While most expectant mothers wouldn’t think of harming their child with smoking or drinking, how many actually consider what their emotional state may be doing to their unborn child?

The connection between mind and body may have been controversial in the orthodox scientific realm once, but more and more evidence is confirming what most individuals instinctively knew all along, that the mind and body are connected.

Good emotion is just as important as proper nutrition Scientists know that we are linked via direct nerve impulses and that our emotional state is directly translated to the body through the release of neurotransmitters. No one doubts the importance of nutrition for the proper development of the child, but many would argue that emotional nurturing is just as important and should begin in the womb.

Why else would drugs be used to manage emotional issues like depression if there was no connection?

Mind body connection to your baby What scientists are beginning to find is that the biochemical basis for the mind body connection is much more complex than originally thought. The limbic portions of the brain such as the hypothalamus are heavily involved in regulating emotional behaviour and whenever we experience an emotional state whether it’s a “high” or a “low”, we send a corresponding flood of neurotransmitters into the blood stream.

The interesting aspect is that scientists are discovering that this continuous neuro-chemical dialogue we have within our body can actually change our cells’ own physiology in such a way as to alter receptor activity on the cells’ surface.

How do cells communicate? A theory is being put forth that emotions are made in the cells of the body and brain through chemicals binding to specific receptors on the surface of the cells, transmitting information into the cells.

The changes in the cells are then picked up by nerve impulses travelling across the cell membrane to produce the corresponding changes in behaviour, physical activity and mood. It is this mechanism that is suspected of storing memories and emotions.

Laughter is indeed the best medicine! Pleasurable feelings, joy and laughter all result in a cascade of beneficial endorphins being released into the body with well-established healing benefits. When you think about the bundle of joy you’re expecting … enjoy yourself as much as possible, listen to pleasant music, enjoy good comedy, take relaxing walks, meditate, or whatever else makes you happy.

Mario Alonzi, B.Sc., Manager of the Nature’s Source store in Mississauga