What is Prana?
Prana is the universal principle of energy or force. It is the sum total of all energy that is manifest in the universe, all the forces in nature and powers which are hidden in men and which lie everywhere around us. This prana remains in a subtle, motionless, unmanifested, undifferentiated state during the cosmic pralaya, dissolution. When the vibration is set up, prana moves and acts upon akasha, space, and brings forth the various forms. The macrocosm, brahmanda, and microcosm, pindanda, are combinations of prana and akasha.
All forces, all powers and prana spring from the fountain or common source, known as atman. Heat, light, electricity, magnetism are manifestations of prana. It may be in either a static or a dynamic state. It is found in all forms from the highest to the lowest, from the ant to the elephant, the unicellular amoebae to man, from the elementary forms of plant life to the developed forms of animal life.
Whatever moves or has life is but an expression or manifestation of prana. It is prana that shines in your eyes. It is through the power of prana that the ear hears, the eye sees, the skin feels, the tongue tastes, the nose smells and the brain and the intellect perform their functions. The smile of a young lady, the melody in music, the power in the emphatic words of an orator, the charm in the speech of one’s beloved are all due to prana. Whatever you behold in this sense-world, whatever moves or works or has life, is but an expression or manifestation of prana.
Prana is force, magnetism and electricity. Radio waves travel through prana. That which moves the steam engine of a train and a steamer, which causes the motion of breath in lungs, that which is the very life of this breath itself, is prana. It is prana that pumps the blood from the heart into the arteries or blood vessels. Through prana digestion, excretion and secretion take place. Prana digests the food, turns it into chyle and blood, and sends it into the brain and mind. The mind is then able to think and enquire into the nature of Brahman.
Prana is the link between the astral and physical body. When the slender thread-link of prana is cut, the astral body separates from the physical body. Death takes place. The prana that was working in the physical body is withdrawn into the astral body.
Since ancient times techniques for achievement of higher levels of judgement and intuition as well as mental/physical/spiritual renewal have been practiced. These activities are sometimes called Gyo (excercise, training) or more formally Misogi Harai: cleaning/purification of the body/mind/spirit.
Misogi Shuho is the Shinto practice of purifying oneself by washing away impurity/obscuring energies in a river, waterfall or sea. As Human beings we are the wakemitama or Children of the Divine Nature and as such we strive for the best life for ourselves, our families and our Chikyu Mura (World Village). The Shinto Shrine is an enriched environment for human beings to meet with and consider Divine Nature. Misogi is a profound spiritual technology meant to bring human beings into direct unmediated communion with Nature.
At Tsubaki Grand Shrine in Mie Japan Misogi Shuho has been practiced for centuries in the sacred waterfall Konryu Myojin no Taki and at Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America Misogi Shuho is practiced each morning (even during the extreme cold of the winter season) in the sacred Pilchuck River that flows through the shrine grounds from Mount Pilchuck on its way to the sea.
Translation of MISOGI-NO-O-HARAI:
Upon the will of the Great Spirit, by which the Universe is initiated in the cosmic force of creation by the Kamis (Divine Spirit) of birth and growth, and through which the solar system is united in the force of harmony by the Kamis of Yin and Yang, the Kamis of purification came to exist from the impurities which Izanagi-no-Mikoto (Divine creator of the solar system) cleansed from his body in the divine river of heaven.
We will be able to recognize (see) the Kami (truth), only after we purify ourselves of all negativity, impurities, faults and restore ourselves to what we are meant to be (natural brightness).
If you would like to participate in the Misogi Shuho at Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America please contact the Shrine staff.
The sacred technology of Misogi-Shuho represents the Genius of Shinto.
Origin and Purpose of Misogi
Izanagi-no-OKami (Kami who created solar-system and ancestor Kami of all on Earth) conducted the first Misogi-Shuho following his visit to the Yomi (world of death). His purpose was to “wash away defilement”, “cleanse his body from pollutants” and to “perform the purification of his august person”. Prior to entering the Tachibana River to cleanse completely Izanagi-no-Mikoto rid himself of all his possessions…..as he was being pursued by elements of impurity from the Underworld he first through his tsue (staff)….from that staff SARUTAHIKO-NO-O-KAMI was born.
This is why SARUTAHIKONO-O-KAMI is also known as DOUSOUJIN, Kami of the Way, Path and Kami to protect the Path. FUNADO-NO-OU-KAMI, Kami to protect crossroads, KUNADO-NO-SAHE-NO-KAMI, Kami to Protect, ward off misfortune….Sarutahiko-no-O-Kami has many other names as well.
