by Stuart Alpert
A Story for both Therapists and Clients: “Necessary Struggles”
A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body out of that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no further.
Then the man decided to help the butterfly, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small shriveled wings.
The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would then contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of his life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It was never able to fly.
What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was the restricting cocoon, and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening, were God’s way to force fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings, so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.
Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If God allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been…and we would never fly.
Our life struggles include our illnesses and all of our aches and pains. In our culture, the most common view is that we “get” a disease or illness, as if it happened to us in some sort of random luck. We tend to say “I got arthritis” or “I got tinnitus.” This idea feeds the belief that we have no control, and are a victim of whatever illness happens to strike. The opposite extreme purports that we have created our own health problems, so we should be able, if we were aligned enough, to “un-create” them. This concept can lead to self-blame, to guilt, and to a hard determination to solve the problem. These feelings can be counterproductive, creating even more stress.
Neither of these viewpoints is completely accurate. In truth, we are not to blame for the physical symptoms we develop nor are we completely powerless. Every symptom is simply a part of our process and a message from our body and spirit. Each has stemmed from old hurts and traumas, which, when healed, can lead to newfound wholeness.
In-Depth Body Psychotherapy and Subtle Energy Healing practitioners have helped countless people. Understanding and working with the emotional and energetic roots of physical pain and illness can create deep physical and/or emotional healing. This process takes place within the realm of subtle energy.
In-Depth Body Psychotherapy and Subtle Energy Healing works with the invisible to heal the impossible.
At the center of all life is a Subtle Energy, also known as chi, prana, spirit, vital force, or Akashic Field. We are all a part of this vast dynamic web of energy. Quantum physics is leading us to understand that subtle energy is the medium that holds consciousness and connects all of us to one another. On our most fundamental level, the human mind, psyche and body are not distinct and separate from our environment, but a packet of pulsating energy that is constantly interacting with this vast energy sea. When we meditate, perform an exercise in visualization, or are deeply focused and “out of our own way,” we feel “in the flow.” We are in touch with the field of subtle energy.
Ervin Lazslo writes about the Akashic Field, describing it as an informational, holographic energy field that binds everything in the universe together. He postulates that the entire universe consists of our history of experience, our memories and our pure consciousness.
Although matter appears solid, it is interchangeable with energy. How matter and energy are interchangeable is one of Albert Einstein’s greatest discoveries. In fact, matter is made up of Subtle Energy. Subtle Energy is the energy that connects everything in the universe. Therefore, on a personal level, communication and parent-child relationships do not only take place in the visible realm, but in the subatomic world. Emotions that are a part of these exchanges communicate through these subtle energy frequencies, as well as through our cells and even through our DNA. The heart and brain perceive the world and record their own history of the experience in pulsating waves. So too, emotions are molecules of energy that come together, forming a response to internal or external stimuli.
For example, we experience energy when we walk into a room where two people are sitting quietly, expressionless. We can feel ease, tension, or discord “in the air.” You intuitively know or have a body sense that these two people are relaxed or upset with one another, even though there are no outward manifestations. Whether this is your psychic ability or intuition at work is beside the point, it is your body experiencing the vibrations and frequencies of subtle energy.
With this definition and understanding of subtle energy in hand, how do In-Depth Body Psychotherapy and Subtle Energy Healing work? Our therapists are dealing with energies that have created experience. They look at how the body organizes itself based on the nature of the energy we bonded with as children. We learn how various emotional states are created, and whether or not our early life experiences supported the flow of subtle energy and consciousness. For example, love contains energies of warmth, softness, and flow, while various forms of negativity possess energies of hardness and destructiveness. Our subtle energy expands in relation to warmth and softness and contracts in relation to hardness and destructiveness.
With In-Depth Body Psychotherapy and Subtle Energy healing, we discover how our subtle energies formed in relation to the combination of love and support or emotional and/or physical abuse that our energy field had to deal with. Subtle energy creates the defensive structures that help us survive the abuse. These structures take various forms in our body; structures which tend to block the flow of energy necessary for optimal health. These defensive structures can manifest as the form of collapse or compression, rigidity, frozenness, or formlessness.
An example of this can be seen with a single celled amoeba swimming in protoplasm. An external prod will cause it to change shape. It automatically reforms itself as it pulls away from stimuli. Our body, filled with an infinite number of cells responds in the same way to external stimuli.
