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Your Cells are Listening: How talking to your body can help you heal

Your Cells Are Listening: How Talking To Your Body Can Help You Heal

(Unabridged Version…)

Many of us experience defining moments in our lives when a sudden shift in perspective opens up a new path toward our higher purpose in this world.

One of these key moments occurred for me when my chronic pain therapist mentioned that she once studied under indigenous medicine women who told her that every part of the body has its own consciousness, “even the little finger”. Having already established a dedicated meditation practice, a wave of inspiration rushed through me as I imagined incorporating this concept into my routine. I thought to myself, Can my body hear me…can I talk to it to gain its cooperation in healing this bizarre neuropathic pain condition?

I went home, practiced my meditation techniques, and when I reached a state of deep calm, I inwardly engaged my body in a heartfelt conversation, with hope, but having no idea what to expect. After about one hour of this focused communication, something amazing happened. My tissues began to respond. Connective tissue pulled and stretched apart layers of scar tissue. Nerves fired and my calf muscles began to perform flexion and extension exercises independently of my conscious mind. As this response continued, one of my calf muscles that had become paralyzed by the neuropathic condition – diagnosed as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy – came back to life as electric-like jolts shot through the area.

My heart pounded as I realized that the path to my freedom from this condition had finally begun. With a background in acupuncture and Oriental medicine, I knew too well how prevalent chronic pain is in this country and I wondered what the implications of this phenomenon could mean to so many others who were suffering. As I continued to make progress with my condition, I formulated my approach into a system that I could teach to clients and shifted my professional focus to hypnotherapy.

When instructing my hypnotherapy clients, I explain several key steps to gain the cooperation of the physical body. First, you must train your brain to enter theta brainwave states through meditation. We spend much of our time in the higher frequency beta brainwave state associated with alertness, logic, critical reasoning and stress. Trying to talk with the body while in a beta state is like talking with someone while you have poor reception on your cell phone. Not much gets communicated and both sides feel frustrated. Slowing our brainwaves down to a theta state, allows smooth, clear communication between the mind and body. Many people who meditate casually, only reach alpha states. A more committed meditation schedule will bring your brain into theta states, where your intention to communicate with your body is most effective.  Once you reach a theta state…

  • Approach your body with genuine compassion, understanding that it is made up of conscious cells who experience emotions.
  • Build trust by engaging your body in mental conversations about your desire for the two of you to cooperate and overcome the ailment.
  • Allow changes in the conversation by using different thoughts and words that elicit spontaneous elevated emotions.

From my experience, the above guidelines are necessary to achieve dynamic healing responses in the body. I recently came across a very similar set of factors that were discovered by researcher Cleve Backster, who spent 36 years studying biocommunication in plant, animal and human cells. He referred to these factors as real intent, attunement, and spontaneity and said that they must be considered in order to conduct biocommunication experiments effectively.1

Therese-Wade-Blog-Image2Backster, formerly an interrogation specialist for the CIA, wrote about his defining moment – which led him to his real work in this world – in his book Primary Perception.2 This moment occurred one February morning in 1966 when he decided to monitor the Dracaena plant in his lab utilizing polygraph equipment. He attached the electrodes to a leaf and began to think about ways that he might induce a surge in electrical activity in the plant. In humans this surge in electrical activity is associated with intense emotions. He suddenly imagined burning the electroded leaf. The same instant this idea entered his mind, the polygraph pen shot to the top of the chart showing a dramatic reaction on the part of the plant. Astonished, he walked to his secretary’s desk to retrieve a set of matches while pondering the possibility that this plant was somehow detecting the force of human intention.

When he returned with the matches, the plant was still showing the same high level reaction which would interfere with tracking additional changes on the chart. Backster decided to “remove the threat” by returning the matches to the desk. At this point, the chart displayed a downward trend as the plant apparently began to calm down.3 When Backster attempted to repeat the same results by pretending that he was going to burn the plant, there was no reaction. The plant seemed to sense the difference between real and artificial intent. He eventually discovered that plants become attuned to their care takers, responding to both their positive and negative emotions and to their return after being away for a time.4

Backster continued to have success when testing plant and also animal cells for signs of consciousness and later expanded his research to include human cells. He collected white blood cell scrapings from the mouths of human donors, electroded them in vitro (in a test tube) and recorded the cells’ reactions as the donors experienced different emotional states. He found that spontaneous emotions were necessary in order to elicit an electrical reaction in the cells. For example, if a donor deliberately forced herself to feel an emotion the cells were unresponsive. However, when a donor received a distressing phone call from her daughter, the cells reacted significantly. Reactions correlated with specific points in the conversation when the daughter discussed problems she was having with her boyfriend. 5The donor in this case was Myra Crawford, research director at the University of Alabama Medical School, who later stated “I have been shown in a scientific demonstration, the apparent reality of conscious nonlocal instantaneous communication between my thoughts and my cells”.6