Then Izanagi-no-O-Kami threw away all his Jewelry and clothing into the river as they were also contaminated by impurities. These articles became the twelve Kami who protect the directions in which people live, travel, work and conduct business…..
Then after finding the spot in the river not to swift and not to slow Izanagi-no-O-Kami entered the river to purify himself….many Kami were created from this act, many Kami of wrongdoing as well as Kami to rectify wrongdoing originated during this first Misogi. Then when Izanagi-no-Ou-Kami washed his face AMATERASU-OMIKAMI (Heaven Shining Great August Deity, Sun Kami ) was born from his left eye. From his right eye was created TSUKIYOMI-NO-MIKOTO (Augustness Moon Night Posessor, Moon Kami) and from his nose appeared SUSA-NO-MIKOTO (Brave Swift Impetuous Male Deity, Kami of Stars).
Amaterasu-OmiKami is responsible for the Sun, the source of our life power, Tsukiyominomikoto is responsible for night and quietness and growth and Susanomikoto is responsible for rhythmic movement of earth as Kami of Stars. These Kami, born through the first Misogi are responsible for the three heavenly light sources..sun, moon and stars.
Before the first Misogi, Izanaginomikoto rid himself of possessions and attachments.. to purify from attachment is the 1st element of Misogi.
Self reflection is the 2nd element.
In order to do Misogi Izanaginomikoto chose the part of the stream that was not to swift and not to sluggish…the “Middle Way” is the 3rd aspect of purification.
The 4th element is to check constantly and correct thouroughly.
The 5th element is inner willingness and sincere effort.
The 6th element is completeness.
How to Prepare Yourself Before Misogi ShuHo
When arriving at the shrine please quiet your Mind and Spirit to prepare for Misogi Shuho Misogi Shuho is the sacred activity meant to teach us:
Through Misogi we can learn to harmonize with the KI of Heaven and Earth and the KI of protection
Effects of Misogi ShuHo
Through the sacred technology of Misogi Shuho you can match your mind/spirit to Kami-no-Kokoro (OKami’s mind/spirit/heart)…by following Nature’s Rule and the teachings of OKami you can feel OKami of Great Nature as your direct parent…be held by OKami and receive divine guidance and love.
3/ BINAURAL BEATS
Binaural beats, or binaural tones, are auditory processing artifacts, or apparent sounds, caused by specific physical stimuli. This effect was discovered in 1839 by Heinrich Wilhelm Dove and earned greater public awareness in the late 20th century based on claims coming from the alternative medicine community that binaural beats could help induce relaxation, meditation, creativity and other desirable mental states. The effect on the brainwaves depends on the difference in frequencies of each tone: for example, if 300 Hz was played in one ear and 310 in the other, then the binaural beat would have a frequency of 10 Hz.
The brain produces a phenomenon resulting in low-frequency pulsations in the amplitude and sound localization of a perceived sound when two tones at slightly different frequencies are presented separately, one to each of a subject’s ears, using stereo headphones. A beating tone will be perceived, as if the two tones mixed naturally, out of the brain. The frequencies of the tones must be below 1,000 hertz for the beating to be noticeable. The difference between the two frequencies must be small (less than or equal to 30 Hz) for the effect to occur; otherwise, the two tones will be heard separately, and no beat will be perceived.
Binaural beats are of interest to neurophysiologists
Binaural beats reportedly influence the brain in more subtle ways through the entrainment of brainwaves and provide other health benefits such as control over pain.
The sensation of binaural beats is believed to originate in the superior olivary nucleus, a part of the brain stem.They appear to be related to the brain’s ability to locate the sources of sounds in three dimensions and to track moving sounds, which also involves inferior colliculus (IC) neurons. Regarding entrainment, the study of rhythmicity provides insights into the understanding of temporal information processing in the human brain. Auditory rhythms rapidly entrain motor responses into stable steady synchronization states below and above conscious perception thresholds. Activated regions include primary sensorimotor and cingulate areas, bilateral opercular premotor areas, bilateral SII, ventral prefrontal cortex, and, subcortically, anterior insula, putamen, and thalamus. Within the cerebellum, vermal regions and anterior hemispheres ipsilateral to the movement became significantly activated. Tracking temporal modulations additionally activated predominantly right prefrontal, anterior cingulate, and intraparietal regions as well as posterior cerebellar hemispheres. A study of aphasic subjects who had a severe stroke versus normal subjects showed that the aphasic subject could not hear the binaural beats, whereas the normal subjects could.
