Some Fun Facts

The existence of the Ether was crisply disproven by the Michaelson-Morley experiment. Now there are many other cool things it did not dispositively disprove like super-strings, so science fiction lives on.

One of the nearly equally spooky properties of the world is the piezoelectric force. When you squeeze or deform certain things they manifest an electromagnetic force field. How cool is that?

While knowledge of the piezoelectric property of certain materials has been known about for over a hundred years its function in biological systems has only much more recently been understood. Its role in biology was first described in bone and was initially exploited to aid in the healing of fractures that did not heal properly. This was circa mid the 1970’s.

Since that initial discovery of the biological role of piezoelectric properties in bone we have found its role in ligaments, tendons., DNA/RNA expression and environment, regional field effects on enzyme expression and the resulting elastic properties of arteries, the role of shear forces on healing and damage of cells, activation of immune cells, induction of mitochondria in cells, induced apoptosis (death) of cancer cells. Frankly this is where one says ‘on and on and on.’

Other than the gee-whiz factor why do I bring this up? Because in almost all cases recruitment of the piezoelectric effect improves health and increases longevity.

Are you interested? Exercise. Boom! Exercise. Understanding the role of the piezoelectric effect/property on health leads you deeper into the deep science of exercise and closer to the ‘code’ of life.

The short course goes something like this: get your electromagnetic fields all working for you and everything else will take care of itself.

You reasonably might ask how you ‘get your electromagnetic fields all working for you?’

If this feels like an impending lecture on Qi or elan vital or The Force, relax. How those ideas might map onto the piezoelectric effect in biological systems is a task for historians of thought, but it does nicely raise those questions.

Here is how you get those fields working for you: you shock the system. Shock. Shear forces within the arteries, deforming forces across long bones, compressive forces across flat bone. Sudden, forceful, full range movement: ballistic, explosive and full range with as much neurological complexity as you can handle or learn to do.

The more athletic you become the more electromagnetically aligned you will become. Notice the word “athletic” in that last sentence. Simply jogging is not athleticism. Almost everyone can start jogging by just getting out of a chair. Now, sprinting takes some work; proper arm and leg recruitment, body positioning. Oh, and lest we forget, you have to work up to it by recruiting over a prolonged period of time the right piezoelectric fields so that your tendons, ligaments and bones won’t break under the load transients but will have been force-field molded into greater strength and flexibility.

Hmmm…piezoelectric fields. Yum.

Simultaneously you will have improved brain and immune function, cardiopulmonary fitness as measured by increased VO2 max., fired up the hypothalamic/pituitary/thyroid/adrenal/testicular axis and started producing more anabolic hormones, besides testosterone, like insulin-like-growth-factor I and II. The gains in lean muscle mass, not seen in sustained sub-maximal exercise like jogging, will improve stress and cortisol metabolic clearance which decreases the catabolic, destructive, effects of physiological stress on the body, mind and spirit.

OK, so there is this cool property from physics usually associated with crystalline structures, that powers many of the important health benefits of exercise. Why would that be?

Well, I can rehearse the whole story from the emergence of amino acids and nucleic acids from pond scum but the salient part of the story is found in a different part of our history on the earth.

Any of you who have followed my blogs and know how important I believe examining the anthropology of man, culture and biology can be in elucidating the intertwined story of the possible and actual in the long arc of our genetic and existential history. Applying this same principle to the inquiry into the role of the piezoelectric effect in biological systems we see that our environment and capacities and anatomy and physiology all point to our emergence as a species and our current gifts and skills reveal our hunter-gatherer self or being. As a species we are those hearty Norsemen, fishing and hunting, pillaging, plundering, raping and spreading the genetic future, we are those astounding Olympic gymnasts, those Olympic lifters nearly deified in Greek art and culture, those brilliant Russian ballet dancers with impossible leaps and grace, those indefatigable professional basketball players. Sure there are genetic freaks among the Olympian heights but we share the same divine spark: the piezoelectric effect.

Smile, Have Fun, God Speed,

Dr. Mike


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