Until recently, it was believed that we were born with a ton of neurons, synapse and connections, that our brains were fixed by the end of adolescence and as we got older, the neurons simply died off. However, current research has shown the opposite to be true—that our brains can actually grow and change throughout our lives. We can actually make changes to further develop our brains and “rewire” the way we process our experiences and perceive situations, ourselves and others. This is exciting because we can change the impact negative situations have on us and release the negative feelings associated with that impact. That release can increase not only our well being, but extend our lives. This brain neuroplasticity opens up the door for us to rewire our brains.
This rewiring or neuroplasticity of the brain, can be achieved in multiple modes. Anywhere from reading fiction, creating art, getting adequate sleep, enhancing one’s diet, expanding your vocabulary, learning to juggle, doing mnemonic drills to doing exercise or simple tasks with our non-dominant hand. More therapeutic treatments have also shown the ability to “rewire” the brain, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), hypnotherapy or mediation. These therapies begins with the notion of the mind as an object of awareness. Hypnotherapy and meditation explore rewiring with the brain in a relaxed state to access the unconscious mind free of our default conscious programming.
Recently an alternative method to “rewire” the brain has gained popularity and in studies is showing to cause epigenetic changes, the psychedelic experience. There are research studies looking at a variety of psychedelic drugs and their benefits for assisting in the treatment of depression, anxiety and effects of trauma. Such drugs like, MDMA, Psilocybin and Ketamine. Now researchers have gone into the jungle and are looking at the epigenetic effects of ayahuasca.
The combined mystical and insight experience are the acute psychedelic effects that increase psychological flexibility and can lead to rapid and enduring transformation with greater reduction in trauma, stress, depression and anxiety. The mystical experience that consists of positive mood and transcendence of time and space. The insight experience can be something deeply meaningful to the individual, gaining awareness, realization and discoveries about emotion, behaviors, beliefs, memories and relationships. Like meditation, the psychedelic experience softens or ceases one’s internal dialogue and expands consciousness moving from the conditioned mind to a mind free of the default programming.
The psychedelic brew ayahuasca is both more complex and less studied than many other psychedelic compounds, including one ayahuasca constituent, N,N-dimethyltryptamine, or DMT. A new study on ayahuasca now adds to the growing evidence that ayahuasca treatments can provide lasting relief from conditions such as depression, and it suggests there are changes to gene expression during these experiences. While the results are inconclusive and more qualitative, asking was it the Ayahuasca that created the epigenetic change or the entire experience of the retreat that created the rewiring, it poses interesting implications for further research.
These discoveries broaden our understanding of alternative ways to heal. It opens the possibilities for different way to look at treatment, not just though the eyes of conventional medicine. While it may take some time for these ideas to hit the mainstream. It can provide another tool to reach the epigenetic changes we are looking for to heal and improve our lives. Epigenetics is the software, if you like, of our brains genetic material. Epigenetic is like a contractor working with our genes that decides which ones are going to be turned on or off. This is why even simple things like love, gratitude and forgiveness can affect our biochemistry, through epigenetics.
I believe that health is not a static condition, but a daily choice. Using our Genetic blueprint and the guidance of an epigenetic coach you can gain a deeper understanding of your body and the daily choices you need to make to improve your state of well being.
Like eating healthy, wearing sunscreen or getting your blood pressure checked at the doctor, genetic testing is another important tool to help manage your health and lifestyle. Your genes can give you clues into how our body can preform better and provide steps you can take to help you stay healthy.
Eating right, exercising, and getting routine checkups are great for the average person.
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