The Science of Cell-Level Healing
You brain is exquisitely synchronized and interconnected, says biophysicist and cell-biologist Joyce Hawkes. The science behind this is what makes cell-level healing possible.
In today’s world, the science of neurophysiology—how our neurons affect our body’s function—is one of the most strongly advancing fields of research. Every time new technology, such as the functional MRI, is developed, new insights are gained into the science of how the body and brain function. Until just a few years ago, the brain was considered a linear structure in which one neuron connected to another and that one to another. It was believed that thoughts and sensory input proceeded in a neat sequence. But under the closer scrutiny made possible by advances in medical technology, that hypothesis didn’t hold up. Indeed, we know now, from scanning images of the brain at work, that neuronal activity lights up in numerous parts of the brain simultaneously when we are thinking or when our sensory systems are stimulated.
Our skulls contain a self-organizing processor that is more than a wonder—the brain is utterly magnificent. Once discounted as the placebo effect (a health benefit brought about by the expectation of improvement or the faith of the patient in the treatment), the study of complementary and alternative medicine is a field yielding new, sound scientific advances.
Research findings have dispelled the idea that the placebo effect isn’t “real,” focusing instead on learning more about the complex mechanisms by which the activity of the mind brings about very real changes in the brain and the body. The National Institutes of Health now fund large studies to identify more clearly the effectiveness of biologically based practices, energy medicine, manipulative body-based techniques, and mind-body techniques. Some 40 percent of Americans use the above modalities to supplement their health care.
Additionally, recent advancement in the science of brain function has shown that the two halves of the brain are intimately connected. We do not run our lives predominately on one side or the other. Indeed, the brain continually coordinates all aspects of function through pathways previously unappreciated. Some of those pathways, curiously enough, are mediated by specific cells called astrocytes, or star cells. Our brains are exquisitely synchronized and interconnected.
It is important to acknowledge that there is a gap in the scientific understanding of the mechanisms through which energy medicine works. I will not attempt to create a cosmology or theoretical explanation that fills that gap. As a scientist, I know the connections are not yet clear, but as a healer, I know with certainty that the connections are there. And those who experience healing are confident that their health has improved with the application of these practices. Despite the gap in understanding, there is sturdy ground on which to advance our knowledge, understanding, and practical applications of cell-level healing.