Blog: the added value of clinical PNI

Friday 10 February 2017
Over the past eighteen years, the Natura Foundation, leading scientists and universities have developed clinical PNI to become ‘hard science’. The question that remains, of course is: what specifically does this give the health professional?
Leo Pruimboom
The Natura Foundation has been offering clinical psycho-neuro-immunology (cPNI) training since 1999. Now, in 2016, the course is as strong as ever. Leo Pruimboom explains why cPNI will definitely add value to your practice.

Over the past eighteen years, the Natura Foundation, leading scientists and universities have developed clinical PNI to become ‘hard science’. The question that remains, of course is: what specifically does this give the health professional?


What clinical PNI has to offer

As well as a fully integrated diagnostic model based on scientific research and decades of practical experience, we also offer all tools and skills required to effectively put this model into practice.

When making a diagnosis, often the desire is that conclusions are quickly reached, but this is never the path to a lasting solution. The best way of thinking about this is as the difference between a photograph and film. A photograph can be a fantastic tool, but from which angle has it been taken? And exactly what form did the film take that preceded the photograph?

A quick diagnosis only provides a photograph, a snapshot in time. Every intervention based on that is clearly focussed on the symptom, whereas a film shows how that situation arose, right from the epigenetic environment in the uterus until the present time. And that is crucial information if you wish to actually improve the health.


Five aspects of the state of health

When we look at the state of health with our clinical PNI glasses on, not only are we looking at the clearly visible physical health, but also at emotional, cognitive, social and sexual aspects. Using our tools and questionnaires, a clear personality type emerges from this. And that is important, because someone with a dopaminergic depression will not benefit from treatment that only deal with serotonergic metabolism.

We then try to determine whether there is a conflict between the client and his or her environment and whether there are problems with the distribution of energy in the body. Epigenetic factors and stress during the early years can play a role in this. How often is this touched on when someone visits their General Practitioner with symptoms?


Complementary to your specialism

In the training to become a clinical PNI therapist, you learn everything about the basic mechanisms of action and anthropogenic factors that determine our state of health. This fundamental approach means that clinical PNI fits in well in every discipline and is an important addition to this.

For example, a physiotherapist learns how massage and other manual therapies can influence metabolism and immunology. A sports scientist learns how exercise does this and a doctor learns how regular intervention has an impact of the ‘film’ of health. All participants also learn how they can use whole food as a medicine, exercise as therapy and psycho-emotional techniques to achieve quick wins from an emotional, social and cognitive point of view.

But how can clinical PNI fit in so well with every health background?

That is because the cross-departmental science is based on clear principles. Below is an overview of the main three principles which have been found to repeatedly play a role in illness and health.


Principle 1: the brain is selfish

Energy in the body will preferentially go to the brain. This has also been shown by the encephalisation quotient that, in humans, is much higher than in any other animal (Ruiz 2013). But if there are health-related problems, for example, with the immune system, that energy will go there. This will have an impact on the mental state, because processes in the brain function less optimally when there is an energy deficit.


Principle 2: the immune system is a sense

The immune system is a sense and a communication system. Everything that happens in the body is ‘felt’ by the immune system, which therefore is the only system that can respond to every mental and physical trigger. This leads to low-grade inflammation because various anthropogenic factors chronically activate the immune system. Clinical PNI provides a unique insight into low-grade inflammations with the help of twelve mechanisms of action that induce the immune system itself and make sure that the immune system remains active for a prolonged period of time. The ‘chosen’ strategy (including insulin resistance and leptin resistance) is ultimately responsible for the type of illness (Pruimboom, 2016).


Principle 3:  metabolism is even more selfish than the brain

If the body encounters chronic danger, the metabolism takes over by lowering the basic metabolism. This leads to a lack of energy, because of which certain organs and tissues ‘disappear’. The first tissues to disappear are tissues that contain collagen (Straub 2013, 2012, 2010). That is important information for people who treat others suffering from a chronic injury, such as tendinopathy, bursitis and other muscular disorders. Clinical PNI provides an answer to questions about HOW something works, WHAT you can do about it with this information and WHERE it comes from, in other words, the scientific background.


The connecting element

Aspects, foundations, mechanisms of action – what links all of these together? Within clinical PNI, evolutionary biology is the connecting element. Whilst many modern specialisms are based more on symptoms (proximate medicine), clinical PNI is purely ultimate medicine. The ultimate question within evolutionary medicine is:

“Why has evolution accepted the possibility that certain illnesses can be developed, even if these illnesses have a negative effect on survival and/or reproduction in their hosts?”

When looking at chronic illnesses that have taken on pandemic proportions, such as depression and rheumatism, it is essential that an answer is found to this question.

More than forty percent of all people suffer from clinical depression at least once in their life and it is a risk factor for overall morbidity and loss of fertility. Depression is associated with polymorphisms in more than 100 genes. You then ask the question: why has evolution accepted this vulnerability? Wouldn’t it have been better if this had been eradicated by so-called negative selection?


Surprising answers

The answer to both questions is ‘no’. The genes that are linked to a greater susceptibility to the development of depression are the same genes that can protect us against infection. For the past 200,000 years, infection has been the main cause of death, so the evolutionary pressure is huge.

Our ancestors ‘learned’ to protect themselves against lethal sepsis by developing an unbelievably strong and effective immune system against this. Depression is a secondary consequence of this and although this is a burden for the individual, this is at the same time necessary in order to be able to survive.

Examples of secondary consequences of an effective response to a viral or bacterial infection are fatigue, loss of appetite, social isolation and an increased need for sleep. These symptoms are caused directly by the immune system to prevent further contact with pathogens.

A redistribution of energy also takes place. The immune system requires more energy and obtains that, but that is only possible if ‘expensive’ organs receive less energy. Sleep and social isolation reduce the amount of energy consumed by the brain. The point is that all of these symptoms also fall within the diagnostic criteria of clinical depression. In other words: a response of the immune system usually causes depression. The only difference is that this immune response lasts longer and therefore leads to depression.

Clinical PNI is a health science that provides clients and their practitioners with a better understanding and gives them control over the interactions between the brain, the metabolism and the immune system. The strength of the treatment is in the application of the latest insights from various areas of science. A personal approach plays a central role and all physical and physiological aspects are taken into account. 

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