This book takes us on the courageous endeavour through which Dr Candace Pert discovered the biomolecular basis that scientifically validates the body and mind connection.

Her impressive career started with the discovery of the opiate receptor and led her to uncover an expansive network between the brain, nervous and immune system that has since inspired an entire field of scientific study – psychoneuroimmunology.

Written by such a prestigious, prolific and pioneering neuroscientist, her work gives credibility to ‘what Eastern philosophers, shamans, rishis and alternative practioners have known and practiced for centuries…Finally here, we have a Western scientist who has done the work to explain the unity of matter and spirit, body and soul.’ Deepak Chopra


This book was utterly transformative for me.

Not only did it confirm to me, that there was serious scientific research that is now able to describe how the body mind and soul connect at a molecular level.

But Dr Candace Pert also discusses the reluctance and resistance she personally encountered within the scientific community to explore and express such ideas. Something I have experienced myself whenever I discuss ‘alternative therapies’ with my medical colleagues.

She offers insight into the competitive research culture which seems to discourage collaboration and communication – risking or corrupting the ultimate scientific endeavour in its pursuit of truth.


Historically emotions were thought to originate in the brain. Primarily in the amygdala, hippocampus and limbic cortex. Opposing theories concluded that ‘the source of emotions is purely visceral…we perceive events and have bodily feelings and it is this, we label our physical sensations as one or another emotion.’

Dr Candace Pert asserts that it is in fact simultaneous – a ‘two way street’ – an assertion based on her original and groundbreaking research on receptors; where they are in the body and what this tells us about their function.

Let me (try!) and break that down.

  • Receptors are proteins that sit within or on cell membranes and vibrate constantly. They can be thought of as sensing molecules.

  • They bind with chemicals totally specific to them call ligands. Ligands can be neurotransmitters, hormones or peptides.

  • When a receptor is flooded with a ligand, it changes the cell membrane in such a way that the probability of an electrical impulse travelling across the membrane where the receptor resides is facilitated or inhibited, thereafter affecting the choice of neuronal circuitry that will be used.

  • Ligands can be called ‘information molecules’ because they carry information from one part of the body and acting at another which allows the organism to act in an integrated and organised way.

  • In almost every case, there are receptors for the same ligands in the body and the brain – so we know that the brain and body are mediated by the same chemicals. These receptors can be found in the autonomic nervous system, immune system and the end organs themselves.

  • There are areas in the body where there are high concentrations of receptors – nodal points – where a great deal of information converges. These are called ganglia in the Western paradigm and forrespond to the chakras in the Eastern paradigm.

  • At these nodal points information can be accessed and modulated by almost all neuropeptides as they process information, to cause unique neuro-physiciological changes in a bi-directional network.

  • Emotional states or moods are produced by the various neuropeptide ligands, and what we experience as an emotion or a feeling is also a mechanism for activation a particular neuronal circuit – simultaneously throughout the brain and body – which generates a behaviour involving the whole creature, with the necessary physiological changes that behaviour would require – these are the molecules of emotion.

This new work suggests there are almost infinite pathways for the conscious mind to access – and modify the unconscious mind – which now we can see – lies within the body.

While neuropeptides are actually directing our attention by their activities, we are not consciously involved in deciding what gets processed, remembered, and learned.

“But we do have the possibility of bringing some of these decisions into consciousness, particularly with the help of various types of intentional training that have been developed with precisely this goal in mind – to increase our consciousness. Through visualisation and the practice of mindfulness and meditation we can increase the blood flow into a body part and thereby increase the availability of oxygen and nutrients to carry away toxins and nourish the cells. As discussed, neuropeptides can alter blood flow from one part of the body to another – the rate of blood flow is an important aspect of prioritising and distributing the finite resources available to our body.”

Here we start to see the beauty of modern science explaining how ancient healing modalities work.

Dr Candace Pert was a plucky feminist and who matured to embrace her own femininity both in her life and work and she serves as a true inspiration to me and us all.

If you want to learn more about her and her legacy click HERE.


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