The Science Behind
the Biko Method
How Can the Biko Method Help You?
Emotions affect far more than just our state of mind. When emotions get stuck, go rogue, or become suppressed, they wreak havoc on the physical body and can elevate stress, reduce productivity and creativity, sabotage relationships and goals, and most importantly they can prevent you from living a life that feels good.
Scientists and psychologists are beginning to urge greater attention to emotional wellness and they are finding mounting evidence to suggest that your state of emotion affects every layer of your being and every aspect of your life.
MIND OVER MATTER: THE EMOTIONAL CONNECTION TO ILLNESS
Science now has a plausible working model for elucidating the biological pathways and mechanisms by which our thoughts, emotions, and life experiences can influence our susceptibility or resistance to disease1.
I’ve come to believe that virtually all illness, if not psychosomatic in foundation, has a definite psychosomatic component. Recent technological innovations have allowed us to examine the molecular basis of the emotions, and to begin to understand how the molecules of our emotions share intimate connections with, and are indeed inseparable from, our physiology. It is the emotions, I have come to see, that link mind and body2.
The body is the unconscious mind! Repressed traumas caused by overwhelming emotion can be stored in a body part, thereafter affecting our ability to feel that part or even move it3.
Studies by Lydia Temoshok, a psychologist at UCSF, showed that cancer patients who kept emotions such as anger under the surface, remaining ignorant of their existence, had slower recovery rates than those who were more expressive.
Another trait common to these patients was self-denial, stemming from an unawareness of their own basic emotional needs. The immune systems were stronger and tumors smaller for those in touch with their emotions4.
Can Your Emotions Really Affect Your Health?
Science is supporting the certainty that yes, your emotions that you feel on a regular basis absolutely affect your physical health.
Generally speaking, physical and mental health are attendant upon positive attitudes, whereas ill health, both physical and mental, is associated with such negative attitudes as resentment, jealousy, hostility, self-pity, fear, anxiety, etc. In the field of psychoanalysis, positive attitudes are called welfare emotions, and the negative ones are called emergency emotions. Chronic immersion in emergency emotions results in physical or mental ill health and a gross weakening of one’s personal power5.
Recent work from the University of California, San Francisco, by Elissa Epel, Elizabeth Blackburn (Blackburn shared the 2009 Nobel Price for the discovery of the antiaging enzyme telomerase), and their colleagues is showing that our thoughts and emotions, especially highly stressful thoughts that involve worrying about the future or ruminating obsessively about the past, seem to influence the rate at which we age, right down to the level of our cells and our telomeres—the specialized DNA repeat sequences at the tips of all of our chromosomes that are essential for cell division and that shorten over time as we age6.
If the brain… perceives a threatening world, it does not prompt the brain to release the biochemicals of love. Instead, fear provokes the release of stress hormones and inflammatory agents such as cytokines into the blood. If these chemicals are added to cell cultures in a plastic dish, they cause the cells to stop growing and may cause them to die. The chemistry of stress stunts the growth and maintenance of cells because it diverts the body’s energy to support protection mechanisms. This is why stress is the primary cause of illness and is responsible for up to 90 percent of all doctor visits.
Early Emotional Suffering Shapes Health Later in Life
The results demonstrated, among other things, that there was a particular constellation of features in early life that was associated with an increased likelihood of having cancer later in life… The conclusion, of course, is that our emotional experiences early in life may play a strong role in shaping our health later in life8.
The inability to express emotions was strongly linked to mortality among lung cancer patients in this study. Those lung cancer patients who had the poorest ability to express emotions had more than four and a half times the yearly death rate of those with the highest ability for emotional expression9.
YOUR THOUGHTS AND EMOTIONS INTERCONNECT WITH YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Now it is clear, as borne out by solid findings, that there is a powerful interconnected language between these two systems [the immune system and the mind]. Indeed, the term ‘immunologic synapse’ has entered today’s biologic lexicon… In the context of the present discussion, it appears that the immune/nervous system metaphor has become reality. What was previously viewed as outside the realm of sensory perception, and therefore metaphysical, is now seen as otherwise10.
