Healing is a natural state of energy. Life is energy, and all living beings are energy beings
When life begins, it begins to end. Thus, the process of living is at once the process of aging and dying as well as that of healing. In this sense, living is a continuity of injury and healing, and healing is a natural state of energy. The subject of healing energy fascinates me, and should interest everyone who cares for the sick.
At an intellectual level, the energy of living beings is simple to comprehend. When we turned the great cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki into rubble, we fully realized the power of atomic energy, and, of course, the human frame is nothing but billions of ever-changing atomic kaleidoscopes. It should naturally follow that all life essentially is an energy function, all living beings from a single-celled amoeba to a flower to a child to a dinosaur, are energy beings. The energy of each being is irrevocably linked to the energy of another being. It is all one grand network. This is not merely a theoretical concept for all who care for the sick.
If life is energy, how can healing not be an energy function? If living cells and tissues are energy beings, how can they be injured except by energy? When injured, how can they heal except with energy? How can the subject of energy ever be dissociated from the subject of healing? And yet, the very mention of the word energy in medical circles invites derision. I clearly recall how much hesitation I felt before I used this word in my medical writings for the first time. Why?
We physicians associated the word energy with faith-healers, witches, charlatans and mystics. We are bitterly irritated when we hear such people make claim of successes which to us are nothing more than blatant lies. Thus, the word energy in medicine is linked with ignorance, abuse and fraud. This is unfortunate because in our ignorant animus against the healing phenomenon that may take place without our drugs and scalpels, we turn our backs on a subject that is worthy of serious study. Thus, we relinquished our role in the area that is clearly of overriding importance in clinical medicine.
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DOES MIND-OVER-BODY REALLY WORK?
Notwithstanding rather limited and temporary benefits of positive thinking and comforting words of affirmations, I have not seen any evidence that the mind-over-body approach to healing works. By contrast, energy-over-mind approaches heal. I observe evidence of that every Wednesday evening during self regulation training sessions. When the ceaseless clutter of the thinking mind is put to rest, we are guided by the energy that we are made of and that surrounds each of us at all times.
Our infatuation with mind-over-body healing is a rather recent development. Since man became aware of the healing response in injured tissues, he has had interest in the energy phenomena. Since antiquity, people have explored the variousdimensions of the healing phenomenon, and have considered the question of how the natural healing response in injured tissues may be facilitated. To date, I have not uncovered any ancient records that show that the ancients ever succeeded in using their minds to order healing in the tissues. Nor have I ever seen convincing evidence from any of the faith healers, mystics, shamans and the modern gurus of the mind-over-body industry that they have figured out a way to use their thinking minds to force healing on to injured tissues, at least in the physical ways that can be seen with a microscope or assessed by other chemical and physical means.
This is not to say that miracles do not happen. I know they happen. I have seen them take place among my patients a thousand times. Miracles are energy phenomena. I have to date not seen proof that miracles can be brought about by clever thinking.
CAN THE MIND COAX INJURED TISSUES TO HEAL QUICKER? OR DO TISSUES HEAL FASTER WHEN THE MIND IS STILLED?
In many well documented cases, the course of illness appears to have been radically altered by certain measures taken by the sick. The question that intrigues me is whether the observed benefits resulted because the mind ordained the injured tissues to heal or because injured tissues were spared the disease-promoting activities of the thinking mind. Do diseased tissues regenerate more expediently when they are relentlessly driven by clever schemes of the thinking mind? Or do they heal more quickly when the unrelenting mind is stilled. Before the thinking mind can heal hurt tissues, it must first
know what that healing problem is. The issue is not that the phenomenon of healing can be facilitated, it clearly can be, the question is what, if any, role does the thinking mind play in the healing response. It amuses me that those who speak the loudest of their mind’s ability to heal are the people who seem to have the least understanding of the healing response in tissues in duress.
