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Saggio: Gli Stress Psichici Causa Di Tutte Le Malattie 1970

Libro: Medicina Anno Zero 1983

Periodico: La Medicina Dell'Avvenire 1980-1988


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Psychic Stress The Cause of all Diseases 1970

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Psychic stress The cause of all diseases
English translation of "Gli Stress Psichici Causa Di Tutte Le Malattie" 1970 by Doctor Salvatore Murgia 
Western and eastern medicine 
In the east, especially in India, China and Japan, both the theory and practice of medicine are inspired by spiritual, religious, psychic or cosmic concepts. The doctrine and practice of Yoga, Chinese acupuncture and certain Japanese medical practices have nothing in common with the fundamental ideas of western medicine, which, in its turn, is exclusively based on material technical concepts. There have, of course, been cases of 'heresy' - just think of the hypnosis used since Mesmer and Freud to the present day which despite being studied by respected scientists has always been looked down upon by official medicine. Psychoanalysis itself may be widespread and its practitioners respected doctors in other fields but it remains at the margins of the medical establishment.                                                                                      

I personally have found myself in the particular, perhaps privileged situation of experiencing the profound antithesis of the two medical traditions. Despite having studied and practiced orthodox medicine for many years and having cured tens of thousand of patients with its techniques, I have, since a young man, been interested in situations where spirituality and cure overlap (hypnosis, yoga, faith healing and miracles)
In this way I have gradually reached some very unorthodox convictions which came together to form the conclusions I wish to present in this study (and which came to me as a revelation whilst I was attending a course in heart disease last June)
Since then, despite having little free time and using my annual leave I have feverishly studied books and journals accumulating a great many elements and ‘proof’ which confirms the theory impartially.

I feel duty bound to report the results of my modest research, which I hope will interest both doctors and the layperson.

Psychic stress causes disease.

That various neurosis, hysteria, phobias, depression and insomnia are caused by emotions, by unhappiness or other stress factors has well known and widely accepted for some time.
Recently, thanks in part to the work of Freud and others in the field of psychoanalysis and medical hypnosis, other diseases have come to be considered as caused or aggravated by psychic factors: peptic ulcers, asthma, certain rashes and many forms of skin disease, as well as hypertension and sexual disorders etc.
The hypothesis I wish to put forward is new In that it considers ALL diseases, including cancer, infectious or heart diseases to be caused by Psychic stress.
The other factors involved, be they carcinogenic substances, germs, alcohol, tobacco or an unhealthy diet ate to be considered as co-factors or aggravating but not essential in that they cannot cause the disease alone. The reverse, however, I believe is true: psychic factors can cause the onset of the disease by themselves. In the light of this position I feel it pertinent to express my ideas in the following hypothesis. Might I add that having reached the following conclusions they struck me as so simple, clear and obvious that I was somewhat amazed that this ‘truth’ had not been seen and recognised previously.
A hypothesis on the psychic causes of disease.

The functions of the cells are regulated, stimulated or inhibited by nerve impulses which are conditioned by psychic factors. All alternations in the functioning of a cell, which can cause organic alterations, namely diseases, are produced by negative psychic factors.
The improvement of the patients’ is the principle route to the prevention and cure of diseases, providing that irreversible damage to organs or tissue has not occurred.
Negative psychic factors are many and varied. Major disappointments or shocks, even when short lived, low level but repetitive and persistent stress, delusion or frustrations, a poor self esteem, a persecution complex, jealousy , pain, boredom, rage, fear and sadness. Hunger, as well as excessive cold or heat can, if repetitive, translate into stress and become a negative psychic factor and lead to illness.
The opinions of scientists and researchers.

At this point I feel it is opportune to introduce, with the aim of supporting my hypothesis, the conclusions of a number of leading experts, especially those involved in diseases which cause most fear and claim most victims.
1- Carlo sirtori: “an emotional storm is followed by hypothalamic (therefore hormonal and electrical) turbulence, which can favour the onset of cancer”. Elsewhere he said catecholamine which can inhibit the growth of tumours, that the hope of healing, the faith in a cure causes the organism to create a wave of.
2- Griffith Evans (a leading expert and surgeon in the U.K.) “ in one case in three the cancer is caused by a purely psychological factor, or rather a state of extreme unhappiness…….I have noticed a direct link between unhappiness and certain physical phenomena which lead to cancer……mental depression interrupts the regular functioning of the pituitary gland ”
3- David Kissen, Southern General Hospital, Glasgow, has stated that there is a close link between emotions and lung cancer, that the body’s chemistry can be altered by emotions and thereby produce organic dysfunction.

