Saturday, February 21, 2009

Guided Meditation Reverses Alzheimer's and Macular Degeneration

This article is reprinted with the author's permission from the website of the American Holistic Health Association of which I am also a member.

I can't add much more to this article than to say it's another stellar example of the healing power of the mind.

I believe this is the direction health care will take, harnessing your inherent power to heal, but only when you insist on using these methods will your healthcare provider get on board and work with you. If he or she refuses, please find a new, more open-minded health care provider!

Meanwhile, enjoy! And be ready to write your affirmation and record it after you read this article! ~Michelle~

Use of affirmations while sleeping

By Barbara Derrick, Ph.D.

Barbara Derrick, Ph.D. is a Summerville, SC psychotherapist in private practice. As president of ABC Holistic Wellness Foundation, she is a writer, lecturer, and researcher of holistic methods. She has lectured at holistic conferences and her work has appeared online and in national periodicals. Her primary study in improving symptoms of Alzheimer’s patients has proven successful. She believes in the Edgar Cayce contention that brain cells can be restored. You can contact Barbara at (843) 821-6532 or

Editor's Note: This is a true story. Wally's story also appeared in the July/August 2004 issue of Venture Inward [1], and his case history was presented at the 8th Annual Edgar Cayce Health Symposium in September, 2003


Wally Decker is a widower who had cared for his wife of 52 years prior to her death. Though he was in his late 70s at the time, he took part in aerobics regularly and danced whenever he could find a partner. Like the hurricane that had once devastated the area around his South Carolina home, a storm arrived in Wally's life in 2002 at age 80. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. He saw this diagnosis as a fate worse than death. For most of his life he had enjoyed perfect health. His Christian Science faith had sustained him through years clear of the usual maladies that plague most of us. As a matter of fact, he didn't even have a regular physician until he reached the age of 67. Now, his diagnosis presented him with a disaster worse than an ordinary lifetime's accumulation of illnesses. Wally's symptoms manifested as confusion, short term memory forgetfulness, and trouble with directional information causing him to go off in the wrong direction. His cognitive ability was diminishing also.

Case Study

When Wally called to tell me a clinical psychologist had diagnosed him with Alzheimer's the tremor in his voice told me how defeated he felt. Aside from delaying the progress of the disease, medical science offered little hope. He had been told that nothing had been found to cure the disease.

About that time I just happened to be at the same place as David McMillin, M.A., program director at the Health and Rejuvenation Research Center (HRRC), a division of the Association for Research and Enlightenment (ARE) an organization that researches the body-mind-spirit connection and the readings of Edgar Cayce. [2]

David McMillin shared with me that the HRRC had just acquired a grant for an Alzheimer's research project to be titled, Suggestive Therapeutics Treatment and Protocol. The grant was funded by a private donor whose mother died from complications of Alzheimer's. After the protocol was formulated, slots would be open for those who qualified. One of the primary requirements for participation in the project was to have a medical doctor attest that a patient had Alzheimer's. The project's approach, focusing on assisting the body to heal itself, seemed to be a good match with Wally's early training in Christian Science. Our first step therefore was to get Wally's neurologist to attest that he had Alzheimer's.

When Wally and I went to his neurologist and explained the Suggestive Therapeutic Treatment Plan, however, his initial response was, "I don't believe in such stuff. And I don't want my name associated with anything like this." After some persistence on my part and hesitation on his part, the neurologist finally filled out the report and signed it.

We needed reports not only from physicians, but from family and friends who were asked to record their assessment of Wally's behavior. With my Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology and my psychotherapy practice I was also qualified to make certain assessments. I completed the reports and submitted all the color-coded papers. If requirements were met Wally could be a candidate for the Suggestive Therapeutics Treatment Plan and Research Protocol program.

As we waited for word of acceptance to the project, Wally began having doubts. Part of the program protocol required that he have a massage daily. This posed a challenge as he did not have anyone at home to do this and he could not imagine finding a massage therapist who could massage him each day. I advised him to wait for the decision of selection for the protocol and then try to conform to the protocol.

