Epigenetics: the science behind RPT (part 1) – with BBC videos

In today’s post I’d like to share with you something that we’ve been working on for the last year, the science of epigenetics.

In very simple terms, epigenetics is the science behind how our environment (such as our trauma) affects our children and grandchildren. Put a different way, epigenetics answers questions like how trauma that happened to your great-grandparents can have such an impact on you.

Traditionally scientists regarded that the DNA is fixed once you are conceived and doesn’t change. A woman is born with all her eggs formed, so nothing that happens to her should be able to change the DNA in those eggs or affect her children. This traditional view tended to laugh at shamanic and spiritual techniques that insisted that we are the product of our parent’s and grandparent’s experience.

Well guess what? As this awesome BBC documentary explains, the shamanic view was correct!

I’m going to summarize the documentary in a few paragraphs and explain why this is so critical for our understanding of who we are and how we heal.

[The video is in 5 parts, you should be able to link to part 2 at the end, if not please see this YouTube page.]

To cut a long story short, it turns out that our genetics is only a small part of the story about who we are. For example, identical twins with the same DNA can look and behave very differently. There are even identical twins where one twin has a genetic disease and the other twin does not. Up until the last decade this was “scientifically impossible.” After all they share the same genes. They only differ in experience, which is where epigenetics comes in.

On top of the human genome is the epigenome (epi literally means on top of). It is a set of information that determines how genes express themselves – literally switching genes on and off. Our experiences (and our ancestor’s experience) literally turn genes on and off.

As a very simplistic example: someone can have the gene for breast cancer, but it is the experience (their own or their ancestors) that determines whether this gene will be expressed (i.e. whether they get cancer).

Epigenetics is really exciting to me because it answers lots of questions I had about genetics. As a grand-child of Nazi Holocaust survivors, I knew that trauma (perhaps even memories) can be inherited. Put simply, I knew that the traditional genetic view was wrong.

So what can epigenetics explain?

Epigenetics can explain a great deal about our personality and our health. It turns out that some of the critical factors that determine how happy and healthy we are relate to what happened to our mother and father (and their parents) at critical stages in their development.

For example: A boy’s testes mature when he’s about 11-12 years of age. The “blueprint” for his sperm is not set till that age. It turns out that trauma as that age can change the blueprint. New scientific data showed that if a boy starts to smoke cigarettes at about age 11-12, his children and grandchildren are very likely to be shorter, have heart disease, obesity and other problems. A boy who started smoking at age 13 may have a shorter life expectancy but it’s not so likely that his children will suffer. Age 11-12 is a critical age where a boy’s experiences can affect the epigenome – something that can take more than 10 generations to restore.

The most critical moment for a girl is the creation of the ovaries, in a baby girl (fetus) while she is still in the mother. So your health depends on what happened to your maternal grandmother, when she was about 3 months pregnant with your mother! Remarkable!

How important is this?
I think it’s fundamental. Geneticists are now finding that almost all diseases, from depression to cancer, diabetes, heart diseases, etc, have an epigenetic factor. That’s science-speak for saying that they are influenced by ancestral trauma (something we already know!).

Why’s it so important? Because once you know that most diseases are epigenetic, you can cure these diseases through an epigenetic healing technique. To the best of my knowledge (after a year’s research) Reference Point Therapy is the only mainstream healing technique that has embraced this science. A special mention goes to the Institute of Peak States which embraces this science (though it’s not a mainstream healing technique). If you find another, please let me know by commenting here.

To avoid confusion please know that epigenetics has nothing at all to do with false claims you might have read that some spiritual healers can “reprogram your DNA.” Every single test has proved the obvious: that the genetic sequence in your DNA is fixed. If you have a certain gene (e.g. for a disease) no amount of healing will change that gene – but healing can change whether that gene gets switched on or off. (These 2 things are extremely different.) I wish New Age healers could all learn this science because making baseless claims about DNA gives our whole industry a bad name.

There’s so much more I’d like to share about healing your epigenome. I’ll continue to write about this topic. I think you’ll find that epigenetics, and the Reference Point Therapy response to it, will answer your questions like “why do I have this disease when my family doesn’t” or “how can I heal what happened to my parents?”

