Sex, Touch and Immune System Strength
Part One | International Medical Veritas Association
As we have gone over in previous chapters there is a connection between emotions and cancer. Some researchers have found that the average victim of breast or prostate cancer was unable to express such basic drives as anger, aggressiveness, or sexual impulses, suffered from an inner turmoil "covered over by a façade of pleasantness." In Psychosomatic Medicine, California's Dr. Eugene M. Blumberg and his colleagues report on patients with a wide variety of cancers: "We were impressed by the polite, apologetic, almost painful acquiescence of the patients with rapidly progressing disease, as contrasted with the more expressive and sometimes bizarre personalities of those who responded brilliantly to therapy with long remissions and long survival."
Researchers believe individuals with certain personality characteristics are at greater risk for developing cancer.[i][i]
- Poor ability to cope with stress
- Highly conscientious, responsible and caring (particularly for others): These individuals often have a tendency to take on the burdens of others.
- Deep desire to make others happy, often at their own expense (people pleasers)
- Harboring suppressed toxic emotions (anger, resentment or hostility): These individuals often show an inability to express and resolve deep emotional problems or conflicts and are often unaware of their presence.
- History of lack of closeness with one or both parents, perhaps resulting in the same lack of closeness with a spouse.
This research is strong evidence of the mind-body connection, proving
that the health of the mind deeply impacts that of the body. Ongoing
suppression and internalization of emotion weakens the body. What
weakens the body weakens the cells and when the cells get weak they
begin to rot and attract infection. In the later stages of this process
we actually have yeast and fungus overgrowth, tumors and nutritional
W. Douglas Brodie M.D. has treated thousands of cancer patients and shares what he’s seen in his experience with cancer patients: “Typical of the cancer-susceptible personality, as noted above, is the long-standing tendency to suppress "toxic emotions," particularly anger. Usually starting in childhood, this individual has held in his/her hostility and other unacceptable emotions. More often than not, this feature of the affected personality has its origins in feelings of rejection by one or both parents. Whether these feelings or rejection are justified or not, it is the perception of rejection that matters, and this results in a lack of closeness with the "rejecting" parent or parents, followed later in life by a similar lack of closeness with spouses and others with whom close relationships would normally develop. Those at higher risk for cancer tend to develop feelings of loneliness as a result of their having been deprived of affection and acceptance earlier in life, even if this is merely their own perception. These people have a tremendous need for approval and acceptance, developing a very high sensitivity to the needs of others while suppressing their own emotional needs.”[ii][ii]
Another study showed patients and their partners differed in their sexual self-esteem, sexual depression, sexual preoccupation, and life satisfaction. Both had greater levels of depression, poorer quality of sexual communication, and more sexual dissatisfaction than the general population. Partners' level of general depression and depression concerning their sex lives were significant predictors of patients' relationship satisfaction, perceived quality of communication about the sexual relationship, and sexual satisfaction after controlling for patients' general and sexual depression.[iii][iii]
Another team, Drs. James H. Stephenson and William J. Grace of New York Hospital, [iv][iv] compared 100 women with cancer of the cervix and 100 with cancer not involving the reproductive system. They found that sexual adjustment among the cervix cancer victims had been poor long before they developed the disease: they had had less intercourse than the others and rarely enjoyed orgasm. In many cases there was actual aversion for the sexual act.
Sex is more than physical pleasure: it may bring benefits on a long term. One does not normally think in terms of sex and healing but some researchers have found that frequent orgasms increases a person's lifespan and that sexually active women have a lower risk of developing breast cancer. Not only is orgasm the peak of physical pleasure, it may have significant health benefits that mirror some of the salutary effects of exercise.
Women produce a massive overload of oxytocin during sex, it's thought
to be one reason that women tend to bond more strongly and let go with
greater difficulty once a relationship has progressed to a sexual dimension.
Oxytocin is unique among hormones in that its production can be triggered not only by physical but by emotional cues. The glance of a lover, the cry of a baby, or a certain gesture can all generate a flood of oxytocin. Oxytocin regulates the body's production of prolactin, thereby decreasing one's risk of cancer. Interestingly, celibate women have a markedly higher risk of breast cancer than do women with active sex lives, even sexually active women who don't have early or multiple pregnancies (which have been proven to decrease breast cancer risk). Regular orgasms help to regulate oxytocin, as do intimate acts of cuddling and kissing.
- Oxytocin is secreted into the blood at orgasm – in both males and females.[v][v] In males, oxytocin may facilitate sperm transport during their development.
- Sexual arousal. Oxytocin injected into the cerebrospinal fluid causes spontaneous erections in rats, [vi][vi] reflecting actions in the hypothalamus and spinal cord.
