Monday, November 17, 2014

Molecules of Emotions


I’ve been more and more convinced that emotions are at the root of our well-being.  I am learning to use Young Living essential oils in everyday situations.  For example, I am trying to teach myself not to use food as a pacifier.  Instead, I smell an oil corresponding to my mood: Lavender, Ylang Ylang, Orange, etc.

I have on many occasions, used Trauma Life and Release for bereavement, and Believe and Valor for fear.   For more info on emotional release, please check the  following link:

In her exciting book Molecules of Emotion, Candace B.Pert, Ph.D. shows how every cell in our body has memory and how emotions affect our health.   I found a great interview on-line with Candace, which I would like to share with you below.

Dr. Pert also discusses healthy alternatives to dealing with stress in her book.  Her advice for false hunger – the Hindu Ayurveda tradition, to slowly sip hot water, which will satisfy any false hunger and help excrete partially digested food.  

I would also like to share a few quotes from her book.


Your guiding star,

Health Essentials LLC.

“And yet, remarkable as Dr.Merrifield’s accomplishment is, our bodies are capable of making more peptides, perfectly produced in a purified state, in one night while we sleep than all the peptide chemists who have ever lived have made in all their high-tech laboratories since 1953, when synthetic peptide production began.  How does the body do it?  Amino acids are strung together to make peptides or proteins in minuscule factory sites called ribosomes, which are found in every cell.  A double helical strand of DNA, the genetic material in the nucleus of the cell that codes for the needed peptide or protein, unwinds and makes a complementary working copy of RNA.  The RNA information, which is a copy of the sequence coded by the DNA, floats to the ribosome.  Every amino acid has a “triplet code” of three nucleotides that causes a given amino acid to be transferred and joined to the peptide or protein growing on the ribosome.  Marshall Nirenberg of the NIH won the Nobel Prize for cracking this triplet genetic code in 1960.  His work created the decoder key that has made today’s mapping of the human genome possible.

Today, a synthetic analog known as Pitocin is used routinely to induce and speed up labor when the doctor has decided it’s time for the baby to be born, even if the mother’s body and the fetus don’t agree.

We found that the flow of chemicals arose from many sites in the different systems simultaneously – the immune, the nervous, the endocrine, and the gastrointestinal – and that these sites formed nodal points on a vast superhighway of internal information exchange taking place on a molecular level.  We then had to consider a system with intelligence diffused throughout, rather that a one-way operation adhering strictly to the laws of cause and effect, as was previously thought when we believed that the brain ruled over all.

Peptides are tiny pieces of protein, and proteins – from proteios, meaning primary – have long been recognized as the first materials of life.  Peptide consists of a string of amino acids, each joined together like beads in a necklace.  The bond is made up of a carbon and nitrogen, and is extremely tough, able to be severed only after hours, or in some cases days, of boiling in strong acid.  When there are approximately 100 amino acids in the chain, the peptide is considered to be a polypeptide, after 200 amino acids, it’s called a protein.


The first component of the molecules of emotion is a molecule found on the surface of cells in body and brain called the opiate receptor.
The receptor is a single molecule.
The receptors are molecules, that are made up of proteins.
Receptors function as sensing molecules – scanners.  They hover in the membranes of your cells, dancing and vibrating, waiting to pick up messages carried by other vibrating little creatures, also made out of amino acids, which come cruising along – diffusing through the fluids surrounding each cell.


If receptors are the first components of the molecules of emotions, then ligands (Latin for binds) are the second.
Ligand bumps onto the receptor and slips of, bumps back on, slips back off again.  The ligand bumping on is what we call the binding, and in the process, the ligand transfers a message via its molecular properties to the receptor.
Ligand and receptor – striking the same note and producing a vibration that rings a doorbell to open the doorway to the cell.

These minute physiological phenomena at the cellular level can translate to large changes in behavior, physical activity, even mood.


An antidepressant drug (for your brain) is used to block the re-uptake mechanism, allowing the excess serotonin to flood the receptors.
Your intestines, for instance, are loaded with serotonin receptors.  … It’s known that people on antidepressants often have gastrointestinal disorders.  And think what might be happening to cells in the immune system that also have these same receptors on their surfaces.  We could be inadvertently affecting the ability of our natural killer cells to attack mutated cells that are on their way to becoming a cancerous tumor.
And the antipsychotic drugs … instead of blocking the re-uptake of serotonin, they block the receptors for dopamine, another neurotransmitter.
When the dopamine receptors in the pituitary glands of women are blocked, production is released, a hormone that stops ovulation during lactation, so women rarely get pregnant while breast-feeding.  Women on these drugs stop menstruating and level off as long as they’re on the drug, in a constant state of PMS, complete with water retention and weight gain.

