Molecules of Emotion:
The Science Behind Mind-Body Medicine
by Candace Pert, Ph.D.
"There is a
revolution taking form that is significantly influencing how the Western
medical community views health and disease. Candace Pert's contribution to
this revolution is undeniable, and her professional integrity in the pursuit
of scientific truth, where ever it had to take her, regardless of its
personal or professional cost, underscores the feminine potential of science
at its best."
~Deepak Chopra in foreword
to Molecules of
Candace Pert, Ph.D., is a
neuroscientist whose extraordinary career began with her 1972 discovery of
the opiate receptor. She speaks to mixed audiences of mainstream
professionals, alternative practitioners and seekers of wholeness about the
exciting world of biomedicine, molecular theory, and psychoneuroimmunology.
As she puts it, "I do what most scientists abhor, I seek to inform, to
educate and inspire all manner of people". For Candace Pert, science is
a search for truth and she is creating a new paradigm in the science arena.
"The science I have come to know and love is unifying, spontaneous,
intuitive, caring--a process more akin to surrender than to dominion. I have
come to believe that science, at its very core, is a spiritual
In her groundbreaking book Molecules
of Emotion: The Science Behind Mind-Body Medicine, Pert provides
startling and decisive answers to the challenging questions that scientists
and philosophers have pondered for centuries. By establishing the
biomolecular basis for our emotions and explaining these new scientific
developments in a clear and accessible way, Pert empowers us to understand
ourselves, our feelings, and the connection between our minds and our
bodies-or bodyminds-in ways we could never possibly have imagined before.
From explaining how there is a scientific basis to popular wisdom about
phenomena such as "gut feelings" to making comprehensible recent
breakthroughs in cancer and AIDS research, Pert provides us with an
intellectual adventure of the highest order.
In Molecules of Emotion,
Pert gives us more than a story of scientific discovery. Woven into her clear
explanations of the science underlying her work is the remarkable story of
how, faced with personal and professional obstacles, she has grown as a woman
and a mother and how her personal and spiritual development has made possible
her remarkable scientific career.
Pert writes in Chapter 13,
tendency to ignore our emotions is "oldthink", a remnant of the
still-reigning paradigm that keeps us focused on the material level of
health, the physicality of it. But the emotions are a key element in
self-care because they allow us to enter into the bodymind's conversation. By
getting in touch with our emotions, both by listening to them and by
directing them through the psychosomatic network, we gain access to the
healing wisdom that is everyone's natural biological right."
"And how do
we do this? First by acknowledging and claiming all our feelings, not just
the so-called positive ones. Anger, grief, fear--these emotional experiences
are not negative in themselves; in fact, they are vital for our survival. We
need anger to define boundaries, grief to deal with our losses, and fear to
protect ourselves from danger. It's only when these feelings are denied, so
that they cannot be easily and rapidly processed through the system and
released, that the situation becomes toxic…And the more we deny them, the
greater the ultimate toxicity, which often takes the form of an explosive
release of pent-up emotion. That's when emotion can be damaging to both
oneself and others, because its expression becomes overwhelming, sometimes
"So my advice
is to express all of your feelings, regardless of whether you think they are
acceptable, and then let them go…When your emotions are moving and your
chemicals flowing, you will experience feelings of freedom, hopefulness, joy,
because you are in a healthy, "whole" state."
"The goal is
to keep information flowing, feedback systems working, and natural balance
maintained, all of which we can help to achieve by a conscious decision to
enter into the bodymind's conversation."
Pert goes on to explain the eight
ways to use awareness and intention to tap into the psychosomatic network, in
order to prevent disease and maximize health:
Accessing the Psychosomatic
Network (psychological counseling, hypnotherapy, touch therapy,
personal-growth seminars, meditation and prayer)
Tapping into your dreams.
Getting in touch with your body
(she offers an appendix on alternative manipulative and energetic therapies)
Reducing stress (meditation,
relaxation music, play and self-honesty)
Eating wisely (including
environment, consciousness, gratitude)
Avoiding substance abuse
is currently a Research Professor at Georgetown University Medical Center in
Washington, DC where she continues with AIDS research on the Peptide-T drug
that shows potential for blocking the AIDS virus from entering a particular
receptor to which it binds. Pert will be speaking in October at the 13th
Annual National Conference" Designing and Connecting Powerful Learning
Experiences" to be held at Rockhurst College in Kansas City, MO. For
information, contact: Center for the Advancement of Reform in Education (816)
Molecules of Emotion
was first published in 1997 and released in 1999 as a paperback.