Tuesday, March 29, 2016
I am always amazed at how early our basic personalities begin their lives. I have been primaling lately about how from the very start of infancy a basic tendency set in……..I could not say no to anything my father demanded. This started before I could articulate why and how that happened. I was strictly obedient before I could speak. My father’s presence was enough to strike fear in me. I remember when I was fourteen he told me to sit still and finish my milk and not to budge until I did. I obeyed without question. It never occurred to me to refuse. Why? I was terrified. That terror began with an imprinted latent terror set down in gestation with a psychotic mother who feared everything and everyone. Laid on that was my first sense of my father who exuded anger and intolerance. When I say “exuded” it is what I mean; it poured out of his skin, the way he breathed and the look on his face. His actions were brusque and abrupt. I learned as a baby to steer clear of him. And then the inability to say “No” set in. His demands were touched by anger and expectations of immediate obeying. Before I could talk I could not refuse anything and go against any sharp demands. Mrs. Wardrop at my high school was the twin of him and I obeyed her to the letter. I simply had to obey and could not say “No.”
Now for confirmation: “What makes our brains so special?”.
Scientific American, Nov. 24, 2015, Diana Kwon (see http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-makes-our-brains-special/). She discusses the remarkable ability for recognition and cognitive capacity in infants. After all, we are born with a large brain. The study cites the work of the Allen Institute for Brain Science. They compiled a huge spectrum of expression patterns in different species. They found abundant data to identify unique signatures within humans. We are very similar to other animals. Chimps and Bonobos. What is evident throughout is that wee infants pick up the signals from their environment before they speak, and they have no other reference but to follow the dictates of that milieu as a measure of survival. We learn very, very early before we can even imagine that learning has seriously begun. Because it is so early and because there is no other key countervailing influence, that behavior is sealed in, perhaps for lifetime. And without Primal Therapy it would have. I had to scream NO over and over again and set up scenes where he demanded things of me with his sharp, impatient tone and I could finally refuse and answer him back. It was not done in a day. It was deeply embedded behavior from the start of my life. My therapist demanded of me, and at first my immediate tendency was to comply. It took a long time until I separated my self from my father. That I was not him and vice versa. The terror of him was merged into the general terror that my gestation and above all, my birth trauma, almost dying of lack of oxygen, had inculcated into me. I had to re-experience both kinds of terror to bring the level down so I could function. For years up to college I did not function and could not learn. ADD up the whazoo. I had no way to focus and concentrate because terror was constantly sending its messages to my brain to agitate me; and get ready for a disaster that had already happened. Only I never knew it. I had embedded approaching death into my system and it would not leave.
I had panic attacks and unrelenting nightmares all through my early life. The terror was surging upward trying to escape but I never knew about it. I was just nervous all of the time.
I never considered college because I knew I could not concentrate and was too shaken to focus. I never even knew I was anxious because I grow up with it; it was my normal state. In the same way I never knew I was unloved until I got it later in life. My neurosis was ego-syntonic, a total part of me. It was “natural.” And being normal for a while felt a wee bit not natural.
I had to get used to using “no.” It was engraved into a brain that was dominated by instant impulses, like the shark. It was the reflex brain at work. Its prominent mode of operation was instincts and impulses. Those dominate our lives. It is what I call first-line. As we ascend the nervous system and approach the present, each developing nervous system adds its weight. Brainstem strongest and dominant. Then the feeling, limbic system and finally the neocortical level. Never imagine that the strongest is the neo-cortex processes. They have no chance against deep brain areas; and that is why anger management, addiction therapy and mental counseling all take a back seat for control of our learning and behavior. The immediate attack and act before thought is how the brain develops. It is evolution at work and we can never abrogate that biologic law. Luckily, we have found a way to give way to the brainstem and allow it to flourish and find its way in our living. We do not beat it back and imagine it is dangerous. It is only dangerous when repressed.
And one day I went on a speedboat ride with a bunch of kids. And they starting shouting with glee (I was the captain), Art, can I drive the boat, can I lift the anchor? Can I steer? I said listen kids. No matter what you ask I will always say “YES”. The parents looked at me and shook their heads. But those kids never asked to do anything that was dangerous or stupid. I trusted them completely. And they learned a lot about boats and sailing. Instead of a negative experience it was one of great joy. How can anyone beat that? YES!
Monday, March 28, 2016
It is all over the news lately. Many states are trying to control the sale of serious pain-killers and slow down the spread of addiction. OK fine. Does anyone care what addiction is or why it is there? What makes addiction and why is the most effective pain-killer also the most effective, and the most addictive? Does it mean that those who need it are actually in pain? Yes, but no one sees it; and the deepest level of imprinted pain where the hurt is almost ineffable tells us two things. That the deepest levels of brain function also harbor the deepest levels of pain, and that the earlier the trauma the more one needs pain killers that no one can see or is aware of. Thus pain is installed from gestation on and is devastating. Because the need is at its asymptote and must be fulfilled; or else there is untold suffering. And one needs to kill the pain without ever knowing it is there.
And then there are the medical pundits who stay awake at night trying to take their medicine away. Do they know what lies there deep in the antipodes of the brain? How could they; what they see is the need for drugs and never say to anyone, “Why the drugs?” It is as if diabetics need medicine to control their blood levels while an army of specialists are trying to stop them from having it. The pain is lodged in the brain and the need to stop it is biologic. All this is a direct legacy from the Behaviorists who see only behavior and want to change it; the YMCA approach. They stay on the surface and do not go deeper in their understanding because they do not go deep into themselves. They do not recognize a deeper self, and that misunderstanding and superficiality seeps into all of the Addiction Centers who practice non-scientific, booga booga medicine; lots of good food, exercise, no work and conseling and emotional support. Wonderful for amelioration but never approaches causes.
