The Development and History of
GEORGE F. SOLOMON
The history of the development of the field of psychoneuroimmunology, or PNI, begins several millennia ago and transcends many cultures. Indeed, long before Robert Ader first coined the term psychoneuroimmunology in 1975 to describe the study of the interrelationships among the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems, ancient mystics, philosophers, and healers mused about the impact of one's mental state on physical health and vice versa. Although this chapter cannot nearly do justice to all the people who have contributed to the development of this field, it does attempt to highlight some of the more critical milestones along the way.
It has been observed since ancient times that the state of mind and beliefs of sick people influence their recovery from illness and that it may even play a role in the de novo occurrence of an illness. In the Old Testament of the Bible, for example, Moses states, “Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you. …I will give you a full life span”(Exodus 23:25–26, NIV). Reflecting on this passage and Deuteronomy 28:21–22, Browne (2001) notes, “We have not yet learned what to think and how to feel to create health and happiness. Therefore, we create our own illness and unhappiness. When we learn that there are universal laws, which must be obeyed