May 2013

June 14, 2013

This is the first in a series of articles related to Women’s (men and children are included!) Health. While many approach natural healthcare from the standpoint of making changes to what we do and take into our bodies, my starting place is really different. I wrote a journal article on this about ten years ago, and my experience in these past years has confirmed what I “know” to be true.

Before we can do primary prevention (change to a wellness model) with any patient, that person must be willing to change not their behaviors, but their minds. Well…duh….is the usual response to this! However, this is not what it sounds like it is.

In order to change we must actually understand, MIND, and how the brain works. This is the field of neuroscience and it is linked to another field called genomics. I believe we cannot change what we do not understand. So for this first article I thought laying out the foundation for how we come to whole health it would be useful for us to understand what is going on in the brain.

We are wired for certain things, our brain works in certain ways that it is programmed for when we were in the womb. How that hard wiring works is in part dependant upon genes inherited from our foreparents and environmental factors. In some ways the brain works like this: If you think about how a thermostat works, a feedback loop, then you have a decent image of the process. In thermostats, there is a mechanism that responds to changes in the room temperature (too hot, too cool) which causes the thermostat to react turning the heat or air condition on or off to regulate the room temperature. This is simple enough.

So, in the body, we have a similar system. It is like a parallel processing system or train tracks going from one destination to another ( from the brain to the external environment) and another parallel set returning to the starting point (from outside the body back to the brain). For simplicities sake, let’s think of the brain as something carried around by the body, the purpose of the body would be to carry information from the surroundings to keep the brain aware of what is going on. So far this is easy.

When we understanding the feedback loop in a thermostat, we understand movement of electricity in the process. It takes electricity to turn things on and off even though the sensors may not require electricity to run they need some impulse to communicate with the thermostat. The same is true for the human body. The communication process is, in part, electrical and in part other chemicals (hormonal). If we think about the five senses, seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, smelling we can see that the information comes in from a variety of places in the body, is communicated to the brain and then stored in the brain in places where it can be recalled. So, if you smell something, that information is transferred to the brain, sorted and stored by the sensory focus and by everything else going on at the location of the scent. This is the really important part! The process is not just heat and cool or smelling, it becomes more complex. It is everything in the room associated with the room, and all the other sensory information, sight, sound, touch, taste, and the internal state of the person/body experiencing the smell or the temperature change. We never experience any thing separated from the entire surroundings in which it occurs. Usually, we are unaware of all this but the body/brain does not discriminate. So in the brain billions of cells transmit electrical charges linked to information and communicate with each other, storing information all over the brain about every single event the body/sensory parts experience. Think about everything going on right where you are this moment as you read.

Herein is the problem. If you are in a situation were something awful is happening to you as a child or as an adult, and that information is embedded with all the other sensory information happening at the same time, then that information will be connected to all the other experiences associated with the awful experience as well. For example, if an abuse happened when you were a child, every bit of sensory information surrounding you at the time is stored with the abuse. Then when there is something in the environment that happens again, acting as a trigger, all of that associated material becomes activated again.
This is part of the issue with vivid dreams, all of the information becomes real again in dreams and we re-live the experience within the dream of nightmare.

In order for us to learn a different way of being and taking care of ourselves (and understanding why we start and stop taking care of ourselves) we must have an understanding of what has happened and how it changed our brains. Then we have to re-program the brains system. This is the basis of changing our behavior and ultimately our minds.

If you would like to ask a question about something in this article you can email that to: discoverycenters3@gmail.com I cannot answer emails individually but will address the educational issues in the column. If you would like to visit our website www.drkathleenquinn.com
Or for an appointment for psychotherapy with me in San Antonio, you may call our main number 601-467-0041 to schedule the appointment.

Comments

Comments

  1. Remarkable! Its in fact amazing piece of writing, I have got much clear idea concerning from this post.

  2. Dennis Hutley says:

    I sincerely appreciate your “laying out the foundation”, really…
    CD

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