Finally, we heard that he had been selected. We reviewed the materials describing what was required to be part of the project. One important item was that Wally would need to have someone repeat an affirmation to him daily while he was relaxed. I thought of a way this could be accomplished. Just before one goes to sleep, there is a natural time of relaxation. He could listen to an affirmation at this time. I had used this pre-sleep intervention with clients many times and it had always worked well. Wally readily agreed to practice using the tape nightly if I made one for him.

My years of studying the Edgar Cayce readings had taught me that we should obtain approval before we offer a prayer or a meditation for anyone I wanted to be sure Wally could agree with every word. Working together, Wally and I prepared an affirmation that stated exactly what we wanted Wally to achieve. The affirmation read as follows:

As you relax, you are experiencing quiet, peace, happiness, and joy. You can feel God's love surrounding you. This allows you to rest in the knowledge that God's love is guiding you, helping you in every way to make each day good and purposeful. You have good, appreciative feelings for those around you, knowing that you wish every person in your life well and they hold you in high regard.

Your mind will move toward functioning well, and this will give you great pleasure. Your short-term memory is improving, your mind more alert and your recall of names and words improving day by day.

This time of relaxing will help to coordinate your nervous system and improve circulation through your body. The eliminating systems are removing toxins from your body. The foods that you eat will provide nourishment to your body.

You will be calm and cooperative to those around you at all times. You are self-sufficient. This makes you happy and proud. You will look forward to each day and enjoy life. Your short-term memory and your recollection of words and names are serving you well.

You are being healed -- you are becoming whole at all levels. The divine energy within you is rejuvenating your body, mind and spirit.

The voice he heard on the tape was mine. He trusted what I told him. That was good. I also knew if Wally told me he would do a certain thing, he would do it. He also had to keep a daily log of his activity relating to the program, which he did faithfully.

Wally began playing the tape each night just as he went to sleep. The meditation was repeated several times (for 30 minutes until the tape ran out) and he often fell asleep before the conclusion. But that was okay. He was still registering the words in his subconscious mind.

Up until this time, Wally had been falling asleep in front of the television, using a timer to turn the set off. In doing this, he had been opening himself to whatever happened to be on the television each night. In substituting the tape for the television news, his mind heard only the positive affirmations on the tape. Wally made a commitment to listen to the tape every night, get a massage every week, and follow the requirements of the Suggestive Therapeutics Treatment Plan and Research Protocol program.

True to his word, he found a massage therapy school in the area that would provide him a massage for a nominal fee. He obtained the required therapy regularly. As a matter of fact, according to the log sheet, the only three days he missed playing the affirmation tape were days when he was hospitalized for pneumonia. He compensated for this lapse by playing the tape for three mornings in addition to the usual evening tape.

During the period of time we were incorporating the affirmation tape and the massage into Wally's routine, he was told he had macular degeneration in his left eye. His doctor predicted he would eventually lose the sight in his left eye, which was his good eye. (The right eye had glaucoma). There was little the medical world could do, except to forestall the inevitable. He reconciled himself to the fact that he could not see well enough to drive at night. If he went out at night, he depended upon someone else to do the driving.

Assuming he would need to go into an assisted-living residence in the very near future, Wally decided to sell his house and began having repairs done. This independent man could soon become dependent on others because of his infirmities.

However, within 30 days of regular use of the tape changes became apparent in his behavior. He was happier. He looked upon others with a greater degree of compassion. He accepted the positions of others, even when he did not agree with them. He showed an unconditional positive regard for other people. Then Wally's eyesight began to improve. He was able to drive at night again.

A return visit to the neurologist brought good news. "I really thought you had Alzheimer's," the neurologist told him, "but now I don't think you have Alzheimer's after all." That was surprising. A clinical psychologist who does the testing for professionals in the area also agreed on this diagnosis. Wally asked him for an explanation but the doctor had none.

When Wally returned for a regular check-up by a professor in the department of ophthalmology at a well-respected medical university, he received more good news. This professor was the one who had made the diagnosis of dry macular degeneration in his left eye with the concurrence of another ophthalmologist. Now, he told Wally there was no longer evidence of macular degeneration.