WHY DO OUR NEGATIVE EMOTIONS SEEM MORE POWERFUL THAN OUR POSITIVE EMOTIONS?
Memories of traumatic events can be hard to shake, and now scientists say they understand why. Studies on laboratory rats have revealed, for the first time, the brain mechanism that translates unpleasant experiences into long-lasting memories. The findings support a 65-year-old hypothesis called Hebbian plasticity.
This idea states that in the face of trauma… more neurons in the brain fire electrical impulses in unison and make stronger connections to each other than under normal situations. Stronger connections make stronger memories. The new findings are not only an important advance in researchers’ understanding of how Hebbian plasticity works, but they also may lead to treatments to help patients forget horrible memories11.
Research suggests that prolonged stress contributes to high blood pressure, promotes the formation of artery-clogging deposits, and causes brain changes that may contribute to anxiety, depression, and addiction12.
OUR HOPE IS IN UNDERSTANDING—AND DISSOLVING—THE NATURE OF EMOTIONAL PAIN
Now that we’ve heard from the scientists and see the clear evidence that our emotions and thoughts affect our life, mortality, health and physical body… let’s look at the findings in metaphysical and psychological studies that explain how the Biko Method is able to root out and dissolve your emotional pain and its negative effects.
UNRESOLVED EMOTIONS FROM THE PAST ACCUMULATE INTO A PAIN BODY
Some people are characterized more by pain body, others by pain speech, and still others by pain mind. The pain body is not just about the physical body. It can also be seen as the foundation, or ground, of our smaller unenlightened self, like a sense of identity13.
For each of us to heal personal, family, and societal suffering, we need to recognize the habitual reactions that obscure our true nature and block us from living in full relation to our inherent intelligence and capacity. Our habitual reactions to the challenges in life I refer to as the pain body. By using the word body, I am not only referring to the physical body with its tensions, aches, constrictions, and illnesses, but to our sense of identity altogether, our sense of “I” or “me”14.
Although you are not your pain body, often the healing of the misunderstanding that you are your pain begins when you connect more deeply with your pain body…. It can be a moving experience that you want to share with others, and even though that is not conclusively who you truly are, it can be the first step toward healing.
Often we do not allow ourselves to know our pain very well, or to feel it fully. We may feel some cultural pressure to be successful and uplifted and energetic. You are supposed to feel happy. But are you really happy? Everyone else seems excited about something, and so you smile and jump up and down and join a conspiracy of happiness. If that is the case, discovering your pain body can be more authentic than joining a conspiracy of cheerfulness that takes you further away from yourself15.
There is such a thing as old emotional pain living inside you. It is an accumulation of painful life experience’s that were not fully faced and accepted in the moment they arose. This leaves behind an energy form of emotional pain. It comes together with other energy forms from other instances, and so after some years you have a “painbody,” an energy entity consisting of old emotion. It lives in human beings, and it is the emotional aspect of egoic consciousness16.
That is everybody’s job here – to be there, to recognize the painbody when it shifts from dormant to active, when something triggers a very strong emotional reaction. At that moment, when it does take over your mind, the internal dialogue, which is dysfunctional at the best of times, now becomes the voice of the painbody talking to you internally. Everything it says, every judgment about your life, about other people, about a situation you are in, will be totally distorted by the old emotional pain17.
OLD UNRESOLVED EMOTIONS DON’T GET PROCESSED BY YOUR RATIONAL BRAIN
New maps of brain circuitry tell us that the brain is affected by our emotions in two ways: first, signals travel from the first brain to the rational brain and then back to the emotional brain whenever we mull something over for a while and become increasingly angry, determined, or hurt. The “mulling over” allows us to receive more precise data, and this leads to good decision making and more effective actions.
The second pathway is the route the signal takes as it travels to the emotional brain before going to the rational brain. This occurs when there is an immediate and powerful recognition of a specific experience as the emotional brain makes an association with some past event; we react strongly to something without really knowing why. The brain seems to have one memory system for ordinary facts and another for emotionally charged events. Emotional events appear to open additional neural pathways that make them stronger in our minds, which may explain why we never forget significant events. Occasionally we are propelled into action on the basis of these few rough signals before we get confirmation from the thinking brain. We have a rational brain that keeps us from being overpowered by strong emotional reactions, but the emotional brain should not be completely overshadowed by the rational one. The key is balance18.