4- Pierre Denoix says that an overlooked aspect in the study of cancer is the emotional state of the patient. In one case a patient’s cancer proliferated enormously following his wife’s death.
5- Boyd noted three factors present in the spontaneous regression of a cancer patient
a) a change in the relationship between the cancer and host b)the influence of hormones and most importantly c) the immunity system.
6- Klissen e Vittkower “in patients suffering from breast cancer there is a constantly high proportion of frustrated women” “perhaps the psyche is not completely unconnected to the mysterious neoplastic process”
I could refer to many similar observations made and conclusions drawn by leading experts. I feel that this short list is sufficient to encourage doctors and people of learning to think about the theoretical consequences of these remarks.
Cardiovascular disease
There are as many experts in cardiovascular disease who have remarked upon the psychic causes of the disease, especially of arteriosclerosis and hypertension, (which are the principle causes of premature ageing, strokes and cerebral haemorrhages) and myocardial strokes.

1- Ferruccio Antonelli “There is as yet no general agreement on the cause of the stroke. While the standard opinion is that coronarosclerosis is the only significant cause a growing number of doctors feel that  psychic stress is to blame.

2- Paton, Philadelphia. “It seems logical to conclude that a state of hypertension is caused and maintained by a neurological component”
3- Simonson-Broyek “the experts insist on a cortical component and believe that hypertension is essential in cardiovascular neurosis caused by a dysfunction of the cortical cardiovascular neurosis in the hypothalamic vasomotor centres.
4- Seyle “the conflict between the organism and the environment affects all the cardio circulatory apparatus and translates into myocardial suffering.” Klemsorge and
5- Klumbies have distinguished the difference in physical anguish of those tormented by or resigned to suffering from Stenocardia.  

6- C. Sirtori “arterial sclerosis is the most widespread and insidious of diseases”….”one of the most frequent forms of stress in anxiety. It is easy to feel rage, for increasingly futile reasons, the surge of adrenalin multiplies: arteriosclerosis is sure to follow.”….”Neurosis is a determining cause of cardiac strokes, as everybody knows.”
7- R. Bolognesi “ In one province, out of a total of 177 stroke victims, 71% were intellectuals”.....”in 1967 out of a total of 77 deceased doctors 23 died of a stroke, 9 from tumours…”  and “ It has been noted that many doctors die of myocardial strokes. The cause? overwork and psychological stress without the corresponding rest required.”
8- Thonson “A heart transplanted by Blaiburg constitutes the most serious case of arterial Atherosclerosis I have ever seen. The patient developed the same condition in the replacement heart: a kind of  constitutional coronary lesion.”
There is a great deal of research still to be done on transplanted organs, especially the heart. Some have raised the possibility of a transplantation neurosis, and the psychic stress or habits (some talk of constitution or predisposition but these could equally be acquired traits) which led to the original condition, thus making it possible for the organism to undergo the same alterations. The same thing frequently happens among patients operated for peptic ulcers.
I am convinced that if those who have undergone heart transplants had been adequately treated with hypnosis they would have lived both longer and more serene lives.
One thing that can be stated without doubt is that here are few, even among doctors, even every doctor who are aware of this. It is all too clear from doctors’ behaviour, both when curing themselves and others that the way in which psychic stress can lead to strokes is unknown. Even cardiologists fail to advise stroke patients to undergo Psychotherapy, even to avoid a future and possibly lethal attack. Prescribing psycho- pharmaceuticals, whose effectiveness is often questionable, is not sufficient and could in fact be counterproductive as they might subdue the neurosis but will not help to cure it. Hypnosis could be used to help patients  prepare for ( and perhaps avoid needing) an organ transplant and to lower the risk of post-operative organ rejection.

In recent years researchers have carried out a number of  detailed studies into the phenomena of Senescence (premature ageing) .Throughout the ages the importance of emotional stress and unhappiness, as well as other negative factors, has been noted. The following observations  should not seem controversial if they put forward the hypothesis that an important factor for enjoying a long healthy life is peace of mind and tranquillity
1- Ernesto Servida “ageing is...in many respects a consequence of emotional conflict and psychological disturbances.” “an unfavourable psychic component represents one of the most important factors in an unhappy old age” According to Buffon, the human life span could reach between 120 and  150 years is not interrupted by lesions and premature death.

