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Old thought-beliefs dictated that the mind has no influence on, or control over, the body, its cells, or its many physiological and biochemical functions. This has been refuted (and still is) by a multitude of scientific studies, anecdotal evidence and personal experiences.

The mind has complete influence over the body. We have to choose every moment to change our minds from health-harming thoughts to health-enhancing ones, moving from subconscious mind with past programming, based on past experiences, to superconscious mind, with higher awareness to guide and govern our lives and cellular expression. It becomes clear that what we think, could possibly make us sick or well, happy or unhappy.

As Albert Schweitzer said: “We doctors do nothing, we only encourage the healer within.” That is, our own innate being within.

Candace Pert is a neuroscientist who did extensive research on the neuropeptides over many years. She was the first to call them the ‘molecules of emotions’. Pert originally identified the opium receptor sites on cell membranes inside the brain, for endorphins, already in 1972. She realised that if morphine works as a pain killer, there had to be a similar molecule inside the human body, otherwise morphine wouldn’t have had a specific receptor to bind to for its pain killing effect.

Endorphin was this molecule! The receptor sites for the peptide, endorphin, were first identified in the brain, hence the name neuropeptide. We now know that peptide receptors are found throughout the body and they’re now known as peptides or informational substances.

The complicated and complex communication network between cells, neurotransmitters, peptides, hormones, immune system, blood and nerves, demands a remarkable orchestration of effective communication and integration of form and function, for the body-mind to work as one healthy, balanced and integrated whole.

The moment you change your perception, is the moment you rewrite the chemistry of your body!” – Bruce Lipton, who put the practical application of epigenetics on the map. Refer to his book Biology of Belief and follow-up publications.


Let’s start with epigenetics to better understand how our emotions impact every one of our 50-trillion cells. We are not the victims of our genes, our DNA or the ‘sins’ of our forefathers!  Epigenetics: ‘Epi’ means ‘above’ or ‘over’ the genetic information encoded in the DNA.

The field of epigenetics is showing us that the cell membrane and its receptor binding sites supersede the genetic code and can restore cell function, even genetic in origin. The environment of the cell is ultimately responsible for the efficacy of cell function through selective binding to receptors.

The cell environment includes nutrients, oxygen, water, the vibrations of thoughts and emotions via the molecules of emotion (peptides or informational substances) and ultimately our sense of our soul connection to our Source or Inner Being, to encourage a higher vibration of molecules binding to receptors on cell membranes.

Understanding this will help us know that we’re not helpless victims of our genetic heritage, but powerful beings who can take charge of our own health and wellbeing, by changing the environment of the cell, to ensure correct and effective messages enter through the cell membrane, right into the nucleus and DNA, where transcription for protein synthesis and, ultimately, cell functions take place.

It is a decision to CHOOSE to change your inner and outer life, by improved health-enhancing behaviour. Chronic illness, when regarded as health challenge, is often the first prompt to search for deeper meaning, realising what is important in life and then making the necessary adaptations for a healthier lifestyle.

Genetics do play a part in illness by determining the physical weak links, that is, the physical system where it will manifest first by way of symptoms, such as ongoing increased blood sugar levels, high blood pressure, or weight gain. If you take care of the epigenetic environment, however, the genetic expression can – and will – be changed, or never even express.

Epigenetic direct environment – all of which are in our control to manage and optimise:

  • Water: The interior of each cell is water (97 percent of our bodies consists of water).
  • Oxygen: Breathing – if we breathe properly, cells get more oxygen for energy and cell function.
  • Nutrients, micronutrients (food as medicine) – the healthy, superfoods we eat or drink, provide fuel and support for all optimal cell functions.
  • Hormones, communication (ligand or primary messenger, informational substances).
  • Thoughts, emotions: Vibration of molecules of emotion – the mental-emotional and spiritual aspects of health, also the ligands or primary messenger molecules – known as informational substances or IS).

The cell membrane is therefore the true brain of the cell!

Epigenetic environment is the area of hope and control over our own health, wellbeing and DNA expression

Our cells feel like we do!

Gratitude, or appreciation, deep breathing, lead to a slower, more coherent heart rate (parasympathetic – relax, digest, unwind – system). We can choose in any moment to run the gratitude frequency circuitry inside our minds, to have a positive effect throughout the body and every single one of our cells, as well.

What you spend your time thinking about, becomes the facts of your life. That’s why positive affirmations actually work, provided you really believe and feel them deep inside yourself (otherwise they’re just like Smartie coating only covering the surface and not very effective).

Repeating simple, positive, powerful statements to yourself, changes the frequency of the vibrations around your own peptides, allowing cells to function better, your mind to find solutions to reach your goals and your whole body-mind system to function optimally.

