The history of bioenergetics. "We are what we think. All that we are arises from our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world." - Buddha
By Olya Piccirillo
For over two thousand years people of different cultures, faiths and philosophies have tried to achieve the seemingly impossible potential of these words spoken by Buddha in Dhammapada, the sayings of the Buddha. Why is it so difficult to believe that this much control can be designated to our thoughts or that our thoughts can have an impact on our emotional and/or physical health?
Because we have been taught that it is our DNA, our genes, that are actually in control and hold the information passed on to us by our parents and we, in turn, pass these genetic traits to our children, and so on.
How then can we have any control over what we are as individuals if our physical and emotional characteristics are predetermined by our genetic “blueprint” and set for life? Should we just accept our destiny and live with its genetic “predispositions”? The answer may lie in a scientific breakthrough known as epigenetics.
Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene expression caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequence. In other words, gene activity that does not involve alterations to the genetic code but can be passed down to at least one successive generation. These changes are instead the result of the presence of epigenomes, which sit on top of the genome (hence the prefix epi-, meaning above) and tell the gene to switch on or off, to shout or whisper, or to act or stay dormant. It is through the epigenomes that environmental factors such as diet, stress and pollutants can make an imprint on genes passed from one generation to the next.
Epigenetics has taught us that irrespective of the health issues our mothers or fathers had, from high cholesterol and cancer to depression and Alzheimer’s, we as individuals have the final word on our genetic “fate.” We can turn genes on of off by making different choices in our lifestyles, diet, and even thoughts from those of our parents and we can live healthy lives, keeping our “bad” genes dormant forever.
Most people understand that we should eat well, take supplements, and exercise to improve our chances of good health. They also understand that there is no absolute guarantee. How else could we explain that young athletes can die of heart attacks and people who do everything “right” can still get cancer?
Now, if we consider that the root of physical disease or imbalance may be in our thoughts or past emotional traumas, then we may have a way to explain and to possibly fix these imbalances through bioenergetics — energy flow through living systems.
Bioenergetic testing itself is the end product of a 40 year evolution in biological-energetic/ biofeedback testing. The concept dates as far back as 1930 when Harold Sexton Burr, a Yale University psychiatrist, began studying electromagnetic fields around animals and people and discovered that disruption shows up in an electromagnetic field long before it manifests itself as a disease or a physical imbalance. More recently, Drs. Voll and Werner of Germany adapted this new approach to wellness utilizing sophisticated technology.
Relatively new in this country, this is arguably the most significant breakthrough in health care in recent memory. It is based on the Eastern medical theory that improper energy flow, or “qi,” through the acupressure meridians, which is a path through which the“qi” is believed to flow, causes energy imbalances in the body. The interrelationship between acupressure point measurements and individual organs and tissues has been recently identified and acknowledged by Western medicine. In fact, bioenergetic testing is actually very similar to biofeedback and is endorsed by many health care professionals in the United States, though much more accepted and widely used in Germany, France, England and Canada.