268: Mind-Body Connection
People don't realize that our mind-body connection plays a significant role in healing. I've always said in past episodes that true health is beyond the physical aspect. And more studies have supported the fact that focusing on mind-body connection do wonders for our health. To explain more about the mind-body connection, I have award-winning Nutritional Therapist Niki Gratrix in today's episode.
Niki Gratrix was previously into banking and finance. But because she had an interest in gaining knowledge about the mind-body connection, she felt the need to have a career shift.
The opportunity came around fifteen years ago when Niki Gratrix met her partner who also became her business partner. Her business partner had been suffering severely from chronic fatigue syndrome for seven years, where he was bed-ridden for two of those years.
“He recovered when I met him, and I was relaunching my career. I was starting to train at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition, one of top Nutrition schools in the U.K,” shares Niki Gratrix. “My partner is a psychology practitioner. We co-founded a clinic together, focusing on people with fatigue issues.”
She adds, “We realized most illnesses have a significant emotional component. When that is unaddressed, you don't get any results.”
Niki Gratrix eventually won awards for her work and even got published in a British Medical Journal Open in 2012. The published paper states there is indeed a significant improvement and better results than some of the standard conventional interventions for chronic fatigue.
The next stage of the clinic involved a randomized, controlled trial. Niki Gratrix was always extremely motivated in learning about psychology consciousness and the mind-body connection.
So even if she did Nutrition, Niki Gratrix swapped over to integrate everything. She acquired training in NLP, emotional freedom technique and energy medicine-related intervention for the emotional side as well.
Five years after co-founding the clinic, Niki Gratrix moved on and got interested in energy medicine. This is because she is always looking for a new modality. She eventually got into running the Abundant Energy Summit in 2015, which was the largest online summit on overcoming chronic fatigue.
Niki Gratrix was also interested in bioenergetics, which is the study of energy in living organisms. She has a system that assesses and scans the energy field and energetics of the body. Primarily, the system helps optimize the body and make organs work better.
The NES Health, the organization that Niki Gratrix is connected with, primarily focuses on bioenergetics. NES meant Nutri-Energetic System and was co-founded by Harry Massey in 2000.
Incidentally, Harry Massey suffered from chronic fatigue and was bed-ridden for seven long years. Harry Massey's co-founder Peter Fraser, was an acupuncture expert from Australia. Peter Fraser was the one who brought acupuncture into Australia after researching extensively on Chinese medicine.
“Anytime you're doing something that works with the energy field of the body, essentially that is bio-energetic medicine,” said Niki Gratrix. “We don't think about energetics and mind-body connection enough when it comes to healing the physical body, yet the mind and body are truly one thing.”
She adds, “So what's happening for you psycho-emotionally, is going to get translated into physical expression. I reset the nervous system and the immune system. Minute by minute, you can change the way your genes are expressing epigenetically by the way you think and feel.”
Adverse Childhood Events
If anybody has doubts whether your emotional state impacts your physiology, Niki Gratrix says there's a significant study that doesn't get enough exposure, called the adverse childhood events study.
The adverse childhood events study was a study of over 17,000 people done by the CDC and Kaiser Permanente. The study discovered that 67% of all people had one adverse childhood event.
“If you had a high level of an adverse childhood event, you have an increased risk of seven out of top ten causes of death. Then if you have a moderate level like six adverse childhood events, you have a 20-year reduction in lifespan,” shares Niki Gratrix.
“You have a 400% increase of depression, Alzheimer's and dementia if you have four adverse childhood events,” Niki Gratrix enumerates. “Plus, a chance of getting chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. If you have eight adverse childhood events, you have three times the risk of heart disease, and triple the risk of lung cancer.”
Niki Gratrix says autoimmunity is strongly co-related, like smoking and lung cancer for women. She says there's a study that has ten categories and they look at things like parents separating or divorce. Some other factors are also taken into consideration like physical, sexual or emotional abuse, physical or emotional neglect, domestic violence, incarceration by a family member and substance abuse.
“When we talk about emotional neglect and emotional trauma, this is subtle. And yet it can be devastating. Your stress levels directly impact your biology, and your system is reset,” explains Niki Gratrix. “Once you get into adulthood, there might be another trigger. But actually, it has already started 20 to 30 years before that.”
According to Niki Gratrix, if there is a singular event, we're likely to develop a post-traumatic stress disorder. And there's a lot of technique out there to cure that.
“But the most emotional trauma isn't from a single event. It's relational trauma and has something to do with our relations with other people,” said Niki Gratrix. “It's really when were not seen or heard. When that isn't there in childhood, that trumps the event. And what trumps the event is developmental trauma.”
Furthermore, Niki Gratrix says that when you have that type of change, it leads to symptoms of things like perfectionism and lots of self-care. A lack of feeling of safety in the body can also lead to a sense of shame.
All the addictions come from this as well. Because of all that, Niki Gratrix says it's probably also one of the underlying causes of mental disorders like depression, anxiety and bipolar.
We often don't talk about the cultural aspect of illness. But Niki Gratrix says the culture has a profound impact on our physical health. For example, third generation survivors of the Holocaust victims have the same physiological and psychological expressions of their grandparents. The trauma is inherited, and you'll see this where there are war and famine.