Binaural beats may influence functions of the brain in ways besides those related to hearing. This phenomenon is called “frequency following response”. The concept is that if one receives a stimulus with a frequency in the range of brain waves, the predominant brainwave frequency is said to be likely to move towards the frequency of the stimulus (a process called entrainment ). In addition, binaural beats have been credibly documented to relate to both spatial perception and stereo auditory recognition, and, according to the frequency following response, activation of various sites in the brain.
The stimulus does not have to be aural; it can also be visual or a combination of aural and visual (one such example would be Dreamachine).
Perceived human hearing is limited to the range of frequencies from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz, but the frequencies of human brain waves are below about 40 Hz. To account for this lack of perception, binaural beat frequencies are used. Beat frequencies of 40 Hz have been produced in the brain with binaural sound and measured experimentally.
When the perceived beat frequency corresponds to the delta, theta, alpha, beta, or gamma range of brainwave frequencies, the brainwaves entrain to or move towards the beat frequency. For example, if a 315 Hz sine wave is played into the right ear and a 325 Hz one into the left ear, the brain is entrained towards the beat frequency 10 Hz, in the alpha range. Since alpha range is associated with relaxation, this has a relaxing effect, or if in the beta range, more alertness. An experiment with binaural sound stimulation using beat frequencies in the beta range on some participants and the delta/theta range on other participants found better vigilance performance and mood in those on the awake alert state of beta-range stimulation.
Binaural beat stimulation has been used fairly extensively in attempts to induce a variety of states of consciousness, and there has been some work done in regards to the effects of these stimuli on relaxation, focus, attention, and states of consciousness. Studies have shown that with repeated training to distinguish close frequency sounds that a plastic reorganization of the brain occurs for the trained frequencies and is capable of asymmetric hemispheric balancing.
Light healing? Different colors heal the body in various ways. It is that simple.
The Spectro-Chrome system is as simple as smiling at a rainbow. No complex math or million dollar machines needed. Anyone could learn to use it and it made common sense.
Does it work?
Before we invest time in learning “how” or “why” it works we must know if light therapy “chromotherapy” could work.
Hospitals all over the world use “phototherapy” to cure babies of jaundice by shining a blue light on them to counter the extreme buildup of orange. Millions of infant children are saved every year through this method.
Light therapy is also use to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder by exposing patients to full spectrum bright lights.
There is also a study being done of the apparent positive effect of ultra-violet light on mental patients.
Spectro-Chrome reached the height of it’s popularity in the 40-50’s.
Thousands of clinic’s in America had one. It was quickly becoming the favorite way to heal and many mainstream doctors had happily gotten on board.
“For centuries scientists have devoted untiring effort to discover a means for the relief or cure of human ills and restoration of the normal functions. Yet in neglected light and color there is a potency far beyond that of drugs and serums. Color is the simplest and most accurate therapeutic measure yet developed. I can produce quicker and more accurate results with colors than with any or all other methods combined—and with less strain on the patient.”
-Kate Baldwin MD
This simple healing system is not only astonishingly effective but also unlocks far deeper mysteries about the underlying nature of our universe.
5/ PINEAL GLAND
The pineal gland (also called the pineal body, epiphysis cerebri, epiphysis or the “third eye”) is a small endocrine gland in the vertebrate brain. It produces the serotonin derivative melatonin, a hormone that affects the modulation of wake/sleep patterns and seasonal functions. Its shape resembles a tiny pine cone (hence its name), and it is located near the center of the brain, between the two hemispheres, tucked in a groove where the two rounded thalamic bodies join.
Every human being’s Pineal Gland or The third eye can be activated to spiritual world frequencies and enables you to have the sense of all knowing, godlike euphoria and oneness all around you. A pineal gland once tuned into to proper frequencies with help of meditation, yoga or various esoteric, occult methods, enables a person to travel into other dimensions, popularly known as astral travel or astral projection or remote viewing.
Pineal Gland is represented in Catholicism in Rome; they depict the pineal as a pine cone in art. The ancient societies like the Egyptians and the Romans knew the benefits and exemplified this in their vast symbologies with a symbol of an eye.
