Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Sneak Peak: The Science and Philosophy of BodyTalk Book



My journey in personal growth and what I would call personal awareness started at quite a young age when my father graciously spent several nights a week taking me to martial arts classes. I was lucky to have drawn a teacher who extended my vision beyond martial arts to the power of personal development by teaching me many disciplines such as Zen meditation and the power of the mind.

I was eight years old when that journey began. I soon learned that skills did not come from simply doing a lot of exercises and building big muscles. I was fortunate to have an instructor who realized that the true strengths found in martial arts come from the Energy (Qi) within and the training of the mind in focus and intent. Unusually, I had good discipline at that age to train hard and, in particular, to do extensive Zen meditation practices to discipline my mind.

During those early years, I learned that I could put my hand through a stack of clay tiles without the need of big muscles and hard calluses on my hands. My hands remained soft throughout my decade of martial arts training because I always knew I wanted them in good order for when I later practised healthcare. By the age of 15, using focus and intent and harnessing my Qi, I was able to drive my hand without incurring injury through stacks of up to 30 tiles at a time.

However, brute strength can only do so much. I saw large muscular men with hard, callused hands attempt to break similar stacks of tiles, and only make it through the first 20 because the sheer brute power could only keep the momentum going through those first 20 tiles. By going through the mental process of directing Qi right through to the bottom of the stack of tiles, I not only reached the bottom of the tiles but would shatter them into hundreds of small pieces from the sheer explosive impact of the Qi.

When I was about 11, I taught myself how to hypnotize. It seemed to be just an extension of my meditation practices that enabled me to affect other people. To me, it was a way of exploring the nature of the mind and just how powerfully it influences the body. 

In my later teens, I did several experiments to demonstrate how much the mind could affect the physiology of the body, its health, and its strengths by simply getting the false ego out of the way through the means of hypnotism. However, my goal was to utilize this knowledge and gain a better understanding of how to help the mind and the energy system of the average person, and maintain healthcare and quality of life, in a natural way.

In my early years as a chiropractor I worked at two different levels of chiropractic:
Symptomatic – based on physical manipulation to mobilize the body and relieve pain.
Traditional – based on the principle of balancing the nervous system through specific spinal adjustments to improve general health. This also involved the concept of allowing the Innate energy of the body to flow freely through the spine to all the body parts.

With the first level, I was basically acting in my capacity to address back problems and relieve back pain. This tended to utilize my osteopathic background to do osteopathic manipulation of the spine designed to mobilize the spinal segments and restore movement where they were previously restricted.

With the second level, however, in my public lectures and in my literature, I talked a great deal about the philosophy of what I would call “traditional” chiropractic. At this stage, in Australia, the public generally saw chiropractors as “bone crunchers” who “fixed” backs. Eventually, over a period of two years of patient education, I developed a practice where less than 20 percent of my patients came to me with back problems. The other 80 percent came for general health concerns and received good results in a specific range of health challenges.

A typical example: One of my patients had been coming to me for about five treatments for general back pain and was responding very well. In fact, I was at the stage of giving him his final treatment when he mentioned that he had been reading my literature. He had read that chiropractic could help stomach ulcers and explained that he had been suffering from severe stomach pain, especially at night, for several years. As the medication he was taking from the doctor was not helping much, he asked if I could try using my system.

I had actually finished the specific treatment for his back pain but asked him to lie back on the treatment table. I proceeded to adjust him using the traditional chiropractic technique, with the very specific intent and focus of balancing the sympathetic and parasympathetic nerve supply to the stomach region and restoring Innate flow to the body. Remember that my previous osteopathic adjustments had an intent and focus of simply mobilizing the spine and relieving back pain.

Two days later, the patient rang me to say he just had the best two nights’ sleep of his life. I treated him four more times along the same lines and when I saw him six months later for another problem, he mentioned that his stomach had been normal throughout those previous six months.

Once again this highlighted, to me, the absolute importance of intent and focus in any technique performed on living things. Later, as an acupuncturist, I encountered similar situations all the time. For simple conditions, I often used a symptomatic approach in my acupuncture formulas that afforded me good results in the average case. I had a very busy practice and they were quick and simple to do. However, whenever I encountered a particularly tough case that was not responding after three treatments, I found myself having to shift mode into my traditional acupuncture training. This involved a full diagnostic profile of reading pulses, tongue, etc.

