Bernie Siegel, M.D. On the Brain-Body Connection and Fertility
We had the pleasure of doing a Skype video chat with Bernie Siegel, M.D. recently about the brain, mind and body. Here is a man who for some really needs no introduction. NY Times best-selling author and speaker, Bernie (as likes to be called) has dedicated his life to helping his patients understand much more about their bodies than just procedures and medicines. Bernie is on our Board of Advisors and has always been extremely supportive of what we are accomplishing with Circle+Bloom.
Note about the video: We recorded the video using a split screen, but not knowing it at the time, my head was in the wrong part of the split – so you see half my face some of the time. Who cares though, you are watching Bernie, not me!
The Self-Healing Power Within
Modern medicine has produced all kinds of wonderful things – no doubt about it. And we always say there is a time and place for professional advice and intervention. But it has also gained so much power by virtue of drugs, however, that medicine has forgotten about the potential strength within the patient.
This power that can be used both for or against our bodies.
He refers to the fact that we have two major tools we can all use to change the body – emotions and imagery. “These are two ways we can get our minds and bodies to communicate with each other. Our emotions and words let the body know what we expect of it, and by visualizing certain changes we can help the body bring them about.”
Emotional honesty and self-acceptance lead to better physical health. A perfect example of this was the study who found that people who cry freely catch fewer colds than people who always hold back their tears. Knowing who you are and always acting to the compass within disallows for any kind of repression of anger or discontent that may show up in the body as emotions are held in the body.
Repeatedly in our research we come across the theory that emotions are held in the body while thoughts and ideas are held in the mind. Examples like when you are nervous or scared and your heart races – you literally experience a physiological change as a result of that emotion. Or when you are in love and a certain euphoria comes over you and you seem to float a few inches off the ground.
Bernie “encourages people to consider work, physical development, emotional and spiritual needs, help to others, and pure play when they set their goals – in other words, to integrate all aspects of their lives. Try to understand yourself as dynamic, ever-changing, and perfectly imperfect.
Imagery / Visualization
He talks specifically of how we can use visualization to literally communicate with our body. When you visualize, your body doesn’t know the difference between what is actually happening and what you only visualizing.
The cerebral cortex is a very powerful part of our brain that translates images into the information; it’s the “seeing” part of our brain. We use this part of our brain to literally communicate with our bodies.
Bernie was once called to the hospital by a patient who was going into premature delivery with high risk of miscarriage. He said he walked into the room and it was complete chaos. The first thing he did was to kick everyone out. He dimmed the lights, put on soft music, and told the patient to visualize her uterus relaxing and to stop the contractions and premature labor. He said within 10 minutes, her body responded and she was out of danger.
Another story he tells is of a nurse in his office that was having trouble getting pregnant. He told her to visualize the “sperm joining with the egg” which she did repeatedly. She came to him a short two weeks later and told him she was pregnant.
Realizing Your Potential
When I asked Bernie about how we truly apply all of this information to fertility, he spoke about the fact that we all need to realize and never forget our potential. He recommends – like we do – to keep a journal and prepare for the future by being more congnizant of what you think and do each day.
As Carl Jung has said, “The future is unconsciously prepared long in advance, and therefore can be guessed by clairvoyants.” If that’s true, our thoughts today can become our reality tomorrow.