Pineal Gland reference is also in back of the U.S. dollar bill with what is called the ‘all seeing eye’, which is a reference to the ability of an individual (or group of individuals) to use this gland and go to the other side (spiritual world) and possibly control the thoughts and actions of people in the physical world by knowing what they are thinking at all times in our physical world.
Various research being conducted so far confirms that there are certain periods in the night, between the hours of one and four in the morning where chemicals are released in the brain that bring about feelings of connectedness to one’s higher source.
THINKING OUT OF THE BOX:
“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”
6/ Sri Yantra
Sri yantra, also known as Sri Chakra, is called the mother of all yantras because all other yantras derive from it. In its three dimensional forms Sri Yantra is said to represent Mount Meru, the cosmic mountain at the center of the universe.
The Sri Yantra is conceived as a place of spiritual pilgrimage. It is a representation of the cosmos at the macrocosmic level and of the human body at the microcosmic level (each of the circuits correspond to a chakra of the body).
Sri Yantra is first referred to in an Indonesian inscription dating to the seventh century C.E. It may have existed in India, its country of origin, long before the time of its introduction to Indonesia.
The Sri Yantra is a configuration of nine interlocking triangles, surrounded by two circles of lotus petals with the whole encased within a gated frame, called the “earth citadel”. The nine interlocking triangles centered around the bindu (the central point of the yantra) are drawn by the superimposition of five downward pointing triangles, representing Shakti ; the female principle and four upright triangles, representing Shiva ; the male principle. The nine interlocking triangles form forty three small triangles each housing a presiding deity associated with particular aspects of existence.
Man’s spiritual journey from the stage of material existence to ultimate enlightenment is mapped on the Sri Yantra. The spiritual journey is taken as a pilgrimage in which every step is an ascent to the center, a movement beyond one’s limited existence, and every level is nearer to the goal. Such a journey is mapped in stages, and each of these stages corresponds with one of the circuits of which the Sri Yantra is composed from the outer plane to the bindu in the center.
The Sri Yantra is a tool to give a vision of the totality of existence, so that the adept may internalize its symbols for the ultimate realization of his unity with the cosmos.
The goal of contemplating the Sri Yantra is that the adept can rediscover his primordial sources. The circuits symbolically indicate the successive phases in the process of becoming.
7/ FENG FU POINT
There is a point in our body which, when stimulated, acupuncturists believe promotes overall well being.
The point is called Feng Fu (Translated into English as ‘Wind Mansion’). It’s a pressure point found at the base of the skull just below the bottom ridge of the skull cap at the top of the neck.
Feng Fu Ice Cube Method
What I found really surprising is that when an ice cube is placed at the Feng Fu point once or twice per day for twenty minutes it is supposed to help with the following:
I first read about the Feng Fu Point in an article at BeautifulMind but kind of dismissed it at the time. But, the next time I had a headache I thought I would try it, not expecting much to happen apart from getting a cold neck. However after about 15 minutes my headache was gone. It might have gone of it’s own accord, so I tried the ice cube method for a week to see if I felt any different overall.
I actually did feel as if I had more energy and felt ‘lighter’ somehow, and didn’t have any headaches in the mornings which I am prone to. I thought it was worth telling you about it here so you could do your own research on it.
According to Chinese traditional medicine, the Feng Fu Point method does not treat. In fact, it brings the entire body back to its natural physiological balance, provides strong life impulse and rejuvenates the entire body.
This method should be avoided if you are pregnant or you suffer from schizophrenia or have a pacemaker.
8/ VAGUS NERVE
The vagus nerve is one of 12 cranial nerves. It is the longest of the cranial nerves, extending from the brainstem to the abdomen by way of multiple organs including the heart, esophagus, and lungs. Also known as cranial nerve X, the vagus forms part of the involuntary nervous system and commands unconscious body procedures, such as keeping the heart rate constant and controlling food digestion.
Electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve, called vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), is sometimes used to treat people with epilepsy or depression.
The vagus nerve is involved in one of the most common causes of fainting, called vasovagal syncope. This is an overreaction of the body to certain stimuli, like the sight of blood, which involves the stimulation of the vagus nerve. This stimulation causes a drop in blood pressure and heart rate. Less blood flows to brain, resulting in loss of consciousness. In most cases, vasovagal syncope does not require treatment.
Neuroplasticity: The brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. Neuroplasticity allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment.
