Groundbreaking studies by Candace Pert, Ph.D., have shown the interrelationships between our different internal systems via biochemical molecules called neuropeptides. These neuropeptides freely flow between the nervous system (including the brain and the mind), the lymphatic and immune systems, the hormonal (endocrine) system, the digestive system and more. Knowing this, now we can say with scientific certainty that a “gut feeling” is an integral part of our decision-making process. Depak Chopra, M.D., explains in detailed fashion throughout his writings that it can actually seem odd that we end up with chronic, long-term pain. Our bodies are actually 98% renewed, via cellular turnover, every year. We are definitely not the same person we were a year ago! Our bones, for example, are a living structure which is restructured every three months. Even our DNA, the blueprint of our being, is new every six weeks. Why then can’t that old scar just fade away? Or, why is a disease maintained? It’s certainly not the same scar or disease it was a year ago. It is because our bodies and minds retain memories of those scars and diseases. More to the point, our physical, mental and emotional bodies are mere harbingers of our memories. Our physical bodies are continuously changing, and it’s our memories that remain constant. The “over-reactive protective withdrawal mechanism” I spoke of last issue can now be viewed as memories that have been abbreviated into mere conditioned responses. Such conditioned responses can at times become enacted excessively and inappropriately in seemingly innocent and non-injurious situations.
How can we pull out of this vicious cycle? We can break the chain by initiating a new set of memories. What? Should we forget our past? No, but we can view our past in a new light, and we can work towards placing future memories into our systems that are of a more positive nature. This is not a simple venture. As a matter of fact, it’s often hard. But what glorious rewards we gain from our hard work. The methods we can use are nothing new; we’ve actually heard it all before, but, I hope, this time from a different point of view.
Positive “memory” generating input can be achieved through proper diet, exercise, sleep habits, stress management, and relaxation techniques. But, many people say no to initiating these suggestions, because of the difficulties in beginning new lifestyles. Yet, our bodies simply react to what they’re exposed to, from our surroundings and from within. Knowledge is freedom, and healthy living helps us avoid the trap of the “perpetual hyperactive conditioned response” of chronic pain.
(Dr. Richard Hanson, chiropractor in Jamestown, New York, can be reached at (716)664-0445. Most major insurances are now being accepted.)