IT JUST HAPPENS, HONEST, DR. ALI, IT JUST HAPPENS
A very large number of patients have told me they can control migraine attacks, asthma episodes, and other disorders with mind-over-body healing. Some people told me they can heal chronically painful backs with their minds. Such stories are of intense interest to me. I never doubt the veracity of people who relate such events to me. What I do pursue vigorously is how they use their minds to heal the body.
How do they persuade their tightened arteries to let go so that they might get some relief from migraine pain?
How do they plead with, coax or simply order their spastic bronchial tubes to open up so they can breathe without using any drugs?
How do they argue their case with their ulcerated colons, and convince them to cease and desist from cramping and bleeding episodes?
How do they use their minds to tell the irritated, rebellious muscles in their backs to loosen up?
To date, no one has ever answered such questions. My patients who tell me about such things always turn defensive, and make these types of statements. “Dr. Ali, I can often control my asthma attack”, the patient proudly tells me.
“That’s wonderful! How do you do it I ask. You know how, don’t you?”
“No, I really don’t Well, with mind control.” He smiles.
“Tell me how you do mind control.”
“With mind over body healing.”
“How do you do your mind over body healing?” I persist.
“You know! The mind-over-body approach.” He becomes a little tentative.
“Tell me how you do your mind over body approach to asthma?” I press him. “I mean how do you use your mind to send messages to the bronchial tubes to open up so that air can get in?”
“Well…” The patients stops in mid-sentence.
“Yes…” I coax him.
“I…I…I don’t know how…Just think about it.”
“Try to recall what it is that you do to do your mind-over-body thing. I’m very interested in it.”
“It just happens.”
“Of course, it happens. But I need to understand how it happens. If you can teach me how you do it, then I can teach your method to my other patients who suffer from asthma.”
“It just happens. Honest Doc, it does happen.”
“Of course, it does!.” I reassure him.
“You really don’t believe me, do you?” he asks.
“Of course, I do,” I assert. I spend three hours with my patients teaching them self regulation. So I do know it works. “I just want to know how you do it.”
“Maybe I can’t explain it, but it does work.”
“I know! I know! I don’t doubt you for one moment. So you do believe mind-over-body works.”
“I didn’t say that, did I?”
“It would have been different if we really could use our minds to do such things. But how do you know it is the working of the mind if the mind does not even know that it is. How can we say we use our mind to cure something our mind doesn’t even understand? How else do you think it works?”
“I don’ know.”
“Perhaps because you have intuitively found a way to shut out your thinking mind, keep the cortical monkey out. Perhaps because tissue energy shuts out the mind so that the natural healing state of energy in injured tissues can do what Nature designed it to do, heal. Perhaps because the natural state of the bronchial tubes is to stay relaxed and open, and that what they do when they are left alone when the ceaseless demands of the thinking mind are blocked by the healing energy of irritated bronchial tubes. Isn’t that what asthma sufferers tell us? Stress makes their asthma worse.”
“You mean it is not the mind that heals? It’s something else? Something other than my thinking mind?” he asks, perplexed.
“Isn’t that what you just told me?” I answered back.
THE MIND OF AN OSTEOBLAST
Fractured bones heal without taking cues from the thinking mind. To my knowledge, osteoblasts, the bone cells that multiply and lay down new bone for the healing of fractured bones, do not have much respect for mind-over-body healing. Consider wound healing in healthy little children, vigorous adults and active elderly individuals. Suppose a two-year-old girl, a 42-year-old woman and a 92 year-old woman trip over a stone and fracture their wrist bones. Whose broken bones will heal the fastest and whose will take the longest? Predictably, the child’s broken bones will heal in the shortest time and the elderly woman’s will take the longest.
Now let us factor in the conventional mind-over-body approach. The child does not even know that such notions as mind-over-body healing exist, makes no attempt to engage in it, and yet his bones heal the quickest. The 92-year-old woman should have the most knowledge about and should have all the necessary time to put the mind-over-body healing method to test. Yet, she will have the most difficulty, and in most instances can be expected to have incomplete bond healing even under the ideal circumstances. How do we reconcile these everyday observations with the mind-over-body theory?