Yes these powerful drugs are addicting because the cause remains untouched. And so the response of using remains untouched. Yes of course there are dangers, but ask any addict if he is willing to take the risk to be bereft of pain he does not know exists? But it is importuning and takes precedence above all else. If someone is jabbing you with a needle could you concentrate and function?
I have seen this embedded pain for 50 years in my Primal work. It qualifies as ineffable. I have measured it, filmed it and studied it with addicts, enough to know that serious addiction must be in-patient because when the pain comes up, even in small titrated doses, it is devastating. The good part is that once the pain is relived it is gone from the system, one small piece at a time. But if it is not relived exactly as it was laid down, it will remain for a lifetime and become “ADDICTING.” I have seen this over and over in those who come to me from addiction centers who have not relived as neurobiology dictates and go on suffering. They are recidivists because the pain has never left, even they have gone through the motions of screaming and crying. It is not that therapy does not help; it has to be the right help. It has to rely on science. There are no shortcuts or easy answers, no quick-fix. It took a long time to be seeded into the system and will take time to undo it. The level of this seeding/imprinting is marked by methyl traces what tell us where the pain is lodged and how agonizing it is. And we will soon measure the traces to show how and when the pain leaves the system and how strong it was. This undoing of history is called demethylation; it is the new brain science that marks the level of imprinted pain. Primal pain is neurobiologic, not like a pin prick that comes and goes. Primal pain lingers because the pain lingers. That pain is the in and out of addiction. If never recognized addiction will not leave no matter our best intentions despite all those delicious and expensive chef-concocted gourmet meals. Hey, I would love that that despite not being addicted; let’s see, no work, lying around, exercising and being paid attention to and helped with counseling. Sign me up. How much did you say? Several thousand a month to be pampered? Wait a minute, let me think about it.
This is an email from a former patient I received recently:
"Thanks for writing this….
I was one of the addicts that you cured with primal therapy, real primal therapy, at the primal institute. I thank my lucky stars…. that I went through primal therapy so long ago … every thing you say is true… drug treatment is a racket…. it makes the corporate health care system billions… and doesn’t offer real hope for anyone… My own father was a drug addict, and i watched him die from cirrhosis. The same thing would have happened to me if it wasn’t for you… thank you."
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Do I mean there is a hormone of love? Yes and with a good birth you will have plenty of this hormone in your system. Bad birth—low on the ability to give and receive love. Mothers who had a poor birth history and lack of maternal love from early on, do not have enough milk to give their newborn.
This hormone is called Oxytocin, (the medicine is known as Cerbetocin) and it not only offers us the biologic capacity for love but it also softens pain and makes life bearable. And what can it do about stress? It can treat stress disorders with something that boosts oxytocin. In short, it ameliorates pain and suffering. More, it can counteract anxiety states, which often translates into terror disorder. It can soften stress-related genes. Wonderful. We need to make sure we have it. In the hippocampus it softens potential psychiatric disorders.
There are several studies on the subject; one with rats who had restraint stress. These rats often became depressed. As would humans who were stuck in the canal during birth. Oxytocin had a marked beneficial effect in those animals who had previous stress. The system rushed in to help out as best if could, as if to say that love is an ideal remedy for hurt and and anxiety. And “here my friend, is a dash of love to ease your “suffering.” The system knows that love is what it is all about. That the antidote to pain is love, and with love all of the natural functions start to normalize.
The problem is that it is not so easy with humans. We cannot offer hugs and kisses and solve the problem; it is too late. But there is a way: feel unloved and unfulfilled and open up the closed gates which tried to block too much pain into conscious/awareness. And slowly as we reopen the gates we can feel love again; pain diminishes and the biochemical processes readapt. Wow, what love can do. The point is even before we are born , stress can change us epigenetically and we grow up thinking we suffer from a genetic affliction because it happened so early. In other words, we are being shaped long before we go to school and interact with others. Those experiences are important but not as critical as womb life. The origins of behavior problems exist long before we can behave socially. And this is very true of mothers who are stressed before and during pregnancy. They are creating imprints that endure in us and can affect us for a lifetime.
What I think Primals do by lowering pain levels is increasing oxytocin. I believe this is true in those advanced patients who seem far more capable of love. It seems to change the imprints in the limbic system so that the feeling centers can function properly at last. So we learn to love from loving parents but the capacity for love is much more epigenetic. It is inside us, and our systems, when normal, are well prepared for it. “OK, I am open. Shove it in and I will tell you when I have had enough.” ENOUGH!
Saturday, March 19, 2016
I just saw one of the worst films ever by well known professionals. It never moved me for a second and yet here was a man who helped change the entire world but you would never know it by the film. Too many intellectuals in the mix in the film called Steve Jobs. But here is a much worse crime; someone using name, books and therapy to promote himself as a Primal Therapist. So what is the crime? Pretending to help Jobs when there was no chance of that happening. That is the danger of the charlatans. It is a precise science that takes years to learn. Some professional cannot just pick up a book and know how to do it. Who suffers? The patient; in Job’s case it was fatal.
I have no idea what was wrong with Jobs nor if I could have helped him, but we have treated seriously ill patients. And some with success. With a charlatan it cannot be said because they fool around, hoping that something might happen. This is no different from the myriad of addiction clinics springing up who offer good diet, exercise given by professionals, talk sessions in group or otherwise, and with no scientific results whatsoever. Worse, no control at all by government nor scientists.