Changing your habitual thought patterns to one of positivity and love, to remove energy blockages, will allow the electrons around the nucleus of your peptides to send positive, feel-good vibrations of waves and particles throughout your body-mind being. These vibrations bind to your cell receptors and allow the message to go right into your three per cent physical and 97 per cent potential DNA, the genetic source of your being. Some of these positive and love affirmations include:

  • ‘I am calm in my body, in my mind and in my emotions.’
  • ‘I succeed.’
  • ‘My body is healing every day.’
  • ‘I feel calmness flowing through me.’
  • ‘I love, accept and approve of myself just as I am.’
  • ‘I live my truth.’
  • ‘Let go, let God.’

Emotions like bitterness, unresolved anger, resentment, fear and worry constantly trigger your stress response. These then become buried in ever-deepening layers inside the cell memories. The layers become the physical footprints of your dream body, psyche or soul, manifesting in unhappiness, mood swings and, eventually, physical illness or chronic health problems. 

Once the cell memories are awakened, they can reach the conscious mind, so that you can make contact with your whole, integrated human beingness, leading to allowing and releasing the deep issues that might play a role in the disease process. Through this, disease becomes a teacher, potentially leading to important life lessons, personal and spiritual growth and healing from the inside out. The choice and free will to follow this path, is yours! You can become all you’re meant to be: successful from the inside, out!  

Establishing which emotions affect which peptides will be the best treatment for all modern day illnesses! This forms the basis of deeper healing work.

The whole range of human emotions are valid and worthy of your complete attention. Become aware of your emotions, welcome them, maybe feel them somewhere in your body, then choose to let the ones that don’t serve your health and wellness any longer, go – it can be as simple as that! It starts with becoming aware of how you’re feeling in this present moment, right now.

Emotions include: 

  • Anger, fear, sadness, hate, resentment, guilt;
  • Joy, contentment, courage, love;
  • Basic sensations: Pain, pleasure.

Instinctual drives are very powerful, but deeply subconscious drivers of behaviour: Thirst, survival, instinct, cold and hunger – the last two being especially important as deeply unconscious saboteurs in weight release efforts as the deep need for protection and support, yearning to be loved, protected, cherished and adored. These have to be made conscious before being released. Diabetes, often associated with overweight or obesity, can be linked to similar trapped emotions.

Intangible, subjective experiences that are uniquely human: Spiritual inspiration, awe, bliss. There are many dormant nerve links between the primitive limbic system where the emotional centre of the brain is, to the pre-frontal cortex where spiritual intelligence and unconditional love reside. Waking up these cross links will help us to become the spiritual, loving beings we truly are.

The following exercise gives you the opportunity to become aware of your emotions. The emotions listed are examples. Use these as a starting point.

EPS Scale: Position where you are, by ticking the applicable number on the EPS scale. It is ideal to do this once a day, soon after you wake up. Then set your intention on a higher bar, just 1 one or two steps up. Then ask yourself: What can I do to feel better, to focus, breathe deeply, align? Connect with nature in this moment, sleep awhile, take a short power nap or a hot bath with essential oils, listen to soothing music, draw a stick figure or two, colour in a mandala. Ask yourself: What brings me joy? Do more of that!


Stop whenever you feel overwhelmed and say to yourself: “I breathe. I turn up the corners of my lips in a small smile. I breathe. I smile in my heart. I breathe. I smile in my liver. I breathe and share this smile with the world.” Feel the immediate shift in mind and body.

Dr Arien van der Merwe

Dr Arien van der Merwe

Medical doctor, author & holistic health counsellor

Dr Arien van der Merwe is a medical doctor, author and holistic health counsellor. She developed and presents continued professional development training through VideoLearn and Synergetica CPD Courses on Mental Health in Challenging Uncertain Times; Heart Health; Inflammation both Friend and Foe and Neuroplasticity.

Dr Arien teaches group and individual meditation and relaxation classes, as well as health coaching online (WhatsApp video consultations) and at her rooms in Pretoria. More info: https://www.DrArien.co.za 

Arien van der Merwe

Dr Arien van der Merwe is a medical doctor, author and holistic health counsellor. She developed and presents continued professional development training through VideoLearn and Synergetica CPD Courses on Mental Health in Challenging Uncertain Times; Heart Health; Inflammation both Friend and Foe and Neuroplasticity. These online CPD Courses explore ways to support both ourselves, our nearest and dearest, as well as our clients/patients.

Dr Arien is the author of Stress Solutions, the ‘Relax & Unwind’ relaxation CD as well as the books Health & Happiness, Managing Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome and Herbal Remedies. Dr Arien teaches group and individual meditation and relaxation classes, as well as health coaching online (WhatsApp video consultations) and at her rooms in Pretoria.