Saturday, May 4, 2013

Is it All in Our Minds?

So, is pain just a matter of our imagination, and can we imagine it not to hurt?  
It is all part of the study of placeboes where they convince the subject that pain won’t hurt, pretend to inject him with pain killing drugs but give him neutral saline, put his hand in very hot water, and he doesn’t hurt.  His beliefs, and a whole groups of subjects went along with this, dominated the physical reality.  What we think takes precedence over what is actually happening to us.

So how does that happen?  Well, it seems that part of the network of the convinced is the anterior cingulate cortex, rich in opioid receptors, and what it does is influence to suppress the pain suppressing function of the brainstem.  So beliefs travel key neuronal pathways, the same as pills might do, to shut down and diminish pain.  What this also does is increase the activity of parts of the prefrontal cortex, which can also work to control pain.  Beliefs can stimulate pain suppression. Should I say that again?  Beliefs supplant pain in many cases; hence the fervor of religion.  What is also important is that these beliefs also enhance the effectiveness of pain killers taken by subjects.  It is not that pain is only in our minds, where else would it be, but that the mind can stop processing it, detouring it and burying it under strong ideas and beliefs.  And all this shows in brain scans (MRI).

The problem is that those who are shut off to their own pain, being reared in a non-feeling atmosphere, cannot feel the hurt in others. Their whole system is blunted.  We see this in politicians who seem heartless. They are responding not to logic or feelings but to votes; that is their raison d’etre.  They cannot feel the suffering of others because that suffering cannot combat the power and money of those who get him elected and help him stay elected.  I sometimes think the world is divided into two camps; those who feel and those who don’t.  And the feelers are derided by those who are shut down as “bleeding heart liberals.”  Because they feel for others and their suffering.   First, one needs to be contact with one’s own feelings before one can feel for others and that is not easily done.  It means opening up the system to let pain in, and not many will let that happen.

I have seen this directly when patients touch on brainstem, first-line pains, and come up with, “I have been saved.  He won’t let me hurt.”  They manufacture a phantom in their heads that stops the pain.  Those beliefs are meant to stop suffering; one of the great reasons for the evolution of the neo-cortex, to block too much hurt.

What they have been finding of late is that it is mostly when the report of no pain is delivered by the subject and not measured objectively that there is success.  And this is the problem we have with those who have spent months or years with mock-primal therapists, because they are convinced that they have made progress while in reality they are wrecks.  It takes us many months just to undo the damage before their therapy can commence.  This is especially true when the patient believes he went to us, since they often advertise as primal specialists in their paper work and catalogues.  How can the average non-therapist know any better?    So unless I have not made my point, let me state again that those who suffer gravitate to the healers who pretend some training with primal and they are then hypnotized into believing them and in them.  Then the damage begins.  It is the placebo effect; they believe they are getting better.  They are discharging tension and that feels good, but that is not getting better.  Too often it means getting worse.


  1. Hi Art,
    again very mind say the least.
    What is physical reality -something independent from one`s mind/awarenes/consciousness resp. the
    "same" i.e. objetively true in the logical sense
    of the term to "all"?

    Well in my case it does not seem to be like that:
    Through the "aftermath" of that GOD damned smpythectomy,my pain threshhold is v e r y
    low (kids of 3 years do not experience ...and
    do not show any physical!! signs of coldness
    i.e.frostbite etc. like my fingers!!

    They live obviously in another physical "reality" and consciousness than mine(am I not
    in a double bind situation ..half a normal neurotic.. and a kind of alien...grumle ,grumble...

    All(half jokes aside) enuff complaining..