SAYING ONE THING AND DOING ANOTHER, MY EMOTIONS ARE CONFUSED, my physiologic integrity is likewise altered.  The result can be a weakened, disturbed psychosomatic network, leading to stress and eventually to illness.  Always tell the truth, I have said repeatedly to my children for years, not just that it’s the moral thing to do, but because it will keep you on a healthy path and disease-free. “


Personal Growth - When chakras meet neuroscience

by Life Positive
Internationally recognized pharmacologist Dr Candace Pert speaks with Robert Millett on her research into the role of endorphins, emotions, and chakras in healing, happiness and mastery of life


The key element of the Endorphin Effect is the fact that the unconscious mind cannot tell the difference between what is real and what is imagined. So just by merely thinking about a pleasurable
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Dr Candace Pert enjoys a worldwide reputation for her theories on emotions and mind-body communication. She has appeared in the feature film, What the Bleep Do We Know!? and Bill Moyer's TV programme, Healing and the Mind. She has a PhD in pharmacology from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and has authored Molecules of Emotion: The Scientific Basis Behind Mind-Body Medicine (Scribner, 1997), Everything You Need to Know to Feel Go(o)d (Hay House, 2006), and the musical guided imagery CD Psychosomatic Wellness: Healing your Body-Mind.She has also served as Chief of the Section on Brain Biochemistry of the Clinical Neuroscience Branch of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), USA and held a Research Professorship in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, DC. She is currently the Scientific Director of RAPID Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

How did your research begin?

It started with the discovery of the opiate receptor for heroin and morphine. It emerged from discoveries in the UK that the brain makes its own morphine – the endorphins. Every drug has corresponding receptors found in the brain and the body, and there is a natural equivalent, which is made by the body and normally modulates the receptor.

You discovered the receptor for endorphin, "bliss chemical". Are there receptors and neuropeptides that correlate other states of mind – such as depression?

Yes, theoretically. It’s been slightly over-simplified, particularly in the USA, where that idea has been used to sell products that don’t work half as well as taking a walk in nature or getting in touch with your family. The spiritual aspect is often neglected anddepression has a psycho-spiritual aspect to it that is very much overlooked. There are some powerful pharmaceutics, which definitely have some benefits, but I think that approach is also slightly frightening.

Can you explain your idea, mind is in every cell of the body?

Yes. The mind does exist throughout the whole body. The receptors, which are where memory and information are processed, are found on every cell of the body. People tend to think “Emotions are located in the amygdala and originate in the brain” but in doing so they fail to acknowledge what we now know about the spinal cord and the fact that the formation of all of our organs, including the brain, is an ongoing process – like an ever flowing river. It’s very old paradigm to think the mind is only in the head.

So memory and information is stored throughout the body?

Yes, the latest data shows that the receptor is a place where memory is stored and you have receptors all over your body. The human spinal cord is very complex and lots of memories are stored there, as well as in cells. Neuroscientists tend to pay attention to the circuits up in your brain, but these circuits go deep – they travel into the spinalcord, into the tissues and into the organs. This confirms what many therapists already know and it explains all the various phenomena where people have observed that a release of memories or emotions is often accompanied by some form of deep healing.

Do we all have the same capacity for various emotions? Are some people hardwired to feel more joy whilst others depression?

There is data supporting that and there is a definitely a genetic aspect. A research group at Harvard conducted a detailed study with timid children which seemed to indicate an inborn trait. So there is definitely a genetic component. Common thinking has definitely swung in favour of “it’s all in your genes”. However, I want to swing it back in the other direction. The whole thing with emotions is that they allow us to have an internal dialogue with our own organs and to govern our own storyline.

Is it possible to become "addicted" to certain emotions?

It’s an interesting concept. I talked about this in my last book because it was a big question that was raised by the What the bleep do we know! movie. There is some truth to it but I think there is an old psychological concept that is the key, and that is that people get addicted to recreating their core traumas. Trauma is an important issue – subconsciously people wish to go back in time, replay a scenario and try to fix or straighten out a situation.

This explains a great deal of human unhappiness; why we keep falling for the same kind of guy over and over again. Yes, we can be addicted to our emotions but it is more complex than that – we actually get addicted to certain emotional patterns and this is then reflected in a repeated sequence of bio-chemicals being released. But, hopefully, you get to a certain age and become aware of the repeated patterns in your life.