- Healthy levels of oxytocin have been found to decrease risks of certain cancers: leukemia, brain tumors and breast cancers.[vii][vii],[viii][viii]
- Gentle stimulation of the nipples of the breast will increase the flow of oxytocin and increase lymph (and toxin) drainage from the breast and can be practiced through self-massage [ix][ix] or achieved through frequent loving and intimate relations especially if orgasm is reached. A loving, caring touch causes our bodies to release oxytocin, as does nipple stimulation when baby suckles the breast.
- Orgasm acts as a powerful pain-relief agent, and studies suggest it bolsters immune functioning. The typical orgasm will boost the body's T3 and T4 lymphocyte cells– the cells that fight off foreign invaders–by up to 20 percent.[x][x]
When it comes to men, numerous researchers have shown that a high ejaculation frequency and sexual activity are linked to a lower risk of prostate cancer later in life. An epidemiological study of 30,000 men showed that men who ejaculated 13 to 20 times monthly presented a 14% lower risk of prostate cancer than men who ejaculated on average, between 4 and 7 times monthly during most of their adult life. Those ejaculating over 21 times a month presented a 33% decreased risk of developing prostate cancer than those on the baseline.
Michael Leitzman, a cancer researcher at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland [xi][xi] and author of the above mentioned study, explains that there has been a suggested link with greater sexual activity and increased incidents of prostate cancer in previous scientific data because of the link with the male hormone testosterone and its effect on promoting cancer cell growth. But he says this theory has its shortcomings because testosterone levels alone do not predict prostate cancer risk and they do not appear to correlate with sexual desire as much as previously thought. Instead, researchers say ejaculation may protect the prostate through a variety of biological mechanisms that merit further research, such as:
• Flushing out cancer-causing substances. Frequent ejaculation may help flush out retained chemical carcinogens in the prostate glands.
• Reducing tension. The release of psychological tension that accompanies ejaculation may lower nervous activity associated with stress and slow the growth of potentially cancerous cells in the prostate.
• Promoting rapid turnover of fluids. Frequent ejaculation may help prevent the development of mini-crystals that can block ducts within the prostate gland, reducing cancer risk.
Cancer of the breast appears to be influenced to some degree by reproduction. It has been known for some time that there is a relatively high incidence of breast cancer among nuns, and that marriage, having children, and nursing them appears to reduce the incidence. Since marriage, having children and nursing are interrelated, it is very difficult to separate these factors. Some research suggested that long-term nursing reduced the incidence of breast cancer. This has never been substantiated, but we can still say that having children reduced the chances of getting breast cancer, and having children at a relatively early age appears to reduce the chances of getting breast cancer even more.
Cancer of the penis is very rare in circumcised men
and, interestingly enough, cancer of the uterine cervix has
a very low incidence in women married to circumcised men.
Our needs aren't many: to sleep, to eat, drink, to be held. The whole basis of our existence on earth is based on meeting our needs, at least our basic ones; for if some of them do not get met, we can expect deep difficulties. The most obvious need is for air and water. Second to these basic biological needs are our requirements for basic nutrition, sleep, shelter, touch, understanding and love.
Of all the urges that drive us, it's the passion to be held that makes itself
known first. Doctors have long known that babies who aren't held
simply fail to thrive. Not surprisingly, it's a need we never outgrow.
When our needs are frustrated it provokes a rich and varied battery of emotions ranging from fear, confusion, anguish, shame, bewilderment, irritation, pessimism, unease, gloom, disappointment, depressed, disturbed, unhappy, weary, worried, upset, resentful, angry, hurt, hostile, mournful, lonely, dull, dismayed, worried, mean, mournful, and many other feelings which few people have the emotional language to put their fingers on.
When we move toward satisfying our basic and real needs we open ourselves to a range of good feelings that include happiness and many other feelings like feeling alive, free, adventurous, hopeful, excited, confidence, appreciation, thankful, love, thrilled, trusting, good humored, aroused and even ecstatic and blissful. So happiness does have some deep connection to whether our needs are being met or not. Happiness is not just a decision or choice unless we can say that we are choosing to meet our needs.
Physical contact—the feeling of skin on skin, the tickle of hair on face,
the intimate scent drawn in by nose pressed to neck—is one of the
most precious, priceless things Homo sapiens can offer one another.
Why are feelings of pleasure, happiness, and well being so important to good health? Feelings of pleasure and well-being originate in the ancient, nonverbal parts of the brain. This part of the brain also interacts with body systems that control blood pressure and immune responses. It is no secret that the most elementary neurological wiring in our brains are connected to the monitoring of basic biological system requirements; meaning when our basic needs are met, our body's systems work much more efficiently. There are many legitimate needs we have for closeness, affection, appreciation, community, love, trust, understanding and warmth that we often have to live without and this is most difficult.
Beings in union love each other, touch each other,
need each other, heal each other.
We are here on earth to touch each other physically,
as well as spiritually, emotionally and mentally.
