The reality that our bodies are adept at self-healing is obvious. We heal our cuts, our broken bones, our minor infection, our colds, upper respiratory illneses, gastroenteritis etc. What is less obvious is that we are capable of healing ourselves emotionally.
What, you say, is my evidence for such a contention?
Well, I believe that my realization that this is possible finds its origins in the work of Candace Pert and others in the field of psychoneuroimmunology. They found that each and every cell of our body contains receptors which enable them to bind to peptides circulating in the body.
Pert has referred to the process as ‘molecules of emotion’.
I came to realize that the only way drugs such as valium, xanax, klonopin and other anti-anxiety products actually work is through binding to the existing receptor sites on the brain. But why should such sites actually exist?
Clearly we inherited them through millions of years of evolution for a reason–eons before drug companies discovered compound which could bind to them. The same is true of anti-depressant drug sites. These chemical compound would have absolutely no way of affecting our brains and therefore our emotional states without the ability to connect with these ancient brain receptors.
So why do they exist? Quite clearly because they served an evolutionary purpose. They very likely served to allow our ancestors to calm themselves, become less anxious and even less depressed. All our feelings have chemical correlates. There is nothing wrong or shocking about that.
The implications are profound. Our mammillian ancestors developed mechanisms for producing compounds similar to xanax for anxiety and agitation, zoloft, paxil and others for depression.
How interesting and healing to be able to stimulate our body’s own peptides to do the same thing. Perhaps exercise, meditation, prayer and cognitive encouragement can tap into these ancient sites. Perhaps this would be a worthy goal of brain/mind research.