A famous author once stated, “If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.” We live in a time when learning real, valid history is less important than getting the desired socio-political belief from that history. True history tells us how we got here. Then there is the famous quote, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”
Our own history affects us personally. Just as world history tells us how we got to where we are today, so our personal history has shaped us and impacts us now. Personal history is unique to each person, but it unfolds in similar phases for everyone: from birth, to learning to walk and talk, to school, then work, perhaps building a family, and then older age — these are phases of life common to the human experience. We can make general statements about these phases because they are so similar for everyone.
We begin to develop when conceived. From one cell differentiating into the mosaic of cells that make up our organs and tissues, we are formed in the womb. Even before leaving the womb we are experiencing and trying to make sense of our experiences. In early childhood, our attention is focused keenly on understanding all the inputs we are receiving. At the same time, the body and brain are developing at an extreme rate, increasing our capacity to understand the world and interact with it. During this time, what we hear and learn is accepted unconditionally: we don’t know what is correct because we are still learning the basics, so we take in everything without a filter. We accept what we are told, building that into the most basic foundation that we build our later lives upon. This is why what we are taught at an early age is extremely important, and young minds must be carefully protected from negative influences, especially early on. Childhood must be protected — that is crucial to development into later life.
However, some garbage creeps in anyway. We tend not to remember those early days, or if we do, the memories are dim. Some of the strongest impressions, the most formational “truths” given to us that we build our lives upon, are buried deep in our minds. Later, as our conscious memories form and solidify, we remember more of what shaped us, but by then much of the foundation has been laid.
As we progress into later childhood, we are still learning quickly, but not as deeply. We develop the rationality to question what we hear, and for some of us, the teenage years even become a temporary time of rebellion against what we are being told. Meanwhile, the body is growing into its mature pattern in preparation for adulthood. As adults, our bodies are less concerned with growth and more concerned with stability. The foundation is set, and we enter our best time of productivity. As we become older adults, learning tends to slow further, but our experience provides us a wealth of understanding to continue to build upon.
As we progress through each phase of life, time runs at the same speed, but our learning does not. We may study more and learn skills at a rapid pace as adults, but much of what we’ve learned about life has already occurred. The first few years of our lives have much greater impact on our subconscious minds as adults than we realize consciously. Our struggles to improve who we are, how we relate to ourselves and others, and how we feel about ourselves are harder later in life, as they tie back mostly to our early history. We are seeing much of our current world through the lenses of our childhood.
In the first few years of life, over one million neural connections are being formed every second! Even before birth, connections begin to form. The first neural connections that develop are sensory: infants are strongly tuned into what they are seeing, hearing, feeling — they are trying to make sense out of all those inputs. Then with ability to correlate sensory input, they develop a more sophisticated correlation: understanding of language. With senses and language then comes further sophistication as they form higher thoughts based on those skills. Somewhat like the toy towers the children might build, they are building layers of sophistication as their brain increases its abilities and grasp of their environment.
After a few years, the extremely rapid formation of neural connections slows. The wild development of connections needs to be tamed and ordered, so the next phase is pruning, where the brain streamlines neural circuitry to make it more efficient and cull out wild, unhelpful connections. Even with the rate of new connections slowing, the child is becoming sharper as the circuits that are kept do not have the interference of the wild circuits that are removed. Their critical thinking develops, where they are not simply accepting input verbatim, but are judging the input.
As the brain matures, it stabilizes . The vast foundation that has been built now is the filter through which new experiences and learning is passed. It is harder to change that foundation, but allows for more sophisticated and deeper thought and reasoning. We follow that shift with our educational system, usually moving the developing adult from a study to a work environment. Now is the time that the new knowledge and abilities are peaked and productive.
In latter years, they still can learn, but the foundation is harder to change. As they reach middle age, their productivity shifts to a “wiser” role, where their vast life experiences come into play. Experience overtakes rapid learning and makes them better suited for managing tasks. The older often are the leaders.
In all these phases, the expression of genetics plays a key role. It’s important to include the word “expression”, because genetics are environmentally driven. We are born with our basic genetics. However, the expression of those genetics changes throughout all phases of life. When you hear that genes control your development, substitute “gene expression” — also known as epigenetics You are born with many genes, but some are rarely used. Some may never get expressed. This is a very important point with brain development, as environment is crucial during brain formation. Both the physical environment (good, age-appropriate food, plenty of water, sleep, exercise, etc.) and the mental environment (stress) are critical.
During the early years of brain development, stress can play a big role in the genetic expression, resulting in lessened or impaired development of portions of the brain. Published in Biological Psychiatry, researchers at the Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT and other universities compiled data from various studies that examined the negative effects of early life stress on brain development. Some of the impacts they found were due to prolonged hormonal imbalances that resulted in less brain development, others were due to changes in neurotransmitter levels causing differences in neural connection development. Types and quantities of brain cell receptors would differ. The researchers noted that the effects were complex and multifaceted, but there were always impacts from significant chronic stress.