In our therapy, we are not just working on the physical body. Since energy created the disturbance in the first place, we must work with energy to solve it. It is essential to undo the negative energy that created the defense. We must work through the trauma in order for health and wholeness to occur.
For example, imagine that as a child our aliveness and separateness was met with invasion and humiliation. Our parents did not want us to be separate or fully alive. To prevent our aliveness and separateness, they mocked, criticized or embarrassed us. In response, our energy body formed a defensive compression and density in order to deal with our parent’s negative energetic and emotional force. The compression is not only experienced at a muscular level, but is also seen in our cellular structure and all how our organs are aligned. Compression can lead to specific forms of inflammation and pain. The compression may be in our intestines or colon, so that later in life we develop intestinal and stomach problems or perhaps, a spastic colon that leads to colitis. The aches and pains that we believe we have to live with are expressions of how we compressed ourselves and the resultant tension. Dealing with the trapped and unresolved emotional trauma can release the compression. The release of the compression in turn, releases our held subtle energies and therefore, creates a realignment of our body.
No matter how we had to form in the face of abuse, we are affected down to the level of our spirit and our soul. The soul is the spark of divine consciousness that lives in each of us. It is the essence of each being that continues beyond lifetimes. The soul of this psychotherapy is the energy in each session that is beyond words, beyond intellectual knowing, where spirit brings messages of what is necessary for both client and therapist in order to move toward wholeness, toward enlightenment.
When we talk about working with body, emotions, and spirit these are all really manifestations of one another. They are interconnected. In summary, it is our Subtle Energy, or spirit that enables us to form defensive structures in the first place. And in relation to healing, our spirit, which is connected to the universal web of Subtle Energy, has incredible powers to heal us and to heal the world. It is within this world of pulsating waves and frequencies that In-Depth Body Psychotherapy and Subtle Energy Healing takes place.
Our Pain and Illness Are Not Randomly Created
We are all complex, multidimensional organisms. We know that a physical ailment affects us emotionally. But left unattended, an emotional or spiritual wound can also become a physical ailment. All processes in this dynamic, multi-layered system occur at the same time; every event in every cell of our body is known to every other cell at the same time. Even our memories are stored, not only in our brain, but in every cell.
Our biological responses to emotional trauma and stress are very sophisticated. At the same time we need to understand that our targeted areas of pain and illness are not random. Our specific pains and illnesses are the result of life’s emotional trauma and our responses to them, all beginning in childhood. These traumas can stem from the months of prenatal development through our early years and even onward, into adulthood.
An example to illustrate this phenomenon is how your body freezes when we are severely traumatized by violent emotional and/or physical abuse. For example, imagine that as an infant, rather than having an emotional and energetic welcome into the world, we are met with a threat of annihilation. Time stands still, our biological systems go on high alert and we can’t feel anything? Our infantile perception diminishes and we can hardly breathe? Our frozenness indicates that our body has gone into a state of shock and the dissociation indicates that a part of our spirit has left your body.
Frozenness and dissociation is the way we survive the violence. Frozenness becomes an actual reality in our body as we have to lock our joints against the threat of annihilation. Imagine an overwhelming threat coming toward you. You can feel how you shrink in your body and contract your muscles and joints as a response to the threat. These negative experiences are now frozen in time and still live in our body. They create chronic tension and stress reactions, which, over time, if left unattended, will lead to muscular pain or a breakdown of joints. Perhaps later in life we discover we now have developed arthritic symptoms.
In-Depth Body Psychotherapy and Subtle Energy Healing therapists understand that energy and matter are convertible. That is, energy can be converted to matter and matter can be converted back to energy (Einstein’s theory: E=mc2). To illustrate this, let’s look at tumors, breast masses, and other illnesses and diseases which are results of energy that has been blocked and stagnated. With the introduction of healing energy, light, love, comfort, or acceptance into the area of blocked matter, In-Depth Body Psychotherapy and Subtle Energy Healing therapists have had significant success in converting matter back to energy. This has resulted in masses disappearing before scheduled surgery as well as the remission and/or cure of many illnesses and diseases.
We hold the belief that every illness and disease is a message from spirit about either the physical, emotional and/or spiritual healing that needs to take place. The illness and disease are also messages of where energy is blocked in the body and a way that our spirit is bringing our attention to the block. As spirit seeks to heighten our awareness of where we are blocked, we have the opportunity to heal a spiritual/emotional wound that can allow the blocked energy (matter) to be converted back to flowing, healthy energy.