© Gregory C. Adams

He noted that distance seemed to be irrelevant to the cell’s ability to register the donor’s emotions. NASA astronaut Brian O’Leary participated in several of Backster’s experiments. One of these involved leaving his electroded white cells behind in the lab, then keeping a detailed log of any spontaneous stressful emotions that he experienced on his trip home from California to Arizona. Included in his log were missing a turn on the freeway, standing in a long line at the airport, and the take-off and landing of his plane. Later, comparing his log with the chart recording showed a strong correlation between the timing of the stressful events and the electrical reactions in his in vitro cells. The chart became quiet again when he arrived home and went to sleep.7 Having witnessed confirmation of this phenomenon during multiple experiments, O’leary wrote about his own defining moment in his book Exploring Inner and Outer Space: “Now I was finally convinced that reality was truly far vaster and more mysterious than our accepted science can embrace”.8

Scientists, including those at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, The Heartmath Research Laboratory and the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (studying Advanced Human Technology), who carefully followed Backster’s protocol, were able to repeat the capability to witness plant, animal and human cell biocommunication.9 Others, who did not give consideration to the factors of spontaneity and attunement, were unable to repeat the results.

Backster explained that attempts by certain scientists failed because they planned the experiments in advance and tried to repeat them over and over, which eliminated spontaneity. In a Sun Magazine interview, Backster described how to ensure spontaneity in these experiments: “Go about your work; keep notes on what you are doing at specific times, and later compare them to your chart recording. But don’t plan anything or the experiment won’t work.” He also stated “It all boils down to this: repeatability and spontaneity do not go together, and as long as members of the scientific community overemphasize repeatability in scientific methodology, they’re not going to get very far in consciousness research”.10

[Update Dec. 2019: Dr. Philip Goff, Deputy Director of Philosophy at Durham University recently published Galileo’s Error: Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness, where he describes how our standard scientific method was specifically designed to exclude consciousness. The “father of modern science”, Galileo Galilei “wanted a purely quantitative science of the physical world, and he therefore proposed that qualities [such as colors and smells] were not really in the physical world but in consciousness, which he stipulated was outside of the domain of science.” Goff writes that we shouldn’t be surprised that our standard scientific method struggles when studying consciousness and that nothing less than a revolution is called for in the area of consciousness science.]11

Scientists who neglected to consider the attunement factor failed to replicate Backster’s experiment involving the reaction of plants to the stress response of brine shrimp that were being dropped into boiling water. This experiment required the prevention of human-plant attunement, so that the plants would tune in to the emotions of the shrimp instead of those of the experimenters. Backster determined that their first mistake was that they washed the leaves of the plant prior to the trial, which initiated the attunement of the plants to the experimenters. Their second mistake, was that they observed the plants on a closed circuit television (CCTV) from the other side of the wall. The plants remained attuned to the experimenters (who had bathed them) and prioritized their emotions over those of the shrimp, altering the results. Backster wrote “[they] didn’t understand how to automate human consciousness out of an experiment…that wall meant nothing as far as plant-to-human attunement was concerned.” 12

Studies researching the effect of being watched on CCTV support Backster’s point. The work of William Braud PhD, senior researcher at the Mind Science Foundation in Texas,13 demonstrated significant positive results when experimenters used polygraph equipment to measure the electrical skin response of human subjects who were being watched on tv monitors. In one study, the observers, who had no previous contact with the subjects, watched them from a separate room, and were instructed to alternately stare at the subjects on the monitor and then look away. The subjects’ skin registered a surge in electrical activity while they were being stared at. In another study, the observers and the subjects were allowed to talk in- person and get to know each other first. This lead to an opposite reaction in the subjects who were being watched: the electrical activity calmed down while they were stared at by the observers, who they were now “attuned” with.

Backster conducted his experiments on human cells while surrounding the white cells with lab equipment that screened out electromagnetic radiation. The cells behaved as if the screens weren’t there, suggesting that this communication between donors and their cells is carried by a field outside of the electromagnetic spectrum (radio waves, microwaves, infrared radiation, light, etc.), which are the usual electromagnetic energies used for communication and information transmission.14

Some scientists believe that further development of quantum physics (which studies energy changes in the ultra-small ingredients of matter), may help guide us to understand this field that communicates emotional intent between living things.15 Quantum Entanglement is a process where two particles of matter which have interacted with each other, still behave as if they are connected after being separated by many miles. When an energetic change is made to the properties (position, momentum and rotational spin) of one of the particles, the properties of the other distant particle will change at the same instant.