Please leave your comments and questions here so I know what you’d like to learn about this exciting topic.

Blessings from the mid-Pacific!

Simon

[Part 2 on epigenetics of twins and diabetes continues here.]

25 Comments
September 13, 2010 in Epigenetics
Tagged , , , , , , ,

25 Responses

  1. Great article/introduction to an important topic. What I would like to know in future articles is whether you’ve found scientific research that show if/how cognitive or emotional therapies like RPT changes the epigenetic markers. Some research show that stress causes epigenetic changes in the hippocampus of rats f.ex. and that it might be the same way in humans. What I’m interesting in though, is whether there exists reserach that show epigenetic changes in humans after cognitive therapy etc. I.e. if stress creates epigenetic changes in the hippocampus, then changing the responses to stressfull situations should also cause epigenetic changes. We know (or we can assume) that RPT and similar techniques most likely do change the epigenetic markers in the client, but it would be super cool to have actual scientific, peer-reviewed reportsto prove it.

    So if you’ve come across such information, please share it. I haven’t found much research that point in that direction yet.

    I look forward to part 2 :)

    [Reply]

    simonrose Reply:

    Hi Jørgen

    Thanks for your contributions, as always you are a big support to the science and development of RPT.

    The issue with scientific testing is that I don’t even know how to begin to prove that consciousness (through RPT) changes the epigenome. Basic DNA testing (like testing for a specific gene for a disease) is now fairly easy and cheap. But testing for an epigenome – I don’t even know if this exists yet.

    We CAN prove that consciousness (through RPT) can heal diseases. This doesn’t prove epigenetics. Right now epigenetics is more a theory about why RPT works.

    These are early days in this research and I am still learning a lot. Many of you will know more about this field than I do, so if you hear about epigenetic testing please let me know.

    The next few years will be really interesting!

    blessings
    Simon

    [Reply]

    Jørgen Mæhre Reply:

    Well, I don’t actually see the problem. I’m a fan of “embodied psychology” (i.e. that consciousness (at least partly) arises from the body). So when you work with consciousness, you work with the body and it’s instincts (I’m influenced by Damasio’s thoughts abou consciousness here, but this is basicly what RPT do in my opinion). So, say stress run in the family – this is partly proven to be caused by epigenetics (1). Say we work with the patient concering stress, and the patient’s stress goes down to 0/10. By doing this, I do believe we have changed the epigenome to. I.e. we will see changes in the patient’s descendants too (I’ve already mentioned this idea in my first post, this is just a rephrasing).

    I haven’t found epigenetic testing specifically, but epigenetics are mentioned on this genetic testing page.

    And indeed, the next years will be awesome! (but it’s awesome now too of course :D )

    (1) http://brainrules.blogspot.com/2010/04/epigenetics-of-stress.html (this is somewhat long)

    [Reply]

  2. Nicely explained Simon.
    I remember having an discussion with someone many years ago, during which she told me that certain diseases are genetic… she was basically saying that there’s nothing you can do about it, therefore denying responsibility. This felt very wrong to me; I *knew* deep down that it didn’t make sense, but I couldn’t really trump her science. Now I can!
    I agree with Jorgen – it would be great to find some research on this that proves the flexibility of the epigenetic markers… on the other hand, it’s probably a very tough thing to research scientifically! And to be honest, someone that *gets* may not really need have it confirmed scientifically, because it just makes sense; its’s really all about FATE. Is our destiny predetermined, or do we have a say in it! Big stuff huh?!
    With love, Ben

    [Reply]

    simonrose Reply:

    I agree Ben, it sounds like your friend was avoiding responsibility. I mean don’t get me wrong, there are genetic disorders, like Down’s Syndrome. Despite big claims in some modalities I have never seen evidence of a genetic disease being healed since this would require literally deleting chromosones.

    On the other hand, most of what we call “genetic” is really epigenetic. Meaning people aren’t born with heart disease or diabetes, they have a predisposition which their environment can turn on or off. There are always risk factors. If they take responsibility to mininise these risk factors they can be in control of their health.

    This is the same as what you said… I’m just elaborating.

    Hope to see you soon (if baby’s timing permits you to join us in Malaga).

