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Psychobiology of Mind-Body Healing


Psychobiology is the study of the mind-body connection and how mind, as our thoughts, beliefs, and emotions, can affect the body. Examples are how mind interacts with and influences our immune system (psychoneuroimmunology), our neuropeptides, neurohormones, hormones, and the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. Over the last several years there has been an explosion in our understanding of psychobiology, brought on in large part through research from the Human Genome Project and in the area of neurophysiology.

Professional Mind-Body Healers

This section of the website is in large part directed toward professional mind-body healers, but also for readers interested in the topics. "Professionals" here include members of the medical profession, touch therapists, Rikki, and mental health counselors.

General Readers, Parents, etc.

To my general readers, in many cases the topics covered can also be utilized by you, your family, or teen/adolescent. These topics will also help you better understand the above. I have tried to give enough background for the non-professional to assist in reading some of the more difficult topics.

Healing and Neurogenesis

It now appears that "healing" brought on by psychotherapy, as well as many complimentary modalities (e.g. touch, massage, and energy therapies), may be operating through the same general mechanisms, which result in what is called neurogenesis. Neurogenesis in its broadest sense refers to brain cell (neurons) growth. While now know that there is some increase and decrease in the number of brain cells, the real growth of healing involves growth and changes in the interconnections between brain cells. These interconnections are called synapses. In this section we go into this process and what stimulates neurogenesis and subsequently, healing. 

The Brain and Nervous System

Here is presented a short "course" on the brain and the nervous system. This is to help orient us and familiarize us to some of the structures and systems that will come up in these pages. It gives us a common vocabulary.

Teen Brain Development

In this section we will discuss how the teen brain develops. Yes, it is still developing in the teenage years. The teen's brain is reorganizing. New findings shed light on why teens can make such bone-headed decisions, especially under stress. This has to do with the prefrontal cortex and something called executive functioning and cognitive processing. These are discussed in this section and have broad implications for such disorders as Autism Spectrum Disorders, including Asperger's Syndrome, Attention Deficit  /Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), non-verbal learning disorder (NLD), and others.

Mirror Neurons

At the heart of NLD and Aspergers are the Mirror Neurons, recent discoveries that explain empathy, emotional awareness, body language, and perhaps language itself. Here we discuss these important set of neurons and the roles they play.

Gene Expression, Neurogenesis, and Healing

Learning, memory, and healing all involve something called gene expression. This is the correct sequences of batteries of genes being turned off or on. Imagine a water facet as a analogy of a gene...

The Flight-or-Fight Response

The most primitive and basic of human responses, the flight-or-fight response is Mother Nature's way of getting us out of life threatening situations. Or, at least, that was the way it originally was designed.

The Triune Brain

Have you ever seen a happy lizard? This section discusses the reptilian brain, the mammalian brain, and the neo-mammalian brain as they pertain to the emotional brain and higher brain functions.

Addiction and the Brain

Although important to addiction in adults, this is especially important in its affects on the teen brain. In this section we discuss how addiction triggers important changes in the brain.

Teens and Ultradian Biorhythms

These are basic rest-activity cycles of about 120 minutes duration in adults. There is an activity phase of 60-90 minutes, followed by a resting phase of about 20 minutes. These go on all through the day and night, even during our dreams. In teens the length of the activity cycle appears to be abbreviated, only lasting from 45-60. In ADHD children, this cycle may be even shorter. It is vitally important that they get that 20 minute resting phase throughout their day. Learn why...

State-Dependent Memory, Learning, and Behaviors and Trauma

Wow, here we are at the heart of the damage caused by sexual abuse, physical abuse, and other life traumas. These memories remain "hidden", that is in the unconscious (or subconscious) until a similar "state" is re-experienced, then they jump out and do their mischievous. In therapy, we are very often trying to get at these special types of memory.

Psychobiology of Emotions

What are the basic emotions and why are emotions important? We discuss the evolution of emotions, the molecules of emotions, the genes of emotions, and more...

Emotional Hyperspace

This page presents a conceptual/graphic model for mapping our n-dimensional emotional hyperspace and using it to track our comfort zone...

Psychobiology of Anxiety

Discusses underlying psychobiology of anxiety including parts of the brain involved, the limbic system, genes for anxiety, and why we have genetic differences (alleles) for this trait.

Psychosocial Genomics

Based on the pioneering work of Ernest Rossi's 2002 book, The Psychobiology of Gene Expression, psychosocial genomics explores the exciting interface between our genetic system in toto, behavior, and social systems...

Basic Genetics Series

These pages are met as updates or reviews for contemporary genetic concepts and our understanding of genes, genomes, and genetics.

Basic Genetics

For those who are a little rusty on their basic genetic concepts, this is a quick review or primer...genetics lite!

Genes on Chromosomes

Chromosomes are not just a bunch of genes linked together on a chromosome. This page describes a little of what we know about how genes are organized on the chromosome.

Split Genes and RNA Processing

Most, if not all of genes, are actually split into pieces. There will be a segment of the gene that contains sequences that code for the protein or RNA flanked by non-coding sequences. These non-coding, intervening sequences have to be spliced out or removed before an actual protein or functional RNA can be made from them.

Gene Regulation and Expression

Genes are not just sitting there being transcribed and translated (a.k.a expressed). They are highly regulated. Think of a water facet as analogy, with the facet being the gene and the water coming out, the protein (or RNA). The facet can be turned all the way off, all the way on, or somewhere in between. Genes operate more like this facet analogy.

Repetitive DNA and Extra Sensory Perception

One of the important findings from the Human Genome Project is that there is much more DNA in our cells than needed to code for the 30,000 or so genes we have. What is all this extra DNA doing? Much of it is called repetitive DNA. Repetitive DNA is short sequences of DNA that are repeated over and over again from a few thousands to millions of time. Again, what is this DNA doing. It is too metabolically expensive to maintain all this "junk" DNA if it is not doing something. Natural selection would have weeded it out long ago.

Developmental Imprinting and Attachment Disorders

It is well recognized by mental health clinicians that beyond the age of twelve years or before, effectively treating attachment issues are very difficult, if not impossible. Find out why this is so...

Nature and Mind

In a broader sense, the “biology” of psychobiology also refers to our interactions with nature and environment. Note next time how you feel after taking a walk out in nature. There are some very real psychobiological reasons getting out in nature can be healthy and healing--an area known as eco-psychology.

In this section we discuss the importance of Schumann waves and something known as Energy Medicine.

Clinical Psychobiology

Finally, Clinical Psychobiology is the therapeutic application of psychobiological principles for healing and health. These applications can include
  • learning to listen and utilize more effectively your body's natural signals and messages
  • utilizing your natural biorhythms for healing, health, and creativity, including creative problem solving
  • reducing stress
  • activating the parasympathetic nervous system so that healing can better take place
  • more fully utilizing your brain--both left and right cerebral hemispheres
  • facilitating neurogenesis
  • enhancing immune function
  • pain management

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