The Bond of Love and Health
The Bond of Love
Can a warm, close relationship with your parents in early childhood prevent serious illness in midlife? One of the earliest social studies about the power of love conducted by the French Sociologist, Durkheim, concluded that lack of social intimacy and group interaction was the major factor precipitating suicide. He also found that single men and women were more prone to commit suicide than married ones. This study became a classic study for sociologists. It was concluded in 1897.
Much later, in the 1950’s researchers in Scotland, led by Dr. David Kissen, found that men suffering from lung cancer (had trouble in personal relationships.) These men especially had difficulty expressing emotions. This was particularly true in very personal and intimate relationships.
One of the most comprehensive studies relating early love relationships and susceptibility to illness during midlife is the Harvard Stress Study of the 1950’s. The study was led by Dr. Stanley King and several associates. They randomly picked 26 healthy Harvard students from 1952 to 1954 classes. The students were asked to rate from 1 to 5 their relationships with each of their parents. Four was considered close and supportive; One was described as cold and aloof. The scale was as follows:
4: Very Close
3: Warm and Friendly
1: Strained and Cold
Conclusions were drawn 35 years later. The medical records were obtained from the participants revealing a surprising element in the role of love and intimacy plays in the development of serious illness in later life. Ninety one percent of participants who did not perceive having a warm close relationship with their mothers 35 years earlier had a serious illness. These included coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, alcoholism and ulcers. Only 45% of the participants with a caring mother suffered serious illness in midlife. Those who registered low warmth and intimacy with their fathers scored 82% illness compared to 50% who had good relationships with their dad. One hundred percent of those who rated both parent’s cold and unloving had serious illness by midlife.
The other two subgroups had similar findings. Seventy five percent with loving mothers and cold fathers suffered serious illness in midlife. Eighty three percent of participants with loving fathers and cold mothers suffered illness in midlife.
The relationship of sibling to parents was independent of family medical history. Researchers concluded that this perception of love reduced stressors that would otherwise have a negative impact upon later health. In other words, the immune system heals with the bond of love.
Data was collected from participants in another way. Students were asked to describe their parents in one word descriptions. The total number of positive descriptions provided foretold future health.
When all data was combined, 95% of students using negative descriptive words and rating their parents cold and unloving suffered serious illness in midlife. Only 29% of students with positive descriptions and warm, loving relationships fell ill in midlife.
Another assessment of the same participants showed that 94% of those with low perceptions of loving parents suffered high anxiety during college. In contrast, 24% of students with positive parental backgrounds experienced unusual anxiety during school.
During the 1940’s a similar study was conducted at John Hopkins Medical School. One thousand healthy males were studied to determine any tendency of cancer and parental bonding. Medical students who developed cancer over the next 50 years described a lack of loving relationships with their parents. The tendency to develop cancer did not diminish over time and was not dependent upon other risks, such as smoking and genetics. Malignant tumors, suicide and mental illness requiring hospitalization was higher in students suffering from loneliness and poor interpersonal relationships with their friends, family and community.
Later researchers, such as Dr. Russek and Dr. Schwartz, found that the reason later health was affected by early parental bonding is that sibling responded and related to others similarly throughout life. If the sibling learned to relate and bond more intimately and positively, their health may take a positive swing. Changing relating patterns was more difficult than behavior modifications such as smoking, alcoholism and dietary changes. The siblings, as adults, had to learn to cope with anger, depression, anxiety and relationships in different, more creative, positive ways. They also had to learn to relate to friends and associates with an open mind and heart, not assuming they would not be liked or noticed. By modifying ways of relating to others, better health and stronger friends and intimate relationships can be made.
Relationships of every kind leave us vulnerable for foul play and hurt feelings. However the only way to develop more trust and intimacy is to be receptive to others. Not everyone will be treated fairly all the time. As an adult, one can determine the responsibility of each interaction. We can only be responsible for our behavior, not what others do to us. However, by remaining receptive and not running away to close the door on relationships, adults can begin to attract more loving interactions with others as well as a healthier immune response to disease
There are no guarantees in love or finding love through others, but life will give us many opportunities to learn to live life through the actions of love. Researchers believe that people enact negative marriages and close relationships because they lack self-esteem from previous parental upbringing. Every contact from childhood to death can prepare the individual to be more receptive and attractive to loving relationships and commitments. In a step by step manner, an individual can attract supportive relationships by learning to love oneself more. This includes loving oneself when actions and thoughts are less than ideal. The next opportunity life offers will be better as self-esteem improves as well as health.
In recent studies, researchers have proved that the bond of love in family, marriage and community can delay the onset of genetic predisposition to disease for decades. This is true in the Roseto study. Roseto is and Italian American town in eastern Pennsylvania. Researchers tied a greatly lower risk of heart attacks for residents. They lived and ate similar to adjoining towns studied. The difference was the bond of family, community and traditions valued in Roseto. The closeness of the community reduced heart attacks dramatically. The community was like a loving parent supporting each family and individual.
Except in extreme deficiencies of early parental bonding, the lack of love can be modified by a stable sense of self, friendships, marriage and community. The rewards are even greater in personal satisfaction. Longevity and better health will be the result of forgiveness, and bonding in supportive relationships. Anxiety will be reduced as one sense the ability to handle every challenge life brings with the guidance and encouragement of loving relationships.
Petite Fleur Essences supporting the lungs include
Babies Breath helps overcome resistance and fear of change and aids self-healing for conditions such as pleurisy, asthma and bronchitis.
Spike Lavender supports cooperation, over domination, aiding self-healing from bronchial congestion, spasms and sighing.
Thyme inspires and aids our greatest achievements. The essence supports immunity against viruses.
Poppy reduces a possessive, controlling and demanding nature. It helped my Dad heal from tuberculosis.
Lantana reduces oversensitivity and allergic tendencies
Grief is a blend to help overcome loss
Other essences promoting bonds of love include:
Catnip promotes social interaction and intimacy. It also helps autistics improve socially.
Lemongrass aids those who felt rejected by a parent or parents.
Aqueligia Columbine aids those with mother issues and to drop the roles from the family; the caretaker, the baby, the hero, to realize our full potential
Sunflower helps those with father issues.
Dill helps those who feel abandoned or experience anxiety separation.
Abate Anger releases negative feelings and patterns relating to anger, depression and anxiety.
Cecil Brunner rose helps us enter relationships with realistic goals.
Autumn Damask rose helps us learn from past disappointments in intimate relationships.
Louis Phillipe rose offers hope when love has passed by.
Self Image is a blend that helps attract successful relationships and community efforts