C is for Coherence

There is a new understanding of what it means to be healthy. To feel healthy means to feel “coherent.” Coherence is a special kind of “wholeness” in which every part of the body is intercommunicating with every other part. And when all systems are in coherent organization, interacting harmoniously with each other, you have the experience of health or well-being. Viewing health as an emergent property of a complex dynamic system means that health is no longer about homeostasis, but rather a healthy body is always on the move, constantly changing, constantly adaptable. This understanding that health is communication is the basis of mind-body medicine and is currently revolutionizing health care. For instance, neuroscientist Candace Pert has concluded that neuropeptides, the tiny bits of protein that consists of strings of amino acids, are responsible for our emotions, and that these “molecules of emotions” are the nexus between body and mind. At the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Dr. Esther Sternberg explains that the science of the mind-body connection, based on her discoveries in brain-immune reactions, proves that stress can make you sick and believing, or the placebo effect, can make you well. Then there’s Dr. Mae-Wan Ho, who unites feeling and thinking with her theory that the body is a “liquid crystalline matrix,” which suggests that the water in our bodies is linked together by a hydrogen-bonded daisy chain able to conduct electricity and transmit weak signals of information, serving as the body’s communication network. Overall, the new metaphor is that biology is a dance, or as Dr. Ho specifies, quantum jazz, with the body being quantum coherent from microcosm to macrocosm, as each molecule plays and improvises together, spontaneously and free yet required to keep in-step and in-tune with the “whole.”

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