Neuropeptides and Self Healing
The messenger molecules
Medical research offers strong scientific evidence of the fact that the link between mind and body is not only intuitive but also physiological. The most convincing data comes from Dr. Candance Pert, neuroscientist, that has studied the effects of mental and emotional health. Pert PhD research was focused on biochemical substances called neuropeptides, which were found to be "messenger molecules" that lead signals or commands from the brain to each cell in the body.
Neuropeptides and Emotions
Dr. Pert discovered that neuropeptides act as keys that fit in locks,the cell receptors. Receptors have been shown to cover the surface of all cells in the body, including the immune system, endocrine system and the body parts controlled by the autonomic nervous system, that regulates many functions of our body that occur involuntarily, such as pulse, respiration, perspiration, digestion, blood circulation etc. Neuropeptides helps the body's involuntary processes operate. They carry messages that tell cells in the lung to inhale and exhale, cells of the adrenal glands to produce adrenaline.
According to research of Dr. Pert, neuropeptides also transport orders to our emotions. Thus, if someone is happy, sad or angry, a certain neuropeptide would carry that feeling throughout the body. Although it is not yet designed an experiment to identify the determinant neuropeptide that carries with it a certain emotion, Dr. Pert says with confidence that neuropeptides are "biochemical factors related to the emotions." Dr. Pert also argues that the system of messenger molecules and receptors is a "psychosomatic communication network, the physiological connection between mind, emotions and body. Messenger molecules are actually, according to her, "chakra juice. "The chemicals that make the connection between emotions and their receptors are found in every cell in your body."
Thus, modern medicine scientifically demonstrates what we know intuitively, namely that the mind is present throughout the body.
What are Neuropeptides?
Neuropeptides are peptides released by neurons as intercellular messengers. Many neuropeptides are also hormones released by non-neuronal cells.
Peptides are molecules smaller than proteins, made of two or more amino acids linked by a so called peptide bond.
Amino acids are molecules, which are critical to life, being the construction blocks of proteins, which are linear chains of amino acids.
A molecule is the smaller particle of a substance, which retains its properties and structure.
Neuropeptides: the cell phones inside the human body
It was long thought that the brain is like a very advanced computer, but in fact every cell in the brain is itself a computer. If we try to imagine the brain as an integrated mix of high-power computers, then it seems that the neuropeptides form the electrochemical communication network that keeps all microcomputers in balance and make them work in unison. In the brain different kinds of neuropeptides are produced and they do almost everything. They can be pro-or anti-inflammatory, they dictate the mental control of our energy level, the way we perceive pain or pleasure, they determine our body weight, or ability to solve our problems, they are our memories and communicate with the immune system .
It must be said that when human develops at the embryonic level, from the ectoderm develop three main organs: brain with the nervous system, skin and immune system. Therefore, a food that is good for the brain will have a positive effect towards a beautiful-looking skin. Neuropeptides and neurotransmitters influence and play an important role in brain-beauty relationship. Neurohormones, neurotransmitters, neuropeptides and hormones have a vast cellular communication system. Neuropeptides are "cell phones" created by nature.
Here's an example: the brain sends signals to the thymus, thymus gland sends signals to the skin, and skin returns signal to the brain. Each messenger has a recipient to whom his message is addressed, and these recipients are called receptors in anatomical terms. This is the way cellular communication works.
Cellular communication is similar to how the communication through cell phones works, the difference is that there's no voice mail at this level: each call is taken immediately.
The message sent to the receptor depends on which neuropeptide, neurotransmitter or hormone made that call. If the brain has released large amounts of substance P (explained shortly what it is) then we will feel pain, distress, we feel depressed or we live a state of anxiety.
Substance P (P-pain) has receptors throughout the body including the skin, so the message sent to the skin receptors might sound something like: "we are depressed, let's activate the inflammatory process." The result may be an accelerated process of aging of the skin by accelerating skin renewal and loss of skin tone. Do not forget that the skin and the brain have the same embryonic origin, and that these two organs communicate very well.
In reflexotherapy it is known that a single touch of the skin is enough to really change a lot of circuits in the brain. We used to believe that it takes a lot of powerful drugs or complicated surgical procedures to induce a change in the body. There is sufficient research that has shown that 15 minutes of daily massage to babies helps them to take the weight faster, be more active, more lively, with a significant lead over the other even after 6 months. Most of the baby cats and mouses separated from their mothers immediately after birth, and who do not enjoy a "touch", get sick and die. So it is with children abandoned in hospitals or those in orphanages.
Neuropeptides are magic keys to gateways that reveal secrets of pleasure, pain, joy, sadness, memory, intelligence, behavior. These neuropeptides may act as neurotransmitters sometimes, sometimes like hormones.
The organs that produce hormones are known as endocrine glands. The Greek meaning of the word hormone is to put in motion. Hormones are secreted by the adrenal glands in order to control or "trigger" another body part. The endocrine system works hand in hand with the nervous system. More and more experts now see a single neuroendocrine system that regulates the body's internal state (nutrition, metabolism, excretion, water and salt balance, reacts to external stimuli, regulate growth, development, reproduction, reduce energy use or store).
Neuroendocrine system protects the body from any threat from inside or outside, and the hormones which are the most active in achieving this goal are stress hormones.
