A study published in Psychological Science suggests that the very sight of sickness prompts the immune system to mount defences against illness. That finding follows naturally from earlier research suggesting that disgust - the typical first reaction we have to a person with, say, open sores - may be part of a ''behavioural immune system" .
Revulsion, after all, makes us more likely to move away from the source of infection - and thereby rendering us less likely to catch it. But this is the first experiment that demonstrates a direct link between viewing signs of illness and heightened immunity in response.
Well-Being Australia chairman Mark Tronson says that there are other examples of the 'eyeball to eyeball' effectiveness that has similar ramifications to these medical results.
Any experienced parent knows that, surprisingly as it may seem, it is very difficult for a child to look a parent directly in the eye and tell a whopper!
Australian cricketers have known since international cricket began over a hundred years ago that a good 'eye-balling' from a fast bowler to a batsman produces wickets by the truck-load.
"It may also surprise many," says M V Tronson, "that this 'eye to eye' technique can also be found described in the Bible. From one of the most loved portions of the Scriptures from Isaiah 52 verses 7-9, a popular Christian chorus is derived and it is sung regularly in worship all over the world."
The relevant scripture is:
"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bring good tidings, and publish peace; that bring good tiding of good that publish salvation; that says unto Zion, They God reigns! Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion. Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the Lord has comforted His people, he has redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord has made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the Salvation of our God."
In theological terms, this is a prophetic message applying to both a spiritual revival and a physical return to the promised land from exile. Mark Tronson explains that it tells that there will be a new song in the land, one that rejoices in the Salvation of the Lord.
Interestingly, we're given an ancient clue to three quite separate outcomes from the strength associated with phenomenon of 'eye to eye' contact with someone.
First, it produces an expectation and an assurance that the Lord will fulfil his promises; second, it creates excitement and anticipation which results in a new song of confidence in the Lord; and third, looking eye to eye with a fellow believer brings an astonishing comfort from the Lord.
Solomon said there is nothing new under the sun! (Ecclesiastes 1:10 NIV)
Interestingly, the University of British Columbia psychology research acknowledges there is a limit to how often and how high you can increase these medical defences. After all, if you could sustain the heightened immune response to seeing sick people, doctors and nurses would be titans of immunity.
The same can be likened to those 'healing' preachers that look eyeball to eyeball and call upon the Lord for healing as they lay their hands on the foreheads of those to whom they are praying. After all, they could visit hospitals with this eyeball to eyeball process and save the national economy billions!