2- Strehler “animals and humans do not die of old age, but of cancer, heart attacks and diseases”
3- Goldbloom e Deutschberger “man could reach the age of 120 if, above all, the emotional element, did not shorten his existence” …….” Anyone who lives beyond 60 will very probably live to 100”
4- Doctor Aslan has achieved notable success with her reinvigoration therapy. If we take into consideration that the ‘Gerovital’ product she developed has not proved to be as successful elsewhere we can deduct that the impressive results obtained in Bucharest are due to the power of suggestion (faith in the product, the environment in which the therapy took place, physical exercise etc)

Other Diseases

In the name of brevity I will mention only a few generic observations on other disorders. Many other experts have reached similar conclusions in innumerable cases and the number of those who attribute psychic factors an important role in medicine is growing (albeit alongside those who remain immovably technical in their approach)
1- Young (the discoverer of the growth hormone) “also fear, emotion and anxiety can favour the onset of diabetes”

2- A number of Doctors in Baltimore examining children affected by growth disorders concluded that the production of the growth hormone from the Hypophisis gland was inhibited by unhappiness due to difficult parent-child relationships. The children improved without the use of pharmaceuticals once transferred into an environment that was psychologically and emotionally normal.

3- U. de Aichelgurg says that a simple suggestion or the application of a placebo can bring down a temperature, change blood composition and modify the results of an electrocardiogram.
4- Dalton: the depression, irritability, the feeling of being under the weather and generally less approachable a mother experiences due to pre-menstrual tension can lead to psychosomatic disorders in children. (in one study 49 children were treated during the 8 days of the menstrual cycle compared with 51 in the remaining 20 days)
5- Paolo Cavalli: the Diencephalons area of the brain is responsible for psychological, moral and affective behaviour, for changes in body temperature, levels of salt, water or fats, sexual development, the feelings of hunger and thirst, sleep, tears and sweat.

6- Jellinek (Vienna) “the effects of lightening and electricity on the body do not depend solely on volts and amps, but also on other factors: the environment, the constitution, the personality and above all the level of attention: there is an  enigmatic relationship between the psyche and matter.
7- Cestari “a disturbance in the hormonal and neurovegetative balance can lead to metabolic alterations in the vaginal epithelium which in turn leads to the vaginal infection trichomonas.
8- leading experts and department directors have revealed that the most important factor behind the onset and aggravation of tubercular diseases should be sought in the psyche and depression.
Studies and observations of the placebo

A placebo is a false medicine, or rather an inert and harmless substance administered as though it were medicine with the intention of obtaining, through the power of suggestion, beneficial results without administering possibly harmful pharmaceutical substances. A placebo is also widely used in the experimentation and development of new medical products.

The systematic study and experimentation carried out on placebos used with countless thousands of patients has produced impressive and perplexing results.

1- reversed pharmacological effects (with  appropriate suggestions having been made)
a) expectant mothers suffering from morning sickness whose nausea disappeared after the administration of an emetic (designed to induce vomiting)
2- Landsmann- in cases of streptococcus poisoning there was no difference in the temperature of patients given a placebo and those given sulphonamides.
3- Bingel treated 500 diphtheria patients with real serums and 500 with a placebo and noted no significant clinical differences between the groups. Hoctinger and Topf made similar observations.
4- Using injections of physiological solution you obtain (with appropriate suggestion) an increase in neutrophils, a reduction in the number of lymphocytes and eosinophils, as well as a rise in the amount of Uric acid and creatine, the elimination of K+ and a higher retention of Na+, with an increase of 17 urinary chetosteroids.

5- Treating gastric ulcers with a placebo results in a 75% success rate. Coughs fall by 80%.

6- Sleeping disorders: pill shaped placebos lead to longer periods of sleep than the authentic sleeping pills.

7- Blomberg reported that in treating 90 patients suffering from Multiple Sclerosis he obtained better results with a placebo.

8- A number of doctors have reported here was no significant difference in results using conventional treatment and a placebo with schizophrenic patients.

9- Evans and Hoyle- in cases of angina pectoris placebo treatment was more effective than any of the 9 medications usually prescribed to calm attacks.

10- Only slight differences were noted when treating  hypertension, stomach upsets ,vomiting , morning sickness, psoriasis (a skin condition), gout, lumbago , rheumatism, shingles or period pains.
11- Professor Cestari: “ a particular emotional state, a psychic conflict…. Can constitute a direct or a secondary cause not only of  functional disorders but also pathological conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, arthritis, ulcers, coronary artery disease etc.”    “ non isolated observations lead to the conclusion that infectious and parasitic diseases are directly influenced by Psychogenic factors”  “ every objective factor: pathogenic, symptomatic etc is a part of the psychic”

12- Model says that “the placebo effect” is the only thing that all drugs have in common and in some cases is the only useful action a doctor can take.
Hypnosis, the Phenomenology and use.