Photo by Tom Hall / www.facebook.com/TomHallPhoto

This scientific phenomenon and the research of Cleve Backster and others, point to the Eastern concept of oneness – the view that all of nature is interdependent. Ancient cultures understood this interconnection as a living universal energy field that sustains life while guiding the evolution of consciousness throughout the universe. The meditation techniques involved in my practice bring the mind into attunement with this field. Energy from this field is then focused into a physical healing event through clear intention – delivered by means of a conversation that evokes spontaneous emotions – and attunes the physical body to the conscious mind. This method which I call Antara (Sanskrit for within), enables one to experience the raw creative healing ability generated by an alliance of the mind and body with this living universal energy field.

Visit abridged version of this article here.


The Shaman Within: Channeling Universal Life Force To Heal Your Body

We live in a sea of subtle energies. We can become conscious of them and learn to use them.
Ancient cultures understood that we live in a vast sea of energy. They understood that the planets and stars are conscious beings who communicate with each other. They believed that the trees serve as antennas, which allow natural subtle energies and information to flow up from the Earth to the stars and planets, and from all other celestial bodies into the Earth. They taught that everything and every being has consciousness and channels this energy according to its capabilities, to help facilitate this essential cosmic dialogue. In fact, they understood that all matter, including the physical body, is a gathering of this universal energy. They recognized that our thoughts and emotions are a form of energy, and that when these are in harmony with the living universal energy field, we become clear channels. Then, the life force of the Earth and cosmos flows through us more smoothly and abundantly, guiding our evolution as new perspectives are revealed and advanced abilities are awakened within us. These abilities include heightened creativity, extrasensory perception and the ability to bring about dramatic physical healing. Shamans learn to feel, sense and use this energy without filtering or distorting it. They often refer to this process as becoming a “hollow bone”.

We transmit and receive energy.
This universal sea of energy, called Qi in China and Prana in India, circulates through our bodies, interacts with the electromagnetic spectrum and includes other subtler energies not yet understood by western science.1 It is the foundation for the practice of acupuncture, where thin needles are used to assist the flow of vital energy through meridians in the body. It is the inner force that advanced martial artists cultivate and direct outward. The Hopis of the American Southwest use the term Kachina to describe the world of subtle energies. They perform rituals and ceremonies to interact with the Kachina in order to attract rain to grow their crops, and to receive healing and other benefits. The Dogon people of Africa call the channel through which the Earth projects energies through us, the Bayuali. They call the channel through which we receive energies from the cosmos, the Yenu. The Dogon believe that it is our responsibility as humans to become clear channels who ease the flow of cosmic energies rather than interfere with or obstruct them.

Although western medicine limits its focus to electromagnetic energies, it does acknowledge that the human body functions as a two-way antenna. Doctors use tools such as ECG’s and EEG’s to determine whether a patient is still alive by measuring the electrical energy being transmitted from within that patient’s body. They understand that our bodies receive information from electromagnetic fields in our environment to regulate circadian rhythms, such as our sleep-wake cycles. 2 Scientific studies indicate that the spinal cord (containing cerebro-spinal fluid which is conductive) acts as a natural antenna and that DNA serves as a fractal antenna, capable of operating at many different frequencies simultaneously. 3 It is also interesting to note that the U.S. army demonstrated that trees work as remarkably good antennas for wireless communication and used them for this purpose during the Vietnam War. 4

