Last year, President Obama announced the BRAIN Initiative to map activity and connections within the brain and the rest of the body. The budget of $100 million kickstarted a new wave to understand the neural circuits around the body, that are made active when we perceive, think, and act, and how this is connected to other parts of the body such as the muscles, joints, organs, etc. Already this initiative is giving us huge insight on how the mind and body is one, connected in a comprehensive map of the roughly 86 billion neurons in the whole body and the trillions (too large a figure for me to grasp!) of connections between them. In fact, it is so complicated, and our science and understanding is so limited, that we might have to wait a very long time to “see” the results applicable to the humans as it all depends on available instruments. But in the short term the results may primarily illuminate the brains of fruit flies and zebrafish 🙂 That’s how it normally starts and hopefully our grandkids can tell their kids that the “gut feeling” is real, important and healthy to respect. (http://www.nih.gov/science/brain/)
The brain doesn’t boss around the body as we are made to believe and that it all depends on how we can “master” our brain activity and signalling. No, as a matter of fact one thing we know for sure now (not only thanks to the BRAIN project) is that about 90% of the information goes from the body to the brain and not the other way. That’s why it is wrong to say that an action is started by the brain. It is equally right to say that it is started by a cell in the body creating an emotion based on a memory, leading to a feeling enhanced by the hormones in the body, high or low based on what we just ate or if we are stressed… That’s why we don’t have a neurochemical consensus (Olive O7 #3), not even compared with ourselves from one day to the other. We can only listen inwards, with non-judgment and try to understand this impressive internal universe we were given as a part of the whole universe, connected to the surroundings in ways we don’t “see”. Accept, understand and love it (ourselves!).
The digestive system is central in this signaling. The old Greeks thought part of the mind was in the gut, and they were right. The gut feeling is true, the sixth sense, intuition, or call it as you wish; it starts in the gut. That’s why health often starts with the gut. That’s also why most people today feel bad no matter how many physiotherapists or doctors they see, as they simply eat unhealthy stuff. Medicine is one of the worst toxins for the gut and topping it off with additives, pesticides and refined (still called) food, it’s not strange that we don’t get the signalling right until it’s a disease or a serious health issue manifested in our body. This signalling, the intuition or gut feeling, cannot be seen with the instruments our modern science needs for it to “exist” yet, but I’m sure it we will get there. Until then we can only feel, and respect ourselves. More on this basic health theme the following week.