Autoimmunity as a Body Language

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Modern medicine defines autoimmune disease as an overactive immune system that attacks otherwise healthy organs and tissues. In other words, there’s a breakdown in communication between cells, so immune cells can no longer distinguish between healthy tissue and a harmful invader. The result is a cascade of inflammation and disorientation in the body that can lead to the painful and devastating breakdown of healthy tissue.

While this explanation makes sense from a physiological perspective, it doesn’t address the root cause of the disease. In order to shift and attenuate autoimmunity, we have to look at the various ways it can take root in the body – from toxin exposure to the ways illness can manifest as a result of deeper emotional, psychological, or spiritual imbalances.

What can autoimmunity teach us, patients and doctors, about the body? How can we look to autoimmunity as body language to help guide us on a pathway to healing?

What is Autoimmunity? 

At its core, autoimmunity is self-attack. Whether the trigger is from the outside (environmental toxins, processed foods, infections, etc.) or the inside (trauma, genetic and epigenetic inheritance, emotional suppression, ongoing stress), the body has decided to rebel.

Autoimmunity scrambles messages between the cells that orchestrate and direct the immune response. With autoimmune diseases, immune cells circulate without proper “training” and destroy various areas of the body, depending on the condition. 

For instance, the immune system can target the thyroid gland, leading to inflammation and destruction of thyroid tissue – otherwise known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. It can also target the myelin sheaths that protect nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord, disrupting communication between the brain and the rest of the body – a disease known as multiple sclerosis (MS). 

Common treatments for autoimmunity are primarily pharmacological and aim to suppress the immune response to reduce symptoms and prevent further damage. However, this often only masks symptoms and can lead to more damage in the long term. After all, about 25 percent of patients with one autoimmune diagnosis will go on to develop additional autoimmune diseases.1 Clearly, it’s time to think about treatment differently. 

Autoimmunity As Body Language

Where conventional medicine sees a malfunctioning immune system, many more practitioners are waking up to the idea of autoimmunity as body language – an expression of an internal conflict or a rejection of the self at a deep, cellular level. 

Perhaps patients with autoimmunity don’t see the body as truly theirs and, therefore, feel the need to attack it. 

This kind of rejection is usually triggered by multiple inner and outer conflicts – from toxin and mold exposure to bacteria and viruses to more deeply seated emotional and spiritual roots. 

By the time the disease takes over, it’s not enough to remove just one of these triggers. However, it is possible to heal. The key is to address both physical and emotional detoxification and healing pathways to rekindle communication within the body and restore harmony. 

Healing Autoimmunity and Restoring Connection

1.  Acceptance and Establishing Safety in the Body

The first step on your journey with autoimmunity is accepting that your body is experiencing deep dysregulation. Acceptance will be a conduit to authentic relaxation in the tissues and will help you begin establishing safety within the body.

Since autoimmunity represents an inner conflict or a “fight” between your body and itself, accepting that there’s some healing to do is a compassionate first step. It took years (maybe decades) for your cells to switch into “danger” mode, so it makes sense that it will take some time to establish a sense of safety again. Be gentle with yourself and consider practicing what I call Open-Heart Medicine.

Open-Heart Medicine

Open-heart medicine offers us the opportunity to shift from survival-driven reactivity into the essence of who we are, into innate and boundless love, compassion, and openness. It helps us move from the limited place of the conceptual mind into the infinite field of the heart. It’s a practice that works with specific meditations I’ve crafted to help you quickly and easily tune into the heart space.

Just like the contraction the body feels when it’s in survival mode, your cells also learn to stay guarded. In other words, traumas of all kinds, stress, environmental assaults, and genetic and epigenetic inheritance affect cellular metabolism and the very ability of your cells to receive the medicine of heartfulness and compassion.

Open-heart medicine works in much the same way as a physical detox, but for a fundamentally different purpose. We are not trying to get rid of what we define as toxic. Instead, it is fueled by acceptance and transformation—transforming what is toxic into fuel for love and compassion. 

The key to this practice is to bring the process of love and compassion into the cells, breaking down the barriers of protection and survival and allowing your body to feel safe enough to receive healing. This only happens with practice, which is why I crafted specific meditations to help you move from the head to the heart.

2. Removing Common Assaults and Detoxifying the Body

For years, doctors and scientists believed autoimmune conditions were caused by genetic factors. However, recent research has uncovered other potential factors—particularly the influence of toxins on the body.2 Now, entire fields of medicine are dedicated to the study of how toxins impact immunity, and the evidence points to the rise in autoimmune conditions being linked to our increasingly toxic environment. 

Gentle removal of heavy metals and toxins is one of the most essential protocol considerations for managing any autoimmune disease. Removing these toxins both reduces inflammation and lowers the root cause of internal “conflict” on a biochemical level—essentially, cooling the fire of the immune response.

As chronic systemic inflammation is lifted, cells can better communicate, and balance is restored. While a detox may not fix everything for every patient, it’s a crucial step to healing. 

Of course, it’s also critical to avoid further exposure by choosing natural, organic alternatives to conventional food, body, and household products containing harmful chemicals. 

It is equally important to focus on daily detox defense against ubiquitous pesticides and herbicides, such as glyphosate. The right doctor can recommend a supplement that features a precise blend of evidence-based natural binders and detox agents that can help target the most dangerous and pervasive pesticides in use today, including glyphosate.

3. Focus on Nutrient Density (or an Anti-Inflammatory Diet)

A nutrient-dense diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods such as fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats can help modulate immune function and reduce inflammation, removing the fuel from the fire of autoimmunity. 

For optimal results, eliminate common inflammatory triggers like gluten, dairy, sugar, alcohol, and processed foods to give the body a break and restore cellular communication.

Replace them with lean proteins, sprouted whole grains, and plenty of organic fruits and vegetables. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants and phytonutrients to help calm inflammation in the body and provide powerful nutrients to help repair the damage. Omega-3 fatty acids from wild sardines, flax, chia seeds, and walnuts also help reduce inflammation.3 

4. The Wisdom of Plants and Mushrooms 

While supplements have their place, nothing beats the innate life force and wisdom of whole botanicals and mushrooms. Whole plants and fungi hold an energy and congruence that you often can’t find in isolated nutrients.

Functional mushrooms like reishi, cordyceps, Coriolus mushrooms, (and more) are excellent for modulating the immune system. Functional mushrooms work to educate immune cells and fine-tune the immune response. They also help your immune system stay balanced while directly regulating inflammation and fighting viruses.

There are also several time-honored herbal formulas that work to optimize 

immune function by reducing the production of inflammatory cytokines, fighting bacteria and viruses, and boosting circulation and cardiovascular function. Again, you can work with a qualified practitioner to find what works for you.

Conclusion

When the body fights against itself, it becomes our job to find harmony between the cell membrane and the environment, the tissue and organ, the organ and the body, the body and the microbiome, the individual and its community. It’s a complex dance, but the body always shows us that it’s possible to heal.

A truly integrative approach to reversing disease will always suggest that there’s more to autoimmunity than physical symptoms. It’s also about addressing deeper emotional and spiritual needs and training the cells to open and accept healing above all else.

References: 

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3150011/
  2. https://www.medpagetoday.com/meetingcoverage/cmsc/99103
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28900017

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