For years we have used a phrase “the power of positive thinking’ without knowing very much about how or from where this power actually came from. In fact, for hundreds of years the brain was thought to be totally separate from the rest of body having been declared so by some fairly famous people such as the French philosopher Rene Decarte and the British scientist Sir Isaac Newton. These were Western perceptions, which ran very counter to Eastern thinking in India and China where the mind and body were thought to very closely related to each other. America was mostly influenced by Western thinkers we got stuck with the separate view and our medical community stayed unconvinced of any connection until very recently.
This change in thinking began in the early 1970’s when scientists like Candace Pert conducted research on the structure and function of cells that started to show a connection between the mind and the body.
- Cells have opiate receptors that receive chemicals that influence mood, perception of pain and our ability to heal.
- These chemicals, ligands, fit into opiate receptor keyholes. About 98 % of these opiate chemicals are called neuropeptides.
- These sites can be filled with external opiates such as heroin or morphine, as well as internally produced chemicals known as endorphins.
- Endorphins can be produced by positive emotions induced by activities such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, exercise, music, praying or just positive thinking.
- Viruses use these same receptors to gain access to our cells, however if they are already filled with endorphins then it becomes more difficult for the virus to find a place to enter.
Therefore, positive thinking has the power to protect the body from microscopic invaders such as viruses. Dr. Bert summarized this unique phenomenon in the following way, “If the cell is the engine of the body and the brain, then the opiate receptors are the buttons on the control panel and the endorphins are the fingers that push the buttons.”
Scientists are now using this process to explain the placebo effect. If a person truly believes that something is going to work, then endorphins and other beneficial chemicals can be released to produce positive health results. In one study of antidepressant prescription medications, it was found that up to 80% of the medicine’s effectiveness was actually due to the placebo effect and not the medicine. This begins to explain why several natural health strategies such as biofeedback, medical hypnosis, guided imagery and meditation are often able to help prevent and even reverse many chronic diseases. This might also explain how some cancer patients are able to reverse stage 3 and 4 cancer without any explanation. In a book entitled Radical Remission, Dr. Kelly explains how hundreds to cancer patients achieved what doctors could only categorize as spontaneous remission. Perhaps positive thoughts could even be responsible for activating cancer suppressor genes and anticancer immune processes.
We have known that disease can be caused by toxins, genes, stress, lack of exercise and poor nutrition, We now must add the mind as a powerful determining factor. In fact, the mind may be the conductor of this orchestra helping the body to heal itself by creating and activating all of the right chemicals as well as the on and off switches after all of the other elements are in place. Detoxify, manage stress, exercise, eat a truly healthy and let your positive thinking take it from there.