Where do these people get the idea that they can fool around in psychotherapy without proper scientific backgrounds? No measureable results? They want to be loose and free and do whatever they think might help.
This is not a game, but unfortunately there are no laws or laws to follow since therapy in history has been pretty much of a game, where anyone can play. So they add dance therapy and massages to help patients feel better while ignoring the cause. Do those “healers” really believe they are treating a serious affliction? Or are they selling hope? They are selling a concept, an idea to fill the heads of the sufferers and patients are encouraged to recount at how much better they feel. They do not work or study while at their healers compound, so of course one can feel a bit better. No responsibility. No taking care of kids, no work just play and go through the motions of getting well.
We have treated enough deep addictions to know what is behind most addictions. There is no place here for booga booga therapy. It is a crashing malady that requires understanding, empathy and knowing about the deeply embedded roots and imprints roiling the brain. If there is no deep brain experienced there is no cure. There is no soft way in or out of it. Pain in and pain must go out. But only in a systematic, evolutionary way. No shortcuts. If the cause is pain and duh! They take pain-killers, the way out must involve pain; not any pain but exactly the pain that was laid down years before. The pain that endured because it remained lodged in the deep brain. Oh yes, let us not forget where deep pain lies and how and where it must be approached. If we stay on the neocortical level how can we ever treat deep-brain processes? And that is where the imprinted pain remains. We can dance around it but it is the source, hidden and well sequestered but a force to be dealt with. Who ever anointed the healers that they could treat addiction? The same people who told them they could treat migraine and high blood pressure? We can see addiction so we think we can treat it. Wrong!
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
We all know that early lack of love, traumas will cause illness and shorten life span. But now we have a more precise way to measure it. We measure that damage through methylation and damage to the cells which can be different from ordinary senescence. In other words all the abuse and neglect takes its toll on the cells and affects our longevity. The genetic clock may be very different from the purely unique development of ourselves as we grow older. That discrepancy may indicate how long we live. The more early traumas the wider the gap. The genetic clock is accurate and plays the music of our lives for us. We dance fast or slow depending on the results of the clock, which is more accurate than measuring the well-known telomeres. These deep cells can age and the telomere levels remain the same. Telomere levels did not prevent senescent aging.
The importance of late research is that by disconnecting ordinary aging from heavy methylated cells we have a truer picture of how we age and why. Heavy methylation, inter alia, can tell us about how much early trauma we have undergone. And then that should leave no doubt that when we are unloved and unfulfilled early on, it will alter our lifespan. We never just “grow out of it.” In a sense our cells evolved differently the rest of us, as strange as that seems. But many scientists are calling into question the statistical measures used in this study. So we wait, but we do not have to wait to know what we have observed over 50 years: that being unloved and unsupported and untouched early on creates damage which is palpable. I see it when we reverse severely high blood pressure, which ultimately impairs heart function. I see it in breathing problems that result of anoxia during the birth process, which can lead to severe pulmonary dysfunction. Numbers are fine but seeing it and understanding its impact is crucial. When we observe patients reliving the imprinted damage and hear the cries and screams we know the harm it is all doing. When we hook up patients to electronic measures and see the rises in heart rate and blood pressure, we no longer have to guess about it. During reliving early anoxia the blood pressure can skyrocket in patients. And we see the “why” in chronic rapid heart rate or long-term breathing problems. What methylation does is measure the amount of damage as a corollary to what we observe.
They found that obese people have an epigenetic aging of the liver that increases faster than one would expect. Sooner or later that aging liver will drag us along with it and cut our lives short. There are many examples but I believe it is now a truism. When full of pain we do not grow old gracefully.
Saturday, March 12, 2016
When is that point?
We cannot change personality so long as the imprint remains to drive us; and the little love we get later on may not be enough to allow us to change direction. And more, the shutoff that occurs with gestation and birth trauma may be so great that we are helpless before it. We no longer can let love in; we first have to feel agonizingly unloved by our parents. We cannot purposefully open up because we are then open to great pain. The pain has to be out of the way first.
Why do we have to feel unloved first? Because it is a memory sealed in and engraved thanks to the process of methylation. That chemical helps to make sure the memory lives on in our memory bank. Once we address the imprinted memory and help to undo the methylation process, the system opens up all on its own. We need to undo repression so that we can feel again. When we "feel" unloved we begin to feel once again. If we open up first to any feeling we will be overwhelmed with pain. If we gain access slowly over time to lesser hurts we will not. We will be on the road to fully feeling.
An article in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health sheds light on this problem by analyzing the quality of interactions between mothers and their children. Researchers from Duke, Brown and Harvard universities conducted a long-term study of 482 adults, using data from the National Collaborative Perinatal Project (NCPP), a Rhode Island, New Jersey-based observational cohort of pregnant women and their children (Maselko, 2010). The researchers observed the interactions between mother and child at the age of eight months. Those mother-child exchanges were then classified as high- or low-loving interactions. Decades later, the children were studied again as adults. The mothers who were judged most loving produced offspring who were low on anxiety, hostility and general distress. There was more than a seven-point difference in anxiety scores between loved and unloved children, and a three- point differential in hostility scores. Unloved offspring are more hostile. In brief, the higher the mother’s warmth, the lower the score in distress.
Doesn't that tell us a great deal? And it means that very early love is so, so important. Without it we have a damaged soul, someone more likely to fall ill and who has poor social skills. That lack of love makes us unable to interact lovingly with other adults, decades later. Affection is all, even if we had first line pain. You cannot as a parent say, “My children know I love them. I just can’t show it.” Sorry, that is not good enough. It is like saying I know my child is hungry but I cannot feed him. There is that need for warmth that cannot be abrogated. Love is love and there is no compromise. Either you love or you don’t and it will show up decades later in the feelings and behavior of the person. We can “smell” a loved person; they exude it in every pore, in every word and every movement.