    There are toooo many who are unable to feel for others!
    Yours emanuel

  2. Art
    This is so TRUE! I often wonder why it is that the non - feelers have all of the power to deride, belittle and judge those who CAN feel emotion and also why they have so much control in our world over other people and over our affairs. The planet belongs to ALL of us yet the dead - seeming people... idiots in governments and powerful positions have the delusion that it is theirs alone and that they have a right to invent lots of rules and govern us with endless dictates on what we can and can't do. I mean, who the hell do they think they are? The more I feel my pain the more sad I become for everything seems so utterly hopeless in a way. There is no freedom apart from the freedom within our own minds, I think. I do hope you are safe from all the fires in California right now which is on the international news. I also do hope I can find a way to have my therapy interview soon for I really need to come there. Can't it happen by telephone, please? I know in the past you came to England to see people who wanted to come for therapy although I appreciate you are not in a position to do this now.

    1. Anonymous you are so right. You and I want the people in power to act as our servants but instead they act like unfeeling parents. How many feeling people are attracted to a politician's life; the tedious games one must play in order to win the votes of millions of unfeeling children.

  3. The Egg or the Chicken?

    Does it really matter if the mind is the egg or the brain is the chicken, or vice versa?

    Without knowing which, I have still been able to re-live most of my birth-feelings. I may never be perfect, but at times I feel stupendous, especially if I compare with the days when my pain / epilepsy was a constant threat of terror. Being rid of most of my pain and my thick layer of neurotic behavior (not to speak of my Tegretol) I have noticed that:

    Things are less black and white, when, in fact, more possibilities exist!

    All 89.500 federal and local US governments are not filled with voice-hungry and heartless politicians, far from!

    A lot of my thinking is still egoistic!

    Many friends, always, find a reason why they can receive black money, which they do not mention in their tax return. (If I had an opportunity I might have cheated like many small business-owners, be they plumbers or therapists)!

    200.000 US shrinks, psychiatrists and therapists are not all as bad as my primal thinking will make them!

    It is fascinating to understand how the human organism basically works. There are different ways to acquire knowledge; reading books, research-reports, making own experiences doing experiments and physical manipulations!

    The Rolfers (offering a holistic system of soft tissue manipulation and movement education that organize(s) the whole body in gravity) has world wide progressed much more than the psychotherapy in which I believe! They have not followed each other. Could the reason be a domain limited genius?

    The pharmaceutical industry is the very incarnation of capitalism, and a neurotic lifestyle. It has emerged because of our symptoms and it utilizes recklessly that we are not able to define our real needs.

    Jan Johnsson

  4. how can an average patient know it?
    i bet i'm not the only one here asking.

    not pushing the patient gives more freedom to
    estimate whether i as a patient am going anywhere in life and therapy.

    in intrusion lies the problem.
    to keep the intrusion under control.
    not let it go wild!

    is the stress level in correlation with intrusion?

    1. replying to myself ) on correlation:

      if both inside and outside reality are shaping our stress level
      is it possible to isolate the imprint induced portion
      of it? so we can objectively measure connection in life-therapy.
      not to mention the ever changing solidity of gates at any given moment.

      what a challenge for us!

      on correlations:

      everything correlates. if "nothing" exist then it is obliged to correlate. but then it is not "nothing".

      is there a correlation between Sun radiation and ground temperature?
      lets see...
      yes... and not so..
      there is a clear correlation but there are at least a dosen that are hard to ignore: solar cycles, distance, Earth rotation, atmosphere composition, the angle of the Sun rays, the altitude, ground composition and color, not to mention the possibility that the lizard found the place just above the measuring instrument so irresistible for sunbathing... it is boring i know.
      is science really shure of anything? because every 10 years there is a new brakethrough that is the REAL ONE. We should say: "impressive! but now what? does it feel real? like anything you ever ever knew?"
      the terapist should know the answer without asking the question.

      there always will be more correlations to other known and unknown correlations happening in this correlating universe.
      I guess it is all part of never-ending process of being able to not to know 'till you are ready to know. for science it is a long way...
      not easy one and not so rewarding i supose. the global climate scientists come to my mind... or astro-physicsians or mycrobiologysts or... theologists?

      should we stop.. for a moment?
      turn off the instruments... turn off the buzzing sound of futile search. it is only decieving us... to think we know, we control,
      we will be(come)... safe.

      i admit that research is probably worth spending energy on... but hope you will be economic about it. just like life is. efficient.