I found that on most occasions, once I shifted my mode of thinking into a fully traditional way and worked out a specific tailor-made formula for that particular patient’s condition, I often ended up with a combination of acupuncture points very similar to what I was already using. Again, the big difference was my intent and focus as I inserted the needles. In my years as a senior lecturer in an acupuncture college, I often demonstrated to the students just how much intent and focus determined the outcome of a needle insertion. Simply inserting a needle into an acupuncture point can have a certain predictable effect. However, when the practitioner has a detailed understanding of the whole meridian system and the ebbs and flows of the energy according to the time of day, lunar phases, and gender of the patient, then a skilled traditional acupuncturist can effectively cause many different changes in the energy systems of the body by the use of the same acupuncture point simply by changing the intent and focus while inserting the needle.

Over my many years in practice, I saw this concept to be relevant in almost all forms of healthcare that involve energy at different levels. Another example would be homeopathy, which is, in fact, energy medicine. A traditional homeopath can prescribe a single ingredient that, with his intent and focus as he gives the remedy to the patient, has a far better result than the symptomatic homeopaths using standard formulas designed for specific outcomes. I also saw this effect in applied kinesiology, craniosacral therapy, and the use of machines to generate frequencies for specific outcomes.

My early life experiences clearly demonstrated to me that the state and quality of training of a practitioner, his focus and intent, his clarity of thought, and the rapport that he has with his patients are seriously important factors determining the outcome of any therapeutic situation.

During the early years as I was developing The BodyTalk System, one other factor, in addition to the above, became apparent to me. That factor is the importance of the attention of the practitioner in any therapeutic situation. In BodyTalk, a differentiation is emphasized between the terms “attention” and “intention”.

In many energy-based modalities, one often hears the phrase “it is the intention that matters.” From this perspective, intention carries the connotation of agenda. When practitioners proceed with intent, they are proceeding toward a goal with bias and expectations derived from past training and experiences hoping for a specific outcome to the session or treatment.

In BodyTalk, sessions are conducted by the practitioner paying full attention to what is happening in the present moment. The practitioner is there with the client – fully. In this way, attention and awareness take advantage of the interfacing of the left and right brain hemispheres which encourage Innate mental clarity. However, when treatments are given with intent, as is the norm and what I believed in for many years, the practitioner’s own agenda, beliefs and expectations inhibit the healthy interfacing of the left and right brain hemispheres.

Order your book today! All book orders will be shipped after the official book launch on May 2nd during my public lecture in Toronto, Canada (this event will be streamed live online for free).

1 comment:

  1. Dear John, thank you for writing such an incredible book. As a newly certified practitioner I felt that this really gave me some additional clarity and insight into the BodyTalk philosophy as I was preparing for my exam.

    I think my favorite paragraph in the whole book is the following, "The BodyTalk System is much more than another healthcare system. BodyTalk is not just another form of energy medicine. The fundamental paradigm of the BodyTalk System is Consciousness-based living. This means living life fully aware of the moment. Becoming more aware constitutes a great deal more than simply improving health. Life is not about controlling the outcomes of what happens in the future. It is being fully aware in what you do in each moment. The understanding from living this way comes from our collective mindful recognition that Consciousness guides us into transformation and inner growth.The BodyTalk System is much more than another healthcare system. BodyTalk is not just another form of energy medicine. The fundamental paradigm of the BodyTalk System is Consciousness-based living. This means living life fully aware of the moment. Becoming more aware constitutes a great deal more than simply improving health. Life is not about controlling the outcomes of what happens in the future. It is being fully aware in what you do in each moment. The understanding from living this way comes from our collective mindful recognition that Consciousness guides us into transformation and inner growth."

    AMAZING!! As a student and resident at Namaste Nova, this really sums up our way of life. At Namaste we eat/sleep/breathe this philosophy and the impact it has on our practice here is remarkable.

    So again, thank you for developing this wonderful system and teaching us how to use it in a conscious way.

    Kind Regards, Meghan MacDonald

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