I have for decades stressed the importance of early love in preventing the suffering we see in so many patients who didn’t get it. Now, science has found the means to prove the point. As the authors of the maternal love study concluded, “It is striking that a brief observation of level of maternal warmth in infancy is associated with distress in adult offspring 30 years later,” stated lead study author Joanna Maselko, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University. “These provocative findings add to the growing evidence that early childhood helps sets the stage for later life experiences and provide support for the notion that biological 'memories' laid down early may alter psychological and physiological systems and produce latent vulnerabilities or resilience to problems emerging later in adulthood."21
Epigenetics is all about experience, about nurture over nature. And in a dialectical process, nurture can become nature; that is, the system treats the intruder of experience as genetic and heritable. And we then confuse the two in trying to understand it. In Primal Therapy, we are the dealers in experience because we have seen what experience does to us, especially very early pre- verbal experience. If one sees one primal one knows for all time how crucial experience is in the scheme of things. The cause is rarely a brain disease. That is an answer concocted by those who fiddle around in neurons and synapses and do not see the brain reacting to experience. If we leave out experience we are bereft of what can give us answers. We see only the end result and miss half of the puzzle. It is like looking at diabetics and never knowing what they eat. If we leave out the first three years in an orphanage can you wonder that we can never know what the matter is? Thinking it is a brain disease is the result of another more serious disease: solipsism.
And neither is the problem “all in your head,” as mindfulness and other cognitive therapies suggest. A true cure can never happen with a cognitive therapy that never touches deep-lying imprints that deviated and deviate the system. Intellectual therapies never operate on the levels that set off deviations. They operate on the derivatives, the effluvia of the early imprints such as deviations in perception or thought patterns or learning. Treating all that never makes a profound change. And who suffers? The patient.
But isn’t this what medicine today is about – treating symptoms? Lowering blood pressure, giving allergy medication, restructuring behavior. It is called “whack-a-mole.” Every time a symptom shows up, just whack it back. And don’t ask where it all came from? Experience takes a back seat as we slither down into the depths and minutia of the brain seeking answers that do not exist there, and never will.
I offer a rather immodest proposal. In our coming brain research we hope to measure the process of demethylation so that we have a quantitative measure of progress and the diminution of repression. In brief, we shall measure pain and how it is stored and where. It may then be possible in this way to undo the driving force of aberrant behavior and the manifestation symptoms. This is to say, that we hope to reduce the primal traces on the genes that have driven behavior for most of our lives. To add to the immodesty, this will mean reversing history and undoing imprints that have held our lives in such constrained fashion, reducing our options for behavior, and reducing physical afflictions.
If our hypotheses confirm our expectations, I believe it will change the face of psychotherapy as we know it. We will let science answer. But, I must add that in addition to science, we have been doing exactly that, reversing the imprint for thousands of patients over almost fifty years with highly significant results. That too, is science at work. We apply our theory to the treatment of patients so that eventually we leave the realm of theory and see the results in the flesh and blood of our people. Theory becomes palpable, in the literal sense of the term. We see it in our addicts who leave drugs far behind, and we measure this “cure” by the reduced traces of trauma on the genes. And, of course, we see their whole lives change after therapy. They no longer think of drugs but make choices in life that are not directed by pain, but by freedom of choice. Then and only then, can we use the word “cure.”
21: Brauser, D. (2010, July 28). High Levels of Early Maternal Affection May Lower Emotional Distress in Adult Offspring. Retrieved from http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/725920
Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Without a theory of pain, how could we ever get to the bottom of cancer, heart disease, migraines and high blood pressure? If we have no theory of brainstem trauma, we will never understand it. And if we have no such theory, then we are not keeping up with psychologic/brain science.
I believe we can reverse some of it in our therapy, but I also believe that the earlier and stronger the imprint the more difficult time we will have to reverse it. Once cells take on their imprint, they often cannot be changed readily; their identity remains unshakeable. That’s because the imprint is rock solid, engraved even into microscopic cells that do not shed their identity easily. The evolution of the genes has been rerouted. Epigenetics reigns. That is crucial; experience cannot change it. That is why we cannot love neurosis away or exhort it to change, or plead and beg for it does something “healthy.” There is no way out of the biologic fact of the critical period, the time and space where love must be received or forever more becomes an imprint.
I have written about the irreversibility of early trauma, gestation and birth. The worst-case scenario is a traumatic birth followed by a loveless childhood later on. That compounding can be a person’s undoing. It sets up insurmountable emotional problems that create damaged individuals. But having said that there is some hope. A certain level of trauma in-utero and at birth can be ameliorated by mitigating factors, namely plenty of early love. It never erases those traumatic imprints, but it does hold them at bay. I think that part of a good childhood can block the effects of first line early pain. Damage to the kidneys during gestation will not be reversed by later love but it may not flower into serious symptoms. Very early traumas are never altered or diluted by later love, never mitigated by hugs and kisses, but they do not have the reach, the upper level access, they would have had without all that infancy love. To be clear; love during or near the imprinting time of the sensory window (when needs are importuning) can alleviate pain. For example, after a terrible birth, hugging and kissing a lot can minimize the damage. The same hugs six years later will not have that effect. That is why a father who leaves home for years and comes back needing acceptance will not get it. The pain is installed and working in the child. The child wants to love but the pain is blocking him.