The osteoblast cells in the two-year-old girl burst into activity and merrily go on their business of mending broken bones, following their own energy signals, totally oblivious of what her mind may or may not dictate. Cells revved up with healing energy cherish their autonomy. The healing cells in the 42-year old woman will follow a different pace and heal the bone slowly. The osteoblast cells of the 92-year old woman will lay out new bone in their own leisurely way, sensing no need to acknowledge any of the exhortations of the clever, thinking mind.
NON-UNION IN PEOPLE, MAL-UNION IN ANIMALS
As a young surgeon first training in Pakistan and later in England, I saw many cases of non-union of fractured bones. Non-union is a term used to refer to a condition in which the fractured bones do not heal when the broken bone is set and immobilized in a cast. Evidently, the natural healing process is arrested in this condition because of some reasons. (Impaired blood circulation, poor nutritional status and prolonged immobilization are some of the causes of non-union).
Mal-union is a term that is used for cases in which the two broken ends of the bone unite but do so in a crooked way. In our discussion of the non-union cases in clinical wards, the subject of non-union often brought references to the healing phenomena in primitive cultures and in wild animals. Fractured bones always heal among tribal cultures in which broken bones are set and splinted without using the modern technology, though often times, the broken bones heal in mal-aligned fashions. Similarly fractured bones always heal in the animal kingdom, though predictably producing crookedly healed bones.
Thus, there is a clear distinction between healing of fractured bone under natural circumstances with minimal or no interference and healing of broken bones under conditions of modern science: Non-union sometimes occurs when the mind of man interferes with the natural healing response while it is not seen when the mind is kept out of the way of the healing bones under natural conditions, though this occurs at the expense of crooked healing. Evidently, I do not make a case here for not using modern orthopedic techniques for fractured bones. I do not advocate that we accept crookedly healed bones.
I include here brief comments about the conditions of non-union and mal-union of fractured bones to illustrate my essential point: the thinking mind cannot force healing on the osteoblast cells. These cells will do what Nature designed them to do. They lay down new bone and mold and remold such bone in response to healthy stresses of life so that the end result is a healed bone. Children usually heal their broken bones quickly. The mended bones model and remodel themselves continuously. X-rays of such bones taken after several months of the healing response show perfect bone structure so that someone not familiar with the case does not even suspect that a fracture of bones had occurred. The thinking mind clearly plays no role in such bone healing.
THE ADRENALIN PUMP AND THE MIND OF A GAZELLE
Nature gave us the fight or flight response for a survival advantage. When the mind perceives a survival threat, it gears the body for a brisk, and a maximal response. The heart races to pump more blood for maximal effort, the lungs hyperventilate to bring in more oxygen to sustain the effort, the pupils dilate to see more, and the muscles are held taught for maximal efficiency. This fight or flight response is elicited by bursts of adrenaline from the adrenal gland.
A leopard crouches behind the bush and slowly approaches a gazelle grazing in the meadow. When it can no longer hide its approach, it lunges forward toward the gazelle. The prey sees the flash of an image, freezes for a moment in utter shock, and then breaks into a frightened and frenzied dash. The sudden image is processed in the mind of the gazelle, and almost instantly an adrenaline surge sends a barrage of molecular messages and puts the whole body into a death defying dance of survival. Some minutes later, an exhausted leopard gives up the chase and the gazelle escapes. Within moments, the flight chemistry of the gazelle begins to return to a normal state as adrenaline peak ebbs and the related flight molecules are broken down.
Does the gazelle use its mind to control its body and return its Fourth-of-July chemistry of the struggle for survival into a health-restoring steady state of energy?