Brain reorganization takes place by mechanisms such as “axonal sprouting” in which undamaged axons grow new nerve endings to reconnect neurons whose links were injured or severed. Undamaged axons can also sprout nerve endings and connect with other undamaged nerve cells, forming new neural pathways to accomplish a needed function.
Scientists once thought that the brain stopped developing after the first few years of life. They thought that connections formed between the brain’s nerve cells during an early “critical period” and then were fixed in place as we age. If connections between neurons developed only during the first few years of life, then only young brains would be “plastic” and thus able to form new connections.
Because of this belief, scientists also thought that if a particular area of the adult brain was damaged, the nerve cells could not form new connections or regenerate, and the functions controlled by that area of the brain would be permanently lost. However, new research on animals and humans has overturned this mistaken old view: today we recognize that the brain continues to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. This phenomenon, called neuroplasticity, allows the neurons in the brain to compensate for injury and adjust their activity in response to new situations or changes in their environment.
How does neuroplasticity work? A large amount of research focuses on this question. Scientists are certain that the brain continually adjusts and reorganizes. In fact, while studying monkeys, they found that the neuronal connections in many brain regions appear to be organized differently each time they are examined! Existing neural pathways that are inactive or used for other purposes show the ability to take over and carry out functions lost to degeneration, and there is evidence that reorganization in the adult brain can even involve the formation of new neural connections. Understanding the brain’s ability to dynamically reorganize itself helps scientists understand how patients sometimes recover brain functions damaged by injury or disease.
Neurons and Neurogenesis^
Billions of tree-shaped nerve cells make up the human brain. Neurons are produced through a process called neurogenesis, which begins during the third week of development in humans. Nerve cells develop at an average rate of 250,000 per minute during the prenatal period, but by birth, the process ofneurogenesis has largely ceased. (To read more about neurons, click here.)
A widely held belief is that neurons, unlike other cells, cannot reproduce after the first few years of life. This would mean that neurons that are destroyed couldn’t be replaced. However, recent research suggests that this belief is not supported by evidence. In 1999, production of new neurons was discovered in theneocortex of adult primates. Also in 1999, researchers at the Salk Institute in San Diego, California discovered neurogenesis occurring in the brains of adult humans, including in a 72-year-old adult. In this study, researchers used a chemical marker to identify new neurons and observed neurogenesis in thehippocampal region, a brain region that controls certain types of memory.
This research indicates that neurogenesis may well continue to occur throughout the human life span, although it occurs less rapidly in adults. Many of the new neurons that form in adults die almost immediately, but evidence suggests that some cells that are able to integrate themselves into the existing web of neural connections. Other researchers have also found definitive evidence that the brain does not stop producing new neurons after the “critical period” of development; the brain has been shown to generate new neurons from stem cells in select regions of the brain.
10/ STRESS & CORTISOL
Chronic stress puts your health at risk.
Chronic stress can wreak havoc on your mind and body. Take steps to control your stress.
By Mayo Clinic Staff:
Your body is hard-wired to react to stress in ways meant to protect you against threats from predators and other aggressors. Such threats are rare today, but that doesn’t mean that life is free of stress.
On the contrary, you undoubtedly face multiple demands each day, such as shouldering a huge workload, making ends meet and taking care of your family. Your body treats these so-called minor hassles as threats. As a result you may feel as if you’re constantly under assault. But you can fight back. You don’t have to let stress control your life.
Understanding the natural stress response:
When you encounter a perceived threat — a large dog barks at you during your morning walk, for instance — your hypothalamus, a tiny region at the base of your brain, sets off an alarm system in your body. Through a combination of nerve and hormonal signals, this system prompts your adrenal glands, located atop your kidneys, to release a surge of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol.
Adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and boosts energy supplies. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances your brain’s use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues.
Cortisol also curbs functions that would be nonessential or detrimental in a fight-or-flight situation. It alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes. This complex natural alarm system also communicates with regions of your brain that control mood, motivation and fear.
When the natural stress response goes haywire:
The body’s stress-response system is usually self-limiting. Once a perceived threat has passed, hormone levels return to normal. As adrenaline and cortisol levels drop, your heart rate and blood pressure return to baseline levels, and other systems resume their regular activities.
But when stressors are always present and you constantly feel under attack, that fight-or-flight reaction stays turned on.
The long-term activation of the stress-response system — and the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones — can disrupt almost all your body’s processes. This puts you at increased risk of numerous health problems, including:
That’s why it’s so important to learn healthy ways to cope with the stressors in your life.