7.83 HZ: The Earth and cosmos exchange energy and information.
Nikola Tesla – the physicist whose inventions laid the foundation for our modern use of electricity and wireless technologies such as alternating current, radio, x-ray, radar and Tesla3remote control – discovered that the Earth receives, stores and transmits energy. In 1899, he built a lab in Colorado Springs on the summit of Pikes Peak, a site considered sacred by the Hopi and Ute Indians. While running experiments there, he detected extremely low frequency (ELF) waves of electromagnetic energy being naturally transmitted within the cavity between the Earth’s surface and the ionosphere, 80 kilometers above the Earth. He discovered that within these ELF waves, those that vibrated at about 8 cycles per second (8 Hz), flowed more smoothly between the Earth and ionosphere, with less resistance and greater amplitude (force or power). 5 He believed it was possible to use this innate frequency of approximately 8 Hz as a carrier wave to transmit information and power without wires, to any part of the world. 6 Tesla was deeply interested in preserving the Earth’s natural resources for future generations. He spoke fervently about the need to discontinue the use of fuel as a power source. His goal was to harness “the very wheelwork of nature” by tapping into the natural and renewable storage battery that exists between the Earth and the ionosphere. 7 He was unable to obtain sufficient funding to complete projects involving the wireless transmission of power, however his idea of the wireless transmission of information led to the invention of both AM and FM radio. 8 Tesla also stated that during his time at Pikes Peak, he recorded radio waves being emitted from the cosmos to the Earth. Countries around the world now use radio waves to analyze the composition of stars and planets. 9 In 1952, a physicist named Schumann measured the resonant frequency of the Earth-ionosphere cavity more specifically to be 7.83 Hz (confirming Tesla’s calculations of approximately 8 Hz). The Earth transmits and receives a measurable energetic frequency that surrounds all life on this planet. It has been discovered that the human brain, while in a deep state of meditation, lowers its brainwave oscillations to harmonize with the Earth’s resonant frequency.

We tune into this cosmic dialogue of energies by adjusting the frequency of our brainwaves.
In Shamanic traditions, drums have long been used to produce rhythmic vibrations that assist the Shaman in attuning his/her mind with the living universal energy field. In this state of altered consciousness, the Shamanic practitioner is able to interact with the non-physical world. They channel and transmit subtle universal energies to help heal themselves and others. They also receive information in the form of vivid imagery, thoughts, words and ideas BrainwaveChartFinalcommunicated to them by guides and ancestors from the spirit world. This shamanic tradition has been studied using EEG tests. Results showed that the brainwave pattern of the subjects slowed down into a theta state. 10 This state is entered when the majority of brainwaves transmitted by the subject, begin oscillating at a frequency of 4-8 cycles per second (4-8 Hz). EEG studies performed on regular meditators revealed that they also enter this theta state during periods of deep meditation. 11 Those who practice a consistent meditation routine often report experiencing a shift in their awareness of surrounding energies, sudden realizations, colorful visions, new abilities and emotional and physical healing. They also report that the more often they meditate, the easier it becomes to access this altered state.

Tesla was aware of this living universal energy field. In his article, Man’s Greatest Achievement, he used Vedic terms such as Prana and Akasha to describe this field, from which all perceptible matter is generated. He said that he accumulated many of his ideas while alone in deep meditation. 12 He called himself “a sensitive receiver” and reported seeing visions and receiving premonitions, including one that helped him to prevent his friends from boarding a train that later crashed. 13 He disclosed that he had a photographic memory and described visualizing his inventions in such detail that he could operate the device in his mind, then make improvements to it and provide precise and correct measurements without ever even drawing a sketch. 14

A shamanic practitioner explained to me that we all continuously receive and transmit energy and information through this subtle universal field. However we spend much of our time in the higher frequency beta brainwave state (15-30 Hz) associated with alertness, logic, critical reasoning and stress. This distracts us from the subtler energies and inhibits their flow through our bodies. We could compare this to having our car radio tuned into the same station all the time, not knowing that we can adjust the dial. Adjusting our brainwaves to the Earth’s natural frequency of approximately 8 Hz through regular meditation, is like turning the dial on your radio to a new station. While tuned in we receive more life force and information from the universe. At this frequency, we also transmit energy with the benefit of constructive interference. This term, used in physics, describes the increased amplitude (force or power) that occurs when two waves of the same frequency come together. When we harmonize our brainwaves with the natural frequency of the planet, our intentions are transmitted with the force of the Earth behind them, giving them much more power and direction.

New abilities are awakened within us.
In a previous article, Your Cells Are Listening, How Talking to Your Body Helps You Heal, I wrote about a surprising ability that was awakened within me after several months of dedicated meditation. This is the ability to converse with my body through words, and receive dramatic physical responses. As I talked with my leg – where I was experiencing severe pain and partial paralysis caused by a condition called reflex sympathetic dystrophy – I suddenly felt scar tissue unwinding under my skin, nerves firing and energy moving along defined pathways through my calf. My calf muscles began to perform flexion and extension exercises independently of my conscious control, as electric-like jolts continued to shoot through the area. Through a series of conversations with my leg, I was able to completely restore function to the muscles. Realizing the broad potential of this mind-body technique, I organized my approach into a system that I could teach to clients, called Antara (Sanskrit for within).

Experiences we have encountered in our lifetime and how we have processed them determines the way our body funnels universal energies.

© Cedron Mark Sterling LMP.

© Cedron Mark Sterling LMP.

