Book Review: Molecules of Emotion

Molecules of Emotion, The Science behind Mind-body Medicine, by Candice B. Pert PhD.


This book was Candice Perts personal account of linking the mind and body through science. Candice B. Pert PhD. is a Neuroscientist, Researcher, and Pharmacologist. She dedicated her life to help discover endorphins and their role in the human body. Through her research she discovered the opiate receptor and the began to unravel the role of the neurotransmitters and their connection to the emotions. Pert names the molecules of emotions as neuropeptides.

She goes on to explain that these are not found only within the brain but in the gut, muscles, and other vital organs. After her rant of not receiving the Lasker prize- the book was well written and very interesting. She sways between the technical language of psychoneuroimmunology to the common terms of how the body responds chemically to hugs.

"For decades, most people thought of the brain and its extension the central nervous system as an electrical communication system . . . resembling a telephone system with trillions of miles of intricately crisscrossing wires."

But Candice goes onto explain that the brain is full of hormones and the body is the “unconscious mind”. She talks about how activities such as meditation or mindfulness can impact the bodys function. The book is an in-depth explanation of how our thoughts and emotions truly impact our health.

  I think that the numerous examples of how the mind and body are intricately linked is a great reminder that we are in more control of our health than it may seem. This is a very empowering fact.

I also like that these concepts of the body-mind and meditation, and the more “esoteric” aspects of life are broken down in this book in a very scientific manner with years of dedicated research. To many people this gives these concepts more weight. Candice Pert is a believer of holistic medicine and uses a very scientific groundwork to prove her points.

 This book was a great read and a beautiful reminder of the interconnectedness of our bodys' system. This book might be too scientific for some people out there  as I can see it would be easy to get lost in the biochemistry and neuroanatomy. I often want to recommend this book to people but ended up just telling them about it, because its easy to get turned off due to all the science lingo.

I loved this book and learned a lot about neurophysiology and I look forward  to reading the book again to continue to understand these concepts and incorporate them into my daily interactions with patients. 

Photo from

Photo from

Pert C. Molecules Of Emotion, The Science behind Mind-Body Medicine. New York, NY: Scribner; 1997