The field where intimacy, love and sex all come together is in the world of touch. The hunger for touch is a real human need almost as important as food. Touch is physically necessary and beneficial to our entire sense of well-being. Through touch multiple neuronal messages are transmitted to our brains stimulating the production of hormones (chemical/emotional energy) that provide physical and emotional good feelings. Simply put, humans thrive on touch. The hunger for touch is a real human need.
Sex is intense touch, Sex is energy, and
sex is emotion. Emotion is chemical energy.
At the very heart of sex is our need for touch.
The most important way we give love to a baby is through touch. For babies, and the rest of us, love is equated deeply with touch. Clinically, cutaneous deprivation, (the lack of touch) leads to a host of emotional, physical and developmental problems in young and old alike. Research has shown that there are distinct biochemical differences between people who experience touch and those who are severely deprived of it.
The human body is electric and needs grounding through physical touch. The activity of the billions of nerve cells in the brain and the central and peripheral nerve systems are all highly electric in nature and all have their grounding points in the skin, which is the largest organ of the body. When we touch or are touched we ground some of our surplus energies and this calms the nervous system.
Sex brings us to the most vulnerable issues of life and to our very roots, which often come from birth, and the earliest periods of life. The bonding period between mother, father and baby is an important time and how our parents themselves relate to sexuality, and thus touch, is important in our early development. This is when we are patterned into feeling separate or feeling connected to other human beings. The less we are touched the more separate we end up feeling.
Touch is an activity in itself, and is wholly satisfying, healing and a necessary life experience. Touch does not need to lead to sex and it helps all of us to realize that. Touch in the form of massage, affection, hugs, cuddles and plain pure tenderness diffuses emotional tension. It grounds the entire system and touches our souls. When a person has not been touched in a long while a simple and tender touch can send a person into a flood of tears for the heart feels the release of tension abruptly.
Defining sex as intense touch is helpful. A session of passionate love makes up for a lot of non-touching during the rest of the week and that is one of the reasons many people look forward or want sex so much. “A session of passionate love once a week keeps a woman's reproductive system in tip-top condition,” explains Dr. Winnifred Cutler, director of the Athena Institute for Women's Wellness Research in Pennsylvania. In a study of 700 women, those who had sex at least once a week were found to have twice the levels of estrogen as those who had sex less than once a week. And women approaching menopause who still enjoyed sex weekly experienced fewer hot flashes than those who had sex less often.
The above is a chapter from the Winning the War Against Cancer book which will be available within a week.
[xiv][iii] Sheila Garos PhD, Annette Kluck PhD, David Aronoff MD (2007)
Prostate Cancer Patients and Their Partners: Differences in Satisfaction Indices and Psychological Variables; The Journal of Sexual Medicine 4 (5), 1394–1403.
[xv][iv] Life Stress and Cancer of the Cervix. JAMES H. STEPHENSON, M.D., and WILLIAM J. GRACE, M.D. http://www.psychosomaticmedicine.org/cgi/reprint/16/4/287.pdf
[xvi][v] Carmichael MS, Humbert R, Dixen J, Palmisano G, Greenleaf W, Davidson JM. (1987) Plasma oxytocin increases in the human sexual response. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 64:27-31 PMID 3782434
[xvii][vi] Gimpl G, Fahrenholz F. (2001) The oxytocin receptor system: structure, function, and regulation. Physiological Reviews 81: full text PMID 11274341
[xviii][vii] Oxytocin (OT) inhibits the proliferation of MCF7 estrogen-dependent human breast cancer cells, via specific OT receptors (OTR). Besides this effect, we report that OT modulates the expression of estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha) in MCF7 cells, both at mRNA and protein level. Oxytocin modulates estrogen receptor alpha expression and function in MCF7 human breast cancer cells. Int J Oncol. 2002 Aug;21(2):375-8; Entrez Pubmed
[xix][viii] Oxytocin inhibits proliferation of human breast cancer cell lines; .Entrez Pubmed
[xx][ix] Breast Massage Technique; Dr. David Williams; http://www.drdavidwilliams.com/c/womens_health_recs.asp
[xxi][x] Dr. Dudley Chapman has followed the progress of women with breast cancer and finds that the frequency of orgasm might aid their health progress; the more climaxes they have, the healthier they are. He discounts the idea that the beneficial impact of orgasm is due to the general love and support given the cancer victims by their lovers because several of the women who improved most live alone and masturbate to orgasm. "I don't want to wave any flags and say [orgasm] cures cancer," Chapman cautions. "Still, I'm optimistic that we're on to something here." U.S. News & World Report, Oct 17, 1994 v117 n15 p74(7) Sex in America. (survey on U.S. sexual practices and attitudes) (Cover Story) Joannie M. Schrof.
[xxii][xi] Michael Leitzmann, MD, investigator, National Cancer Institute. Leitzmann, M. The Journal of the American Medical Association, April 7, 2004; vol 291: pp 1578-1586;