  5. therapist must be with the patient... much
    concentration is needed. therapist must
    know where the patient is
    from minute to minute, even seconds.
    and yet be unobtrusive.
    is he going toward something important, something real?
    to be the assistent of connection.
    not too fast, not too slow.

    a peace of cake )

  6. The ones that called “bleeding heart liberals” are disliked because they are (usually) the fakes. More interested in winning rights for "moral arrogance" than helping those in need...which is why they never develop effective solutions, or acquire real understanding of the problems. For the latter your HEART needs to be in it - and for real. Imo.

  7. How the process for the clash between the limbic system and neo cortex began... it is difficult to know... but that it is where the process for where pain begins... pain to the point that it affected the entire human system... the human system that registers pain... it is no doubt.

    Since evolution "caused" the development of neo cortex and it in its turn became a matter of blocking effects... more than an integrated connection between the limbic system and neo cortex... that is how it also developed an ability to mathematical equations... a thinking process in neo cortex. That is where and how our development for mathematical solutions saw its first days... a thinking process "against pain"... a thought that makes it possible to look at himself... to challenge himself in a way that solves the human equation about symptomatic reactions... that is a science that needs to see the light of day.
    Primal therapy is at the head of the nail!


  8. Hi every one,

    Slightly off topic but not actually.

    There's a really revealing radio documentary I just heard on UK BBC Radio 4 called: "All in the Mind".

    You can get this on BBC I Player.

    I really recommend this as it reveals so much. So much for those who can read the Primal truth.

    Paul G.

  9. Off topic:

    The other day I was driving down a narrow one-way path that was fenced in. I noticed that because it was impossible for a kid to run out in front of me, or for another car to crash into me, I psychologically relaxed so much more even though my physical actions were the same as always. My point is when the brain knows there is no threat it goes off guard; or more specifically, it shuts down the "background programmes" that are working in our subconscious, of which are working to recognise and respond to a potential threat.

    I thought (from a mechanistic perspective) that this is probably the essence of what a primal therapist does...they support by taking away the perceived threats when a critical level of trust has developed, so the patient can then let go of his "background programmes" so as to create more conscious room for integration. And I suppose people can primal on their own simply when they can feel safe on their own...because their perception of external threat is no longer neurotically exaggerated to a point where that is otherwise impossible.

    The point is when we feel threatened we are fundamentally distracted, even if we do not recognise the distractions directly. And if I'm right then we can see how anxiety must make us stupid(er) can you learn and develop properly when half your conscious attention is donated to threat-recognition? Something for education institutes to think about too, I believe. Especially when they're dealing with anxious children. (...though to say, I'm suspicious anxiety can drive faster learning, albeit simplistic and non-reflective learning).

    1. You made me think again Andrew,

      so delicate it is:
      outside not too obtrusive, inside not too intrusive...
      just right, so they connect.
      become one.
      little by little become right-left-up-down-out-in.
      was-is-will be?

      to make a meaning of so imposant and suggestive Mr. Corpus Callosum appearance.
      and everything else.

  10. Hi Andrew,

    alternatively, like me your gates might be worn so thin the 'pressure' breaks through any way.

    Paul G.

  11. Hallo, Richard

    I so agree with your comments about mine. It's so unfair, isn't it, that people like us who know (feel) so much have to be driven by robotic powerful people in command of our daily lives. In fact, it is heart breaking. Especially in England, police everywhere and CPS yellow jackets walking aroun keeping an eye on everything and everybody and thousands of cameras, even in doctors surgeries!, checking our every movements. It is pure crazy HELL!! (Hey, Richard, will you marry me so I can get citizenship even though youre younger than me? No,I'm joking, of course. but.. here is now like a prison.) Andrew Atkin, your comments are so perceptive and so bloody right. All the best to you both. Sandie.

