My parents – both medical researchers – raised me with scientific certainty. We didn’t believe in God because if you can’t prove it, it doesn’t exist. Spirituality was seen as an opiate-like fantasy, alternative healing modalities were dismissed as ‘unscientific’ and talk therapy was derided as something for ‘the weak-minded.’
Yet as an adult my life is grounded in an ever-present spiritual experience. Most of my professional life has been devoted to ‘touchy-feely’ healing practices that my parents would have thought to be stupid. Almost all of what I base my personal and professional life on falls outside of what has been accepted by mainstream scientific and medical models.
Not surprisingly, the conflict between my scientific training on one hand and my spiritual life and direct experience of ‘non-scientific’ healing modalities on the other hand has led to internal, intellectual and emotional conflicts.
For years I’ve scoured scientific literature for insights that would allow me to reconcile what I know through science with what I’ve discovered through my work in the healing arts.
At last, research – especially in the field of neuroscience – has evolved to the point where science not only validates many ‘alternative’ healing practices, but even provides an explanatory framework for how and why they work.
The first scientific foundations were laid in the mid 1970’s. In that decade Adler and Cohen at the University of Rochester proved relationships between psychology, neurology and the nervous system, founding the field of psychoneuroimmunology. Around the same time Herbert Benson at Harvard Medical School started systematic research into the Relaxation Response, documenting how meditation catalyzes positive effects in the brain and body.
Progress has accelerated greatly in the last decade, driven mostly by the development of brain imaging techniques, especially functional MRI, that can look inside living brains to see what is going on during ‘unscientific,’ ‘touchy-feely’ activities such as meditation, hypnosis and internal conflict resolution.
In the last few years several different threads of research have come together that have allowed me to finally put all the pieces together. I now have a clear picture, based in the hard sciences, of how all this ‘non-scientific’ stuff works.
I’ll be publishing a series of articles which will lay out this framework – tracing a coherent path from the fundamentals of neuroscience to how alternative therapies work. The articles will cover a range of personal development tools including hypnosis, talk therapy and body-centered healing modalities. Of course, this will include an explanation how our Body-Psyche guided meditations and the body-centered hypnosis journeys in The Neediness To Abundance Program work to affect deep changes.