Is it beneficial to consciously cultivate certain emotions?

Forgiveness, joy, gratitude – these are great states of mind which seem to have incredible power. I can’t say I understand all the chemistry but certainly if you are in a state of mind where you are holding lots of grudges or stewing about issues in the past then that wastes a lot of energy – not “far out” energy – but the actual energy that runs your body.

Would you describe these as healing emotions?

Yes. It’s not uncommon at all in the documented, remarkable recovery literature that people will suddenly have an intense realisation like: “Oh my...I’ve been blaming my brother all my life for everything’s that’s gone wrong for me” – and then they experience a massive healing. In some cases large tumours have disappeared within hours or days. Forgiveness seems to be a common thread in these cases. Emotions are really extremely powerful. In health and disease they are the key. Forgiveness is one of my issues and I know I experience a subtle healing when I listen to one of my CDs on forgiveness – I feel more energised and less stressed or angry, and all such emotions are so counter-productive in comparison to joy.

What's the best way to encourage positive emotions?

It’s really about peace of mind and trying ideas like doing good works. There is hard data that shows that people who live the longest have the most relationships. So I think relationship is a key word – being with your pets, your family, and your friends and practising forgiveness. Receiving bodywork or healing is great too.

For me the quickest way right now is to listen to the kind of tapes that encourage you to heal emotional issues which have been ignored – healing that has somehow been interrupted. Healing is our natural state, our bodies want to heal themselves but sometimes this process is impaired, whether it’s due to drugs, stress or toxins in the environment.

How do you think that healing fits into all this?

There is data that shows that there are fields around the body, and that energy is emitted from a healer’s hands, which has an impact. There is data showing that when you assume an emotional state this aligns your internal chemistry and in turn your internal vibrations.

The term vibration is actually very accurate because the cellular receptors are not just little “lock and keys” they are actually vibrating as they pump ions and information through the cell membranes, so we truly are a bundle of electrical vibrations. Our states of mind really do project very far out and affect the people close to us and this is reflected in the sequence of bio-chemicals that are released. Manipulation of the back and massage work because the body-mind is a network, so you can go in at any point and have an effect elsewhere; a little pain in your back could be connected to an emotion, a memory elsewhere. It’s amazing that someone can receive these treatments and within an hour experience a total shift.

In your book Molecules of Emotion you wrote about a concentration of receptors around the chakras.

The peptides and receptors – the physical correlates of emotions – are clustered at the chakra points. I released a CD about this called Your Body is Your Subconscious Mind. It suggests that emotions are the bridge between the physical and the spiritual.

What is your current research on?

Working on AIDS research. I’ve manifested everything I need to do this project and now I need to focus and take all the knowledge I’ve learnt and apply to myself in order to achieve my goals.

My book, Everything You Need to Know to Feel Good was divinely guided. The book is about our search for funding and my spiritual journey. The year we spent promoting the book was when everything came together and we found a new humanitarian business partner who was able to fund us.

What do you think is the key to feeling good?

Meditation! Particularly, as a way to start the day. There are many kinds but if you start the day with half an hour of stretching, followed by meditation, it’s the easiest way to connect to your source and the spiritual realm in a way that brings lasting change to your life. I’ve also become excited about the power of affirmations and music as well as guided imagery.

Extracted from Healing Today.

Approaching A Theory of Emotion:

