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How does the Lightning Process work?

Physical illness is physical

One important thing to note here is that, physical illness is physical illness. It’s as simple as that. And physical illnesses are found to have wide ranging causes that are physical, emotional and psychological in nature. BUT, while an illness may be physical in its origins and symptomology, there are things that we can do, psychologically, to influence and recover from illness. This is known as the area of psychoneuroimmunology.

“The body is always listening”  Phil Parker

We have around 60,000 thoughts a day and every single thought that we have produces a chemical response through the release of hormones and neurotransmitters. Just for a moment, take yourself back to a momentous life event – something that really impacted your life in a positive or negative way. How does it feel to connect with that memory?

Essentially, you’re accessing the neurology that triggered a very specific chemical response and, in doing so, you trigger that chemical release in much the same way. Even something as simple as thinking about a drink you managed to poison yourself with – sambuca, whisky, whatever it might be! Think about it long enough and you’ll do a great job of triggering off those nauseous feelings again.

So when we access thoughts and memories, we produce feelings and emotions, which produces changes in our chemistry. If what we remember, what we focus on and the thoughts we have, have a physical component – in the sense that they change the neurotransmitters and hormones we release, what does this tell us about the power we have to influence our health?

Neuroplasticity

What is also interesting is that with every thought we have, we are triggering a particular neural pathway, and the more we do this, the more automated it becomes. This is because the brain likes to make things easy for us. If we use a thought or a pathway a lot, it becomes automatic and unconscious. This is known as neuroplasticity. It is the brain’s ability to not only adapt and change continuously, but also the ability to optimise thought processes and physiological responses. All in the name of efficiency.

Learning to drive is a pretty conscious and slow process to start with – you have to consciously think about putting your hand on the gear stick and your foot on the clutch in order to change gear. But after a while, you have done it so many times that you do it automatically, without even thinking about it. Sometimes, we can even drive from one place to another without even realising we’ve made the journey! This is neuroplasticity.

In much the same way, when our bodies get ill, they can get stuck in this loop of producing symptoms. This is because, neuroplastically, the brain has rewired itself to keep releasing chemicals that are conducive to those symptoms.

These chemicals include adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol, and they are released as part of what is known as the ‘physiological emergency response’. In small doses these hormones and neurotransmitters are vital for healthy function. However, when these chemicals are released consistently over a long period of time, the impact on our health can be detrimental.

The Physiological Emergency Response (PER)

The physiological emergency response (PER, also known as the fight or flight response) is essentially a physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived threat. It is triggered through activation of the sympathetic nervous system (in contrast to the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for something known as ‘rest and digest’). We were equipped with this response as a primitive survival tool which was critical for survival during caveman days.

The PER gives us the resources we need to deal with stress by either fighting it to overcome it or fleeing to escape it. In doing so, we put a hold on any bodily functions that are not considered necessary in that moment i.e. we focus our energies on being alert and having the physical energy to escape or deal with the threat at the expense of other functions such as immune function, cognition and digestion.

If we were to see a tiger, we would need to react instantly to ensure any chance of survival – by either fleeing that threat or standing up to it and fighting. Nowadays, we don’t really need to rely on this too heavily but with the prominence of stressors in everyday life, we can find ourselves pumping out the stress response time and time again.

When this happens, our bodies are being trained in the physiological reaction that ensues. When the body goes through repeated periods of stress, as part of neuroplasticity, it can get stuck producing that stress response time and time again and all of sudden it has become an automated and unconscious process. This is known as allostatic load.

How the Lightning Process® responds to this

During the course of the three days in the Lightning Process® we teach you how to train your brain in a way that is conducive to good health and recovery.  Using the principles of neuroplasticity, positive psychology, NLP and osteopathy you will quickly learn how to both switch off the physiological emergency response, and develop strong, healthy neurological function. The outcome is the reactivation of key bodily functions (including immune, digestive, neuro-endocrinological, cognitive). This is why the Lightning Process® is so effective for such a wide range of conditions.

Further resources

A comprehensive overview of neuroplasticity
NHS article – the physiology of the fight or flight response