The more I learn about      Psychoneuroimmunology, the more I am amazed. My next story proves  that negative emotions can suppress immune function and affect your health in ways you may not expect. 

     In 2005, I watched my mother die while standing by her bedside. A few months later my father would join her and truly die from a broken heart and grief. I will never forget the sores all over my father's arms soon after my mother died. They itched so bad that he would scratch them until they bled. In the morning his arms would have dried blood and large blisters where he scratched all night. My father suffered from psoriasis from the age of 17, and his skin was his weakest organ. Cortisone creams helped the itch to some degree of relief, but never stopped the dermatitis or skin inflammation completely. Was it possible that the breakdown of the skin on his arms was caused from the negative emotions in his mind? Was his body was merely responding to the grief and stress he was experiencing?

      Do you believe that you can inherit weak organs from your parents or other genetic diseases? In the past two years, once when I was at the peak of my divorce and the other when I was fighting for restraining orders against a mad man who was threatening my four children, my arms flared up just like my father's had after my mother death. After all, they were happily married for 56 years. Like my father, I could not stop scratching my arms. I scratched the skin right off trying to relieve the horrible itching. I developed blisters and sores on both arms that would bleed just like my father's. I tried every natural remedy that promised relief, but finally had to go to the doctor for a diagnosis.  The doctor said: "It is neurodermatitis, a skin disease caused by the nerves and from your scratching. There are many nerve endings on the surface of your arms and when your nerves react to extreme stress it can cause itching. The worst thing you can do is scratch the areas because the nerve endings kind of multiply and you can make matters worse. If you wouldn't have scratched the areas there would have been no sores." He prescribed a cream which finally stopped the itching. The sores took a lot longer to heal.

     I noticed that when my stress level increased, the itching would also increase. In fact to prove that it was my nerves, one day a car nearly hit me at an intersection and my arms instantly felt like someone was using them for a pin cushion. Every sore reacted at the same time to the stress from to the emergency. Was God teaching me another lesson on the mind/body connection that I could use to expand my presentations on the subject? I believe God was educating me so I could educate others. What better way to understand the mind/body connection than from a personal experience. He also wanted me to learn one can find perfect peace in His Son, Jesus.

     The other night I left the ministry late and grabbed a magazine on my way out the door. Amazing, there was an article in it entitled "Psychodermatology: A New Approach to Protect the Skin." As I anxiously devoured the information, I found the answer to my own problem. The dermalogical problem on my skin was actually caused by stress. No wonder the stress tabs and the herbal nerve formula only slowed the itch, but never cured the problem. The neurodermatitis on my arms was caused by the stress and negative emotions originating in my mind, and I was trying to heal myself from a physical standpoint only.  

With the newly emerging field of psychodermatology, scientists have reported studies that show our "emotions, particularly stressful ones, can unleash a torrent of free radicals and stress hormones such as cortisol that not only age our skin but cause a wide range of allergic and inflammatory skin ailments. Dermatologists are now recognizing that when emotions such as stress and anxiety are creating havoc within the skin, there is little in their pharmacopeia that can solve the problem. It is at the junction of the skin that physicians and psychiatrists truly see the interaction of the mind/body connection. ... Acting through the nervous, immune, and endocrine systems, this new phenomenon is being called the 'brain-skin connection' that may underlie inflammatory skin diseases triggered or aggravated by stress. Indeed, dermatologists worldwide are recognizing that significant numbers of their patients have underlying psychological components related to their skin complaints" and I am one of them! (Life Extention, July 2009, pp. 67 

      "Stress-related skin disorders include:

  • Psoriasis (which my father had) - a chronic disease characterized by inflammation and thickening of patches of skin.

  • Eczema - swelling, blisters and bumps and crusting and scaling of the skin.

  • Atopic dermatitis - a chronic skin disorder characterized by itching and red, scaly, or dry rashes.

  • Seborrheic dermatitis - an inflammatory condition characterized by greasy scales and yellowish crusts, usually on the scalp.

  • Hives - red, raised welts.

     "Many people find that when they are stressed they break out in pimples or hives, and their psoriasis, eczema, or other skin conditions become worse. Reducing stress may therefore offer the key to skin disease." (Ibid, p. 68).

      During stressful times of my life, I can feel the itch return to my arms.   "Prayer is the key in the hand of faith that unlocks heaven's storehouse." Never forget to call upon

God in your time of need. He is always there for you!

Happy New Year,

Danny Vierra

Modern Manna