The two illnesses that had distressed Wally so much were now non-existent. The affirmation tape purposely included the wider spectrum of overall good health as well as the Alzheimer's. He had been cooperative and diligent in his daily practice of using the tape, open to healing possibilities and followed the protocol to the full extent. It worked.

As of 2007, Wally is in his mid-80s. A recent check with his doctors confirmed that his condition is the same and they see few signs of Alzheimer's. He is still playing the tape, although not as often, is still driving, dancing and is self sufficient, living alone in his own home.

The results achieved by Wally through the Suggestive Therapeutics Treatment and Protocol have been replicated with other patients at the Mattie C. Hall Health Care Center in Aiken, SC (For details see article "Singing on the Alzheimer's Unit" by Barbara A. Derrick, Ph.D. that appeared in the September/October 2007 issue of Venture Inward. Used by permission, Venture Inward magazine, Edgar Cayce's A.R.E., The medical director has attested to the good results and benefits of the program. Dr. Mark Meyer attests to weight gain, positive behavior changes and psychotropic medication reduction. The final results of this program will be published in the September/ October 2007 issue of Venture Inward.

A full report of the Mattie C. Hall Health Care Center study, a copy of the affirmation used, and other CDs are available from the Association for Research and Enlightenment bookstore at (800) 333-4499. The next phase of this project is to find another health care facility willing to replicate the findings already medically documented in Aiken, South Carolina. Administrators and/or medical directors of interested health care facilities should contact Dr. Derrick.


[1] VENTURE INWARD: Bi-monthly magazine of Edgar Cayce's Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.), at Virginia Beach, Virginia.

[2] Known as the "sleeping prophet" Edgar Cayce for forty-three years demonstrated the uncanny ability to put himself into a self-induced state of relaxation and meditation that enabled him to place his mind in contact with all time and space. From this trance state he could respond to questions as diverse as "What are the secrets of the universe?" and "How can I remove a wart?" His responses to these questions came to be called "readings." His readings contain insights so valuable that even to this day individuals have found practical help for everything from maintaining a well-balanced diet and improving human relationships to overcoming life-threatening illnesses and experiencing a closer walk with God.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Practicing qigong can change your gene's response to stress

Below are some excerpts from "Researching the Benefits of Mind-Body Practice by Investigating Genetic Expression" by Roger Jahnke, OMD.

The full report on this exciting breakthrough in how practices like qigong can actually change gene expression is available on his website at

I have included a link to one of my earlier articles on telomeres, the protective caps on immune cells, and have made a few comments about holistic practices at the end of the quote.

First: Just what is "Gene Expression?" This, from wikipedia Gene expression is the process by which inheritable information from a gene, such as the DNA sequence, is made into a functional gene product, such as protein or RNA.

Regulation of gene expression is the cellular control of the amount and timing of appearance of the functional product of a gene. Any step of gene expression may be modulated, from the DNA-RNA transcription step to post-translational modification of a protein. Gene regulation gives the cell control over structure and function, and is the basis for cellular differentiation, morphogenesis and the versatility and adaptability of any organism.


So, with that in mind, here is the feature article:

*** Begin Quote ***

Page 4 – 5

In a number of press releases the authors of Genomic counter-stress changes induced by the relaxation response made a number of comments that are easily applicable to all three studies. They state that:

"This study provides the first compelling evidence that the RR [relaxation response] elicits specific gene expression changes in short-term and long- term practitioners."

Actually the other studies were earlier and they all suggest this.

The Genomic Counter-stress authors wrote that their findings suggest:

"Consistent and constitutive changes in gene expression resulting from RR may relate to long term physiological effects," and that "Our study may stimulate new investigations into applying transcriptional profiling for accurately measuring RR and stress related responses in multiple disease settings."

It is likely that these studies portend a “sea change” in research and will trigger an outpouring of similar research. Dr. Herbert Benson, professor emeritus of Harvard University and director emeritus of the Benson-Henry Institute and co-senior author of the study said:

"Now we've found how changing the activity of the mind can alter the way basic genetic instructions are implemented," said Benson.

