It is well known and accepted that our past experiences have a very large influence on our subconscious programming, thereby contributing to our current behaviours, thought patterns, and lifestyle choices.
Often, this subconscious programming can often be responsible for initiating the stress response at unnecessary times, for example if we find ourselves in a situation that is reminiscent of a troubling past experience, we can find it stressful. Even if the current situation is safe to be in, the association with that memory can trigger the fight, flight or freeze response.
This subconscious programming can often keep us trapped in the stress response for extended periods of time, effecting the homeostasis of our organism, causing the body to become unbalanced, depleting the immune system and redirecting the supply of essential nutrients away from our internal organs. (It its important to note that this refers only to CHRONIC stress, some studies have shown that acute stress, or short term manageable stress can be beneficial for the immune system).
This stress inducing trauma that inflicts damage on our bodies long after the initial traumatic experience has passed is often referred to as Traumatic Beliefs. These traumatic experiences are not just stored as memories or thoughts and emotions in our minds, but they are also coded into our biology as “cellular memory”. Thomas R. McClaskey, D.C., C.H.T., B.C.E.T.S. writes in Decoding Traumatic Memory Patterns at the Cellular Level that “In a condition such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, it must be kept in mind that the “problem” is an expression of traumatically encoded information at the cellular level.”
Dr Candace Pert, the scientist responsible for discovering the opiate receptors in our brains, wrote extensively about cellular memory and relationship between our cellular biology and our emotions. In her book Molecules Of Emotion she discusses her findings in the lab and how this is more than a theory, it is quantifiable and measurable.
Ivan Petrovich Pavlov, a Russian physiologist known primarily for his work in classical conditioning, also wrote and studied extensively about the phenomenon of previous experiences directly triggering current physiological responses. Through his famous experiments on classic conditioning, commonly referred to as Pavlov’s Dog, he found that an initial stimulus, or memory, can later act as a catalyst for the same reflex response that was initiated by the perceived threat. The reflex or response can then become conditioned to produce the same basic reaction each time the memory of the initial threat is activated, regardless of the stimulus.
Let’s review. With the work of these medical pioneers in mind, we can ascertain that:
1. Our past experiences can have a lasting imprint in the memories of our brains.
2. Our past experiences can have a further imprint in the cells of other regions of our bodies.
3. Upon exposure to a situation that triggers the recollection of that stored memory, a person can display associated behaviours and specific physiological responses such as the stress response.
4. We can thereby understand that our past experiences can have a direct impact on our health and wellbeing.
Unless these traumatic cellular memories are decoded, that cellular memory can serve as initiator for psychological and/or psychosomatic illness.
The more frequently the memory is activated the greater the effect it has on the homeostasis of the organism and the mind-body complex. The more frequently this occurs, the more likely the individual is to express the various physiological imbalances that eventually manifest into physical disharmonies such as ailment, illness and dis-ease.