As we have seen, a nervous mother leaves a predisposition to fear in the offspring, just as a depressed mother leaves a base of depression in her baby. Whether it becomes overt depends on those later events and traumas. I personally believe that lots of love and healthy living in the very young child can abate these deleterious effects. In fact, premature babies who were hugged and caressed a lot went home earlier than those babies not touched as much. Those early kisses count a lot and help shape personality, a loving and warm person versus a standoffish one. This is especially true for those babies who were taken from institutions. They are greatly in need of love and reassurance early on. If they don’t get it, it can be somewhat irreversible; that is, there may be a point where love can no longer make a great difference. The damage is done and it is pretty well fixed. This is the research we will embark on in the near future. Is there a point in time when love cannot reverse previous damage?
Sunday, March 6, 2016
Years ago, we did research showing that after one year of Primal Therapy our patients had enhanced production of natural killer cells (NK cells). These immune cells look out for developing cancer cells, then attack and devour them. I assume this means better control of cancer among our patients. But why would reliving those early imprints increase production of NK cells?
Here I have to make an assumption: when we have traumas during womb- life there is a deregulation of many bio-chemicals, hormones and neurotransmitters. The whole system, in short, changes to accommodate the input; and what that does is alter set points. How do we know that? Because in all of our studies we have found that set points seem to change after therapy and “normalize.” thus, for example, NK cells seem to change set points and come back to normal after one year of our therapy, as do levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.
There are many existing studies that correlate parental abuse with later cancer. One study from Purdue University found that adults who were emotionally and physically abused as children had a much greater likelihood of cancer as adults (Morton, Schafer, & Ferraro, 2012). The more intense the abuse, the more likely the cancer. Imagine now if we have left out of the mix one of the greatest risks of all: constant abuse while in the womb – a drugged or depressed mother, or one who is chronically anxious or tense and angry. Add that to it all and you have one of the great causes of later cancer.
So once we go back to those generating sources, those early imprints, the system appears to re-regulate itself back to what it should have been before the trauma intruded itself. Our therapy seems to “erase” the input and allow the cells to normalize. It is as if the trauma never happened; which is why I maintain that we can go back and undo and redo our early lives. The mechanism for this may well be the pattern of methylation that “seals in” the trauma – cancer is characterized by “methylation imbalance” (Baylln, Herman, Graff, Vertino & Issa, 1997). For example, depressives who relive deep and remote imprints will find their normal body temperature go from 96 degrees to 98 degrees. They normalize, which means that they do not go from 96 to 101; that is abnormal. That has no part in normalizing. The body system seeks out its own limits. Here again we see that there is no need to work on body temp, as such. We work on central factors and the system adjusts all on its own. There are other factors, as well, which are being sussed out anew each and every day by biochemists and other specialists. We will leave that to those experts. But it seems as though we are reversing those early changes that caused a detour of biochemical set points. Along with this was a rerouting of brain circuits as well. The neurotic system changed.
So what happens when the NK cells are increased? We have a stronger army to fight cancer, an army that was weakened by trauma occurring during our womb-life (and also possibly during the birth process). The system has a normal amount now and can amass a greater force to fight cellular anomaly. The cells seem to know when something is amiss and rush to correct it in the same way that repair cells rush in to stem the flow of blood and help in healing when we cut ourselves. We are a naturally healing system when given the chance; and what is wonderful is that we always have the chance in our lives to go back and re- stabilize the system. That is why when NK cells are extracted from tumor cells, processed and reintroduced to the system there is an increase in cancer fighting ability.
Here is the good news: when the NK army is bolstered there is less cancer, and when there are even metastasized cells the NK cells can fight each and every appearance of abnormal cells, no matter where they are, and stop them in their tracks. It is not like chemotherapy, a poison that destroys the malignant cells and also healthy cells along with them. Here, it is but a matter of increasing the health of the cells in order to combat the intruders: a much healthier way to go; in other words, the system now has a normal amount of NK cells, which it should have had early on but did not. And the same trauma that may have lowered the set points of NK cells could have also increased the likelihood of cancer. What may well happen is epigenetic changes can affect the tumor- suppression genes, leaving the system open to later cancer. The problem is that the distance between the early trauma and the appearance of cancer at forty is so vast as to be incomprehensible. It is only when we allow patients to go back and relive early trauma that we see the connection. And for now, it still has to be an assumption. But what we do see is how completely systemic are the effects early imprinted pain; when terror and pains are relived, the healing effects are widespread.
Friday, March 4, 2016
What I offer here is surmise, not proven fact but I have seen enough cancers to give me some idea about it. My belief is that the very same trauma that caused the cancer may be the cure for it, as well. That is, there is an embedded memory deep in the brain; it is strong enough to devastate the brain because it is of first line origin, and it is there in the brainstem that powerhouse feelings are lodged. And some cancer causes, as well. If we can extirpate that trauma, and new research on methylation seems to indicate that we can, then we can do something about cancer. The rarity of cancer in our long-term patients is added confirmation of my point. Those incredible feelings which cannot be believed until seen, can alter the biologic and genetic trajectory of the system to change minute cells. I have long ago postulated that possibility of breast cancer in those women who are flat chested, not because of that but because possibly, their genetic destiny for larger breasts was blocked and diverted. There is then constant pressure toward one’s proper destiny which cannot fulfill its biologic purpose. It is the surge toward normalcy, an intact system. The biologic impulse toward being normal is always there.
Biology is destiny, as the saying goes. I prefer epigenetics is destiny; much more accurate. It largely sweeps away that genetic destiny and replaces it with a new biologic system, and perhaps an heritable one. That system, by definition, is faulty because it evolved out of damage.
Here is what patients say about their act out:
“I think there may be something to this...