Dr. Towia Libermann, director of the BIDMC Genomics Center and also co-senior

author of the study added:

"This is the first comprehensive study of how the mind can affect gene expression, linking what has been looked on as a 'soft' science with the 'hard' science of genomics.” "It is also important because of its focus on gene expression in healthy individuals, rather than in disease states," explained Libermann.

The authors said their study showed that the relaxation response changed the expression of genes involved with inflammation, programmed cell death and the handling of free radicals. Free radicals are normal byproducts of metabolism that the body neutralizes in order to stop damage to cells and tissues.

Page 5 – 6

Probably the most compelling statement from the article on the findings of the study was “It is becoming increasingly clear that psychosocial stress can manifest as system-wide perturbations of cellular processes, generally increasing oxidative stress and promoting a pro-inflammatory milieu. Stress associated changes in peripheral blood leukocyte expression of single genes have been identified. More recently, chronic psychosocial stress has been associated with accelerated aging at the cellular level. Specifically, shortened telomeres, low telomerase activity, decreased anti-oxidant capacity and increased oxidative stress are correlated with increased psychosocial stress and with increased vulnerability to a variety of disease states.”

These 3 studies strongly suggest that Mind-Body practices, especially those that trigger a sustained and accumulative RR effect – a counter stress effect – can prevent and ameliorate disease. This effect of Mind-Body practice on gene expression transforms the landscape of scientific exploration and launches an entirely new direction for the investigation for the emerging field of health maximization based integrative medicine.

Page 21 – 22

It is becoming increasingly clear that psychosocial stress can manifest as system-wide perturbations of cellular processes, generally increasing oxidative stress and promoting a pro-inflammatory milieu [23]–[25]. Stress associated changes in peripheral blood leukocyte expression of single genes have been identified [26]–[28]. More recently, chronic psychosocial stress has been associated with accelerated aging at the cellular level. Specifically, shortened telomeres, low telomerase activity, decreased anti-oxidant capacity and increased oxidative stress are correlated with increased psychosocial stress [29] and with increased vulnerability to a variety of disease states [30]. Stress-related changes in GEP have been demonstrated by microarray analysis in healthy subjects, including up-regulation of several cytokines/chemokines and their receptors [31], and in individuals suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, including inflammation, apoptosis and stress response [32] as well as metabolism and RNA processing pathways [33]. The pro-inflammatory transcription factor NF-kappa B (NF-κB) which is activated by psychosocial stress has been identified as a potential link between stress and oxidative cellular activation [34].

[For a brief explanation of the connection between telomeres (the protective caps on the ends of immune cells) and stress, see my post "Scientists identify mechanism behind mind-body connection" on my Stress Relief for Savvy Women blog.]

The RR is clinically effective for ameliorating symptoms in a variety of stress-related disorders including cardiovascular, autoimmune and other inflammatory conditions and pain [15]. We hypothesize that RR elicitation is associated with systemic gene expression changes in molecular and biochemical pathways involved in cellular metabolism, oxidative phosphorylation/generation of reactive oxygen species and response to oxidative stress and that these changes to some degree serve to ameliorate the negative impact of stress. Genome-wide evaluation of PBL GEP is a reasonable approach to survey the transcriptional changes that are involved in elicitation of the RR. The GEP of RR practitioners presented here reveals altered gene expression in specific functional groups which suggest a greater capacity to respond to oxidative stress and the associated cellular damage. Genes including COX7B, UQCRB and CASP2 change in opposite direction from that in the stress response [31], [32].

Our findings are relatively consistent with those found in a study of Qi Gong [17], a practice that elicits the RR. In their study of 6 Qi Gong practitioners and 6 aged matched controls, practitioners had down-regulation of ubiquitin, proteasome, ribosomal protein and stress response genes and mixed up- and down-regulation of genes involved in apoptosis and immune function. We find a similar pattern of GO categories that are significantly over-represented in GO or enriched in GSEA in our cross sectional comparison, M vs. N1. However, in our data-set ribosomal proteins were up-regulated.

