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