Friday, October 6, 2017

Our body clock: confirmation of the existence of horary points

I was interested to read in the Guardian a few days ago that the Nobel prize for medicine has just been awarded to three scientists “for their discoveries on the molecular mechanisms controlling circadian rhythms – in other words, the 24-hour clock.”  These scientists “were recognised for their discoveries explaining how plants, animals and humans adapt their biological rhythm so that it is synchronised with the Earth’s revolutions.”  “They identified a gene in fruit flies that controls the creatures’ daily rhythm, known as the “period” gene.  This encodes a protein within the cell during the night which then degrades during the day.  When there is a mismatch between this internal “clock” and the external surroundings, it can affect the organism’s wellbeing – for example, in humans, when we experience jet lag.”

The article quotes Sir Paul Nurse, the director of the Francis Crick institute in London, as saying “Every living organism on this planet responds to the sun.  All plant and animal behaviour is determined by the light-dark cycle. We on this planet are slaves to the sun.  The circadian clock is embedded in our mechanisms of working, our metabolism, it’s embedded everywhere, it’s a real core feature for understanding life.”

The article goes on to say: “The rhythm of day and night affects our health and our cognitive functioning.  When it is disturbed, we are. But our sense of upset, or even jet lag, is just a minute part of the whole living world’s adaptation to the alternation of day and night: animals, insects, plants and even plankton show a cyclical pattern of behaviour as the Earth turns.  This is built into their DNA.”

I don’t think there is a better way of describing the action of the “light-dark” (or as we would put it the yin-yang) cycle of the elements.  How lovely when science confirms what the ancient Chinese discovered thousands of years ago, and we use every day in our practice as we attune our patients’ energies to the daily and seasonal cadences of the elements.

A footnote to the blog above which I wrote a day ago:  In a further newspaper article I have just read the following:  "In the past decade...scientists have shown that clock genes are active in almost every cell type in the body.  The activity of blood, liver, kidney and lung cells in a petri dish all rise and fall on a roughly 24-hour cycle. ...In effect, tiny clocks are ticking inside almost every cell type in our body, anticipating our daily needs."


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