I am certainly a shallow breather - always have been - and I feel a need to conserve emotion, I would say.
All I know is my mother had "gas and air" (NOX with air) when she was giving birth to me. I doubt that would have led to any extreme trauma for me as a foetus trying to get out but would be interested to learn anything to the contrary.
That said, I think breathing is central to how we experience life and will undoubtedly reflect our earliest experiences.”
“I have had Primal Therapy back then to get rid of all that tension.
I recall a dance class I went to straight after a Primal Session , where the teacher didn't recognise me because my movement was suddenly and unexplainably, free of tension and full of presence! Also I wasn't dancing to get her love anymore, but for the joy of feeling.
Primal is the most truthful and healing form of dance and movement therapy .
A lot of dance and movement classes are teachers acting out their need on their students. How can they not? Especially sad when it happens to children.”
“The way we breathe depends on physical and mental memories.
My breathing, I have often touched on in my blogs over the years. It was dramatically disturbed / affected in the neurotic / conscious, protracted birth trauma caused by my mother. I was locked in the birth canal for 48 hours. Therefore, many of my act outs and subsequent therapeutic treatment experiences have come to focus on my breathing.
For several years, existed a repeated pattern, during my birth primals, that I fell into a deep anesthesia. This was aggravated gradually that I hyperventilated fiercely and suddenly not breathing at all. This condition lasted a good while and I struggled desperately to get air but without success. Suddenly, I gave up and felt myself drowning / dying. Consciousness returned weakly and slowly. I had been through a primal instead of an epileptic seizure. The feeling of anesthetic pressure released slowly. I experienced a total relief and liberation, first physically and shortly afterwards emotionally. My breathing was relaxed and parasympathetic.
During more than 20 years, I made early each morning push-ups (2 x 125) at my fingertips with my feet on a table (my way of freediving). During each of the two pushup series I held my breath. Besides Carbamazepine (Tegrotol), these act outs were my way of keeping up my ego and reduce my anxiety of my problems and then especially the epileptic threat. I used my abdominal muscles in combination with my pushups to displace anxiety and tension associated with a stressful and demanding work career. This defense tied to my breathing, which I have developed over many years with great willpower and discipline, was certainly the heaviest reason that my two years at the Primal Center in LA did not lead to faster visible results.”
OK. I get it. It helps. And that is why so many of us are addicted to horror movies. We go to a theater prepared to be terrified (as close to the terror of a first line primal) and then we watch in horror; and then we escape safely. But still we get to scream and yell, releasing some of the emotional part of the original imprint. Again, we have reawakened the Primal demons with impunity. For some, it becomes an obsession. Aah. What a relief. Terror is the attraction. It pulls us in because we can go back to the (original) terror so to speak, without the terror. We know we will be safe afterwards. So we go through the birth trauma without the trauma, only the feeling part. Because it lacks the original content there is not the terrible terror involved. But symbolically it is close. Listen! Feelings pull us in. That means that so many obsessions and compulsions are sucked into us by the imprint. It makes us compulsive gamblers and eaters, and drives so many neurotic behaviors. If we are always in terror and don’t know it then we won’t try, won’t get out and do something new. Won’t approach a stranger and talk to him. Takes forever to make a decision; so afraid to make a mistake. Fear runs his life. He becomes a “loser” because he will not grab opportunities, hangs back, and in the presence of strangers he acts like he did as an infant, holding mother’s skirts. He needs emotional support at all times, and now we know why.
It does put a new perspective on dangerous sports, i.e. car racing. The crowd looks for crashes to add to the excitement of something gone wrong (near death re-experience?) But often there is no death or serious injury, and we all relax. It is the analogy over and over again.
I don’t want to leave out the act-in. There are those since infancy who hold their breath when anxious or surprised. Still others who cannot catch their breath when upset. Others with asthma who often have breathing problems and also cannot catch their breath. Especially those who lose their breath when anxious and have to lie down. The permutations are endless but it is all about breathing and not breathing. They are often the minimalists who hoard and never buy too much, and save and save. …in case. With reliving over time we resolve the act-in and act-out against the very same imprint.
Again, one has to go back and relive the original trauma, exactly. No way around this. It was never lived fully at the start; cut off by repression when the pain got to be enormous.
Has anyone noticed that when shocked, people put their hands over their mouths? Not an accident; it is part of holding back breathing, a return to the prototype. When scared originally we stopped breathing as death approached; that became the template for later reactions.
The act-in results from having so little chance to behave against the trauma of being pinned down, unable to escape the womb. The reactions develop inside, and become the act-ins. They leave a prototype of physiologic responses and certain kinds of afflictions such as asthma. A lot depends on the nature of the birth and specific weaknesses of the system. Most certain, a lack of oxygen at birth and even before leads to blood vessels constricting to conserve supplies. The act-in may be migraines; and sometimes the treatment for it is..? guess what? Oxygen.
The leitmotif often can be, “Something is missing but I don’t know what it is. I think I will eat more or make more money.” I will try to fill a void I don’t even know is there. Something is surely missing, and when patients get down to the deep brain they finally know what is missing, and the obsession with food or money stops.
