October 2012 Newsletter

Upcoming Events

In the next few weeks we are running the following events - (click on the green wording for more detailed information on related website pages.)

Creating the Conscious Business Sunday Oct 21
Body Reading Workshop Saturday & Sunday Nov 10 & 11
Narcissism & Borderline Personality Workshop Saturday Nov 24
Body Mind Retreat Sunday Nov 25

Please feel free to contact us if you wish to enquire or book into any events.

The Epigenetic Effect - How Body Mind Psychotherapy May Be Rewriting Your Genes

When you and I went to school we learnt in science how our genes were hardwired and we all suffered or benefited from genetic determinism. This term which had been coined in the 1850's era of Charles Darwin was basically the idea that we each inherit a set of genes from our parents.

The thinking of their era was that these gene combinations come from our ancestral lineage and are the fixed blueprints by which we develop and grow at the cellular level.

The underlying assumption was that these genes are fixed blueprints that do not change throughout our lifetime. These are our "nature" and our "nurture" has little effect on our being as we express our physical and personality traits through our genes.

Medicine was largely built around this premise. Your doctor explained that if you were unlucky to inherit a few mutations or "bad genes" then you were a victim to these and powerless to do anything about it. Medicine stood by to cut out the offending growth if that was its gene expression effect, or to give you pills and medicine to cope with its symptoms if that was its nature.

The idea that our genes are software or can switch off and on like a light switch was a heresy in science. When in 1953, James Francis Watson and Crick found the double helix spiral science proclaimed that "nurture" was dead, long live "nature". They believed they had found the mechanism that proved the hard wired nature of our genes in each one of us.

The idea that people could heal was never seriously entertained after that.   People were taught from that point what you and I got shown in school and University that we are victims to our genes. It was the operative myth of our era.

In fact it was Bruce Lipton who brilliantly pulled apart this myth in his milestone book, "Biology of Belief". Never before had some put the argument and truth together in a way that exposed the denials and lies of the mainstream scientific and medical communities. As he stated, only 5% of human diseases have a genetic component or cause, and so how can we be victims to what only affects very few of us.

He explained that it is our environment that influences in a vast majority of cases what goes on in the processes of health or illness causation. Genes show up in this process as agents of protein, hormone or messenger molecule production as a coping or response strategy to what stimulus is perceived as meaning by the cell having the stimulated experience.

After much debate science had to come out of denial that its beliefs around genetics were wrong. The role of "nurture" assumed new importance in the debate and new models of genetics. We are actually a combination of "nature" and "nurture" and cells have a primitive form of cellular impulse or consciousness.

In the year 2000 a milestone was reached with the decoding of the human genome. The real surprise in this accomplishment was the unlocking and decoding of the human genome uncovered about only 13,000 genetic markers or base strings from which all 100,000+ substances in humans are built from. The model had to change again in order to fit in with the new understanding of the human genome and DNA architecture.

The science of Epigenetics got its legitimacy from this day onwards. For the first time science was confronted with hard facts that undermined existing models of how we exist from our cellular foundations.

We now understand that environmental stimulus can evoke changes in our DNA expression, and that as we adapt to new environments throughout our life, we shape and change our active DNA profiles as part of that adaptation. We have now overturned the idea that the only DNA changes that occur to us are not the result of mutations in our inherited DNA.

Our genes have an ability to switch themself off or expose themself again for replication, based on the way each cell interprets from its membrane the meaning of outside stimulus. Our mind can also influence and instruct the same DNA to switch themselves on and off which has major health approach implications.

We are no longer victims to our genes. We will no doubt learn over time more about how our mind creates psychosomatic (emotional based illness) and psychogenic (mental state based creator of illness) states of disease. We will learn how to meditate or visualise for wellness (this exists already) that satisfies the left brain medical model with its over-reliance on measurement and evidence.

The hardwired DNA blueprint that produces babies is still a constant in this new world of Epigenetics. It is the area of lifestyle and environmental influences that show the basis for cellular change towards health or illness.

Epigenetics is now revealing how emotional/mental conditions such as depression trigger DNA changes in key cells that produce symptoms associated with depression. For instance severe or ongoing depression can actually shrink your brain by blocking the formation of new nerve connections.

The effect disrupts neural circuits associated with mental functioning and emotional regulation. We see this as the fuzzy thinking, loss of concentration, and also the monotone emotional state which can then explode into rage. GP's and psychologists tend to use Anti-depressant medication as the treatment to numb out and contain such symptoms.