    Simon

    [Reply]

    Ben Ralston Reply:

    Aha, ok so you’ve added something else to my understanding of the equation Simon – are you saying that there is a big difference between genetic diseases (inevitable), and epigenetic predispositions? I like to believe that everything is avoidable if the proper environment is applied – naive?

    [Reply]

    Ben Ralston Reply:

    ps – No way we’ll make it to Malaga, although if it weren’t baby time I’d definitely be there!
    Baby is due November 7th, and then we’re spending 40 days in silent retreat with him (shamanic tradition). So, lvl 3 assisting another time…

    simonrose Reply:

    Without getting technical (I’m not a geneticist anyway), there’s a world of a difference between say, a chromosomal disorder, like Down’s syndrome, and a pre-disposition, like diabetes or heart disease. Put another way, a chromosomal disorder is there from conception, there’s no 2 ways about it. You aren’t just born with it, you are conceived with it.

    Most of what people (like your above-mentioned friend) call genetic disorders are what I call genetic pre-dispositions. You aren’t born with them, but stress factors in your life bring on the condition. Having “the gene for” cancer / diabetes / heart disease is not a death sentence or a guarantee, it just puts you into a higher risk category than the next person.

    That’s just a really long way of agreeing with you that it’s a complete cop out for someone to say “It’s not my fault I have this disease, it’s genetic.”
    They can take steps to avoid the stress factors.

    As to chromosomal disorders, I have never had a client with one so I don’t even know what’s possible. I have never seen a document case of any healing with any modality. I would like to believe that we could help someone with a condition like Down’s, but it’s outside the science that I know.

    hope that helps
    Simon

  3. Thanks Simon for sharing this video and linked video’s 5 in total on the subject from the BBC Horizon programme, The Ghost within your Genes, it didn’t actually say when it was aired, but hey, they did mentioned 2000. My questions would be how are you/we going to take this forward within RPT Simon. My thoughts were do you get in touch with the people mentioned in the video to see how they have progressed since finding out this very major breakthough in epigenetics. Or have you done that already? Also your insight and thoughts on healing and sharing epigenome, would be my next thought. I would like to know more on that subject please.

    I have always wanted science to look at the detail and then realise that modalities like RPT can breakthough and change the epigenetic markers turning them on when they are beneficial and turning them off when they are not a benefit for the client. Interesting reading and exploring and I thank you Simon for introducing these topics on your site. Keep them coming you/we are definately on the right track, it feels so right. M x

    [Reply]

    simonrose Reply:

    hi
    I can’t recall when it was made though I am sure you could google it easily. It first aired in Australia in about 2006, though it was 2009 before one of our students reminded me of it and got me interested in it again. We’ve only now (2010) added it to our Level 2 course program.

    I agree that it would be really interesting to contact some of those researchers about our work. I don’t feel ready to do that yet – I want to finish a few of my own case studies and experiments. You’ll read more about that in Part 2 (later today).

    blessings
    Simon

    [Reply]

  4. Great stuff….the documentary film ‘The living Matrix’ is good for learning about this stuff to. Bruce Lipton says on there how epigenetic mechanisms can produce over 30,000 different variations from every gene blueprint. I was amazed by it :) .

    Ollie

    [Reply]

  5. Hello,
    What do you think of the literature by people such as David R Hawkins (in his book Healing and Recovery) who explain that any disease or illness is just brought about by negative programming and all illness can be healed through the power of the mind (consciousness)? If this were the case then would pre-disposed genetic conditions just be a part of that programming and therefore be irrelevant?

    Sincerely, Megajn

    [Reply]

    simonrose Reply:

    Hi Megajn, it’s lovely to hear from you.

    I’m pretty sure we are all saying exactly the same things in different language. I certainly agree with his premise.

    There are 2 parts to your quote and question.

    Part 1: Consciousness

    I completely agree that disease patterns can very often be healed through the power of the mind (consciousness). I have just a few exceptions and these are:
    (1) chromosomal disorders like Down’s Syndrome; and
    (2) nutritional disorders – like say scurvy. Sorry but no amount of positive thinking about oranges is going to substitute for nutritional therapy!