HOW TO QUANTIFY EMOTIONAL “WELLNESS”
As mentioned above, the key is balance. Which is one of the keys to emotional wellness. But how can you truly quantify what emotional wellness is for you? Everyone seems to have their own definition. It helps to define for yourself what these terms mean to you. What kind of emotional freedom do you wish to achieve?
Here are a few wise definitions to help you:
Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.Mahatma Gandhi
We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.Dalai Lama
Inner peace means gaining closure and letting go of all your fears, your emotional baggage, doubts, worries, anxieties, limitations, and barriers. Inner peace means disempowering any negative attitudes and beliefs and replacing them with positive empowering qualities. With inner peace, navigating through the world becomes much easier.What is Inner Peace, Blogcritics.org 2010
Emotional wellness isn’t really about the problems you have in your life – everyone has those. It’s more about how you approach the problems in life, and how much you’re able to embrace the parts of life you do love.7 Signs of Emotional Wellness, The Huffington Post 2013
Get Started Today with the Biko Method
You can start using the Biko Method today to release stress, unwanted emotion, anxiety or anything else you’d like to let go of. The process is easy to do and can be used effectively on yourself, your children, and even your pets!
“I am a personal trainer and owner of a successful gym. In my line of work, it is not uncommon to take on your client’s anxieties, worries or emotional states and bring them home with you. The Biko Method has really been a foundational tool for me. It allows me to address all the subconscious programs that contribute to all that emotional energy and clear it in a very short process.”
“Konstantine instantly moved his day around and met up with me for an emergency appointment. Miraculously, he removed 33 years of abuse that rooted from my father in just 2 hours. It was the most incredible experience of my life... I felt all the pain, frustration, the failure, the self harm lift from my mind and body instantly..I am forever grateful for this incredible gift he has given me.”
*Disclaimer: Results can vary. There is no guarantee of specific results.
Footnotes / References
- 1 Kabat-Zinn, Jon. Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness. Bantam Books. eBook Edition 2013.
- 2 Pert, Candace. Molecules of Emotion: Why You Feel the Way You Feel. Scribner. Kindle Edition 1997.
- 3 Ibid.
- 4 Ibid.
- 5 Hawkins, David R. Power vs. Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior. Hay House. Kindle Edition 2013.
- 6 Kabat-Zinn, Jon. Full Catastrophe Living.
- 7 Lipton, Bruce. The Honeymoon Effect: The Science of Creating Heaven on Earth. Hay House. Kindle Edition 2013.
- 8 Kabat-Zinn, Jon. Full Catastrophe Living
- 9 Ibid. Chap. 15, “The Role of Emotions in Health: Cancer”
- 10 Blalock, J.E. “The immune system as the sixth sense.” Journal of Internal Medicine 2005; 257: 126-138.
- 11 Wanjek, Christopher. “Why Painful Memories Linger.” Live Science. Purch, 9 December 2014. Web. 2 August 2015.
- 12 Harvard Health Publications. “Understanding the Stress Response: Chronic activation of this survival mechanism impairs health.” Harvard Mental Health Letter. Harvard Medical School, 1 March 2011. Web. 25 July 2015.
- 13 Rinpoche, Tenzin Wangyal. Tibetan Yogas of Body, Speech and Mind. Snow Lion, Shambhala Publications, Inc. Google Books Edition 2011.
- 14 Rinpoche, Tenzin Wangyal. Awakening the Luminous Mind: Tibetan Meditation for Inner Peace and Joy. Hay House. Kindle Edition 2012.
- 15 Ibid.
- 16 Tolle, Eckhart. “Living in Presence With Your Emotional Pain Body.” The Huffington Post. Huffington Post Media Group, 10 October 2010. Web. 3 August 2015.
- 17 Ibid.
- 18 Sterrett, Emily A. The Science Behind Emotional Intelligence (white paper). HRD Press, 2014. White paper. Web. hrdpress.com. 3 August 15.