EARLY MAN AND BODY-MIND-SPIRIT TRIO
I am fascinated by the ancient records of spiritual healing. In all cultures and in all segments of man’s history, there is clear evidence of spiritual healing. Methods change in different epoch but the essence of healing does not. It is also clear that such healing was always an energy phenomena though the essential nature of the phenomena escaped critical intellectual scrutiny, as it continues to do to date. If it was all hocus pocus, as my colleagues in drug medicine believe, how could it have survived for millennia? Fads and falsehoods come and go, they do not endure in their core experiences forever.
Why did the essential mystery of spiritual healing endure?
How did early man come up with his body-mind-spirit trio in the first place?
It is easy to understand why he thought about the first two: he had bodily senses and he could think, imagine, hope and dream. But why the third element!
How did he know that the third element of the spirit existed?
After all, whatever he could think about or imagine comes under the jurisdiction of the mind. No matter how wide the swing of his imagination or how vast the reach of his mind, it was all intellectual function.
How did he dream up the very notion that the spirit existed, clearly beyond the thinking mind?
Indeed, the very thought of the spirit is well within the confines of the thought process. By definition, the spirit must be accepted as beyond our physical senses and beyond all intellectual faculties. The primitive healer of the yesteryear closed his eyes and went into an altered energy state for the healing ritual. It is so with today’s Shaman. Closed eyes and the rhythm of the drums allowed the ancient to escape the confines of the thinking mind. It is the same with the Shaman and the others who take this healing approach.
These questions arise in my mind as I reflect on the phenomena of healing energy. Edgar Casey, probably the best known American psychic and seer, has left an enormous body of records of successful readings for remedies for the sick who consulted him in person or by letter.
During a recent visit to Virginia Beach, Talat and I visited the Research and Enlightenment Institute built to continue his work after his death. In a documentary film there, I saw Edgar Casey sleeping on a couch and speaking out loud in his sleep, his prescriptions were recorded by a stenographer sitting close to the couch and later given to the sick.
My father was also a seer, but in a different way. I recall how his bodily state and awareness of his surroundings changed profoundly during his prayers for the sick.
MUSIC AND HEALING
Music transforms people. Music heals.
How does music heal?
Is musical transformation an intellectual function? did Mozart and Beethoven engage in high intellectual function when they composed? I doubt if any singer in the history of man has been listened to more frequently than the Indian singer, Lata Mangaeshkar. And I doubt if any singer has ever alleviated more human suffering with her/his words than has Lata. Does she use her mind to heal? Or is it the working of the mind of those who suffer?
THE MIND CREATES THE FOURTH-OF-JULY CHEMISTRY
THE HEALING ENERGY PUTS OUT THE OXIDATIVE SPARKS
The mind can make us sick. Of this, there is no doubt in my mind. I see evidence for this every working day. The cortical monkey loves to recycle misery. When that is not enough, it recycles feared, future misery. It thrives on packaging and repackaging past hurts. It turns a natural state of healing energy into turbulent Fourth-of-July chemistry. It mercilessly drives the energy enzyme pathways of the body, literally short-circuiting and blowing fuses of human energy systems. Unable to cope with the unending demands of the thinking mind, the energy-depleted and exhausted tissues succumb. The unrelenting and clever thinking mind succeeds in its relentless pursuit. I know from an extensive personal clinical experience how the energy patterns of injured tissues heal when we eliminate the ceaseless chatter of the mind.
Every Wednesday for several years now, I spend about three hours with my patients doing energy work with autoregulation. I have reached a point where almost every patient perceives some pattern of healing energy in one body organ or the other. Time and again, I see healing responses take place only when their overheated minds are quieted, and the unrelenting clutter of their cortical monkey are cleared up. As long as a patient stays involved in a thinking activity, nothing ever happens.
We take pride in our minds, but healing is not an intellectual function. Healing cannot be forced upon injured cells and tissues by a demanding mind. Rather, healing occurs when the tissues are set free from the ceaseless censor of the mind. I have repeatedly observed that many of my patients control their asthma and migraine attacks, lower their raised blood pressure, or reverse other chronic illnesses with an energy-over-mind approach.