An Interview With Candace Pert, Ph.D

By Lynn Grodzki, Fellow

The New Identify Process (NIP) and other forms of emotive psychotherapy embrace the healing tradition of catharsis--intense emotional expression is elicited within a contained therapeutic environment. This emotive therapy follows in a direct line from the earliest forms of ancient healing arts through recent scientific studies exploring the link between body and mind. The challenge for clinicians in answering the criticism about the use of catharsis is to conceptually bridge past and present in evaluating emotive methods.
Happily, an unexpected voice has joined the debate about the importance of emotional therapy. Candace Pert, Ph.D., researcher and pharmacologist, may help point the way to a resolution of a problem that has faced clinicians using emotive methods for the last 100 years. In adding her biochemical research perspective to the discussion of the meaning and value of catharsis, she is addressing a weak point and the biggest problem that exists in the field of emotive, experiential psychotherapy. She is helping to formulate, for the first time, a unified theory of emotion.
First, a bit of history. Although the use of catharsis was a key element of treatment during the first 200 years of early psychotherapy (with Mesmer, Charcot, Janet, and Bruer), Freud's rejection of this cathartic method within psychoanalysis and his reliance on free association, "The talking cure" as a sufficient form of abreaction, spread until dominating the field. By 1920, methods of emotive psychotherapy moved to the fringes of conventional psychological practice. Freud gave as one of his reasons for rejecting emotive methods his frustration as a neurologist in trying to theorize about the workings of emotion. Although some of his colleagues continued to rely on methods of catharsis (notably Ferenczi, Brown and Reich) and although a second wave of interest sparked the development of additional methods in the early 1950's (by Janov, Lowen, Perls, Casriel and Jackins) the academic literature continues to reject catharsis, following Freud. Methods of emotive psychotherapy, when mentioned, are usually discounted as unproved and ineffective at best, or counterproductive and harmful at worst. Currently, the criticism of emotive therapy is based on the results of often flawed, past research about catharsis.
In some studies, catharsis is misdefined to mean any kind of ventilation (from watching a wrestling match to screaming, to hitting another person). Because clients require a safe space (environmental containment) in order to achieve a true experience of catharsis, the results that clinicians can produce in their office settings are hard to reproduce in laboratory settings. But the biggest hurdle to researching and validating emotional methods has been the vagueness about emotion itself. Until recently, little has been understood from a scientific basis about what emotion is and is not.
Psychological textbooks published only thirty years ago state, "Emotion is virtually impossible to define . . . except in terms of conflicting theories" and "No genuine order can be discerned within the field." As long as emotion remains an abstraction, lacking a unified theory base, it is impossible to research and validate methods of emotive therapy. The kinds of questions that need to be answered include: how emotion is manifest, how memory and emotion interact, whether emotion is concrete (real) or conceptual (a construct), if concrete, how emotion acts in the body, and how unexpressed emotion is stored.
Enter into this discussion Dr Candace Pert. For the past twenty years, Pert has been studying the movement of amino acid chains in the human body. In the process, she is unraveling the mystery of mind-body communication and changing forever the way we understand emotion.
For Pert, pharmacologist and professor at Georgetown University, the mind is not just in the brain -- it is also in the body. The vehicle that the mind and body use to communicate with each other is the chemistry of emotion. The chemicals in question are molecules, short chains of amino acids called peptides and receptors, that she believes to be the "biochemical correlate of emotion." The peptides can be found in your brain, but also in your stomach, your muscles, your glands and all your major organs, sending messages back and forth. After decades of research, Pert is finally able to make clear how emotion creates the bridge between mind and body.
Candace Pert lives in the world where emotions make scientific sense. As former Chief of Brain Biochemistry at the NIH for 13 years, she studied the inner workings of the body with an eye towards identifying and locating peptides and receptors. She became convinced these chemicals were the physical manifestation of emotion. In 1993, Pert appeared on Bill Moyer's landmark TV program Healing and Mind, where she explained her theories of emotion to a national audience. She attracted attention for being that rare scientist who can explain their work to a lay audience with a sense of humor and passion. These days Pert spends substantial amount of time in Rockville, Maryland, as a consultant on the trials of a new drug, Peptide T, that is part of a non-toxic AIDS therapy. She takes some time from her research and teaching schedule to lecture internationally on the issues of neuropeptides and mind-body communications.
I began to correspond with Pert several years ago, and in May of 1995, as a result of her desire to be part of the 1995 ISNIP Conference, we sat down to talk about a subject that interests both of us: the need for a unified theory of emotion. She offered some new, startling insights of her own that explain how experiential forms of psychotherapy and alternative medicine work. What follows is a portion of our discussion.

