How could your major illness possibly be involved with something bad that happened to you as a child, up to 18? Surprisingly, modern researchers suggest that following this lead could hold promise for you.
In the world’s largest ongoing scientific study connecting serious illness with childhood trauma, the major finding is that, undeniably, unresolved childhood traumatic events are associated with ALL the primary adult health and behaviour risks or diseases. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study has been based since 1998 on 17,421 patients in Kaiser Permanente hospitals in the U.S.
Later-life effects of childhood trauma, researchers found, include bone fractures, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, smoking, suicide, diabetes, alcoholism and much more.
‘All that time ago? But I never even think about what happened –‘
Award-winning science writer and energy psychology specialist Dawson Church says, ‘The average age of the ACE study participants was 57, indicating that the traumatic events that led to disease had occurred half a century earlier.’
In his book Psychological Trauma: Healing its Roots in Brain, Body and Memory, he adds that many other studies have found associations between psychological distress and physiological deterioration. ‘Distress’ yes — and yet the traumatic experiences involved in setting up later ill health may be buried in memory.
Could this discovery lead to new treatment approaches?
Dawson adds, ‘The authors of the ACE Study compared the (current) health care system’s focus on treating disease in adults to a fire brigade directing their water at the smoke, rather than at the fire below.
‘They recommended that health care be refocussed on treating the emotional traumas that are the source of most “physical” disease. While “psychological” and “physical” might be distinctions that are useful in medicine, the body simply does not make those distinctions.’
Following this new knowledge – we can wonder what might happen if:
- such childhood traumas were resolved, even decades later during illness?
- or even earlier in life?
Most of us pay less attention to our psychological health than to our physical health…perhaps even less attention than to the wellbeing of our car.
In his book on energy healing, The Genie in Your Genes, Dr. Church writes, ‘Now we’re starting to understand that our consciousness conditions our genetic expression, moment by moment. This insight allows us to use consciousness change as a medical intervention.’
(You can read many reports of health improvements through the acupressure method Emotional Freedom Techniques on Dawson’s major EFT tapping website, www.eftuniverse.com)
‘Childhood trauma impacts everyone’: British clinician
Emotional trauma in childhood is probably the most underexposed risk in terms of chronic disease onset in adulthood, and probably its biggest contributing factor, says British integrative medicine expert Niki Gratrix.
Niki co-founded one of the U.K.’s largest mind-body clinics, with patients in 35 countries treated both nutritionally and psychologically for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME. Results with the clinic’s patients appeared in the British medical journal Open. Her clinic won the award for Outstanding Practice in 2009.
‘The statistics I found in the ACE study were absolutely mind-blowing, massive, gigantic,’ Niki told interviewer Dr. Raphael Kellman, author of The Microbiome Diet, during the recent Microbiome Medicine Summit 2. ‘The information changed the lives of ACE researchers involved. Essentially, it uncovered a huge hidden crisis. People just aren’t aware about the data.
‘For instance, if you have ACEs in childhood (that is, categories of trauma), you have a 600% increased risk of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.’
Nicki added, ‘So time doesn’t heal. Trauma stays stored in both the psyche and the epigenetic changes for a lifetime, unless you intervene.
‘The bottom line is, practically everybody is influenced by ACEs.’
What types of trauma can lead to illness long-term?
ACE categories of trauma include parents separating in divorce – physical, sexual or emotional abuse – physical and emotional neglect – domestic violence – mental illness in the family – substance abuse – a family member in prison.
Niki said, ‘What they found was that if you had a high level of these ACEs, you had an increased risk of 7 out of the top 10 causes of death.
‘People with 6 or more ACEs (may) have a reduced lifespan of 20 years.
‘Autoimmune is also a huge study, 15,500 adults reviewed, revealing that you don’t have to have 2 ACEs to have 100% increased risk.’
Researchers underestimated results
Niki also found that even the researchers admitted that they had completely underestimated the ACE findings about later-life physical and behavioural problems influenced by traumas up to the age of 18.
They did not mention trauma caused by:
- traumatic birth experience
- attachment trauma with the caregiver in early life (that leads to relationship insecurity)
- traumas you don’t know about such as in your first 1-3 years (massively linked with Irritable Bowel Syndrome or similar)
- traumas inherited intergenerationally, so that if you didn’t suffer the trauma, maybe your parent or grandparents did and your body knows
- other kinds of trauma up to age 18
Can there be solutions?
Niki Gratrix: ‘So, for people to get to the root cause of their illness, they need a change in worldview. So far we have this view of the world as still a kind of matter, biochemistry — physical things that you can see, touch, and feel are the only things that are real. And what we need to change our worldview is start to realize that the invisible worlds of our emotions and even what’s going on at a quantum level exist, are real, are having a massive impact on us and our biology.’
Dawson Church, author of Psychological Trauma: ‘Under very specific conditions, fear-based memories may be revised by the brain. The new energies emerging in the field of energy psychology, especially EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), are able to quickly neutralise traumatic emotions. My book explains the physiological mechanisms behind the efficacy of these novel therapies. Besides discussing several key clinical trials showing rehabilitation of over 80% of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder cases, it contains many case histories of veterans and others who have made full recovery using EFT.’