WHY ARE WE PHYSICIANS MIFFED BY THE MIND-OVER-BODY APPROACH TO HEALING
It is an interesting question. Physicians make their living treating diseases. The sincerity of purpose in a physician’s work is widely questioned in the U.S. today. Notwithstanding such cynicism, a vast majority of physicians are hardworking, caring and compassionate professionals. (It is a crying shame that they are incarcerated in the dogma of drug medicine and the long-term use of their drugs cause so much illness). Physicians do want their patients to get better. What could be safer, less expensive and convenient than mind-over-body healing for physicians?
Most advances of the Star Wars medicine took place in the later part of this century. Before that, we physicians had none of the high-tech tools of our trade. It would have been the most natural thing for us to engage in the mind-over-body healing approach. So why didn’t we? It may be argued that physicians were not lured by the mind-over-body healing because it would have disempowered them, put the patient in charge of the healing process. It would have minimized the importance of the physician’s role in the care of the sick, and it might have denigrated their herbs and their lancets. Indeed, there was the clear risk that success in mind-over-body healing might have put them out of commission, and out of their living. There is, however, a problem with this theory.
Clearly, there were physicians in the past whose commitment to the well-being of their patients was unequivocal, unwavering, sufficiently true for them to consider this approach and for no other reason than the mind-over-body healing has no serious adverse effects.
So why did physicians not engage mind-over-body healing?
I believe the real answer is that it simply doesn’t work, notwithstanding rather limited benefits of positive thinking and affirmations of health. Even in modern times, we have known that what is being touted as mind-over-body are intellectual games.
There is another interesting aspect of this subject. If mind-over-body healing really worked, we physicians would have known this better than any other group. We would have certainly adopted the method for personal use and for treating our family members. The reality is quite different: We physicians as a group probably use more drugs for our own infirmities than any other large group of professionals. If the mind-over-body approach really worked, certainly we would have been the group to put it into personal use more than any other.
Injured molecules, cells and tissues heal spontaneously when they are spared the clever healing schemes of the thinking mind. This is the simple truth that perceptive individuals in the healing profession have known for thousands of years. I discuss this subject at length in the companion volume The Cortical Monkey and Healing
PSYCHOSOMATIC AND SOMATOPSYCHIC MODELS OF DISEASE ARE ARTIFACTS OF OUR THINKING
Diseases are burdens on biology. Human intellect and human body organs are integral parts of the human condition. To separate them, as Socrates lamented, is to negate the completeness of the human condition. Our technology has rendered irrelevant the debate on he psychosomatic and somatopsychic nature of diseases. Advances in behavioral biology and experimental psychology have put these two disciplines on a collision course; a complete merger between the two is simply a matter of time.
Hope is an energetic-molecular event. So is dejection. Neuropeptide research is closing in on defining emotions and behavior as chemical sequences. The French philosopher, Teilhard de Chardin, dreamed of the day when man’s technology would have conquered oceans and winds and would begin to explore the energy of love. We are seeing the dawn of that day.
Self-regulation with an energy-over-mind approach brings forth profound energetic-molecular changes in human biology. In other works I describe various biochemical, electromagnetic and high resolution microscopic changes that I have observed with autoregulation methods in my patients. Clinically, many of my patients can control asthma and arthritis, lower blood pressure in hypertension, and normalize overactive and underactive thyroid glands with consistency and predictability.
It is unusual for me to see a patient who is unable to learn how to alter one or more electrophysiologic responses during his very first training session with me in our autoregulation laboratory. Clinically, I see far superior results with energy-over-mind approaches than are possible with positive thinking and affirmations. I have not seen the mind-over-body gospel work. Many of my patients reversed their chronic diseases when they learned how to quiet their minds, perceive their tissue energy, and allow the tissue energy to guide them. Tissues evidently know their business, and do respond. We need only to learn how to shut our thinking cortical minds and limbically perceive the healing energy of that larger presence that surrounds each of us at all times. This is not simply a clever play on words. Molecular and tissue repair are visceral and limbic-energetic functions. Injured tissues do heal with their innate energetic pathways when we keep the disruptive influences of the thinking mind (cortical monkey) out of their healing ways.
