by Linda Kinsella

Linda Kinsella Mindfulness meditation Bournemouth

Linda is a natural health practitioner with over 20 years experience in integrative healing. She specialises in shiatsu massage as well as nutrition for mind-body health. Her interest in food as therapy has also led her to qualify as a chef.

We are continually being exposed to stress, not only in our personal lives but also environmentally. Dr Hans Selye, Professor of Experimental Medicine at Montréal University points out that stress is not always bad, it can be stimulating, as successfully meeting challenges gives us a feeling of satisfaction. However, unrelieved stress that goes on for too long can be a big cause of illness, weather this manifests on the physical or the mental/emotional plane. The powerful hormones released by the stress response can damage the body’s nervous system, organs and immune system.

The process happens like this: the hypothalamus in the brain activates the pituitary gland to release hormones that govern the endocrine system. The adrenals then go into into action, releasing adrenalin and corticosteroids. Chronically elevated cortisol levels and unrelieved stress will suppress the immune system.

Now the good news – the most powerful healing agent for the immune system is mindful self compassion! As Bernie Siegel, who is the Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery at quotes in his book – love, medicine and miracles – “I am convinced that unconditional love is the most powerful known stimulant of the immune system. If I told patients to raise their blood levels of immune globulins or killer T cells, no one would know how, but…if I teach them to love themselves and others fully, the same changes happen automatically.” The truth is Love heals.

To quote Bernie Siegel again, “One’s attitude to oneself is the single most important factor in staying well. Those who are at peace with themselves and their immediate surroundings have fewer serious illnesses than those who are not.”

So, as we grow in awareness of the importance of the immune system in maintaining our health, is our increasing recognition of the part played by the mind and feelings in both causing and healing dis-ease. The strength, or weakness of an immune system is in turn affected by what we think, feel, say and do.

You can’t always avoid stress, but there are plenty of things that you can do to help yourself cope better when life presents a challenge. Diet really does make a difference, as Hippocrates said – let food be your medicine and medicine your food. Make sure you eat proper, wholesome meals with lots of vitamin-rich fruit and vegetables and no artificial additives. Use herbs instead, to contribute flavor and extra goodness. Try to reduce stimulants such as tea, coffee, alcohol and cola. Excess sugar suppresses the immune system. Drink plenty of water or herb tea. Exercise is important too as it dispels excess adrenalin and improves relaxation and sleep. Use herbal remedies as your allies to improve your digestion, relax and improve your adaptability. Herbs can be very effective in calming anxiety. A long-term treatment for anxiety is to put 1 tsp each of the dried herbs wild oats, vervain, passionflower and wort into a pot and add 2 and a ½ cups boiling water and leave too steep for 10-15 minutes. Strain. Sit down and drink one cup 3 times a day. Do this for at least 2-3 weeks. As long as you don’t exceed the dose stated, and have checked with your Health Care Advisor if you are on any medication. Remember to seek professional help if a problem persists.

DISCLAIMER: Please not this is not medical advice, if you are suffering from a health condition or are in doubt always contact you GP or health professional.

Want to know more about our Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction courses?
8-Week MBSR Mindfulness courses 


Join our Mindfulness Taster Session on 14 July


Venue: Bournemouth mindfulness. The Wessex Hotel, West Cliff Road, Bournemouth, BH2 5EU

Date: Monday, 14 July 2014, 7pm – 9H30pm

In this month’s taster session we will be exploring how mindfulness can help you reduce stress, anxiety and depression, enhance creativity, emotional intelligence as well as a sense of wellbeing.

Click here for more details or to book your place

For more information contact us on

075 6436 5443 or email Debbie Amos our administrative assistant on
for a free, informal thelephone chat