Here is one recent case of obsessions and shallow breathing. A woman over sixty recently had a birth Primal, reliving birth. The forerun was dangerously high blood pressure and fast pulse. (190/101…..pulse 97). She often had to take blood pressure medication to bring her vitals downward. What she found through reliving was that her imprint of anoxia was breaking through and raising her vital signs. It was telling her that her embedded memory was pushing. Of course she was a shallow breather. After her reliving her vitals were again taken: 149/125 and pulse of 64, a vast improvement but not yet normal. It wasn’t pills that could normalize her; it was feeling and reliving. Previously gate her pain but could never touch her imprint. Sometimes during the end stages of her Primal she could return to heavy breathing and begin the process of normalization. She tried again to get air. Before, she gave up. She became a hiker early in life in order to breathe deeply and get air in. It became an obsession; more and more hiking. Until her knees gave out. She did have cancer earlier on. The doctor told her she had to careful for another 5 years to be considered out of the woods. Now she knows why; the imprint is still there doing its damage.
Who could dream that a serious imprint deep down due to lack of early oxygen could help produce a cancer decades later? Pills suppress the pain but never touch the cause. It hides it well. That lack of oxygen remains with us and agonizes all of the time. It does its damage sotto voce. And will never tell us the truth until we travel back in history to where the damage lies. Only then do we learn that the simple truth is revolutionary.
Wednesday, March 2, 2016
The Cause of Some Cancers: Not What You Think
Our theory is not just something “nice or interesting or amusing.” It is life- saving. It means reversing serious mental illness. We see this all of the time. Many of us think that good diet will prolong life, and it is true. But few are aware that repression makes us sick and can kill us prematurely. Repression kills because it distorts basic physiology and detours brain development. And repression forces the kind of unhealthy eating habit that makes us sick early on. Repression kills because, unconsciously, it forces us to deal with imprinted pain every minute of our lives. It forces us to find ways to act out feelings or suppress them. The wonder is how we all manage to keep deep pain stored away, never once acknowledging it. The body does, however, and gets sick. And it makes us sick on the deep cellular level, the level where the early imprints lie. All the pressure to keep pain stored puts the cellular development at risk; eventually we find serious illness, which should not be a mystery but a foregone conclusion.
Consider the research on twins done by scientists from London’s Institute of Cancer Research who found that the origins of leukemia are prenatal (Ma et al., 2013). The researchers there delved deeper into the disease process by looking at cases where both twins had developed acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a cancer of the white blood cells. They studied the DNA inherited from both parents, completing a full genome study on their subjects. They found that
womb-life was a culprit in the development of the disease. They believe that the mutations accounting for it must have come from the womb. Other mutations may have come after birth. The results prompted another British biologist, Dr. Julie Sharp of Cancer Research UK, to suggest that further study could lead to better cancer treatment. Quoted by the BBC News, Sharp said, “Studies like this could reveal new ways to target the very roots of cancer and help us better understand how the disease develops over time. Survival rates have increased significantly over the past decades thanks to research, but there is still more to
do to make treatments better with fewer side-effects."(20)
Now I must ask the question: how about finding out what happened in the womb that forced these mutations? That seems to be overlooked as mission impossible. But it is not; we can find fairly closely what happened during womb- life to produce mutations. They are looking to alter those mutations by examining the mutation itself. But the basis of all this is that something goes
wrong in the womb while the mother is carrying. It can be external forces such as war or more personal events such as a husband who leaves home, leaving the mother chronically anxious or depressed. The permutations are myriad, but the result is an imprint that causes a deviation and ramification of many functions, from brain circuitry to vital organs.
I will hypothesize that Primal Therapy can help prevent cancer if we have the time to go deep enough. I am not stating that in every case, but we have little cancer among our patients and we believe that Primal Therapy can be a factor. In short, I think cancer originates deep in the brain often during womb-life, and that is exactly what we treat. We do not treat this or that bit; we treat the central organizing factor of the whole system.
20: Scientists track leukaemia's origins 'back to the womb' (2013, April 9). Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-31622341
Review of "Beyond Belief"
This thought-provoking and important book shows how people are drawn toward dangerous beliefs.
“Belief can manifest itself in world-changing ways—and did, in some of history’s ugliest moments, from the rise of Adolf Hitler to the Jonestown mass suicide in 1979. Arthur Janov, a renowned psychologist who penned The Primal Scream, fearlessly tackles the subject of why and how strong believers willingly embrace even the most deranged leaders.
Beyond Belief begins with a lucid explanation of belief systems that, writes Janov, “are maps, something to help us navigate through life more effectively.” While belief systems are not presented as inherently bad, the author concentrates not just on why people adopt belief systems, but why “alienated individuals” in particular seek out “belief systems on the fringes.” The result is a book that is both illuminating and sobering. It explores, for example, how a strongly-held belief can lead radical Islamist jihadists to murder others in suicide acts. Janov writes, “I believe if people had more love in this life, they would not be so anxious to end it in favor of some imaginary existence.”
One of the most compelling aspects of Beyond Belief is the author’s liberal use of case studies, most of which are related in the first person by individuals whose lives were dramatically affected by their involvement in cults. These stories offer an exceptional perspective on the manner in which belief systems can take hold and shape one’s experiences. Joan’s tale, for instance, both engaging and disturbing, describes what it was like to join the Hare Krishnas. Even though she left the sect, observing that participants “are stunted in spiritual awareness,” Joan considers returning someday because “there’s a certain protection there.”
Janov’s great insight into cultish leaders is particularly interesting; he believes such people have had childhoods in which they were “rejected and unloved,” because “only unloved people want to become the wise man or woman (although it is usually male) imparting words of wisdom to others.” This is just one reason why Beyond Belief is such a thought-provoking, important book.”
Barry Silverstein, Freelance Writer
Quotes for "Life Before Birth"
“Life Before Birth is a thrilling journey of discovery, a real joy to read. Janov writes like no one else on the human mind—engaging, brilliant, passionate, and honest.
He is the best writer today on what makes us human—he shows us how the mind works, how it goes wrong, and how to put it right . . . He presents a brand-new approach to dealing with depression, emotional pain, anxiety, and addiction.”