Why you react to life stressors the way you do:
Your reaction to a potentially stressful event is different from anyone else’s. How you react to stressors in your life is affected by such factors as:
Genetics. The genes that control the stress response keep most people on a fairly even keel, only occasionally priming the body for fight or flight. Overactive or under-active stress responses may stem from slight differences in these genes.
Life experiences. Strong stress reactions sometimes can be traced to traumatic events. People who suffered neglect or abuse as children tend to be particularly vulnerable to stress. The same is true of victims of violent crime, airplane crash survivors, military personnel, police officers and firefighters.
You may have some friends who seem laid-back about almost everything and others who react strongly at the slightest stress. Most reactions to life stressors fall somewhere between those extremes.
Learning to react to life stressors in a healthy way:
Stressful events are a fact of life. And you may not be able to change your current situation. But you can take steps to manage the impact these events have on you.
You can learn to identify what stresses you and how to take care of yourself physically and emotionally in the face of stressful situations.
Stress management strategies include:
Eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise and plenty of sleep:
The payoff for learning to manage stress is peace of mind and — perhaps — a longer, healthier life.
One of the neurotransmitters playing a major role in addiction is dopamine. Many of the concepts that apply to dopamine apply to other neurotransmitters as well.As a chemical messenger, dopamine is similar to adrenaline. Dopamine affects brain processes that control movement, emotional response, and ability to experience pleasure and pain.
Regulation of dopamine plays a crucial role in our mental and physical health. Neurons containing the neurotransmitter dopamine are clustered in the midbrain in an area called the substantia nigra . In Parkinson’s disease, the dopamine- transmitting neurons in this area die. As a result, the brains of people with Parkinson’s disease contain almost no dopamine.
Increased dopamine tone during meditation-induced change of consciousness
“This is the first in vivo demonstration of an association between endogenous neurotransmitter release and conscious experience. Using 11C-raclopride PET we demonstrated increased endogenous dopamine release in the ventral striatum during Yoga Nidra meditation. Yoga Nidra is characterized by a depressed level of desire for action, associated with decreased blood flow in prefrontal, cerebellar and subcortical regions, structures thought to be organized in open loops subserving executive control. In the striatum, dopamine modulates excitatory glutamatergic synapses of the projections from the frontal cortex to striatal neurons, which in turn project back to the frontal cortex via the pallidum and ventral thalamus. The present study was designed to investigate whether endogenous dopamine release increases during loss of executive control in meditation. Participants underwent two 11C-raclopride PET scans: one while attending to speech with eyes closed, and one during active meditation. The tracer competes with endogenous dopamine for access to dopamine D2 receptors predominantly found in the basal ganglia. During meditation,11C-raclopride binding in ventral striatum decreased by 7.9%. This corresponds to a 65% increase in endogenous dopamine release. The reduced raclopride binding correlated significantly with a concomitant increase in EEG theta activity, a characteristic feature of meditation. All participants reported a decreased desire for action during meditation, along with heightened sensory imagery. The level of gratification and the depth of relaxation did not differ between the attention and meditation conditions. Here we show increased striatal dopamine release during meditation associated with the experience of reduced readiness for action. It is suggested that being in the conscious state of meditation causes a suppression of cortico-striatal glutamatergic transmission. To our knowledge this is the first time in vivo evidence has been provided for regulation of conscious states at a synaptic level.”
Oxytocin has an impact on “pro-social behaviors” and emotional responses that contribute to:
However, another review notes that the hormone does not act alone in the chemistry of love, but is “just one important component of a complex neurochemical system that allows the body to adapt to highly emotive situations.”
“After all, it is rather unlikely that any widely acting hormone or neurotransmitter will be narrowly funneled to modulate complex, high-order mental processes that are specific to social cognition,” say the authors of a 2013 paper.Another review has also sounded caution, calling for research to look more to the general effects than to the specific effects of oxytocin that are being interpreted.
Scientific research has nonetheless uncovered brain oxytocin’s specific ability to modulate social behavior, including effects on motherly care and aggression, bonding between couples, sexual behavior, social memory, and trust.
Brain oxytocin also reduces stress responses, including anxiety- and these anxiolytic effects have been demonstrated in a number of species.
One of the so-called ‘love hormone’ studies was published in 2012, and it examined oxytocin levels in new lovers versus those in single people. It found that there were high levels of the hormone in the first stages of romantic attachment, and these were sustained for six months.