    1. Hi Sandie,

      UK has the most CCT cameras per head of population than anywhere else in the world and the government has implemented the installation of many more new ones.

      English people in particular are now the most scrutinised in the world due to the CCT system now being fully linked to mobile phone / satellite mapping / detection.

      If you're English (in any of our cities) and signed up to any of the mobile phone systems, Big Brother knows where you are, what you bought from which shops and will be able to find you on camera within 5 minute as long as your mobile is switched on.

      If you drive a car with your mobile / satellite mapping system on you can be detected and arrested within ten minutes.

      Unfortunately the Police and government liaison have all the evidence they need to prove that this form of surveillance is the most effective way to spend the police budget and is causing the usual gamut of crimes to fall dramatically.

      Wow, aren't we lucky to have such a caring and professional society?
      Meanwhile there are 2.5million out of work (and that's the official figures out of a population of 70million) and there are also another 5million poor claiming supplementary benefits and living off meagre savings / investments.

      there are over 1 million homeless but they don't get into the statistics because homeless people cannot claim certain benefits and ironically they are mostly "in work" anyway! . . . In England it is better to be homeless and in work than in social housing out of work.

      Mainly because there is no social housing available except for the most disabled and vulnerable!

      That's a fact I can corroborate myself; soon by making myself homeless I will save myself £12,000 in the next year. That is how I will raise the funds for me and my son to get into therapy.

      If you are English by the way you will find that there is no ethnic category for English on any state benefit / tax forms. Welsh, Scots, Irish, Somali, Bengali, Hindustani, Pakistani, Polish, Estonian, Rumanian, American, Spanish, etc etc. . . there are available in England specially trained interpreters for the benefits / tax sytem across 45 different language / ethnic minority systems except English. . . If you're English you don't need a specialist interpreter to help you with your difficulties.

      England is a football / rugby / cricket team, not an ethnic race? The 'Square Mile' in London is a separate city state with it's own special police force and in the event of serious social unrest has the power to 'ring fence' the trading stock market and shoot to kill to defend it.

      Though London is technically the Capital of England it is not run or owned by English.

      Not many people know this. . .

      Paul G.

    2. Paul I think it's great that your son is educated in primal theory. That is a great gift in itself. I wish I could have given that gift to my nieces and nephew.

    3. The cameras don't inflict trauma -- they prevent it. When you walk downtown you are seen by thousands of human eyes. A few mechanical ones won't make any significant difference to your sense of self. Nor would a microchip tracking device inserted behind your prostate gland (difficult to remove). The real "Big Brothers" are the ones who hypnotise you.

  12. Thanks, Paul

    God help us although I don't believe in him,sorry Him. How I loathe this sick nanny state of a tiny country!!!!!!!!!!!!! I agree with everything you have told me about this crushing ly oppressive little island. I wanted to escape it many years ago and should have. Good luck in the council housing. I'm in it right now and gut - hate it. I am really envious of the lucky patient who has blogged a letter from Santa Ana. Our living standard here in the UK is extremely low. Opportunities seldom come along for a true individual to find success, leave the country and make some real money. (This is a real impossibility to creative people or artists who don't follow the status quo and seek truth and beauty out there). Are you going to emigrate Paul, I wonder? Don't you ( and I)deserve better? We are born free and equal. Never forget it! Best regards.

