I feel weaker; I feel stronger: metaphor for immune competence

     “I couldn’t belief it. I could not resist the downward push on my arm.”

     “I could tell, the person was thinking the hopeless, helpless, powerless thought, she lost all her strength.”

     “I finally realized how my thoughts truly could influence my health.”

When participants pair up and one of pair tests the muscle strength of the other by pressing down on the extended arm, 98% of the participants experienced a change in strength depending upon their thoughts. The subjects experienced significantly less strength resisting the downward pressure when they evoked a hopeless, helpless, powerless memory as compared to an empowering memory. In our single blind studies done in groups (total N=200), the testers did not know which memory the subject was evoking. Yet, the testers could discriminate which type of memory the subjects evoked by sensing the difference in subject’s arm strength.

When done in groups, 98% of the participants experience the powerful mind-body relationship. The effect occurs across all ages, gender and cultures. For two percent of participants, their arms felt stronger or there was no change when they thought of a hopeless memory. In these cases, the person either evoked a memory that included anger/resentment resentment (which sometimes makes them stronger) or could not access a memory (there was no change in strength).

This experience is a metaphor for our immune competence and helps participants recognize how thoughts affect health. It is the starting point for teaching cognitive and emotional control.

For detailed description how to do this exercise down load our article: Experience the Mind-Body Connection: A Metaphor for Immune Competence.

For this and other practices as well as suggestions how to pragmatically deal with ruminations, and learn skills to transform thoughts and emotions see the book, Fighting Cancer-A Nontoxic Approach to Treatment.


6 Comments on “I feel weaker; I feel stronger: metaphor for immune competence”

  1. jamesmcahill says:

    Excellent and elegant demonstration. I would also like to see the study extended to eliminate the subjective component introduced by a subjective report of strength made by the person pressing the arm down. Perhaps weights and a strain gauge could be employed instead, to attain subjective measures.

    In any case, one can immediately see how useful such a demo can be.

    • erikpeper says:

      I totally agree that the study should be replicated using strain gauges, etc; however we have done this study so many times in which the tester did not know which memory the person evoked. We have done this face to face and more importantly from the back were the tester cannot see the possible facial emotions. In either case about 98% can sense the difference. We use it mainly to point out how thoughts affect the body.

  2. The self-awareness part is a confounder. In 1991, I was able to cure myself of influenza within two hours of onset, using self-hypnosis. In all attempts since then, I have failed. I finally concluded that whether the task relates to the unbendable arm technique or curing oneself of a viral illness, “trying” does not work; what works is “knowing” that one can achieve the goal.

    • James Ekgren says:

      Curing influenza; I sometimes notice the fever coming, I think to myself, oh no, not now! Why me? And I really have no idea about how long time this flu is gonna last. Sometimes it feels like this is something that could last for several days, maybe a week, that’s how bad i feel.

      Even though I don’t have the confidence that there’s a quick fix, what I’m certain of, is that I know how to slow my system down; I cancel my appointments, quit whatever I was busy doing, I lie down, and let thoughts process slowly, noticing how bad I feel, noticing where the pain is located, yet trying to slow down the breathing, making the pain more distant. Then I sleep. I wake up after three hours, and I feel like top of the world, and yes, the flu is gone. Pure magic!

      This happens to me perhaps twice a year, and I am really greatful for the healing power I’m allowed to witness.

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