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Short-term stress is normal and some can even be positive, but the stress must not be chronic. Stress reactions are meant to deal with and shut down stress, but when the stress remains, it is toxic. When that toxicity remains, it becomes deep-seated. When that happens in childhood, it is laid at the early parts of the “tower” of brain formation. Even when the stress doesn’t impair brain development, the memories formed from the events have a lasting impact.
Now we see how “tapes”, “recordings” or “programs” are developed and are deep in our foundation when stress events happen at early age. They can develop at any age, but the mature brain is better able to handle them and perhaps reject them. The mature brain has much stronger filters that were shaped by early experiences. But in the early years, we formed our very understanding of how to interpret the world, and toxic events became part of our mental judgement process. Thus we may even find ourselves making poor or irrational decisions at times because of our foundational understanding of the world. This process plays out particularly in the subconscious, and can affect our bodily health because the subconscious brain is signaling/controlling that health.
In a study published in Cell Reports, researchers at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) conducted animal studies to determine the impacts of early life stress. They discovered that the stress interfered with the pruning stage of brain development, where brain microglia, which are immune cells for the central nervous system that are instrumental in protecting from brain infections and promote inflammation, could not perform their pruning role as well during stress. The result was untamed synapse excesses that resulted in abnormal, generally heightened, responses to stress in adulthood. In other words, the stress seemed to promote a hypersensitivity to later stress as the normal protective processes of the brain were inhibited during early development.
We all have some stress in our past, and even those of us with wonderful childhoods still had some trauma or ongoing stress as we grew. That stress formed deep-seated changes in our fundamental neural connections, which are the programs we have that replay in later life. Since much of brain activity is subconscious, so are many of the replays, affecting our health in ways we are not aware of. While we may have many good programs in our foundation, the stressful ones can still impact our health negatively. Our personal history, the real unvarnished history, still affects us.
Dr. Nemec’s Review
The Yale study showed that stress hormones actually damage parts of your brain, especially early in life. This is important and nobody heals unless they stop the conscious and subconscious stress stimulation that is chronic. The UCI study concluded that if you do not prune the branches of the neural tree then the weak branches will make too much background noise, causing a permanent sensitivity to stressors. This is why the body must be allowed to heal the natural way without medication whenever possible.
The brain is in theta state in early childhood — it learns and takes in the environment rapidly, and this information forms the programs that will run the mind-brain-body connections for the rest of your life. Your subconscious programs run most of your physiology and health. Subconscious means “below consciousness”, meaning you do not remember it but it just runs on autopilot. Most if not all disease has subconscious and conscious programs stressing the physiology, which is a large contributing factor in developing disease. Most people would not say, “I had a wonderful childhood: wonderful mother, father, sister, brother relatives and friends.” Remember it only takes one bad apple to spoil a subconscious program. So how would you know and what can you do about these hidden stressors? You would only know with very advanced 3D brain imaging mapping by someone who has been trained in this extremely unique area. This is where our research has gone over the last 40 years.
You would also know by saying to yourself, “Why am I always insecure no matter how secure my life is? Why am I so anxious and revved up even when everything is going my way? Why do I feel I cannot receive nor give love the way it was meant to be? Why am I bored when I am doing everything I want to be doing? How did I get cancer when I do everything healthy?” These are some of the questions that look deeper into the programmed subconscious mind. This is how you could know if they are present. Next you get rid of them by first knowing you have something to get rid of and then practicing living fully in the moment. This does take training: it does not happen overnight. The work we have done over these years of treating patients is to develop a system to address and balance each area of their being: their physical body, their brain, their mind and emotions and most importantly their spirit. We are only as healthy as the sum of our parts. So can you change your brain, mind and body? Most certainly — we have been doing it with patients for 40 years. Is it important for health and healing? It is the most important aspect of your health that is always missed. Here are the ways we can help you in your health journey:
Here are the ways we can help you in your health journey:
- Outpatient Comprehensive Teaching and Treatment Program-has the most benefit of teaching, treatment, live classes and personalized coaching. This program has the most contact with Dr. Nemec with 3- 6 month programs that can be turned into a regular checking and support program for life. This is our core program that has helped so many restore their health and maintain that restoration for years.
- Inpatient Comprehensive Teaching and Treatment Program-is our four-week intensive inpatient program for those that are not in driving distance, usually over 4 hour drive. This is the program that is an intensive jumpstart with treatment, teaching, live classes and coaching designed for all our international patients along with those in the US that do not live in Illinois. This program is very effective especially when combined with our new membership program support.
- Stay at Home Program-is offered to continental US patients who cannot come to Total Health Institute but still want a more personal, customized plan to restore their health. This program also includes our Learn Membership Program.
- Membership Program is our newest program offered for those that want to work on their health at a high level and want access to the teaching at Total Health Institute along with the Forums: both Dr. Nemec’s posts and other members posting. And also, to have the chance to get personalized questions answered on the conference calls which are all archived in case you miss the call. The Membership Program has 3 levels to choose from: Learn, Overcome and Master. The difference is at the Overcome and Master levels you received one on one calls with Dr. Nemec personalizing your program for your areas of focus.