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Noetic Science and Holistic Health

Brain Scan

Suffering with environmental illness is a huge struggle, not only in terms of dealing with the dibilitating symptoms themselves but also the lack of healthcare provision and the way we are regarding with suspicion by doctors and even our friends and family. Finding ourselves in this situation though does have its up has a way of opening our minds to possibilities we may not otherwise have considered.

Like me, when you were healthy and everything was going great you probably gave little thought to how something like your diet as a whole and even specific foods could be affecting your body. Environmental illness forces us to explore all our options in the pursuit of healing and I am sure the vast majority of you have turned your attention to your diet and probably have an impressive collection of nutritional and/or supplements in your kitchen.

Now, I'd like to take you a step further and introduce you to an emerging scientific discipline known as noetic science. This field of scientific investigation has the potential to change the way we humans view, well...everything. But of particular interest to us here is what it is doing in terms of mind-body medicine, giving validity to many forms of alternative medicine and self-help techniques and showing us how we can use the mind-body connection to support the healing process.

According to the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) the field of noetic science can be defined as follows:

no•et•ic: From the Greek noesis / noetikos, meaning inner wisdom, direct knowing, or subjective understanding.

sci•ence: Systems of acquiring knowledge that use observation, experimentation, and replication to describe and explain natural phenomena.

no•et•ic sci•ences: A multidisciplinary field that brings objective scientific tools and techniques together with subjective inner knowing to study the full range of human experiences.

So, noetic science is essentially the study of consciousness and subjective phenomena, such as intuition, using established scientific methods.

Going back to my earlier example, it is not only physical factors like diet that influence or health and ability to recover from illness. One of the key findings to come out of noetic science research with respect to health is that our THOUGHTS AND BELIEFS have a tangible effect on the functioning of every cell in our bodies and thus influence our state of health in a way that simply cannot be ignored. In her landmark book 'Molecules of Emotion, neuroscientist Candace Pert, Ph.D, explains how our minds and bodies are part of the same dynamic information network and as such it is impossible to have a single thought without it having an impact on our health.

What many of us have suspected has now been proven using the scientific method. Negative thoughts and emotions such worry, anxiety, anger and guilt have a damaging effect on our bodies and our health while positive thoughts and emotions promote a state of homeostasis within the body and thus have the potential to support and even improve our health. The harm done by negative thoughts and emotions can be pinned down to them stimulating the production of chemicals within the body that promote damaging processes including inflammation and oxidative stress - the chronic presence of which has been repeatedly implicated in environmental illnesses. We can use this knowledge and open our minds to using tools such as meditation and relaxation and visualisation techniques to help our minds positively influence our health rather than damaging it.

Something that is much more startling than our ability to influence our own health through managing our thoughts is noetic science's discovery that our thoughts can influence biological systems OUTSIDE of ourselves. The implications of this are huge. It provides evidence to suggest that the likes of energy medicine, distant healing and prayers for the health of another can play a meaningful and effective role in a holistic healthcare system. In addition, it has been shown that two minds are better than one. In fact the more minds the better! Experiments using large groups of meditators focusing on the same outcome have more influence than a single meditator would have. Could then a group of people focusing their thoughts on bringing about the recovery of a sick friend or relative actually help to bring about such a recovery? It now seems like a real possibility, we just need to learn how to better use our minds and focus their energy.

Assuming you haven't decided this is all a load of New Age nonsense and stopped reading and would like to learn more about the role of noetic science and the power of thought in health then I highly recommend you take a look at the IONS website at If you browse to their Health and Healing section you will find a wealth of information and a great archive of free videos and audio seminars and lectures from leading voices in holistic health and mind-body medicine, including Deepak Chopra, Candace Pert, Elliot Dacher, Lee Lipsenthal and Marilyn Schiltz.

Recommended reading:

The Biology of Belief by Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D.
Molecules of Emotion by Candace Pert, Ph.D.
Living Deeply by Tina Amorok, Psy.D, Marilyn Mandala Schlitz, Ph.D, and Cassandra Vieten, Ph.D
Deep Medicine by William B. Stewart, M.D.
Consciousness & Healing by Marilyn Mandala Sciltz, Ph.D.





About: Matthew Hogg ("Maff")
Diagnosed with M.E./chronic fatigue syndrome aged only 11 years old and subsequently associated illnesses including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). Despite his own struggles he has constantly sought to educate and support others suffering from such "invisible illnesses" through his website, The Environmental Illness Resource. He fully recovered from MCS using his own approach and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nutritional Health.