For example, let’s take a quick look at the Parasympathetic and Sympathetic Nervous Systems, the balance of which is negatively affected by chronic stress. So many of us, in this rushed world, suffer damaging effects of stress, such as high blood pressure, insomnia, anxiety, fatigue, autoimmune disorders, to name a few. Healing energy can help regulate our adrenal system, which is taxed by stress. It can calm our brain’s automatic fight or flight response that stress induces. In fact, healing energy can even create an increase of neural connections to the pre-frontal cortex. The pre-frontal cortex is the part of the brain associated with being able to mediate the response of the limbic or emotional brain with the fight and flight response of the reptilian brain. This allows us to know when something is truly dangerous rather than automatically respond as if everything is potentially dangerous.
Unfortunately, we tend to get stuck in our past defending against “old trauma” and living as if we are in constant danger. As we work with and heal our past trauma we can rewire this way of defending ourselves. The rewiring of our brain and the balance of our nervous systems enables us to live in a more balanced and healthy manner. We now find ourselves in a healing state of being as we connect to a higher level of functioning, our own deeper place of wisdom that also connects us to universal consciousness.
Although our therapists can help to guide clients toward deep healing, a full physical healing is not always a given. Sometimes the healing is of an emotional or spiritual nature. How complete the physical healing is depends on several factors: the message our spirit is sending to us, the level of physical deterioration that exists, and our ability to live into and through our resistance into our emotional hurts and trauma as well as the old embedded negative energies from the original emotional abuse.
As we begin the therapeutic process, even when there is physical deterioration, improvement is possible. We don’t know in advance the nature and extent of the healing that can occur. In order for any healing to take place we need to suspend judgments and obsessions about what can be accomplished and allow our body and emotions to realign into a quieter, calmer state of being.
For those readers who are interested in understanding the details of our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems responses in relation to stress and relaxation, you can proceed directly to Appendix A and B or you can take your time and read about the various aspects of the In-Depth Body Psychotherapy process.
As was discussed in the section on Subtle Energy, our emotions are forms of energy and expressions of our aliveness. If we support each emotion that forms in our bodies our energy flows and we are in a state of equilibrium. We then remain in a high and positive vibration. When we block our emotions, we block the energy molecules that make up the emotion. Over time, the experience of our blocked energy intensifies. Depending on how we organized our bodies in order to survive emotional and physical abuse, we can either become over-charged or lose our energetic charge and become under-energized. Either way, the blocking of our emotions has the potential to create a misalignment of muscles and organs, over or underproduction of hormones, misfiring of our neural system, less oxygen being carried throughout our body and limited or overactive respiratory response.
Emotionally, we all live with a dilemma. The dilemma is that different needs compete with one another. On the one hand, there is our biological and energetic need; an innate imperative, where aliveness always moves toward free expression. On the other hand, there are times that we may need to limit this expression in order to defend ourselves. We can understand that the dilemma can occur even if we are not actually endangered. This happens when we limit our aliveness in order to seek safety and protection from abuse that already occurred. The result of old learned ways of staying safe meeting energy and emotion seeking expression is physical tension. Tension lived over a lifetime can result in the breakdown into pain and illness of various systems.
The Creation of Our Pain and Illness
In working psychotherapeutically with a client’s physical pain and illness, I begin the process by exploring the biology of the specific problem. For example, discussing Hyperthyroidism as a case in point, at first I would review that the condition is caused by an overactive thyroid gland producing an excessive amount of thyroid hormones that circulate in the blood. If necessary, I would look up this information on the internet. Next, I want to understand how the client’s emotional and physical organization creates and perpetuates their condition. Remember, our emotional and physical organization is the impact of the combination of abuse and support that we received in our childhood. This organization is also how we learned to find safety in relation to these childhood energies. With this understanding in hand, I want to apply it to the client’s specific pain or illness. In the case of Hyperthyroidism, I would explore with the client’s that their way of attempting to remain safe that became their defensive organization was an attempt to stay ahead of the abuse of their childhood. This was their attempt to have to constantly anticipate abuse and it created a constant state of hyper alertness. Continuing, the exploration of the emotional and the physical interface, I would want to understand what the tension pattern is that caused and perpetuates their physical condition. I would observe that their particular hyper alert emotional state is held in place by a band of tension around the throat and that their head was out in front of the rest of their body, rather than being aligned with neck and shoulders. The position of the head is the physical expression of attempting to remain “ahead” of anticipated abuse. It also perpetuates a constant stress response.
