is better for the body to use its own defenses – but the determined patient shops around until he finds someone who will administer it anyhow.” The frequent result is that, although the individual’s own natural resistance would have conquered the infection, the antibiotic suddenly robs the body of the germs necessary to stimulate the antibody producing mechanism into action. And, a stubborn chronic disease takes hole, against which, antibiotics are now powerless.”
In chiropractic we understand that nerve system function can be interfered with by misalignments, which create interferences to the normal transmission of nerve impulses. When this occurs, any and all systems are affected. Certainly immune system function, dependent on proper functioning of the nervous system, can be impaired as well. Since then, additional studies have supported chiropractic care to improve immunity. One study found that disease-fighting white blood cell counts were higher just 15 minutes after spinal adjustments. In a similar study, the immune system response in HIV-positive patients under regular care for six months showed a 48% increase in white blood cell counts. Conversely, the group that did not receive chiropractic adjustments experienced a 7.96% decrease in immunity cells. More research is certainly warranted.
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