Overall, similar genomic pattern changes occurred in practitioners of a specific mind body technique (Qi Gong) as well as in our long-term practitioners who utilized different RR practices including Vipassana, mantra, mindfulness or transcendental meditation, breath focus, Kripalu or Kundalini Yoga, and repetitive prayer. This indicates there is a common RR state regardless of the techniques used to elicit it.

Footnotes included in the above quoted materials:

15. Astin JA, Shapiro SL, Eisenberg DM, Forys KL (2003) Mind-body medicine: state of the science, implications for practice. J Am Board Fam Pract 16: 131–147.

17. Li QZ, Li P, Garcia GE, Johnson RJ, Feng L (2005) Genomic profiling of neutrophil transcripts in Asian Qigong practitioners: a pilot study in gene regulation by mind-body interaction. J Altern Complement Med 11: 29–39.

23. Irie M, Asami S, Nagata S, Miyata M, Kasai H (2002) Psychological mediation of a type of oxidative DNA damage, 8-hyDr.oxydeoxyguanosine, in peripheral blood leukocytes of non-smoking and non-Dr.inking workers. Psychother Psychosom 71: 90–96.

24. Yamaguchi T, Shioji I, Sugimoto A, Yamaoka M (2002) Psychological stress increases bilirubin metabolites in human urine. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 293: 517–520.

25. Zheng KC, Ariizumi M (2007) Modulations of immune functions and oxidative status induced by noise stress. J Occup Health 49: 32–38.

26. Glaser R, Kennedy S, Lafuse WP, Bonneau RH, Speicher C, et al. (1990) Psychological stress-induced modulation of interleukin 2 receptor gene expression and interleukin 2 production in peripheral blood leukocytes. Arch Gen Psychiatry 47: 707–712.

27. Glaser R, Lafuse WP, Bonneau RH, Atkinson C, Kiecolt-Glaser JK (1993) Stress-associated modulation of proto-oncogene expression in human peripheral blood leukocytes. Behav Neurosci 107: 525–529.

28. Platt JE, He X, Tang D, Slater J, Goldstein M (1995) C-fos expression in vivo in human lymphocytes in response to stress. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 19: 65–74.

29. Epel ES, Blackburn EH, Lin J, Dhabhar FS, Adler NE, et al. (2004) Accelerated telomere shortening in response to life stress. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 101: 17312–17315.

30. Epel ES, Lin J, Wilhelm FH, Wolkowitz OM, Cawthon R, et al. (2006) Cell aging in relation to stress arousal and cardiovascular disease risk factors. Psychoneuroendocrinology 31: 277–287.

31. Morita K, Saito T, Ohta M, Ohmori T, Kawai K, et al. (2005) Expression analysis of psychological stress-associated genes in peripheral blood leukocytes. Neurosci Lett 381: 57–62.

32. Zieker J, Zieker D, Jatzko A, Dietzsch J, Nieselt K, et al. (2007) Differential gene expression in peripheral blood of patients suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder. Mol Psychiatry 12: 116–118.

33. Segman RH, Shefi N, Goltser-Dubner T, Friedman N, Kaminski N, et al. (2005) Peripheral blood mononuclear cell gene expression profiles identify emergent post-traumatic stress disorder among trauma survivors. Mol Psychiatry 10: 500–513, 425.

34. Bierhaus A, Wolf J, AnDr.assy M, Rohleder N, Humpert PM, et al. (2003) A mechanism converting psychosocial stress into mononuclear cell activation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 100: 1920–1925.

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Bottom Line: Qigong, mindfulness meditation, the use of mantras and other chants, and other mind-body practices can change how your genes respond to stress! If this occurs at the cellular level, it is an indication that qigong and other mind-body practices can actually change your cells or cellular activity.

As a stress-relief consultant and qigong instructor, I can help you to use these methods, enabling you to be healthier, avoid "a variety of stress-related disorders including cardiovascular, autoimmune and other inflammatory conditions and pain" (see above), age slower, look younger, live longer, and life a fuller and happier life!

Contact me through the form in the sidebar or through my email address in my profile. I am committed to helping you relieve stress in the natural and holistic ways that work best for your mind, body, and spirit.