Physically and energetically, there is an upward displacement, a pulling away from the ground that would lead to a somewhat dissociative state. I would understand that this physical organization places pressure on the thyroid gland and therefore, has the potential to increase hormonal production. I would help the client focus on their body organization and help them decode the messages, the story, that the organization is holding. I already know that the story is a story of abuse and victimizing energies that was a part of the client’s childhood. The story also contains the information regarding how the client has learned to deal with their emotional life by limiting it .
My understanding is based on the truth that emotional and energetic victimizing energies (the emotional or physical abuse) manifest themselves as the tension patterns we develop and then eventually break down into symptoms of pain or illness. The way we were victimized, abused, becomes trapped in our bodies and we wind up continually defending ourselves against the old abuse. Pressure is created due to the battle between our need for release and its opposite, the holding against release. The result of that battle is a symptom. To achieve the release of the symptom, we need to “un-form” and then reform the physical organization that we developed to help us survive.
Physical Symptoms are Messages
On an emotional level, symptoms are manifestations of unconscious trauma that obstruct our path to wholeness. Physically, our symptoms are our biology and our deepest place of wisdom of informing us of being out of balance. On a spiritual level, symptoms are messages that are alerting us where and how we are blocked to becoming one with the divine. The information from the messages doesn’t come to us in a linear form such as an email would. We need to decode the messages that our pain and illness provide. The decoding needs to take place like a Shaman understanding the meaning of a vision or a dream. In this way we can align ourselves with our emotions, body, and spirit rather than continue to fight and bemoan how we feel.
An essential ingredient in working with our clients or our own physical pain and illness is having faith in process and opening to understanding the multi-dimensional nature of the physical, the emotional, and the energetic. One must be open to the healing messages that come from our deeper place of wisdom and from spirit that can lead us toward transformation. Working into our emotional trauma impacts all of the dimensions of our being; physical, energetic, and spiritual, as well as emotional. In this way, we receive the deepest healing possible, whether the healing ultimately, is emotional, physical, or spiritual.
The work that we need to do in order to heal our wounds, whether the wounds are emotional or physical, includes letting go of how we struggle with ourselves, letting go of our internal war, and accept and love ourselves no matter how we feel, certainly more than we already do. As we give up our internal struggle, expand our consciousness, and open our heart to ourselves, our energy and body align into a healing state.
My job as a therapist is to guide you, the client, to feeling safer in your own skin, of your feeling surrounded by love and protection. I might encourage you to invite images of strong and loving mother or father figures, caring friends, and family members from which you can accept, or “take in” a feeling of love and comfort. Or I may help you connect to whatever spirituality that is already a part of your belief and experience. This may include a sense of the most powerful feeling of safety in the universe. Employing animal imagery, I might help you connect to an animal of bonding, a loving animal that will love and protect you. There are times that animals feel safer than people.
Other images of support may be an image of a ring of animals surrounding you, protecting, and keeping you safe, or having you imagine being inside a tree or a mountain, whatever image of safety we can create together. Throughout the process, I want to help you embody the image. That is, I want to guide you into taking the image into your body so that is more than a mental picture. It then becomes a physical, emotional, and energetic reality. As you relax into this feeling of safety, a feeling of peace and strength will grow. No matter what else you do, integrating love, safety, and understanding, and appreciating their resistance is vital to your healing. A daily practice that deepens the connection to the image of safety is vital. You are now looking after your-self, loving your-self, deepening a channel into the feeling of peace and well-being.
The process we are in together will help you develop increased levels of “internal support.” I also need to become aware of your resistance to taking in safety and protection. That may sound like an odd statement. Why on earth would you resist feeling safe and protected? Consider this question! Unfortunately, we all become tied to old ways of doing things that include the layers of armor and stiffness that we have built up, as this was the only way we knew how to survive as children. Letting go of those old way of protecting ourselves can feel unsettling. It’s unsettling in fact it’s frightening, because imagining safety can open us to how we were traumatized when we did feel safe as children.