Lynn Grodzki: How do you understand the connection between memory and emotion?
Candace Pert: Experiments show that the hippocampus area of the brain [part of the limbic system] is the access or gateway into the whole emotional experience. Almost every variety of peptide receptor is found in the hippocampus. Through the peptide network, which is anything that has peptide receptors on it, you can access different memories, mood states or developmental stages. Strong emotions are the key variable that make us bother to remember things.
There is a lot of evidence that memory occurs at the point of synapse, there are changes that take place in the receptors. The sensitivity of the receptors are part of memory and pattern storage. But the peptide network expends beyond the hippocampus, to organs, tissue, skin, muscle and endocrine glands. They all have peptides receptors on them and can access and store emotional information. This means this emotional memory is stored in many places in the body, not just the brain. The autonomic nervous system is pivotal to this entire understanding. Its importance is much more subtle than has been thought. Every peptide that I have every mapped and more can be found in the autonomic nervous system. There is an emotional coding to the way our autonomic patterns are elaborated.
LG: The autonomic nervous system includes the spinal cord and the ganglion that are down either side. Is it possible that emotion could be stored in places like this indefinitely?
CP: Absolutely. Emotional memories are our earliest memories. One of my earliest memories is that I struck a match when my mother was making dinner. I just started a tiny fire, and she came over and put it out with her dishrag. I can still see the terror in her face. I think I must have been one year old. Emotional memories are long term memories, stored where we need them, for survival.
LG: Let's say you had forgotten this memory and you are in a situation where something similar happens, perhaps your own daughter plays with matches and you find your reaction has an intensity that suggests an earlier incident was attached to it. How is early emotional memory retrieved in the body?
CP: You can access emotional memory anywhere in the peptide/receptor network, in any number of ways. For example, if you have a memory that has to do with food and eating, you might access it by the nerves hooked up to the pancreas. You can access through any nodal point in the neural loop. Nodal points are places where there is a lot of convergent information with many different peptide receptors. In these nodal points there is potential for emotional regulation and conditioning.
LG: So we are programmed to be able to repeat emotional experience and we can access it through the body in many ways. What happens to emotions that are not able to be fully expressed?
CP: I have a whole theory about this. I believe that emotion is not fully expressed until it reaches consciousness. When I speak of consciousness, I include the entire body. I believe that unexpressed emotion is in process of traveling up the neural access. By traveling, I mean coming from the periphery, up the spinal cord, up into the brain. When emotion moves up, it can be expressed. It takes a certain amount of energy from our bodies to keep the emotion unexpressed. There are inhibitory chemicals and impulses that function to keep the emotion and information down. I think unexpressed emotions are literally lodged lower in the body.
In my mind, there are levels of integration. You are integrating lower brain areas when you move the emotion up and get it into consciousness. That's where you begin comprehension. I often tell a story in my lectures. I show a picture of a woman with hot coffee, who has dropped the cup and burned herself. She reacts to the scalding coffee by being startled and feeling pain. The emotional reflex moves up and up and up the body. When it finally gets to the level of the thalamus she says, "Oh, it's hotter than it usually is." But then I make a joke. I say, "It's only when it gets all the way up to the cortex that she can actually blame her husband." That's where we put the whole spin on it. Unexpressed emotions are buried in the body -- way, deep down in the circuitry of the organs, or the GI tract, or a loop in a ganglium. We even know what the memory storage looks like. It's protein molecules coupled up to receptors. Some thought it only gets stored in the brain. But it looks like that in the body, too. Your memories can get stored that way in a pancreas, for example.
LG: There is a belief that unexpressed emotion is harmful to the mind and body. IF you haven't fully grieved a loss, for example, your weakened immune system might make you a candidate for an illness, like cancer. How do you understand it, as a scientist?
CP: It think there is overwhelming evidence that unexpressed emotion causes illness. I'm a molecular Reichian!
LG: Reich had a model of working with emotion that is sometimes called the "conflict model" of catharsis. He thought there were two psychic forces at work in every individual. One is the force that wants to express emotion. The other is the force that seeks to prevent its expression, which he termed resistance. He thought the pressure of the two forces caused stasis, so his therapy techniques were designed to exhaust and weaken the resistance, to allow emotional expression to occur.
CP: I see it this way. The raw emotion is working to be expressed in the body. It's always moving up the neural access. Up the chakras, if you will, but really up the spinal chord. The need to resist it is coming from the cortex. All the brain; rationalizations are pushing the energy down. The cortex resistance is an attempt to prevent overload. It's stingy about what information is allowed up into the cortex. It's always a struggle in the body. The real, true emotions that need to be expressed are in the body, trying to move up and be expressed and thereby integrated. That's why I believe psychoanalysis in a vacuum doesn't work. You are spending all your time in your cortex, rather than in your body. You are adding to the resistance.
LG: You suggest a vertical model of catharsis, letting the emotion move up the body, perhaps finding ways to relax the cortex to allow the unexpressed emotion to be first experienced and then cognitively integrated.
CP: Let the emotion all bubble up. Let the chips fall where they may. My personal experience using catharsis was with the New Identify Process. I think the NIP bonding might serve to relax the cortex and let the emotion come through. I believe that the process of catharsis is not complete without saying things, because we must involve speech and the cortex, to know that the emotion has come all the way up and is being processed at the highest level. To feel and understand means you have worked it all the way through. It's bubbled all the way to the surface. You're integrating at higher and higher levels in the body, bringing emotion into consciousness.

Candace Pert, Ph.D. was the keynote speaker at the 1995 ISNIP Conference, September 23, 1995

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