    Of course I am open to the possibility that these are my own blocks and limitations based on my own scientific beliefs. Another healer might prove differently.

    If David Hawkins has a blog, I would love you to ask him that question!

    Part 2: “negative programming”

    I used to interpret “negative programming” to mean negative beliefs and thinking (which is one way to interpret David’s quote). I’m not sure if that’s what you are getting at.

    My experience was that changing superficial negative thinking did not result in permanent healings.

    As you know from RPT, I now relate “negative thinking” to an underlying survival instict, which usually comes from some ancestral event.

    I don’t disagree with what you said or David Hawkins’s quote. I’m just saying that we need to get to the real origin of negative thinking. I’m 100% sure Hawkins would agree.

    I thank you for your question. If you (or anyone) would like me to expand on any aspect of my answer please comment again.

    blessings
    Simon

    [Reply]

    Megajn Reply:

    Thanks for answering Simon, I really love reading your blog it really fascinates me*
    I look forward to experiencing level 2 one day soon!

    Thank-you,
    Megajn

    [Reply]

  6. I experienced an eating disorder in my 30′s, something usually associated with teens.
    The specialist explained that people who develop eating disorders, addictions etc have a genetic predisposition to developing them….that it is events in the person life that triggers them…so I think you are spot on with the epigenetics theory!

    Thanks for sharing Simon, much appreciated as always :-)

    [Reply]

  7. ‘The Ghost in Your Genes’ was first shown on BBC2 on 3rd November, 2005. It met with great acclaim, not least from people looking for yet another payday, this time ‘traumatized’ descendants of ancestors who got backache protesting against the Treaty of Utrecht.

    [Reply]

  8. I would like to draw your attention to EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques). They have been doing epigenetic research for a few years regarding how genes turn on and off through the use of EFT.

    http://www.eftuniverse.com/images/stories/epimechpaper.pdf
    Describes a study to this effect.

    http://www.eftuniverse.com/images/pdf_files/eft2ndvisitcongress.pdf
    Describes how they are taking EFT to congress. This will pave the way for other authentic and effective Energy Psychology methods.

    I am not a certified Practitioner ( I can’t be at this time because I do almost exclusively distance work and those responsible for certification want to be seen as credible. I respect and accept that.), but I have been using EFT for nearly 5 years on myself and others. One of my most interesting successes was curing (over a month) granuloma annulare (a benign inflammatory dermatosis) in a 3 year old identical twin whose sister did not have the same condition. It was caused by the trauma of her mother going to work and father becoming the sole caregiver when she was 6 months old. For whatever reason, only one twin was affected in this way by that stress.

    So yes, other modalities are indeed exploring and researching their effect on epigenetics.

    [Reply]

    simonrose Reply:

    thanks Kim, that’s interesting to know. I’m quite familiar with EFT – it was quite influential in the development of RPT. I wanted something with the strengths of EFT but without the need for tapping or multiple, repeated treatments. Acknowledgment, which is the key RPT tool, is essentially what EFT/TFT does through tapping.

    A few year’s ago I read Dr Dawson Church’s book on the science behind EFT, The Genie in your Genes: Epigenetic Medicine and the New biology of Intention (2008), 2nd edition. In truth, his “EFT science” was very light on epigenetics but had truly inspiring information on other topics like connective tissue, so I highly recommend this book to my students.

    Congrats on those wonderful case studies you mentioned from your work.

    blessings
    Simon

    [Reply]

  9. “To the best of my knowledge (after a year’s research) Reference Point Therapy is the only mainstream healing technique that has embraced this science.” — I don’t think that is right. There are many techniques out there including EFT and TFT that address the ancestral issues or genetic activations as Dr. Bruce Lipton calls them. I have been using EFT for over 5 years now and within a few minutes the client can trace the emotions/disease back to a certain time. RPT is a great technique, but please don’t single yourself out. We have access to much more information today. Keep up the great work and can’t wait to get your book!

    [Reply]

    Simon Rose Reply:

    hi Ines, thanks so much for taking the time to share your feelings. I find that I quite agree with your energy and intention but quite disagree on the detail.