As shown in the recent developments listed here, scientists are still busy testing the behavioral effects of oxytocin and its role in human emotions.
RECENT DEVELOPMENTS ABOUT OXYTOCIN’S EFFECTS ON EMOTION
Oxytocin: the monogamy hormone? This study, published in the journal PNAS in November 2013, examined brain scans of men who had received oxytocin or placebo via a nasal spray. The oxytocin was associated with activation of the men’s reward centres in their brains, and with greater feelings of attraction to their partners versus other women in photographs. This followed a very similar study in The Journal of Neuroscience in November 2012: A hormone can help keep men faithful.
High oxytocin levels “trigger oversensitivity to emotions of others.” Released in January 2014, this study inEmotion found that people receiving oxytocin nasal spray saw facial expression of emotions in others more intensely.
Oxytocin makes you feel more extroverted. This 2011 research paper in Psychopharmacology gave results from intranasal oxytocin improving self-perception in social situations, amplifying personality traits such as warmth, trust, altruism and openness.
The hormone that allows us to love may also encourage us to lie. This 2014 study found participants given oxytocin were more likely to lie for the benefit of the group.
13/ BODY SYSTEMS AND HOMEOSTASIS
The systems of the body participate in maintaining homeostasis, that is, the relative constancy of the internal environment despite external environmental changes. This review offers a succinct summary of how the body’s systems function and mentions various regulatory mechanisms that allow each system to contribute to homeostasis.
The internal environment of the body is tissue fluid, which bathes all cells making up the body. The composition of tissue fluid must remain constant if cells are to remain alive and healthy. Tissue fluid is nourished and purified when molecules are exchanged across thin capillary walls. Tissue fluid remains constant only if the composition of blood remains constant.
Is the property of a system in which variables are regulated so that internal conditions remain stable and relatively constant. Examples of homeostasis include the regulation of temperature and the balance between acidity and alkalinity (pH). It is a process that maintains the stability of the human body’s internal environment in response to changes in external conditions.
Cryotherapy: Freeze your way to better health?
NEW YORK — If you think it’s cold outside now, how about enduring temperatures that are hundreds of degrees below zero — by choice?
As CBS New York reports, more and more people are venturing to into the “frozen zone” for health and beauty.
“Everyone’s looking for the fountain of youth. Everyone’s looking for that thing that’s going to make them feel better,” spa-goer Heidi Krupp told CBS2’s Kristine Johnson.
And what makes Krupp feel better is stepping into a chamber where the temperature is an unbelievable minus 141 degrees Celsius. That’s 228 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. The treatment is known as whole body cryotherapy, a new health trend popping up across the country. It is two to three intense minutes of exposure to freezing nitrogen gas. The extreme temperatures shock the system and is said to stimulate the immune system.
In addition to saying it makes you look younger, Krupp said it’s a rush that lasts for hours — even days.
“I am addicted,” she said. “The temperatures are ranging from minus 184 degrees Fahrenheit — I know it sounds scary — to minus 264 degrees Fahrenheit,” said Joanna Fryben, CEO of the Kryolife cryotherapy center in New York City.
Fryben said the treatment was developed in Europe to treat pain related to fibromyalgia, arthritis and other ailments.
“Depression, anxiety, insomnia, and the patients who are treated with who body cryotherapy — they actually also reported an alleviation of these symptoms,” she said. However, there’s been little scientific research on the subject to back up any of those claims.
Extreme cold is known to be effective for pain relief. Sports teams like the Knicks are using it to help athletes with post-game recovery, Johnson reported.
So, Johnson herself gave it a try. “Is it normal to be this nervous? My heart is really beating,” she said before stepping into the chamber.
Her first impression: it was cold. Really, really cold. “I feel like there’s ice cubes all down my legs,” Johnson said.
Yet Johnson said the exhilaration was undeniable. “If you need that burst of energy, you really get it — like right away,” she said.
But pain management specialist Dr. Houman Danesh warns there are precautions that must be taken. “For example, if you have high blood pressure, if you have poor circulation in your fingers, if you have asthma, if you have blood clots anywhere, if you’re pregnant — it’s not something you should do,” Danesh said.
But Krupp is a true believer and says the health and even beauty benefits work for her. “It helps me stay youthful, young, it also actually almost lets you lose a little bit of weight. It just is like a great lift for you. It’s amazing,” she said.
As for the costs, a single treatment is $90, and a series of treatments is less expensive, but not covered by insurance.