  13. Richard

    Hallo. New Zealand has a peace, a wildness and a freedom and lack of cameras which England no longer has. It is a police - state, not only of police but also control freaks in bureaucratic positions. (Believe me, I speak from experience of suffering them!) I have been to your country, Richard on an amazingly happy world journey arriving in your most lovely land on St Valentine's Day 1991. I have never been happy or in money to aspire or travel since but trapped in hell here.
    With my dreams at night vivid travelling all around our lovely gorgeous planet. See England. Then, you might speak....
    Paul, it's great you have such a lovely relationship with your son. I so agree with you, what you say about our country. (island prison, despite some wonderful countryside). I don't think I'll get out now. I've had a mini stroke. Never happened before. So don't know if i can travel at present....S'pose I've left it too long. Luckily, my pulse is only 60 beats a minute and my blood pressure 100 or after exercise 109 over 70, which is good.I think we must obey our dreams, night or day ones as long as they're healthy ones. Today isn't that bad. The sun actually shines in London. Rather nice, at least occasionally! All the best, Paul!

    1. Paul: What about that stroke? art

    2. Hi Art and Anonymous,

      It's a 'Freudian slip' to ask me about a stroke when it was Anonymous who has reported one. What happened to you anonymous?

      There was a time when I could be tripped into a seriously berserk state by the capricious behaviour of others I became dependent on to act. . . Rage oh Rage oh Rage ! (blocked in the birth canal)?

      My body work therapist said to me "oh, seems you might be a little 'demented'. . . He then went on to explain that I may already have had a small stroke or two. . .

      I have developed cognitive strategies (common sense) as well as certain emotional / sensational connections so, hopefully, a stroke won't kill or 'maim' me but I do seem to be one of those "Buster Blood Vessel" types. . . When sufficiently 'riled'.

      Paul G.

  14. Art
    I had the mini stroke.It baffles me. Everyone and my friends think I am super fit, I walk miles on Sundays, swim three times a week, don't drink, don't smoke and have a healthy vegetarina diet. I don't suffer obesity yet it happened to me! New research in England is pointing a finger on depression, stress, and people suffering from dissatisfaction with their lives as a new potential risk factor towards this malady. I don't know but now they're saying the cause could be (we know it is!) emotional, I quote.
    Or maybe its the starclose clip that creep doctor shot onto my femoral artery in 2006 after he lied to me I had ' a blocked artery possibility.' I had nothing, no history of heart problems before.

    1. Hi Sandie,

      How did the stroke affect you? How did you know it had happened? I hear some strokes can go completely undetected and have un obvious affects.

      Paul G.

    2. Dear Paul

      I sort of lost my balance. Felt I was falling sideways in the shower. Two attacks. Very strange. No drugs or drink, I swear!
      I was ironing. My vision had a slideshow of coloured windows passing across it close to the face for twenty minutes.(I dont suffer from migraines) The second time sitting reading a book one evening. Ultra bright all colours of the rainbow passed from the top of my right shoulder across my vision, right to left. Lasted half an hour! There was literally (almost) a fire of colours bouncing off my right shoulder passing across my line of vision. Rest of room slightly darkened. Went to a neurologist who gave me an MRI brain scan, said ischaemic change in outer (?) wall of brain noticed. Or it was a disturbance. I looked it up. This means the blood vessels which in further investigation online implies a minor stroke. My dad had a blood clot on the brain which finished him so it could be genetic. It could be the lsd in my early 20s.I dont know what the hell it is but I'm somewhat scared. Still do my long surrey walks and swim 3 times a week but I am making myself slow down a little. Thanks for asking Paul! Ok?

    3. Hi Sandie,

      I also had LSD back in the 70s. Now I get intense visual spectacular intrusions but they seem always to be accompanied by feelings which I can only say are "scattered". This only happens when I relax. It has appeared only since experiencing compounded 'resonant' trauma, some of which I would not have survived if I had not got onto this blog. Comes and goes in waves. . . like sailing an emotional ocean. Up & down, side to side and around and around.

      I also get insight following on afterwards. In the doldrums.

      There are delayed re-actions to just about everything we experience in life. . . the histone layer has a life of it's own and by accessing it we enter a new world. Thank goodness for a sound theory of evolutionary neurology to provide a map for navigating around the weather systems or our repression.

      Paul G.

