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Immune System

Your Immune System

The immune system is your body’s intelligent and highly efficient process of protecting you against infection by identifying and killing pathogens – infectious agents. When your immune system is functioning properly, it is on a constant mission to seek and destroy these pathogens, distinguishing them from your cells and tissues as it goes about its work. When the immune system is somehow compromised, including by chemotherapy, side effects from drugs or congenitally, you are at risk of contracting any of a host of infections and diseases. (See our Recommendations)

Maintaining good health so your immune system can protect you is vital to your well-being. Eating the right foods and regular exercise will go a long way toward that end, but may not be enough for a lot of people. Despite healthy diets and routine exercise, millions of people still are subject to frequent ailments because their immune systems aren’t performing up to their capability. Immune-system disorders can occur for many reasons and if you suspect this condition in yourself or another, a physician’s advice should be sought.

You Really Should Care

Researchers over the past 25 years have shown that our emotions may be as important to our immune systems, perhaps more so, than even the foods we consume. Among them are the Institute of HeartMath’s Rollin McCraty and a research team, who wanted to go beyond the 1980s experiment by Harvard psychologist Dr. David McClelland, who found that immune-system functioning, as measured by IgA, or secretory immunoglobulin A levels, increased in students who were shown a video about Mother Teresa. They wanted to know whether self-induced care would have the same effect as vicarious care, so they began by duplicating McClleland’s experiment and produced very similar results in their study, The Physiological and Psychological Effects of Compassion and Anger. After test subjects learned the Institute of HeartMath’s Freeze-Frame® technique to guide them, they were asked to intentionally feel care and compassion for five minutes.

Several days later, they were asked to feel five minutes of self-induced anger by remembering a situation or experience that made them angry and trying to recapture the feeling they had at the time.

"Your emotions affect every cell in your body. Mind and body, mental and physical, are intertwined."

– Dr. Thomas Tutko, Father of Sports Psychology

The results McCraty and the team obtained were quite remarkable: In both cases, IgA samples were taken immediately after and then every hour for six hours. After five minutes of feeling care and compassion, the subjects had an immediate 41 percent average increase in their IgA levels. After one hour, IgA levels returned to normal, but slowly increased over the next six hours. The researchers observed that self-induced care resulted in a much larger rise in IgA than the care experienced by viewing the Mother Teresa video. In some individuals, IgA increased as much as 240 percent immediately after they performed the Freeze-Frame technique. Interestingly, there also was an 18 percent increase in IgA levels when the participants experienced anger, but an hour later, their IgA levels had dropped to only about half of what they were before the anger. Even after six hours, their IgA levels were still not back to normal.

Key findings: Heart-focused, sincere, positive feeling states boost the immune system, while negative emotions may suppress the immune response for up to six hours following the emotional experience. – The Physiological and Psychological Effects of Compassion and Anger, 1995, Rein, Atkinson and McCraty.


A HeartMath Tip: Cut-Thru: Here’s a simple exercise adapted from the HeartMath Cut-Thru technique to help you achieve emotional coherence, which has been shown to improve the efficiency of the immune system.

  • Be aware of how you feel about an issue at hand.
  • Breathe a positive feeling or attitude.
  • Be objective, as if the issue or problem is someone else’s.
  • Rest peacefully in this neutral state, allowing your heart intelligence to offer new perspectives and possibilities.
  • Soak and relax all resistances and disturbing or perplexing feelings in your heart’s compassion.
  • Ask for guidance, then be patient and receptive. While awaiting an answer from the heart find something or someone to genuinely appreciate.

In-depth details and a discussion about the Cut-Thru technique are included in a number of HeartMath materials, including the book Transforming Anxiety, The HeartMath Solution for Overcoming Fear and Worry and Creating Serenity, by Doc Childre and Deborah Rozman.

Benefits of a Coherent Heart

  • Lowers stress levels
  • Boosts immune system, enabling healthier living
  • Reduces anxiety, anger and other negative emotions
  • Raises energy and vitality
  • Increases caring and compassion

Benefits of Intentional Emotions and Thoughts

  • Energy used for positive purposes and constantly replenished.
  • Look and feel mentally, physically, emotionally healthier.
  • Mental, physical aging reversed.
  • Outlook transformed to positive one.
  • Stress levels reduced.
  • Conversations, other interactions with people more relaxed, not draining


Tools For De-Stressing

  • emWave®2: Regular use of this entertaining and scientifically validated, heart-rate monitor helps you build resilience – a state of poise and readiness for effectively dealing with stressful feelings that can deplete your mental, emotional and physical systems. Easy to use and noninvasive, you can use it as a handheld or connect to your computer to review past sessions or play any of the resilience building games.

  • emWave® Desktop for Mac and PC: The emWave Desktop turns your computer into an advanced heart-rate monitor. When combined with HeartMath’s widely acclaimed resilience and coherence building techniques, you’ll soon learn how easily you can create an optimal state in which your heart, mind and emotions are more in-sync and balanced. In this balanced state, individuals tend to experience more energy, focus and mental clarity. With practice of the HeartMath System can help you begin feeling healthier and happier and start living life more fully.

    † Formerly known as Freeze-Framer®

  • Transforming Anger: Doc Childre and Deborah Rozman. If you’re having difficulty controlling your anger frequently or once in awhile, Transforming Anger can help by providing you with easy-to-learn tools, including Attitude Breathing®, Neutral®, Heart Lock-In® and Freeze-Frame®, that will teach you to replace feelings of anger with positive emotions, which research has shown can boost your immune system and greatly improve your health.

(Note: Use the emWave2 or emWave Desktop for Mac and PC to help regulate your emotions in preparation for events you know may trigger your stress response and to help you recover from stressful episodes and get back on an even keel fast.)

Learn more…

  • Science of the Heart: Check out this review of studies in the research section of HeartMath’s Web pages that illustrate the impact emotions have on your health. Data demonstrates how emotional management and intentional shifts to sincere, positive feelings achieved by using HeartMath tools and technology can significantly improve physiological and psychological well-being.
  • HIV and HeartMath: Read the results of a study in which 38 human immunodeficiency-virus-seropositive men and women, most with AIDS – acquired immune deficiency syndrome – enrolled in a HeartMath program. The objective was to determine the program’s capacity to improve the psychological condition and quality of life for HIV-positive individuals.

Take me to the HeartMath Store now to learn more about IHM’s life-changing tools, training programs and other resources, or call us: (800) 711-6221.