self-care

You're Not a Slave to Your Genes

by Hervé Boisdé

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Ever since Darwin revolutionized science with his seminal work “The Origin of the Species”, humans have understood that much of who we are is down to our DNA and our genes. But more recent science, called epigenetics, has revised Darwin’s theories to a degree. It turns out that we are much more influenced by the environment than previously believed. According to recent studies, as reported in this 2011 article, “Why Your Genes Don’t Determine Your Health” in the Huffington Post, 70-90 percent of disease risk comes from the environment, and not genetics:

“In October 2010 Science magazine(ii) published an important paper that reviewed the notion of the “exposome”—the idea that the environment in which your genes live is more important than your genes themselves. What this suggests is that applying genomics to treat disease is misguided because 70-90 percent of your disease risk is related to your environment exposures and the resultant alterations in molecules that wash over your genes.”

In fact, our genes are influenced not just by our environment, but also our perception of our environment. In a nutshell what this means is that our thoughts influence our genes. So we actually have the power to control our genetic makeup and our health, by changing our thoughts.

I’ll let Dr. Bruce Lipton, author of 2005’s “The Biology of Belief”, explain in his own words:,

He’s effectively saying that whereby previously we thought we were victims of the health defects of our ancestors, now we know that it’s not true. We are not slaves to genetics, we are the masters of our bodies and our health.

But how do we control our thoughts and our perceptions of our environment? As it turns out, many holistic practices are excellent for this. Meditation and hypnotherapy can calm our minds and remove limiting beliefs from the subconscious part of our mind. Much of our programmed thought patterns come from the traumas that we’ve been subjected to throughout our lives, but especially in childhood. By removing those blocks, we can have more positive thoughts, emotions and behaviors.

Quantum Physics has been changing science’s view on what makes up reality. It’s now understood that everything is made up of energy. Even thoughts are basically energy. And so while the current medical model uses chemicals to create changes in the body, now it’s being understood that anything that affects energy can also affect the body. And while traditional invasive and chemistry-based medicine has been very effective at treating acute health conditions like emergencies from trauma and infectious diseases, it has struggled with chronic illnesses and health problems, like arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, IBS, and cancer.

Part of the problem is that medical science, for a long time, viewed the body like a machine, and didn’t take a holistic approach to healing the body, mind and spirit of the patient. Now modern medicine recognizes the mind-body connection and the need to treat root causes not just the symptoms in the physical body. But since the medical establishment is still dominated by the profit-making industries of the pharmaceutical companies and insurance-subsidized invasive procedures, healthcare has become increasingly expensive and with numerous side-effects. Recent studies have shown that medical errors are now the 3rd leading cause of death.

Preventative medicine and enhanced self-care can go a long way to helping the situation and help to lower costs as well. Psychologists tell us that 70% of our thoughts are negative and/or redundant. The subconscious mind is where most of our habits are stored, so in order to change our negative emotional habits and thoughts, we need to affect changes in the subconscious as well as the conscious mind. Working with energy medicine also holds promise for the future, such as Reiki, Healing Touch, sound therapy and Qigong. Nutrition, stress management, and therapies that improve emotional states are also important. And while talk therapy has it’s value, it is increasingly understood that simply revisiting old hurts and pains without changing our thought patterns and subconscious programming is not as positive a form of change as is necessary.

Meditation, mindfulness, and increasingly, hypnotherapy is receiving attention for it’s ability to change the subconscious habits and old, negative thought patterns into more productive ones. In addition to situational stress, caused by factors in our living situation, we also have the stress caused by our history, traumas, and subconscious programming. Healing traumas can improve our emotions, our thoughts and our physical health. When we becoming triggered by our traumas and go into fight or flight mode, our body actually prioritizes immediate survival over healing the body. We can naturally heal ourselves by getting out of fight/flight and into a more relaxed state, or parasympathetic mode.

Other modalities, such as yoga, massage and acupuncture are also very effective for calming the nervous system and promoting natural healing in the body, but what’s important is to create long term change in our thoughts, emotions and our environment.