Epigenetic research has shown that for these depression sufferers genes involved in building neural synapses in the brain between brain cells get switched off. The wider effect is that the important conscious part of the brain, the pre-frontal cortex, actually shrinks in size.

Other research has shown that depression sufferers regain these faculties and lose these symptoms when they engage in psychotherapy that involves expression and discharge of negative emotions. The release of negative thoughts, feelings and tensions produces a health affirming turnaround, and again an Epigenetic mechanism may possibly be implicated.

In the future we may see more emotional psychotherapy solutions used as emotions are now seen increasingly in the Epigenetics world as being key enablers in the gene switching process between on and off states. Wilhelm Reich and other bodymind psychiatrists have long argued that modern man suffers from an "emotional plague".

The emotional plague is that idea that mankind has learnt and been conditioned to disown their bodies, disown their feelings, and as a result we now suffer numerous mental, emotional and physical illnesses, hence the term plague.

Researchers can now state they can see that emotions such as joy and anger can trigger changes in DNA expression. It is also now thought that wireless LAN transmissions, mobile phone radiation, Electro-magnetic fields, and energy hotspots all can be received at the cellular level and trigger epigenetic gene expression switches which lead to illness.

Likewise energy healing modalities like Reiki may be inducing positive epigenetic gene expression switching leading to wellness. Massage which has a touch component and an energy component may also be acting at an epigenetic level, not just at a physical muscular of fascia level.

The nature of DNA is that it is passed on to future generations. The new science makes sense in that if our gene expression changes throughout our life based on environmental factors which are trying to help us adapt to environmental circumstances, it prepares the next generation well.

Modern researchers are starting to wonder just how extensive this "nature via nurture" process extends into the human lifetime experience. Richard Dawkins is an acclaimed leader in researching and being a thought leader in human consciousness, our natures, and the reality behind mankind, god and the universe. He stands across science, medicine, philosophy, and religion to create models of synthesis and analysis that few other writers can achieve.

Dawkins notes that there are novel and complex processes at play rather than a simple protein string replication function which was the old science explanation for this molecule production process. Dawkins proposes that the hardwired aspect of the DNA which is the overall process of how we evolve and grow in stages, firstly in the womb, and then outside the womb, may itself come under environmental or "nurture" influences all through its stages.

He redefines the old detailed and hardwired blueprint model of self evolution as more a recipe of ingredients and base processes that shape the journey. Environmental stimulus shapes how much of this and how much of that get expressed in that recipe along that journey.

Our skeletal structure, muscles, tissues, organs and shape start to show environmental influences. We are literally shaped by our nurture in accordance to over-arching principles of DNA nature and the laws of biochemistry. This might sound revolutionary but it is in fact not the first time that this hypothesis has been put forward.

Many readers would be surprised to know that for over 100 years there has been a body of mental health science which has proposed exactly this model of human development. This model and its proponents suffered a similar fate to anyone who in the past 200 years who challenged the mainstream views of medical and mental health science. They were denounced and persecuted.

In the early days of the nature versus nurture debate there arose a French scientist and biologist by the name Jean Baptiste Lamark proposed that living creatures evolved in part though the environmental forces that pressed on them and around them, as well as the inner environment of diet and constitution of the creature. Our inner and outer world experience literally shaped our physical expression.

Lamark suffered professional character assassination for his views. The English scientific community still somehow suffered from the old English versus French rivalry from the now passed military and naval days of history. Lamark went against the established view and the new darling of the English scientific world, Mr Charles Darwin. Lamark suffered and was isolated, sidelined and died a poor man when his commissions were withdrawn.

Roll forward to the early 1900's and meet Mr Wilhelm Reich, once the right hand man to Sigmund Freud in the early days of psychology. Reich started to form the view of the body being the container of the unconscious mind and also that the role of nurture was critical in understanding the role of physical, mental and emotional diseases in the body and mind.

Reich started to formulate views that went against the establishment. He went against the trend of reductionism by refusing to separate body and mind in the therapy room, and started to formulate views and theories that involved human energy fields, psychosomatic and psychogenic illness in the body, and the role of suppressed sexuality and guilt in mental disorder formation.

Wilhelm Reich was a classically trained scientist who published a large body of works which are still available today. He became esoteric and even strange in the latter part of his career and was eventually character assassinated and persecuted by the American Federal Drug Authority in the 1950's.

His crime was to build and sell Orgone therapy devices which resemble today those infra-red sauna boxes people sit in to detox and lose weight. He was pursued, prosecuted and sent to a federal prison for his "crime". He died in prison a broken man.

