Sunday, 14 April 2013

Secret Life of Cells

Several posts ago (On a Healing Mission) I spoke of putting myself through a crash course in anatomy and physiology to get better acquainted with the structure of the human body as part of a healing quest. As a result I became fascinated with how the body functions and particularly the endocrine and immune systems, critical agencies in supporting and maintaining good health. I assigned roles to various cell blocks of the immune system, beyond that given by biologists, and drew parallels with national state security agencies such as MI6, CIA and Mossad.

            Thus far medical science has identified three cell-types: the killers or the elite special forces in the team, whose specialty is to identify and destroy viruses and foreign tissue; the helpers assist their comrades in going after highly specific targets – they are the counter intelligence gang. Finally, there are the suppressors, who serve a regulatory function, ensuring that the immune system does not go wild and attack itself, as well as attacking the ‘not-self’ parasites such as cancerous tumour and other foreign invaders.  These are the police, border patrol and psychiatrists in the system!
            
Like the planetary ecosystem, the human immune system is also a network of interdependent structures and processes that work together to protect the body. Our immune system is an amazingly complex, elaborate and dynamic communications network. It consists of millions and millions of cells, organized into sets and subsets. Like an army of worker ants in a hive they pass information back and forth in response to received information, such as an approaching invader of some kind.
Cells in the human body
            
            Our B-cells and T-cells function to both trigger and enable immune responses in support of our wellbeing, and to kill latent infections and tumours before they can develop into full blown diseases. Once immune cells receive the alarm, they become activated and begin to produce powerful chemicals. These substances allow the cells to regulate their own growth and behaviour, enlist other immune cells, and direct the new recruits to trouble spots.

            This vast variety of cells uses pathways in the lymphatic and circulatory systems to transport immune response cells around our body. They attack, disable and kill foreign and destructive invaders – bacterial and parasitic microbes, fungus and viral infections – in order to keep us healthy. 

              As I gave time and  attention to my physical well-being, I acquired a greater awareness of why the body, like society, develops 'rogue' or 'terrorist' cells, can get blindsided, attack itself and generally generate havoc. With symbolic sight, we can discern a direct parallel with what stops the systemic breakdown and collapse of society when it is attacked by dark malevolent forces intent on undermining it, and the immune system’s determination to protect our bodies.

  Just as any nation state needs a strong defence force, so the body's immune system needs to be empowered to remain vital. However, over-medication, high levels of stress, and consuming excessive amounts of junk food suppress the immune system. On occasion it becomes blind to the enemy within, such as cancer cells and the stealthy pile up of the arsenal of those ‘silent killer’ diseases, allowing them to flourish and replenish, and eventually bring down the whole edifice’.

 Regular fasting gives the body time off from tackling the onerous task of digesting, absorbing and eliminating waste following the consumption of vast quantities of junk and pathogen inducing foodstuff that we are partial to in the Western world. Unfortunately this is too often responsible for triggering the onset of diseased, 'not-me' parasitic growth in the body. Fasting also gives the body an opportunity to cleanse toxicity, tackle anti-bodies and clear out the dead.

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