The Power of Imagery
Although, imagery is not the only method that I bring to the session, it is a central aspect of the work that we do in In-Depth Body Psychotherapy. Images are messages that can come from deeper places of our own wisdom or can be messages from spirit. As we learn to dialogue with these images, we begin to welcome and respect them. We find that they have information for us about the reason that our pain and illness exists and lead us onto the pathways to our healing. As discussed above, it is important to understand that the way that we work with imagery is to help you “embody your images.” This means that we help you feel each experience you have in their body, not just think about them in your mind. Embodying experience is what leads to your feeling the fullness of who you are. It is a proven fact that imagery has the power to shift your biology. Ultimately, the therapy that we do focuses on your body and the subtle energies in your body.
Specific Ways that In-Depth Body Psychotherapy and Subtle Energy Healing helps you:
- Develop and internalize new channels of acceptance, love, safety and protection.
- Create a dialogue with the pain and illness in order to receive messages from the physical condition. At the deepest place of internal wisdom, you absolutely know the reason for your illness, its cause, and what would enable you to return to balance, health, and well-being.
- Guide you toward inviting an image to emerge from your pain and illness so that the symptom can inform you why the condition is in your life and what you need to understand about it. You can invite an image of an animal to emerge, however, whatever image your spirit sends you is perfect. Then, we help you to talk with this image, until it provides you with the information regarding what the symptom is here for and what it needs from you to heal.
- Allow an image of healing to emerge to guide you on your healing path. This image may be of a wise person or animal who will guide you toward health and well-being or an image of a pain-free, healthy you. Again, there are endless possibilities to what the image might be.
- Create a dialogue with a spirit guide. Some of you may see an image appear, others may feel a sense of a guide. Either way, be open to be guided. If this concept feels foreign to you, you might understand the process as the image that appears or sense that you feel as an expression from your higher power, that a deeper place of your own wisdom is communicating with you. The ability to dialogue with a deeper place of your own knowing, that is, communicate with the images, with the symptoms, or with Spirit, can takes you into a healing state where your energy and body become aligned.
- An important note is that it is not a problem if an image or a sense of a guide doesn’t appear or if you are unable to dialogue with the symptom. Whatever your experience is becomes a part of the process. For example, if you feel blank, then we help you explore the reason for your blankness and how blankness was the impact of childhood abuse and is now a part of how you stay safe.
In this communication process we will help you:
- Ask the image what it is here for and if it has a message for you.
- Become aware of whether the image that emerges possesses a victimizing, abusive or a healing, spiritual energy.
- Ask the pain or the illness what it needs from you
- Ask at what age and under what conditions the pain or the illness was born in you.
- Ask the spirit guide, image or the symptom itself to help you know and experience what you need to understand about the pain or the illness.
- Be the abusive, victimizing energy that creates the pain or the illness. Here’s an example of becoming the victimizing energy: If you feel your intestines tied up in knots we would help you become the force that ties your intestines in knots. We call this Victimizing Work. Victimizing Work is very important in terms of identifying and releasing the internalized negative energies that are still trapped in the body and therefore, perpetuates the symptoms. The result of this part of the process is that you no longer have to hold against the negative energies and can identify and release them. Therefore, you are making more room to “take in” feelings of love, compassion, support, and safety.
- Allow an animal of healing to emerge to help guide you to what needs to happen for a healing to take place.
- Become aware of how you create the pain in your body. Once again, be assured that you will be guided into an exploration that will provide you with the answer to this question.
- Bring light and the energy of spirit into the pain or illness.
- Bring an image and energy of a good parent’s love and comfort into the pain or illness.
- Authentic emotional contact with the therapist is very important. This is the positive, new bonding that you needed and didn’t receive as a child.
- Create a supportive and healing community for yourself.
- Reduce obsessional thinking by the development of a mindfulness practice. A mindfulness practice allows for emotional, energetic, and physical alignment as you focus on immediate experience. Only in the experience of the present moment can you truly perceive what is real, and reduce your obsessive thoughts, which are based on your focusing on the past or the future. Your ruminations about what has already taken place or our worries about the future keep you from feeling alive right here, right now. The more mindful you are, the more that you are aligned in your body.
To understand optimal health is to understand that there needs to be a balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. Like two children on a see-saw, skillfully balancing the board with a minimum of tension, the SNS and PNS carefully maintain metabolic equilibrium by making adjustments whenever something disturbs the balance. The SNS becomes dominant at times of stress. Inside our body the alert signal goes on and we are ready to take action. It turns on our fight or flight response. In contrast, the PNS promotes the relaxation response. When the stressful situation passes the PNS takes over and we can let down and relax. This is how we biologically deal with survival during crises and traumatic situations and return to a relaxed state when the crisis has passed.