“The stigma of an illness like beliefs of the conventional medicine system around chronic complex illness has a profound impact on the person. That kind of social stigma suppresses your immune system. And studies show you're most likely to die from it,” Niki Gratrix said.
Niki Gratrix also relates that there is a massive study done on over three hundred thousand people, showing that social support is a more significant predictor of survival than your body mass index, and factors like how much you smoked or how much exercise you did.
She says social exclusion, feeling alienated, rejected, and unlovable, can make us start to deteriorate physically. It does have a massive physical impact on our health. The interesting factor is, Niki Gratrix says other people can be the most damaging thing, yet they can also be the healer as well. Indeed, the power of other people has been profoundly underestimated.
“Part of recovery and improvement is a release of certain people that are not supportive and toxic. There's often a journey that people need to go through to release lower energetic vibrating people. Otherwise, we're not going to get to a full health potential,” said Niki Gratrix.
Impact Of Stress
If you look at stress physiology, it does have a strong mind-body connection. Stress affects everything in the body. Niki Gratrix says it resets the stress systems, so you have a low threshold response.
“The brain changes. It goes into a state where it is more easily triggered,” explains Niki Gratrix. “The autonomic nervous systems get upregulated at the cost of this parasympathetic side of the nervous system. And the parasympathetic side is the rest, digest, detoxify, feed and breathe side.”
She adds, “When somebody is in stress, what's going on in the brain will translate into the gut. Stress changes the bacteria in the gut and leads to intestinal issues. When we have stress and trauma in childhood, we often lose our boundaries because the immune system is mirroring your emotional place.”
Niki Gratrix also mentions that there is a research about the cell danger response. It shows that the mitochondria also had a defense job. They are part of the immune system, and if they sense stress and threat, they will just shut down energy production. People who wrote the paper even said that early life stress could trigger it.
Niki Gratrix assures everyone that for every problem, there is a solution. Mostly, the goal is not to lose hope. If you want to have optimal energy and optimal health, make sure you are healing and not in a chronic stress state.
If you already had a nervous system reset from childhood or living a life of high stress, all of it is directly preventing optimum health. But if you want to stay in a healthy state of mind and energy, you can take steps to trigger a possible healing state.
Niki Gratrix explains that the techniques to get into that healing state varies from person to person. Just talking to somebody can be a stress release. Journaling also helps. There are also biochemical interventions you can do.
“Eating a diet for balancing blood sugar can eradicate half the anxiety problems. And eating enough protein, cutting out starch, carbs and overly sweet things can rebalance the nervous system,” advises Niki Gratrix.
She also strongly advises going to bed at 9:30 pm. According to Niki Gratrix, it changed the life of so many of her clients. Like many experts I have interviewed, Niki Gratrix is also against using gadgets and wi-fi devices before going to sleep. She recommends blue light blocker glasses to aid you in going into a destimulating state.
Apart from getting enough sleep, Niki Gratrix also encourages people to learn deep breathing exercises, yoga, and exercise. Having positive social relations and affirmation also helps. Other helpful solutions are laughing, journaling, singing, meditation, cold showers, eating green leafy vegetables. You can also learn emotional freedom techniques, enjoy nature, do water therapy, Tai chi, and use essential oils.
“The higher the emotional state you're in, the higher the heart rate. Set your intentions how you want to feel for the rest of the day,” said Niki Gratrix. “Have a positive visualization. Because a lot of people don't take action needed. They don't commit, so they don't get better.”
Niki Gratrix is an award-winning nutritional therapist, bioenergetic and psychology practitioner, helping people to optimize energy and overcome emotional stress and trauma. In 2005 she co-founded one of the largest mind-body clinics in integrative medicine in the UK with patients in 35 countries where she worked as Director of Nutrition until 2010. The clinic specialized in treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME.
The results with patients at the clinic on the nutrition protocol she designed were later published as a preliminary study in 2012 in the British Medical Journal Open. In August 2015, she hosted the largest ever free online health summit on overcoming fatigue interviewing 29 world leading experts on optimizing energy with over 30,000 attendees.
Niki Gratrix has spoken on over 25 online health summits and been the keynote speaker at live conferences internationally. She writes regularly for a range of health magazines in both the UK and the US.
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Ashley James is a Holistic Health Coach, Podcaster, Rapid Anxiety Cessation Expert, and avid Whole Food Plant-Based Home Chef. Since 2005 Ashley has worked with clients to transform their lives as a Master Practitioner and Trainer of Neuro-linguistic Programming.
Her health struggles led her to study under the world’s top holistic doctors, where she reversed her type 2 diabetes, PCOS, infertility, chronic infections, and debilitating adrenal fatigue.
In 2016, Ashley launched her podcast Learn True Health with Ashley James to spread the TRUTH about health and healing. You no longer need to suffer; your body CAN and WILL heal itself when we give it what it needs and stop what is harming it!
The Learn True Health Podcast has been celebrated as one of the top holistic health shows today because of Ashley’s passion for extracting the right information from leading experts and doctors of holistic health and Naturopathic medicine
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