  15. Hallo Paul

    I think your visual intrusions might be different to the two I have had. With mine there are no feelings. It is purely visual... coloured windows gliding across my eyes like a kaleidoscope toy we looked into as kids. Remember? That's it! I certainly hope it is nothing to do with the wretched lsd!!!!!!!!!!! And if I told the hospital neurologist it was he would probably either dismiss the idea or me as a patient. I'd be stigmatised. You know what doctors can be like. How many times did you take it in the 1970's? I took it fifteen times, maybe once a week or every couple of weeks. It's left me with terrible insomnia. You're lucky if you haven't got this too. When are you starting the therapy, Paul?

  16. Paul

    P.S. Please explain what compounded resonant trauma is. Thankyou!

  17. Hi,

    Regarding starting the therapy,

    Well, I have to plan for a longer stay and that requires more of my history to be "shipped out there" than I at first anticipated, not like going on holiday for a month is it. . . ? Nevertheless some of my history may be worth the export / exchange rate. . . It's not all my history, some of it belongs to America I reckon. It's a cultural exchange !

    Paul G.

    Paul G.


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This thought-provoking and important book shows how people are drawn toward dangerous beliefs.
“Belief can manifest itself in world-changing ways—and did, in some of history’s ugliest moments, from the rise of Adolf Hitler to the Jonestown mass suicide in 1979. Arthur Janov, a renowned psychologist who penned The Primal Scream, fearlessly tackles the subject of why and how strong believers willingly embrace even the most deranged leaders.
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Quotes for "Life Before Birth"

“Life Before Birth is a thrilling journey of discovery, a real joy to read. Janov writes like no one else on the human mind—engaging, brilliant, passionate, and honest.
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Art Janov, one of the pioneers of fetal and early infant experiences and future mental health issues, offers a robust vision of how the earliest traumas of life can percolate through the brains, minds and lives of individuals. He focuses on both the shifting tides of brain emotional systems and the life-long consequences that can result, as well as the novel interventions, and clinical understanding, that need to be implemented in order to bring about the brain-mind changes that can restore affective equanimity. The transitions from feelings of persistent affective turmoil to psychological wholeness, requires both an understanding of the brain changes and a therapist that can work with the affective mind at primary-process levels. Life Before Birth, is a manifesto that provides a robust argument for increasing attention to the neuro-mental lives of fetuses and infants, and the widespread ramifications on mental health if we do not. Without an accurate developmental history of troubled minds, coordinated with a recognition of the primal emotional powers of the lowest ancestral regions of the human brain, therapists will be lost in their attempt to restore psychological balance.
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Bailey Endowed Chair of Animal Well Being Science
Washington State University

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An expansive analysis! This book attempts to explain the impact of critical developmental windows in the past, implores us to improve the lives of pregnant women in the present, and has implications for understanding our children, ourselves, and our collective future. I’m not sure whether primal therapy works or not, but it certainly deserves systematic testing in well-designed, assessor-blinded, randomized controlled clinical trials.
K.J.S. Anand, MBBS, D. Phil, FAACP, FCCM, FRCPCH, Professor of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology, Anatomy & Neurobiology, Senior Scholar, Center for Excellence in Faith and Health, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare System

A baby's brain grows more while in the womb than at any time in a child's life. Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script That Rules Our Lives is a valuable guide to creating healthier babies and offers insight into healing our early primal wounds. Dr. Janov integrates the most recent scientific research about prenatal development with the psychobiological reality that these early experiences do cast a long shadow over our entire lifespan. With a wealth of experience and a history of successful psychotherapeutic treatment, Dr. Janov is well positioned to speak with clarity and precision on a topic that remains critically important.
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His new book “Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script that Rules Our Lives” shows that primal therapy, the lower-brain therapeutic method popularized in the 1970’s international bestseller “Primal Scream” and his early work with John Lennon, may help alleviate depression and anxiety disorders, normalize blood pressure and serotonin levels, and improve the functioning of the immune system.
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