Stress reactions reduce the body’s less important functions; those not related to dealing with the emergency. Here’s what takes place during the stress reaction: our adrenal glands release adrenaline and other hormones, especially Cortisol, which increases breathing, heart rate and blood pressure. This moves more oxygen-rich blood faster to the brain and to the muscles needed for fighting or fleeing. And we have plenty of energy for either, because adrenaline causes a rapid release of glucose and fatty acids into our bloodstream. Also, our senses become keener, our memory sharper, and we are less sensitive to pain.
Let’s look at all of the changes as a result of our being brought to alert status in order to deal with stress:
- Acceleration of our heart rate
- Increase of blood pressure
- Movement toward either a decrease of ventilation to remain calm and resourceful or hyperventilation to prepare for battle
- Skin becomes tense as blood moves away from the skin
- Blood clotting mechanisms become activated
- Lowering of gastro-intestinal functions
- Higher adrenaline production has a suppression effect on the immune system
- Either a lowering or overactive sexual functioning…the lowering to bring more energy to fight or flee or overactive sexuality to compensate for reduced feelings of aliveness and vibrancy
Cortisol is an important hormone in the body, secreted by the adrenal glands and involved in the following functions:
- proper glucose metabolism
- regulation of blood pressure
- Insulin release for blood sugar maintenance
- Immune function
- Inflammatory response
Cortisol helps the body produce blood sugar from protein for more energy. However, excess glucose is used for lipogenesis (fat production). Interestingly, research has linked over-secretion of Cortisol to increase fat storage and obesity.
Small increases of Cortisol have some positive effects…
- A quick burst of energy for survival reasons
- Heightened memory functions
- A burst of increased immunity
- Lower sensitivity to pain
- Helps maintain homeostasis in the body
Higher and prolonged levels of Cortisol in the bloodstream (like those associated with chronic stress) have shown to have negative effects, such as:
- Impaired cognitive performance
- Suppressed thyroid function
- Blood sugar imbalance such as hyperglycemia
- Decreased bone density
- Higher blood pressure
- Increased fat which is related to increase in heart conditions, stroke and the development of higher level of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and lower levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL).
- A cumulative effect of chronically overloading the brain with powerful hormones that are intended for short term duty in emergency situations damages and kills brain cells.
Prolonged stress with the SNS remaining active also produces…
- Poor attention
To keep adrenal functioning and cortisol levels healthy and under control our body’s relaxation response needs to be activated. It is important, however, to recognize if your cortisol levels are high or low. High cortisol levels are the result of the response to chronic stress and represent the adaptation phase of the stress response. Low cortisol levels are the consequence of adrenal exhaustion or the exhaustion phase of the stress response.
Therefore, chronic stress, with a constantly overactive SNS can affect all of the systems of our body.
Endocrine (Hormonal System)
Going Down The Rabbit Hole…Excess Cortisol from chronic stress speeds aging, by shortening telomeres.
“Going down the rabbit hole” is a way of expressing an ever-deepening understanding that may be never ending. What was previously invisible is now becoming increasingly visible. With this greater visibility comes the possibility of healing that which was thought to be incurable.
The latest research indicates that too much of a rushed, overbooked, multi-tasking, high-stress lifestyle is shortening our lifespan and stunning our immune system at the cellular level, by inhibiting the cells’ youth enzyme, called telomerase. I‘m sure you are familiar with the above mentioned stressors. But another form is the continual stress induced by how we have organized ourselves in relation to the abuse of our childhoods. Stress that is related to childhood abuse and stress that is related to societal stress are not independent of one another. Each impacts the other and effects adrenal functions.
These adrenal functions that produce cortisol now have an effect on telomeres. Every cell contains a tiny clock called a telomere, which shortens each time the cell divides. Short telomeres are linked to a range of human diseases, including HIV, osteoporosis, heart disease and aging. Studies have shown that an enzyme within the cell, called telomerase, keeps immune cells young by preserving their telomere length and the ability to continue dividing.
UCLA scientists have found that the stress hormone Cortisol suppresses the immune cells’ ability to activate their Telomerase. This may explain why the cells of persons under chronic stress have shorter telomeres. The study reveals how stress makes people more susceptible to illness.
In another groundbreaking work, Bruce Lipton has presented new discoveries about the interaction between our mind and body and the processes by which cells receive information. It shows that genes and DNA are controlled by signals from outside the cells, including the energetic messages emanating from our thoughts.