Dr. Candace Pert's book, Molecules of Emotion: The Science Behind Bodymind Medicine, was a best-seller but it was her appearance in the film, "What the Bleep Do We Know?", that really boosted her popularity as a seminar-circuit science diva. "Mind over matter" is an expression we sometimes use; Dr. Pert has come to believe that "mind becomes matter." As a psycho-pharmacologist who has done her own leading-edge research, Dr. Pert understands the mind-body connection "as a widely distributed psychosomatic network of communicating molecules."
With the assistance of friend Nancy Marriot, who helps her stay still for a few moments at a time, Dr. Pert has written a book that is accessible and full of helpful, healthy advice. Included are her laboratory discoveries and notes from the road, which add lightness, background and humanness to the scientific details. Those scientific details, though, are reassuring. Thoughts and emotions can make us sick or heal us. As an "expert on the biochemistry of how we feel," Dr. Pert believes emotions link us "as physical entities to the divine, making it possible for us to both feel good and feel God at the same time."
In a chapter section called "Receptor-ology 101", Dr. Pert describes the biochemistry that makes up the new-paradigm physiology. The receptor and the ligand (hormones, neurotransmitters and peptides) are the two components that make up the bodymind communication system and are what Dr. Pert calls the "molecules of emotion".
As a writer who engages in various forms of bodywork, including network chiropractic recommended by Dr. Pert, I can relate to and very much agree with what she writes under the heading of "Emotion and Memory." She refers to "core emotional trauma," a term used by some psychologists and healers for buried and painful emotions from the past. "The point of therapy—including bodywork, some kinds of chiropractic, and energy medicine—is to gently bring that wound to gradual awareness, so it can be reexperienced and understood. Only then is choice possible, a faculty of your frontal cortex, allowing you to reintegrate any disowned parts of yourself; let go of old traumatic patterns; and become healed, or whole."
In a chapter entitled, "Toxicity, Mood, and Food," Dr. Pert points out the ramifications of the artificial sweetener aspartame. Her own review of the literature supports "a policy of zero tolerance." The chapter also includes information about inflammation, which shows up in many diseases, most commonly arthritis. While she includes mention of supplements such as bromelain, she also reminds readers that the language we use about our ailments affects the condition. If you say you have a "bad knee," you are "dooming your mind to produce the painful symptoms over and over again." Forgiveness, studies have shown, is helpful for reducing inflammation. Most importantly, a forgiveness of oneself.
Dr. Pert also espouses the healing benefits of music as it can interact directly with your molecules of emotion "to charge you with energy, get your juices flowing, and make you feel good." Throughout the book, she refers to the ongoing work she and her husband, Dr. Michael Ruff, are doing to place their invention, Peptide T, "a nontoxic, highly potent drug for use in the treatment of AIDS," in the marketplace.
The book ends with some questions for book club discussions. It's fascinating stuff, and it's all so affirming. Many of us know of the healing that comes about as a result of positive thoughts and getting in touch with and releasing emotions. Now with the scientific backing, hopefully more people will join the "new-paradigm medicine" movement to aid their health and well-being.
Dr. Candace Pert is an internationally recognized psycho-pharmacologist who is a former Research Professor at Georgetown University School of Medicine and Section Chief at the National Institute of Mental Health. She has published more than 250 scientific articles and lectures worldwide on pharmacology, neuroanatomy, and her own research on emotions and the bodymind connection. You can learn more about her work at www.candacepert.com.
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