    You are right that we all need to be careful to avoid competitive energies which drags us all down. That said, there’s nothing wrong with “singling yourself out” if one is correct in what they say. Many RPT teachers are EFT practitioners, so we can all put our hand on our hearts and categorically make statements like “only RPT can do this.”

    I think that there’s some insights or observations I should share which will really help your understanding.

    First thing, I feel that you aren’t quite clear about the difference between epigenetics and ancestral issues. They are not the same thing. [This is not your fault by the way. It’s common and I don’t think this ancient blog article of mine did a good job of explaining it.] You are absolutely right about EFT working on ancestral issues, it’s good for that. But when you work with your clients using EFT you are not changing epigenetic markers. Unfortunately the word epigenetics is totally misused in healing which is why you incorrectly thought that EFT works on epigenetics. I encourage you to read this article about it: http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2013/02/11/epigenetics-you-keep-using-that-word-i-do-not-think-it-means-what-you-think-it-means/.

    It is still my honest belief that only two techniques, one mainstream (RPT) and the other not mainstream (PSC – see below) that work with epigenetic markers. In that sense, my statement was 100% accurate.

    Now to the second fundamental misunderstanding – and I’m sure this one is my fault because it’s not clear on the old website (you would have to read a lot of this blog to get it). EFT is a technique or a technology. RPT is not a technique or technology. We *teach* a technique called the Triune Brain Method which is not so different to EFT – in many situations you can use them interchangeably. You don’t learn an RPT coure to learn a technique. Most people have already done EFT first so they HAVE technique. They come to us to learn art – how to apply technique.

    I feel that your comment was confused because you compared a technique (EFT) with a philosophy (RPT). That doesn’t work. Truth is you *could* use EFT to work on epigenetics, but you (personally) do not, because it’s not taught in EFT. The word “epigenetics” is (mis)used but the art is not taught. But as soon as you learn the art (whether through RPT or elsewhere), you can apply EFT in a whole new way and get results on a whole new level.

    For completion – I said that I know of two modalities that work with epigenetic markers. The other, PSC, uses EFT as one of their techniques. So PSC is a philosophy or Art, like RPT (but different). And they use EFT to work with epigenetics (at least I believe they do, I have not studied PSC). So EFT is a tool, a great tool, which can be used to do all sorts of things, including work with epigenetics. But you won’t learn this on an EFT course. You could learn it on an RPT course.

    Wow –a long and detailed answer but I needed to be quite precise to clear up the miscommunications (mostly my fault) which caused your question.

    Simon

    [Reply]

  10. I think we should focus on results more than the science itself. Science has only 10% of what is really going on. I always tell my clients, “Does it really matter, what matters is that you are better and have achieved your goals”. Not all is visible or testable to science, we should use our intuitions and focus on the results. Our enemy “medicine and pharmacology” will try and suppress any of this as long as they can, otherwise they would be out of business. Many scientists today work with these companies, who have the information we are looking for, but because of other interests do not disclose as they are under contract to work for the medical industry. All we can do is share this information to as many people as possible to get the word out.

    [Reply]

    Simon Rose Reply:

    Ines, do your clients benefit from this duality you create? From characterising science as “the enemy”? I think not.

    There is an anti-science conspiracy which permeates the New Age culture. It’s dangerous. By teaching people to be anti-science, the New Age movement has made people vulnerable to all sorts of magical thinking and ridiculous beliefs.

    Yes it’s true that pharmaceutical companies are greedy and are not motivated to support natural healing methods. That’s obvious. But that does not mean that science is the problem. Greed is the problem. Science is the answer. Science is ALWAYS the answer.

    The irony is that science means focusing on the results (and explaining them). You cannot “focus on results but not science.”

    If people focussed on results, about 95% of New Age methods would disappear. Almost all healing techniques, psychic techinques etc which appear to work are in fact placebos or based on confirmation bias. When you take a vaguely scientific approach (and you should), almost all of this drops away. If not for science, I would probably still be teaching TH and not even realising that I wasn’t getting results. It’s only because of science, and great science teachers like Richard Dawkins, that I was even able to create RPT.

    So I’m sorry, but I disagree. I get the energy of what you are trying to say. Your intentions are good – honorable, fantastic even. But the path you advocate is a slippery slope into the worst of New Age madness.

    [Reply]

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