Editor's Introduction

Dr. Odent's essays on the primal orgins of health and disease are of unique importance in the field of prenatal and perinatal psychology and health, and give substance to an urgent new branch of studies affecting all future families. These articles are reprinted with permission of Michel Odent, Director, Primal Health Research Centre in London and the newsletter he writes, Primal Health Research, published in North and South America by Birth Works, Inc., Medford, NJ. APPPAH is pleased to support increased circulation of selected essays in the pages of the Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health, and to accumulate these essays for visitors to this website, Birthpsychology.com. For information about subscribing to the current volume of the newsletter please email info@birthworks.org or telephone: 609-953-9380. Free access to the Primal Health Research Data Bank is provided at: www.birthworks.org/primalhealth. Click here to Email Dr. Odent.


The Primal Health Research Institute proposes this practical vocabulary adapted to the new scientific context first articulated in Odent (1986), Primal Health. London: Century-Hutchinson. Primal - first in time and first in importance. Primal period - the time from conception to the first birthday. It is during this primal period that the adaptive systems involved in what we commonly call "health" reach maturity. It is the time of close dependence on the mother. One can anticipate that any kind of event happening during this period can have irreversible effects. Primal Adaptive System - the subcortical nervous system, the endocrine system, and the immune system should no longer be separated and should be understood as a whole (e.g. the brain is a gland, insulin is a neuromediator, lymphocytes can release endorphins, etc.). We call this network the 'primal adaptive system'. Phrases used in the medical literature, such as 'psychoneuroimmunoendocrinological system', 'psychoneuroimmunology', immunoendocrinology', etc., should be expressed in simpler terms. A review article in the New England Journal of Medicine gave a perfect updated description of what we call the 'primal adaptive system:' Seymour-Reichlin (1993), Neuroendocrine-immune interactions. New England J. Medicine, 329, 1246-1253. Health - is how well the primal adaptive system works (it is not the absence of disease). At the end of the primal period we are in a basic state of health called primal health.

The objective of Primal Health Research is to explore correlations between the primal period and what will happen later on.

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