New research led by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and published in the New England Journal of Medicine has uncovered evidence that the thymus is generally critical for adult health and prevents cancer and perhaps autoimmune disease. “By studying people who had their thymus removed, we discovered that it is absolutely required for health. If it isn’t there, people’s risk of dying and risk of cancer is at least double. This indicates that the consequences of thymus removal should be carefully considered when contemplating thymectomy,” wrote Dr. David T. Scadden, MD, senior author, director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine at MGH, and co-director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.
However, one does not have to have one’s thymus surgically removed for it to die on the vine. The thymus gland is intimately connected to the heart and lives or dies depending on what is going on with our physical heart muscle and the emotional center that is key to understanding who and what we are.
Dr. J.E. Williams details the roles of our thymus, saying T cells are involved in all aspects of immunity, so they are crucial to life. However, “Even in healthy aging, the immune function deteriorates. That’s because, in humans, the thymus gland ages faster than the rest of the body. It reaches its peak during adolescence and begins to atrophy with a significant decrease in size and function by middle age. By 75 years, the thymus weighs only 1/6 of its maximum weight of 37 grams during youth.”
Those in their hearts stay young forever.
Some say that controlling the thymus
gland equals possessing the fountain of youth.
Dr. Williams continues, saying that “aging is inevitable and irreversible. Some age slower and live longer than others. But, sooner than later, everyone’s thymus shrinks. Declining thymus function with accompanying glandular atrophy contributes to susceptibility to infection, autoimmunity, and an increased risk for cancer. We don’t know why the thymus gland atrophies at such an alarming rate, but aging researchers consider preventing thymic atrophy pivotal in prolonging health during aging.”
The thymus is a thyme leaf-shaped double-lobed organ located in the center of your chest, directly beneath your breastbone at the level of your heart. It’s part of your lymphatic system. The outer layer is called the cortex, and the inner area is called the medulla.
So what’s the secret, and what is the real issue with our heart (spiritual center) and thymus? The secret is found in our vulnerability. The Bible does not quite clarify what the heart is but in my work, I clearly define the heart as the vulnerability of being and am the only doctor in the world who lists the tears of the melting heart as a medicine. The more we are stuck in our heads and abandon our hearts, the more quickly our thymus and, thus, our immune system will atrophy.
Over the last 30 years, increasing evidence has been found for
the existence of complex links between the immune system,
the central nervous system and the endocrine system on
the one hand, and psychological phenomena on the other.
Van Gent, et al.[i]
In the heart is a secret that all ancient cultures, great philosophers, and religious thinkers have constantly alluded to. Though the physical heart is the most beautiful organ, beating billions of times within a lifetime, its non-physical components are incredible. A heart full of love, beating in joy and harmony with life, is a true miracle and wonder to behold.
The heart mixes up all the signals in the brain into one
feeling that we essentially experience and identify as “me.”
We all have an internal assessment mechanism housed in the amygdala, the hypothalamus, or the mid-brain. It acts as a central intelligence agency challenging every situation, scanning every perception, and reacting instantly to the one key question: will it hurt “me.” Will it make “me” feel more or less secure? Will it fulfill or deny me my basic needs? Will it enrich my life or lead to separation and life-alienating feelings?
The light produced by lasers is coherent. Light from light bulbs or the sun, however, is incoherent. Coherence is one of the most critical concepts in optics and physics. A light field is called coherent when a fixed phase relationship exists between the electric field values at different locations or times. That means lots of complicated mathematics that goes way over our heads, but that does not mean we can ignore this level of reality that has a lot to do with medicine and how we think, feel, and emote.
It is also common to call specific processes or techniques coherent or incoherent. In that case, “coherent” essentially means phase-sensitive. Partial coherence means some (although not perfect) correlation between phase values.
The heart is the center of feelings, and yes, we feel our emotions. Feelings are more fundamental than emotions. Saint-Exupéry wrote, “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” A Cave Dive into the heart opens up a normally invisible world; it broadens our awareness and generally seems to know which way to go in life. The heart can see and feel ahead and weigh many things at once in its tiny fist, whereas the mind is flooded by contradictory thoughts that often lead to deeper and deeper confusion.
The Healing Power of Love
Many years ago, this beautiful photograph made its way around the Internet. These two babies were twins, born within minutes of one another. One was thriving, and the other was dying. The doctors had tried everything they knew to do, and yet the one baby was failing. With all medical science exhausted, they put the ailing twin in with its sibling, and the infant made an almost immediate turnaround and complete recovery. The power of love and intimacy is vital, explained by one of the most essential attributes of the heart. The heart just wants to love and be loved; touch is one of our greatest biological needs. The sick sibling received the warming comfort of the physical world of touch and heat, meaning far-infrared radiation that all our bodies give out.
Dr. Norman Shealy and Dr. Caroline Myss believe that love of others and being loved are critical factors in improving the immune system, adding to life expectancy, and creating overall happiness. What does love have to do with stress-free living? “Everything!” says Dr. Brenda Schaeffer.
Unconditional love is your immune
system’s most powerful stimulant.
Dr. Bernie Siegel
We feel love when we are close and feeling one with another being. M. Scot Peck defined love as the willingness to go out on a limb, to involve oneself truly, and to struggle emotionally with another in a relationship for shared growth.
Dr. Clancy D. McKenzie of Capital University says, “Enhancing the love energy of the patient is an effective way to increase the healing process. This holds for both psychological and physical healing: enhancement of love energy should be a part of every physical remedy because it is a vital ingredient to healing.”
Why is it there is always some lucky soul who doesn’t get sick when the
flu is going around the office? Or why, when chickenpox is sending all
the kids home from school, are there a few who remain untouched?
Dr. Carrie Angus
Though most physicians are still skeptical that emotions matter clinically in medicine, we can see how people who experience long-term depression and anxiety, long periods of sadness and pessimism, constant hostility, and aggression have much higher incidences of heart disease.
[i] Van Gent, et al. Autism and the Immune System, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, vol. 38 no. 3, March 1997, pp. 337-349