I just had an experience I'd rather not have had but wanted to share here because of its implications about the role of conditioning in TMS and other mind-body disorders. Feel free to comment and see if this makes sense. A few days ago I was bitten by a deer tick while sitting at my computer. I pulled his legs out but missed the head and the body. The next day I looked at my side and saw a hole and a large patch of discolored skin which I knew meant that I better get down to ER and have a doc take it out before the infection spread. To make a long story short, I rushed down to ER and got it plucked out under local anesthesia. No infection but the dead tick had been inside my body for over 24-hours and when I got back home, the whole area began to itch (which is normal). I took antihistamines per instructions, laid on my back and itched for two or three more days until the bite healed. Also itched around my waistband and socks. Absolutely maddening to obsess about. But the story unfortunately didn't end there. When I went out for a hike one evening a couple of days later my nose, ears and throat started burning and tickling. The next day after I took a bike ride through a grassy area when I got back I noticed that I had started wheezing. Later that same evening after working out in the gym the wheezing and dripping in my throat had increased dramatically. The next day it was still getting worse so I visited Urgent Care at a local public hospital where they gave me antibiotics and steroids. A little improvement, but still real serious, so today I went down to an allergy clinic at the same hospital and did inhalation therapy and I'm glad to say am now much improved. Now I used to have very bad allergies, but they virtually disappeared back in 2006 or so. Why would I suddenly become sensitive to grass and trees again so suddenly I asked myself? The one answer I could come up with was that my body interpreted the tick in my side as a foreign body and my autoimmune system went hyperactive, the same process that causes allergies in the first place. Now my body started over-reacting to substances like pollen and other airborne inhalants. The tick had triggered my autoimmune response and my whole system was going crazy misinterpreting pollen in the air as a foreign invader very much like the tick body. Psychologically speaking, it made me wonder whether the higher rates of asthma among ghetto kids occurs because they are raised in frightening threatening family and social environments that their bodies are attempting to defend themselves again by activating the autoimmune response? Sort of like the two trauma process in PTSD too. I realize that TMS is conditioned and controlled by switches and black boxes in the neural pathways connecting the autonomic nervous system and that the biochemistry involved must be different than allergies and asthma but some of the same principles of conditioning the leads to the development of TMS must be very similar. I think Dr Sarno speculates about this too in Healing Back Pain. Of course, it's impossible to speculate about what ifs, but it seemed to me that if I'd waited a few days after the tick bite healed before going outdoors to exercise I might not have had such a violent allergic reaction because the autoimmune system would have gone out of hyperactive mode. When I speculated about my theory about the origins of my allergic reaction in the tick bite, of course the allergist at the hospital wouldn't confirm it, but did say it "might be true". Makes you realize how lethal a bullet or a shell fragment could become if you left it untreated in a wound, doesn't it? Not just infection, but your whole autoimmune system going crazy trying to evict a foreign invader that could lead to a bunch of other nasty complications over time.