The aim of this text, which is necessarily brief, is to list rather than expose, a series of  elements which prove the role the psyche has to play in the working of the organism, and therefore on the development and cure of diseases. It is not, therefore, the case to refer to psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis included, where its use is purely for treating psychological afflictions. Instead I will focus on hypnotism (widely used and studied overseas even at the hospital and university level) where its use and the consequential results are concerned with organic diseases to demonstrate to what extent the psyche (or rather psychological factors) can cure disease (and equally cause them).
It is incomprehensible and seriously worrying that hypnosis has yet to be studied or taught in Italian Universities, despite being a science and a practice that can do much to relieve suffering and save lives.
The overwhelming majority of Italian doctors have but a vague, imprecise and often incorrect idea of what hypnosis is. Others, including many big clinics and respected specialists (with the exception of a few hundred pioneering doctors who are enthusiastically interested in medical hypnosis) remember and repeat a number of incorrect or even far fetched ideas repeated time and again in a number of medical text books, regarding the supposed risk of damage or the limited scope to which it can be put. These concepts are shown to be completely unfounded and absurd by every piece of research carried out in the last decades where hypnosis was used’ studied and its techniques perfected, and has be shown to be an irreplaceable means for treating many chronic, often otherwise untreatable disorders.
Furthermore it has been proved that hypnosis, if carried out by a trained medical professional can NEVER HARM THE PATIENT and rather than worsening will IMPROVE THE PATIENT’S PERSONALITY AND WILLPOWER.
Having clarified this matter I feel it is essential to briefly describe the possible uses of this branch of medicine, which, despite everything, continues to spread in Italy thanks to the commendable work of three institutions; “Istituto Indagini Psicologiche e di Ipnosi Medica” in Milan, the “Centro di Ipnosi Clinica Berheim” in Verona and the “Società Italiana di Medicina Psicosomatica” directed by Professor F. Antonelli and a number of individuals, including Professor Granone.
The Phenomenology of Hypnosis.
Hypnotism is the fastest, most complete and most effective method for influencing the unconscious (the immensely more vast and complex, and largely unknown part of the mind)
With hypnosis the following results can be achieved:

In the psychic area. 
(From Granone: L'ipnotismo; Pavesi e Mosconi: L'ipnosi nella medicina moderna; Belfiore: Magnetismo e ipnotismo; Schmidt: L'ipnosi)

1. A modification in levels of concentration, attention and memory (which can be improved to the point where the patient remembers even minimal details of the distant past)
2. Improved sensory perception.
3. Hallucinations, both positive and negative.
4. changes in character, mood and instincts.
5. increased awareness and control over will power
6. the elimination of a number of complexes, including those of inferiority, persecution and guilt.
7. Cure and noticeable improvement (through techniques such as hypno analysis, which in a certain sense use the basic principles of psychoanalysis)
Of neurosis and psychoneurosis: anxiety, anguish, agoraphobia and other phobias, stuttering, nail biting, insomnia, drug addiction, homosexuality, frigidity, sexual impotence, bed wetting, rashes, ticks and various types of pain.

In the somatic, neurovegetative, endocrine, umoral, visceral area
Hypnosis can achieve the following results:
1. A stop to vomiting, coughing, diarrhoea and menstrual flow as well as a change in stomach, intestinal and bile movements.
2. Mood changes leading to feelings of wellbeing, calm and self confidence.
3. Change in muscle tone.
4. A stop in haemorrhaging (during dental extractions, childbirth,    Metrorrhagia, after injury and in patients with hemophilia)
5. A variation in the pulse and blushing, itching and bleeding from minor wounds. A change in the production of various secretions (Sweat, tears, breast milk, digestive juices, urine and bile) and in muscular and uterus contractions, vascular spasms and an increase in skin temperature.
6. Varying degrees of modification in hormonal secretions, so as to influence the basic metabolism (glicidi and lipidi)
7. Changes in blood composition (Erythrocytes Leukocytes Platelets etc) In blood density, speed of bleeding and coagulation.
8. Changes in the width of blood vessels, blood pressure and breathing rate.
9. Acceleration in cell regeneration and in the time required for wounds (both accidental and surgical) to heal.