Uncovering the Biology of Belief
The following excerpts are taken from several of Bruce Lipton’s articles. His ground-breaking theories and the ability to relate them to chiropractic are worth reading all of his articles in their entirety.
Recent advances in cellular science are heralding an important turning point. For almost fifty years, we have held the illusion that our health and fate were preprogrammed in our genes, a concept referred to as genetic determinacy. Though mass consciousness is currently imbued with the belief that the character of ones life is genetically predetermined, a radically new understanding is unfolding at the leading edge of science. This new awareness is bringing conventional biomedical philosophy into close alliance with D.D. Palmer’s original Chiropractic philosophy.
Through the action of the nervous system, each individual cell is also influenced by a much larger environment, that experienced by the whole organism. Your liver cell knows what’s going on in your liver, but through the nervous system, it also aware of what’s going on in your job or in your relationships.
The cells receive environmental signals via the central nervous system. In truth, the cell’s receive a “perception” of the environment as interpreted by the Educated brain. Our nervous system tabulates approximately four billion environmental signals per second. Its primary role is to “read” the environment and make appropriate adjustments of growth and protection behaviors in order to ensure survival. Memory systems evolved to facilitate information handling by storing previously “learned” experiences. Memories, which represent perceptions, are scored on the basis of whether they support growth or require a protection response. In chiropractic philosophy, these learned perceptions constitute the Educated Intellect, which is by evolutionary design, a derivative of the collective Innate Intelligence.
Perception of environmental threats suppress a cell’s growth activities and cause it to modify its cytoskeletal in adopting a protection “posture.” Suppressing growth mechanisms conserves valuable energy needed in exercising life-saving protection behaviors.
In humans, a similar systemic switch functions to shut down our growth processes and prepares us for launching a protection response. This switching mechanism is represented by the Hypothalamus- Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis. The brain’s hypothalamus is instrumental in perceiving and assessing environmental signals. The perception of stress causes the hypothalamus to secrete corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), which in turn, activates certain pituitary cells to release adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) into the blood.
ACTH stimulates the adrenal gland to secrete adrenal hormones. These hormones constitute a “master switch” that regulates the systems growth protection activity and routes vascular flow in preparation for “fight or flight” reactions. Firstly, adrenal hormones shunt blood from the viscera and immune system and stunts intelligence. The degree of expression of these influences is directly related to the level of perceived stress. The more stress, the less growth. The interference with growth due to chronic stress leads to dis-ease, since the body is unable to adequately maintain its metabolic vitality.
In conclusion, conventional allopathic medicine is now beginning to realize that genetic expression, which influences the character of the body, is under the control of the environment. However, the growth or protection posture of an individual’s tissues and organs is mediated by the nervous system’s perception of its environment. Perceptions are beliefs. Misperceptions can inappropriately increase or decrease physiologic mechanisms and produce dis-ease.
The role of perception and mind is now becoming a point of focus in allopathic healthcare, as they try to unravel the mysteries of the placebo effect and the role of pyschosomatic stress.
The power of perceptions or beliefs in promoting health or disease was originally recognized by D. D. Palmer. In chiropractic, perceptions constitute the Educated, and it is this Educated that so worries and bothers Innate. He wrote, “The determining cause of disease are traumatism, poison and auto-suggestion.” Auto-suggestion (personal beliefs, self-talk) produces “auto-traumatic action directed to any organ or portion of the body, thereby modifying bodily functions, exciting or relieving morbid conditions by mental processes independently of external influence.”
When Educated perceives an environmental stress, it will signal the requirement for a protection response. Protection behaviors, mediated by the somatic nervous system will adjust the spine to provide a defensive posture. Consider the relationship between a powerful alpha-male dog and a dog of lesser rank. The latter will acquire a protective submissive posture, lowered head and body, in order to avoid inciting the wrath of the alpha-male.
After holding this posture for a long time (i.e., a chronic protection response), the dog’s spine will acquire obvious subluxations that would adversely impact its health. A spinal adjustment would alleviate these subluxations. However, if the dog returns to the same environment, it will continue to perceive a need for a protection posture. Under such circumstances, the dog’s Educated mind will employ auto-suggestion mechanisms that will return the spine to its subluxated condition. In addition to the adjustment, the dog will need to either alter its environment or alter its perceptions, in order to remain free of dis-ease.
As Palmer suggests, the chiropractor needs to seriously consider the role of auto-suggestion in the healing process. While adjustments alone can alleviate subluxations, problems generated by an erring Educated, may require the need for “reeducation” as a means of reversing dis-ease producing beliefs.
In 1907, chiropractors rejected D. D. Palmer’s philosophy as being too religious or metaphysical. In an effort to present themselves in a more “scientific” light, the profession has been gradually moving toward allopathic science for the last ninety years. Interestingly, allopaths have now begun to realize Palmer’s truths. If things continue as they are, allopaths may soon be more “chiropractic” than chiropractors!
Bruce H. Lipton, scientist and lecturer, received his Ph.D. at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville (1971). He served as an Associate Professor of Anatomy at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Medicine. Lipton’s research on mechanisms controlling cell behavior employed cloned human muscle cells. In addition, he lectured in Cell Biology, Histology and Embryology. Bruce resigned his tenured position to pursue independent research integrating quantum physics with cell biology.
His breakthrough studies on the cell membrane, the “skin” of the cell, revealed that the behavior and health of the cell was controlled by the environment, findings that were in direct contrast with prevailing dogma that life is controlled by genes. Lipton returned to academia as a Research Fellow at Stanford University’s School of Medicine to test his hypotheses (1987- 1992). His ideas concerning environmental control were substantiated in two major scientific publications. The new research reveals the biochemical pathways connecting the mind and body and provides insight into the molecular basis of consciousness and the future of human evolution.
This article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #01.
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