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But it can be a very slow and sometimes painful process before the receptors return to their original sensitivity and number and the corresponding peptides get back into bodywide production and flow.
I knew that environmental pollutants could enter into the cell membrane and change the shape of the receptor, making it looser and sloppier, and often wondered how this might affect the transfer of information so necessary to run the delicately balanced systems. It had to have some effect on what is essentially a self-organizing system, one that is processing tremendous amounts of information at incredibly rapid speeds.
...acupuncture stops pain by stimulating the release of endorphins into the cerebrospinal fluid. We were able to demonstrate that it was indeed the flow of endorphins that caused the pain relief, because when we used an endorphin antagonist (naloxone) to block the opiate receptors, the pain-relief effects of acupuncture were reversed.
...happiness is what we feel when our biochemicals of emotion, the neuropeptides and their receptors, are open and flowing freely throughout the psychosomatic network, integrating and coordinating our systems, organs, and cells in a smooth and rhythmic movement. Health and happiness are often mentioned in the same breath, and maybe this is why: Physiology and emotions are inseparable. I believe that happiness is our natural state, that bliss is hardwired. Only when our systems get blocked, shut down, and disarrayed do we experience the mood disorders that add up to unhappiness in the extreme.
Presumably what happens is that when you’re happy, the rheovirus can’t enter the cell because the norepinephrine blocks all the potential virus receptors.
Viruses use the same receptors as neuropeptides to enter into a cell, and depending on how much of the natural peptide for a particular receptor is around and available to bind, the virus that fits that receptor will have an easier or harder time getting into the cell. Because the molecules of emotion are involved in the process of a virus entering the cell, it seems logical to assume that the state of our emotions will affect whether or not we succumb to viral infection.
Every one of the zones, or systems, of the network—the neural, the hormonal, the gastrointestinal, and the immune—is set up to communicate with one another, via peptides and messenger-specific peptide receptors. Every second, a massive information exchange is occurring in your body. Imagine each of these messenger systems possessing a specific tone, humming a signature tune, rising and falling, waxing and waning, binding and unbinding, and if we could hear this body music with our ears, then the sum of these sounds would be the music that we call the emotions.
But it turns out that in addition to the classical neurotransmitters, all of the known peptides, the information molecules, can be found abundantly in the autonomic nervous system, distributed in subtly different intricate patterns all the way down both sides of your spine. It is these peptides and their receptors that make the dialogue between conscious and unconscious processes possible.
The entire lining of the intestines, from the esophagus through the large intestine, and including each of the seven sphincters, is lined with cells—nerve cells and other kinds of cells—that contain neuropeptides and receptors. It seems entirely possible to me that the density of receptors in the intestines may be why we feel our emotions in that part of the anatomy, often referring to them as “gut feelings.
The superior colliculus in the midbrain, another nodal point of neuropeptide receptors, controls the muscles that direct the eyeball, and affects which images are permitted to fall on the retina and hence to be seen.