A systematic review of psychoneuroimmunology-based interventions

Psychol Health Med. 2018 Jul;23(6):635-652. doi: 10.1080/13548506.2017.1417607. Epub 2017 Dec 20.


Psychoneuroimmunology-based interventions are used to attenuated disease progression and/or side effects of pharmacological treatment. This systematic review evaluates the different therapeutic and/or clinical psychoneuroimmunology-based interventions associated to both psychological, neuroendocrine and immunological variables. The review was conducted for all English, Portuguese and Spanish language articles published between 2005 and 2015. Independent investigators analyzed 42 studies concerning human psychoneuroimmunology-based interventions. Decreased levels of cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine (stress-related hormones) were associated to interventions like yoga, meditation, tai chi, acupuncture, mindfulness, religious/spiritual practices, cognitive behavior therapy, coping and physical exercises. Moreover, those interventions were also associated to reductions in inflammatory processes and levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in cancer, HIV, depression, anxiety, wound healing, sleep disorder, cardiovascular diseases and fibromyalgia. Despite the associations between PNI variables and clinical/therapeutic interventions, only one study evidenced significant effects on a disease progression.

Keywords: Psychoneuroimmunology; complementary therapies; health promotion.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / therapy*
  • Mind-Body Therapies / methods*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Psychoneuroimmunology / methods*
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*