By communicating with different tissues in my body, it became clear that changes in the connective tissue called fascia were responsible for unwinding the tension and scar tissue, freeing the impinged nerves, unblocking the acupuncture channels and allowing communication to be restored between my nerves and my muscles. The fascial network is a thin, very strong, three-dimensional net of biological fabric, containing many layers which envelope and infuse every other tissue in your body. Providing both integrity and elasticity, the fascia holds your organs in place and aligns your spine and joints while allowing mobility. It also provides pathways for blood vessels, nerves and lymphatic vessels to travel through, so that nutrients and hormones can be delivered to every cell and toxins can be carried away to be eliminated. The fascia also serves as the supporting physical material for the acupuncture meridian system. Physical trauma can lead to increased tension and the formation of scar tissue within the fascial network. This causes the fascia to shorten and tighten, which can impinge nerves, disrupt the flow of blood, lymph and energy and pull the spine and joints out of alignment.

While applying and teaching this technique, I have observed that emotional trauma also plays a role in fascial tension and scar tissue. According to shamanic belief, physical tissues at the deepest level, are a gathering or concentration of emotional energy. All physical life forms begin with a single emotional impulse. Emotional energy is the trellis that physical bodies grow on. My experience with the Antara method suggests that the fascial network in the body is a physical representation of what I call emotional latticework. Each of us builds our own unique emotional latticework within our body that is formed from the energy of both positive and negative emotions. Stress, unresolved traumas, and suppressed emotions can build a complicated energetic latticework containing disharmonious frequencies that seem to change the tonicity of the fascia and interfere with energy flow. Imagine the fascia as a biological fabric made up of many long threads. Each thread vibrates with life force similarly to how a string on a guitar vibrates when waves of energy travel through it. When you tighten a guitar string by twisting the tuning key, this raises the pitch (the frequency of vibration of the string). When the tonicity or tension of the fascial threads change, their frequency of vibration also changes, and the body becomes an out of tune instrument. This alters the resonance allowance of the body or the range of frequencies that the body naturally channels.

Often while communicating with my own body, I would feel very obvious unwinding sensations in my fascia, and each time that I was able to release a new line of tension or layer of scar tissue, I would experience an intense dream that very same evening. The dreams would usually involve people, relationships or events from my past – usually those that I haven’t thought about in a very long time. Occasionally the dreams would be based on primal fears (or possibly past life experiences) rather than anything I have experienced in this lifetime.

Clients also report being surprised by the unexpected emotions or dreams that surface while they are practicing Antara. This is true in both gradual and sudden onset cases of chronic pain. It seems that the energy of unexpressed emotions can compromise the tonicity of the fascia, and interfere with the normal healing process after injury. At some point the emotion becomes trapped within the tissue. The Antara process unwinds the fascia and releases the trapped energy, then the emotion is experienced as it either easily flows out of the body or is brought to the surface where it can be acknowledged, processed and then released. The newly liberated fascial threads re-integrate with the whole, as the fascial network begins to function like an orchestra playing in harmony again. The life force from the Earth and stars flows more smoothly through the body and the regenerative processes return.

Illness and injury are an opportunity to evolve.
In Shamanic teaching, illness that does not respond to conventional treatment often indicates a spiritual initiation process that leads to the disruption of normal life and withdrawal from the mundane world. The individual undergoes a period of physical, psychological and spiritual trial, where they must feel, understand and integrate the most difficult experiences of their life. Lots of people use an ayahuasca ceremony to do this, which is a very effective way of experiencing this trial. By seeking answers to the mysteries of life and by turning inward through meditation, new levels of awareness are reached. The individual gains freedom from self-imposed restrictions and oppressive environments (both of which can manifest as tension in the fascial network that resists energy flow). They realize that every physical challenge, every emotion, and every person that crosses their path has been a stimulant for their own evolution and are able to navigate life with more inner peace and trust in the process. With less interference, they begin to channel universal life force more freely and discover surprising abilities within. This transformation can lead them to a higher purpose or destiny than previously imagined. They are given the opportunity to heal themselves and then share what they have learned while making a lasting contribution to the world. The Antara method is the result of my own experiments with focused intention during deep meditation. While in a brainwave state attuned with the Earth’s natural resonance, my intentions to communicate with my body are transmitted with greater power and direction. With the support of the Earth and Cosmos and the cooperation of my physical body, I was able to manifest dramatic and profound physical healing. We exist in a living universal energy field. Each one of us can become conscious of this field and learn to better cooperate with it in order to overcome challenges, and to fulfill our higher destinies in this life.

Featured Image © Tom Hall [CC-BY-2.0]