Paul Thompson, PhD, Professor of Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine
Art Janov, one of the pioneers of fetal and early infant experiences and future mental health issues, offers a robust vision of how the earliest traumas of life can percolate through the brains, minds and lives of individuals. He focuses on both the shifting tides of brain emotional systems and the life-long consequences that can result, as well as the novel interventions, and clinical understanding, that need to be implemented in order to bring about the brain-mind changes that can restore affective equanimity. The transitions from feelings of persistent affective turmoil to psychological wholeness, requires both an understanding of the brain changes and a therapist that can work with the affective mind at primary-process levels. Life Before Birth, is a manifesto that provides a robust argument for increasing attention to the neuro-mental lives of fetuses and infants, and the widespread ramifications on mental health if we do not. Without an accurate developmental history of troubled minds, coordinated with a recognition of the primal emotional powers of the lowest ancestral regions of the human brain, therapists will be lost in their attempt to restore psychological balance.
Jaak Panksepp, Ph.D.
Bailey Endowed Chair of Animal Well Being Science
Washington State University
Dr. Janov’s essential insight—that our earliest experiences strongly influence later well being—is no longer in doubt. Thanks to advances in neuroscience, immunology, and epigenetics, we can now see some of the mechanisms of action at the heart of these developmental processes. His long-held belief that the brain, human development, and psychological well being need to studied in the context of evolution—from the brainstem up—now lies at the heart of the integration of neuroscience and psychotherapy.
Grounded in these two principles, Dr. Janov continues to explore the lifelong impact of prenatal, birth, and early experiences on our brains and minds. Simultaneously “old school” and revolutionary, he synthesizes traditional psychodynamic theories with cutting-edge science while consistently highlighting the limitations of a strict, “top-down” talking cure. Whether or not you agree with his philosophical assumptions, therapeutic practices, or theoretical conclusions, I promise you an interesting and thought-provoking journey.
Lou Cozolino, PsyD, Professor of Psychology, Pepperdine University
In Life Before Birth Dr. Arthur Janov illuminates the sources of much that happens during life after birth. Lucidly, the pioneer of primal therapy provides the scientific rationale for treatments that take us through our original, non-verbal memories—to essential depths of experience that the superficial cognitive-behavioral modalities currently in fashion cannot possibly touch, let alone transform.
Gabor Maté MD, author of In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction
An expansive analysis! This book attempts to explain the impact of critical developmental windows in the past, implores us to improve the lives of pregnant women in the present, and has implications for understanding our children, ourselves, and our collective future. I’m not sure whether primal therapy works or not, but it certainly deserves systematic testing in well-designed, assessor-blinded, randomized controlled clinical trials.
K.J.S. Anand, MBBS, D. Phil, FAACP, FCCM, FRCPCH, Professor of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology, Anatomy & Neurobiology, Senior Scholar, Center for Excellence in Faith and Health, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare System
A baby's brain grows more while in the womb than at any time in a child's life. Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script That Rules Our Lives is a valuable guide to creating healthier babies and offers insight into healing our early primal wounds. Dr. Janov integrates the most recent scientific research about prenatal development with the psychobiological reality that these early experiences do cast a long shadow over our entire lifespan. With a wealth of experience and a history of successful psychotherapeutic treatment, Dr. Janov is well positioned to speak with clarity and precision on a topic that remains critically important.
Paula Thomson, PsyD, Associate Professor, California State University, Northridge & Professor Emeritus, York University
"I am enthralled.
Dr. Janov has crafted a compelling and prophetic opus that could rightly dictate
PhD thesis topics for decades to come. Devoid of any "New Age" pseudoscience,
this work never strays from scientific orthodoxy and yet is perfectly accessible and
downright fascinating to any lay person interested in the mysteries of the human psyche."
Dr. Bernard Park, MD, MPH
His new book “Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script that Rules Our Lives” shows that primal therapy, the lower-brain therapeutic method popularized in the 1970’s international bestseller “Primal Scream” and his early work with John Lennon, may help alleviate depression and anxiety disorders, normalize blood pressure and serotonin levels, and improve the functioning of the immune system.
One of the book’s most intriguing theories is that fetal imprinting, an evolutionary strategy to prepare children to cope with life, establishes a permanent set-point in a child's physiology. Baby's born to mothers highly anxious during pregnancy, whether from war, natural disasters, failed marriages, or other stressful life conditions, may thus be prone to mental illness and brain dysfunction later in life. Early traumatic events such as low oxygen at birth, painkillers and antidepressants administered to the mother during pregnancy, poor maternal nutrition, and a lack of parental affection in the first years of life may compound the effect.
In making the case for a brand-new, unified field theory of psychotherapy, Dr. Janov weaves together the evolutionary theories of Jean Baptiste Larmarck, the fetal development studies of Vivette Glover and K.J.S. Anand, and fascinating new research by the psychiatrist Elissa Epel suggesting that telomeres—a region of repetitive DNA critical in predicting life expectancy—may be significantly altered during pregnancy.
After explaining how hormonal and neurologic processes in the womb provide a blueprint for later mental illness and disease, Dr. Janov charts a revolutionary new course for psychotherapy. He provides a sharp critique of cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoanalysis, and other popular “talk therapy” models for treating addiction and mental illness, which he argues do not reach the limbic system and brainstem, where the effects of early trauma are registered in the nervous system.
“Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script that Rules Our Lives” is scheduled to be published by NTI Upstream in October 2011, and has tremendous implications for the future of modern psychology, pediatrics, pregnancy, and women’s health.