Federal authorities and the medical community ordered all his papers, books and research destroyed and burnt. Never had there been, nor has there been since, such hysteria at the medical establishment level. Their witch burning was an attempt to suppress the truth as his arguments had analysis, clinical trials, and data behind them to support many of his hypotheses.

What Richard Dawkins proposed in 2009 was exactly what Wilhelm Reich proposed in 1909. Reich did not have the language of Epigenetics to support his views but he had clinical trials and observations of thousands of mental health patients to provide evidence for his hypothesis.

Reich in effect could tell from the genetic expression as written into the storyboard of the body how the oral story of the client was clearly seen and mirrored in their body. He knew from the outcome and how the story of environmental dynamics of the patient matched features in body shape, posture, muscular development, tonality of body, blood pressure, illness history, relationship history, and personality defences and characteristics.

Reich was able to prove how our mental/emotional personality has a concurrent expression in the body through physical form. He could show how the client history and the environmental influences and "nurture" by parents and others had a direct bearing on their mental/emotional and bodily expression or outcome.

Dawkins is saying the same thing in 2009. Wilhelm Reich, Alexander Lowen and John Pierrakos are all pioneers of this bodymind psychotherapy lineage. They have in past eras without the benefits of the knowledge of epigenetics, been able to articulate and evolve theories and remedies based on this epigenetic or "nature and nurture" view of life.

They were able to map out the environments, stimulus, mental and emotional factors present which then caused "expression" in the body of body mass, muscle, fatty deposits, tone, shape and style. Likewise they mapped the parallel mental/emotional personality traits that arose in the same dynamics. Dawkins is only a pioneer in as much that mainstream medical science has not denounced his views as heretical like what happened to Lamark and Reich over our recent past.

Reich wrote his famous book "Character Analysis" in 1933. This book centres around the key hypothesis of the effect of environmental stimulus and the role of emotions and mental suffering as to how we each then formed body defences (characterology) and mental/emotional defences as a result.

Nearly 80 years later the millions of clients put through these models over that time have validated the models and tightened our knowledge and refinement of each character type. Epigenetics has now started to show how these micro processes work at the cellular and DNA level but the important macro body of Reich, Lowen and Pierrakos work lies in front of us now waiting to be revisited and re-interpreted.

Our tradition which is known as Integrative Body Mind Psychotherapy (IBMP) stands on the shoulders of Reich, Lowen and Pierrakos, as well as the other key contributors such as Pat Ogden, Bruce Lipton, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Dalai Lama, and other teachers who illuminated the path or who supported me in this journey. We are re-interpreters of these earlier pioneers of the work.

Their body of knowledge is likely to undergo revision in time and so integration is an evolving process more so than an event. In terms of Reich's work it can be understood as the Epigenetic expression of our developmental natures.  Reich should be recognised as the first westerner to show how the various environmental/nurture forces produce certain Epigenetic outcomes at various developmental stages in human beings.  For the full version of this article, check out our article The Epigenetic Effect.

Upcoming Events

On the weekend of November 10 & 11 we run one of our most fascinating courses titled The Art and Science of Body Reading. This 2 day course offers the best of both conceptual and experiential work in exploring how our bodymind is shaped into 5 broad archetypal outcomes. This course is based in part on Reich's Characterology, Lowen's Bionergetic Character Analysis, and more recent work by us to map these character structures to trauma and developmental frameworks, as well as Buddhist psychology frameworks.  This workshop has limited seats. Do not let the chance to attend this workshop slip and the past has seen a few late enquiries disappointed by not being able to attend.

This month is quite exciting for Richard launches the Conscious Business movement in Perth and conducts the first seminar on the topic Creating the Conscious Business. Richard is a thought leader in the Australian Conscious Business movement and was recently recognised as such at an awards ceremony in London.  Conscious Business is based on the proven shift in societal consciousness taking place around human needs for meaning and purpose.

Future business success will be built around developing a compelling total customer experience in which key values are lived and expressed in that engagement. This ethical and sustainable way of conducting business is now attracting strong support from all walks of life who find themselves alienated from the self serving natures and poor service of many modern business enterprises.

If you are thinking of creating a new business, want to be a New Economy entrepreneur, or want to resurrect a business flat lining or declining, you cannot afford to miss this information, or the opportunity to be part of the Conscious Business Club.  Ring or email Richard directly on 0407577793 or info@energeticsinstitute.com.au for more information.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any queries or wish to make a booking for private therapy or a group event.

Enjoy your month!

Richard Boyd

Director, Energetics Institute

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