Dr. David Simon Responds:
Judging from the tone of his letter, I suspect that upon reading my article, Dr. Layzer may have experienced a (hopefully transient) rise in his blood pressure, diversion of blood flow from his splanchnic beds to his skeletal muscles, and a slight increase in platelet aggregability. His Natural Killer cells may have had a brief panic attack triggered by the release of stress-communicating messenger molecules. This is the essence of mind body medicine: cognitive events impact physiological functions, which over time can influence health.
There are currently 827 references on psychoneuroimmunology in the National Library of Medicine database spanning multiple medical and scientific disciplines. Physicians need not feel threatened by information suggesting that meditation, emotional healing, therapeutic massage, and nutritional counseling may complement pharmaceuticals in our therapeutic armament.
I apply this expanding field of research in my clinical practice as an expression of my commitment to offer effective evidence-based approaches that relieve my patients' suffering. I encourage my colleagues to explore this body of literature on the health damaging effect of stress and interventions demonstrated to mitigate it.
David Simon, MD
Chopra Institute Carlsbad, CA