AUTOREG AND AUTOREGULATION
The terms autoreg, autoregulation, self regulation, cortical and limbic appear throughout this and companion volumes in this series of books. This is a short note about how these words took forms. In my early clinical work, I developed some stress management techniques for some patients with chronic indolent problems. The patient’s conditions seemed to resist the standard prevailing methods. I found myself teaching these patients how to slow their hearts, open their arteries, and dissolve their muscle tension. In medical terminology, these activities are referred to as autonomic functions. It seemed logical to use the term autonomic regulation for it. My patients abbreviated this to autoreg.
I soon realized my patients desperately wanted me to reach them effective methods for self-regulation and for facilitating natural healing. I also recognized that self-regulation goes far beyond any ideas of autonomic regulation. I started a search for a simple term that in practical terms would declare my purpose.
Again, my patients solved the problem. They stayed with the term autoreg as I experimented with different words. In the end I decided to follow their lead.
Looking back, my work with autoregulation evolved in the following sequences: stress management, autonomic regulation, self regulation, and aspects of hope and spirituality in the healing response. One of the essential lessons my patients taught me is this: slowing the heart rate, keeping the arteries open, and slow, even breathing profoundly affect our mood and state of mind. These basic methods of autoregulation are very effective in dissipating anger and anxiety even when that is not our intended purpose. But this is just a beginning. Autoregulation reveals the path of self-regulation and healing. A passage through the realms of self regulation inevitably ushers a person to higher states of awareness and consciousness.
BEYOND POSITIVE THINKING: CORTICAL AND LIMBIC STATES
Early in my work with autoregulation, I learned from my patients a useful (an now clinically validated) conceptual model for self-regulation and energy work that restores the essential healing state of the human organism. In this model, we see human biology in two conditions. First is the condition of biology that is created and sustained by a part of our brain (the neo-cortex) that calculates, computes, competes, cautions and clutters our minds. I call this the cortical mode.
The second condition of biology is created and sustained by a part of the brain (the limbic system) that cares, comforts and consoles. I call this the limbic mode. learned from personal experience and by working with my patients that it is extremely difficult, if at all possible, to be aware of, to become sensitive to and to regulate our biology when we are in the cortical mode. Thus, one needs to learn how to escape into the limbic mode.
I learned from personal experience and by working with my patients that it is extremely difficult, it at all possible, to be aware of, to become sensitive to and to regulate our biology when we are in the cortical mode. Thus, one needs to learn how to escape into the limbic mode.
Positive thinking, as desirable as it may seem, is still thinking. My work with very ill patients has convinced me that positive thinking alone is not sufficient to transform one’s biology from a state of turmoil to a calm, steady and regenerative state.It is cruel to advise a patient to think positively when he is in the throes of intense suffering.
Beyond these two states there is yet another state: the spiritual state. I write about this third state in the companion volume The Canary and Chronic Fatigue.
THE CORTICAL MODE
The cortical mode counts, computes and competes. It censors and cautions. It controls and constricts. It assesses and analyzes. It wavers and warns. It gives us chronic thinking. And with its unrelenting chatter, it causes stress, impaired immunity and leads to a state of absence of health, a dis-ease The dis-ease state, if not reversed, damages tissues and causes disease.
By contrast, the limbic mode cares and comforts. It soothes and pampers. It gives and accepts affection and love. It creates images of health. It heals.In the limbic mode, our biology is in a steady state, assuring the continuity of basic life functions. It keeps in order the rhythm of the heart, arterial pulses, muscle tone, breathing cycles, and other essential life functions. In the limbic energy model of healing, we learn to perceive the healing energy of living tissues and simply allow the superior wisdom of this energy to guide us. There is no attempt made to use the mind to order the injured tissues to heal. (Injured tissues do not seem to have much respect for our clever-thinking schemes anyway).