Immune System Ailments - Allergies, Cancer, Herpes, Flu, Infections, Inflammation, M.E., Shingles, etc.
The main function of the immune system is to protect us from foreign substances / germs that are all around us at any one point in time and to prevent them from inflicting disease, illness, inflammation etc. on us. The symbology of this is our ability to protect ourselves from invasion. It also implies our ability to be aware of the relationship between inside and outside, or put another way, the extent that we are influenced by that relationship and our ability to distinguish, discriminate or discern between what is us and what is not us, i.e. between the self and the non-self.
When the immune system is over active towards the external antigens such as bacteria or pollen, then an allergy can develop. When it is under active, then infection can develop.
When the immune system is over active towards the internal antigens then it can start destroying itself. This can be seen in autoimmune diseases. When it is under active, then abnormal body cells can develop such as is the case with cancer.
The immune system acts in two ways within us
The first is that the immune system builds up a memory of or antibody of foreign substances. This building helps to keep our systems clear from infection by the same antigen. This is why we get diseases only once. The immune system builds up resistance and memory of how to counteract it.
The second aspect is cell-mediated immunity. Here the main job of the immune system is to identify and destroy abnormal cells. To do this they have to recognise what is harmful and what is harmless.
The crux of the matter is the “tolerance” or discrimination between the self and the non-self, so the immune system only attacks non-self substances. “Intolerance” is the inability to distinguish between what is harmful and what is not and where the non-self actually appears as the self. Such a process of discrimination is a vital component of our sense of identity – the ability to define our own thoughts and feelings, rather than being easily influenced by others.
The thymus gland is the king of the immune system. It is important to maintain its health and vitality. It is in close proximity to the heart and the overall feeling of the heart has a direct influence on the thymus’s overall health. E.g. good loving feelings generate a good healthy thymus and bad feelings and despair deplete the thymus and as a result, the immune system of the body is compromised. The immune system can become depleted in the same way that our “tolerance” of stress or grief becomes depleted.
Of course the impact of chemical toxins also has an impact on our immune system. The immune system tries to maintain harmony by tolerating and balancing internal states with external states. If the external substances become overwhelming or have abnormal patterns, then the immune system can get pushed beyond its tolerance levels. In the same way, when the level of emotional toxins rises, it also undermines the thymus’s strength.
The lymph glands are another important part of the immune system. The fluids in the body are transported to these glands and collect in the lymph nodes so enabling the body’s antibodies or T-cells to attack foreign substances. Swollen glands under the armpits and in the groin indicate the immune system is working to fight infection of some sort. Included in this system is the spleen, which filters the blood and removes waste. The spleen removes old blood cells and foreign substances and it then infuses the blood with new immune cells.
When we are feeling morose or irritable it generally affects the spleen, so difficulties here indicate that rather than filtering out the waste, there is a harbouring of old or stagnant thoughts and/or feelings. This creates disruption or indigestion and an increase in irritability. A strong spleen encourages clarity, compassion and empathy as the blood is freed of its negative influences.
Disorders of the immune system
Normally the immune system is able to tell which substances are foreign to the system (body) and which are not, or when they are harmless. When the immune system starts attacking itself in the same way that it attacks foreign substances, then diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and AIDS develop. In cases like these the immune system has difficulty distinguishing between the self and the non-self.
This then brings us to asking some pertinent questions about our feelings for ourselves with great honesty, namely:
- Do you feel as if your life does not matter or is not really valid?
- Are you carrying guilt, shame and/or blame from the past that is wearing away your self-esteem or self-respect?
- Do you have an underlying dislike or hatred for yourself?
- Do you spend your time helping others but refuse to help yourself?
- What needs to change for you to be able to embrace yourself and to bring this part of your being into a loving and accepted space?
- Are you overly critical of yourself?
- Constantly putting yourself down or negating self?
- Are you disappointed in yourself?
- Is someone else wearing away at you or corroding your sense of worth?
As this condition is one of attacking ourselves, we need to see where we are negating our own inner-beauty or undermining our love for life.
Allergies are when the immune system over-reacts too strongly to an external stimulus causing sneezing, watery eyes, hay fever, and/or perhaps breathing difficulties. This implies that our tolerance level or balance is upset and we are over reacting to a normally harmless substance. All things in nature are harmless to us – that is the nature of things!
Allergy in the immune system
It is as if the external world has become your enemy in some way, something to be feared and resisted. Fear leads to withdrawal but in refusal to allow anything in, you are also unable to let anything out and/or to express your feelings. An irritant is irritating you and it is making you irritable! The reaction is an emotional one, as there is crying and a runny nose as well as maybe difficulties in breathing or receiving and taking in. So some interesting questions here need to be asked, namely:
- Are you over reacting to an emotional situation?
- Is there a desire to be rid of something or someone that is causing a strongly irritated reaction?
- What or who are you actually feeling allergic towards?
Seeing the world as hostile or potentially dangerous / aggressive can be due to repressing our own hostility or aggression. It is more socially accepted to have an allergy than to scream or hit out. It signifies an unwillingness to communicate, a withdrawal from connecting and sharing with our world. Before the allergy symptoms developed, were you feeling hostile or resistant to communicating with someone? Did you want to scream or hit out? What or who are you actually feeling allergic towards? Did you feel yourself withdrawing inside, pushing those feelings down?
Often feelings being repressed are directly linked to the cause of the allergy. The symbology of the allergy often gives us the clue as to what it is that we were or are feeling and would point us in the direction of what it is that we are rejecting or not trusting.
A wonderful example that has come up in my practice is that of pollen allergy. Pollen is symbolic of sex and fertility and the wildness of nature. Here issues around this problem were found with the individual clients. Once sorted out the allergy went away.
Some questions asked regarding pollen: Are you resisting the release of passionate or wild feelings of nature within your self? Is there a fear of reproduction?
Another one is dust – this relates to feeling unclean or not been taken proper care of and left to ones own devices in an unclean environment. Once addressed this too also went away.
This can also apply to perennial rhinitis, the allergic reaction to house dust, pet fur, mites, feathers or even face powder. What is it in your life that these substances represent? What is making you pull away from them so dramatically? Animal fur relates to the instinctive side of us, the animalistic aspect of our nature, while dust allergy may indicate a fear of dirt and contamination. But life is not clean, well ordered or under our control. It is full of dirt, passion, play and disorder. Often there is a fear of your own deeper and more uncontrollable aspects, making you keep a tight hold on yourself to resist freedom of the spirit.
Food allergies can often arise due to colorants, chemicals placed on crops and/or genetically modified foods and when this happens, then the best remedy is to refrain from eating that particular food. However, one needs to be very careful that there is not a psycho/emotional reason for the food allergy. If the list is long then one needs to look deeper at issues of control or power.
Some question here will help you find out, namely:
- Does it make you feel special when you cannot eat in certain places or eat the same food as others?
- Is it actually hiding a need for attention and love?
- Is it a reason not to participate?
- In rejecting certain foods are you actually rejecting certain aspects of yourself?
- Is it easier to blame the food than to look at your own behaviour?
- A food allergy in some way often represents a resistance to fully enter into life. What is holding you back, what is the fear about?