Currently, we are all subjected to terrible stress. Neuroendocrine system leaves its mark on the creed before we were born. There are studies that say that if the mother is subjected to stress during pregnancy, this will have an influence on the formation of the baby's pituitaro-hypothalamic axis. Children who grow up in dysfunctional or violent families can become addicted to adrenaline, and then try to recreate life models that have been used in childhood.
A special category of stress being put on the neuroendocrine system is chemical stress, represented by the harmful elements present increasingly more in our lives-for example pesticides or plastics that proved that undermines the endocrine system.
Our most important support in the fight that we have with the daily stress (harmful dietary factors, lack of sleep, physical activity) is the immune system.
The keystone of the immune system is a small gland hidden behind the sternum, between the two lungs, called the Thymus. This gland has long been ignored by the scientific community. The thymus produces both neuropeptides and hormones. Peptides released by the thymus are directly responsible for maturation of the T cells, the "secret agents" or "information officers" - specialized white blood cells that play a major role in the immunological reactivity of the organism, or influence the production of antibodies, or proper role in the integration of the immune system , endocrine and nervous systems.
After puberty the Thymus decreases, after 30 years loses two thirds of the mass and 90% of T cells and after 60 years it almost entirely disappears, the body having an increased vulnerability to infections, autoimmune diseases, cancer, aging. Hormones secreted by the Thymus are increasing the quantity and quality of thymus T cells in the body, and T cells "inform" the brain, that stimulates the pituitary gland located between the hemispheres of the brain, to secrete the growth hormone that builds muscle, increases the vitality of all systems and organs, and decreases stress hormone levels.
Excessive stress, smoking, large quantities of coffee, alcohol, generate large amounts of cortisol, the stress hormone.
Sleep is an extraordinarily important role in the rejuvenation of the body. Some people used to drink alcohol in the evening, and although at first it can give us the feeling we are sleepy, it shortly produce a strong discharge of norepinephrine, a hormone that is secreted in times of intense stress or emotional situations with the body back to wakefulness.
Chemicals produced by the body, whether neuropeptides, neurotransmitters, or hormones, they have two kinds of effects: some positive, others negative. For example, estrogen, on the one hand it helps to maintain health and suppleness of the skin, helps bones to be strong, but in excess, can trigger premenstrual syndrome, which may cause pain, water retention, headache, fatigue, irritability, mental disorders. The same goes for neuropeptides that can exert on the body pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory action. Positive action of substance P is the dilation of blood vessels, intestines and smooth muscle tone, and it has a role in the secretion of saliva and urine. The negative effects of substance P are that it triggers inflammation, it is the cause of acne and wrinkle formation. It also has negative role in certain chronic illnesses such as depression, obesity, alcoholism, physical pain.
Research has shown that if the substance P is reduced, it may be reduced the stress level correlated with pain, reduce inflammation and reduce the aging process.Studies by Stephen P Hunt at University College London have shown that substance P is found in those parts of the brain associated with motivational properties or "rewards" that make us happy, such as drugs or food. It is sufficient to reduce the secretion of substance P to reduce the appetite for such pleasures that are destroying our health and make us look older than normal for our biological real age.
Now scientists are studying the so-called "neuropeptide Y" - the peptide of state of calm and courage. It inhibits anxiety and depression and improves memory. It also produces constriction of blood vessels, regulates body temperature, blood pressure and secretion of sex hormones. Researchers have found that special-forces commandos and military troops trained for special missions, are almost never confronted with post traumatic stress, although always acting under stress physically, mentally and emotionally especially intense.Special forces soldiers have a high level of neuropeptide Y in central nervous system. Researchers believe that high levels of neuropeptide Y in the military makes then calm and demonstrate exceptional courage in battle.
Self Healing is possible
After understanding the role of the neuropeptides in the human body, how these molecules transmit our thoughts to every cell in the body, and how the body answers back it is obvious that our state of health depends a lot on the way we think.
It is well known that positive thoughts of love make the body release interleukin and interferon, proteins which signal the immune system to fight attacks of the viruses, bacteria and other elements that cause disease. On the other hand, anxious thoughts cause the release of cortisone and adrenaline which are immune suppressing, causing the reduction of the immune system's activity, making the body vulnerable to disease.
"I suggest that the body and soul react to each other in sympathy. A change in the state of the soul would necessarily have an effect on the body and vice versa." - Aristotle
A lot of spiritual masters claim our thoughts are building our reality, although for most of us it is hard to believe or understand that.
The peptides are particles of proteins, and proteins are the basic matter of life as we know it. The peptides are made of strings of amino acids, in a similar way like a sentence is formed by letter joined together in words, meaningful. They carry information throughout the body.
The configuration of the neuropeptides is dependent to the thoughts and emotions we have. According to our thoughts certain neuropeptides are released in the brain, immune system, digestive, reproductive system and more. The communication between mind and body is made through a complex network which involves cells, neurotransmitters, neuropeptides, hormones, blood and nerves.
"If you devote your life to seeking revenge, first dig two graves" Confucius
To be more specific on how the mind influences the body: a neuropeptide is binding to its receptor on the membrane of a cell, acording to your thought, transmitting its message right into the cells nucleus affecting the entire cell's functionality. If you're happy, serotonin peptide send its " feel great" message through its coresponding receptor on the membrane of cells. The cell will get it and will function 100% to sustain the feel great state.
This works in the opposite situation, you send a "feel terrible" message, the cells will sustain that state.
Your mind controls your body.