The main electrical system of the body is the nerves, but, it is more complex than that – nerve cells communicate with cells in the immune system using special chemicals called neurotransmitters (the same method they use to talk to each other). Nerve cells work by being negatively charged inside relative to the outside. They transmit electrical signals along the nerve by one cell “firing”, leading to a sudden influx of positive ions into the next cells through channels in their outer membranes. Most other cells also do this, but nerve cells do it much more quickly.
A lot of the research attention is on the vagus nerve, which connects the brain, heart and spleen. The cause of many immune system problems is when the spleen cells are in a state of continual stimulation, and they can’t stop producing inflammatory substances, such as tumour necrosis factor (TNF), which is involved in causing rheumatoid arthritis.
New therapies are now being developed (electroceuticals) whereby a small computer implant can be “tuned” to control part of the vagus nerve, which is like a major telephone cable – it contains many strands, and you can work out which group of strands operates which part of the body’s systems. They also connect to different areas of the skin where the implant can be located. In this way, parts of the immune system can be stimulated occasionally, so that they “switch off” and stop the over-production of the floods of harmful substances. Results show that this works better than the drugs that are currently used – drugs stop all TNF production, but the electroceutical method reduces it by 80%, which is far preferable.
There is a major research investment going into electroceuticals at the moment, and it seems to have good potential. Maybe soon we will all have an implant about the size of a grain of rice, which can be programmed to help fine tune our immune and endocrine systems.
A spiritual view.
From this perspective we can make some other comments :-
- it looks as though medicine is about to rediscover acupuncture, which can only be a good thing!
- the esoteric systems sometimes mention that all of existence has an electrical nature, which we are generally blind to. There is an interesting new initiative from the Lucis Trust called the Electric Bridge - http://www.lucistrust.org/en/arcane_school/the_electric_bridge - they quote from an Alice A Bailey book …………. the mystery of electricity—the greatest spiritual science and area of divine knowledge in the world, the fringes of which have only just been touched. (The Reappearance of the Christ, p 122-3)
- we have an idea from science (Faraday’s law) that electricity is generated by the movement of a conductor through a magnetic field, and increasing either the strength of the field or the speed of movement will increase the amount of electricity generated. Obviously, this will also apply to a very small extent to the human body within the magnetic field of the earth.
- classical theosophy talks about the connections between the planes of existence and the flows of energy within and between them, such as the chakras, the “etheric body”. However it is not easy to understand the texts !
- experientially, I’m not sure when and how an “energy” might become an “electrical” current or signal in the body - it seems easier to sense energies rather than currents or voltages, and indeed, our direct experience of electricity is very unpleasant, such as electric shocks and nettle stings.
from New Scientist, 20th Feb 2014.