Transcript of Interview
Scott: I’m Scott Golden the creator and founder of the power of perception radio network. What we do around here is we highlight undiscovered people from all walks of life and we give them an opportunity and a platform to share with us the things they are passionate about, the things they are working on. You can follow me on linkedin@scottgolden or you can follow us on twitter@peelperception.
We are excited today to have Dr. Keith Holden with us who is an M.D. who specializes in functional medicine and the mind-body-spirit connection as it relates to healing. Dr. Holden has a course on Udemy.com called “Power of the Mind in Health and Healing."
Keith: Hey Scott!
Scott: Hello there. Thank you so much for taking time out of what I am sure is an exceptionally busy schedule to join us today. And I’m always fascinated when I see people who come from the western medical field embracing the eastern philosophies of energy and healing. So kindly take on listeners through that journey for you where you blended those two into the healing work that you do now.
Keith: Okay well it actually started at my birth. My mom was pregnant with twins and we were very large in-utero, and because of
thatthere were some structural issues. My twin had to wear corrective shoes and braces after he was born and I was born with a crossed eye, called strabismus, and a floppy neck. The doctor said we had those issues because we were so structurally cramped in-utero.
After I was born, one of the first things my parents did when they left the hospital was to take me to the family chiropractor. In 1964, chiropractors were considered complete quacks. In fact, few years later, the American Medical Association tried to take the practice of chiropractic and squash it, calling it nothing but pure quackery.
So what my family chiropractor did was do some subtle adjustments to my tiny little body. A healer is a healer and my eye uncrossed, and my neck strengthened enough to where my head didn’t need to rest on my shoulder anymore.
I didn’t know it at the time, but it was my first exposure to alternative medicine. My parents were always kind of naturalists. I grew up in a small town in Louisiana. My parents and grandparents always had an organic garden. My family utilized traditional medical doctors and alternative medical practitioners.
So I can tell you that I was already influenced at a very early age to understand that alternative and complementary medicine was effective. In fact, alternative medicine played quite a role in my life at a very early age and in a very positive fashion.
I went to medical school at LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans, and I had a fantastic education. I started practicing in a traditional medical practice and was kind of let down. I really enjoyed the intellectual stimulation while I was in medical school and residency. I found I wasn’t really enjoying a traditional medical practice because I felt like I was practicing with one hand tied behind my back.
I was taught that if you try to introduce alternative medical therapies that can border on malpractice. That was the kind of the mindset I was indoctrinated into in medical school. This created a conflict for me because I had already experienced alternative medicine and had a very positive experience.
But I started studying alternative medicine, read many books, took courses, interacted with practitioners and found that, for the most part, if the practitioner’s intention was good, that it mostly worked. I came to realize that there is a huge mind-body-spirit connection to health and
wellness,and that illness didn’t result from just physical causes like you are taught in medical school.
I took it upon myself to learn on my own after graduating from medical school what effective therapies there are besides what’s considered traditional medicine. Thankfully, I came across the Institute for Functional Medicine. This institute founded by physicians teaches Functional Medicine courses all over the world.
Functional medicine is basically science-based naturopathy, and all their courses are backed by solid scientific evidence to support the latest and greatest findings in medicine. Traditional medicine can be profoundly effective, especially in acute illness and injuries, but it lags behind in implementing the latest and greatest findings in medicine.
Doctors are really big on proof, proof, proof to the point where one good study is not enough. They want two or three or more studies to prove something, and because of that mindset, it can delay bringing really profound healing methods into the traditional medical model. Functional Medicine practitioners tend to find the early medical successful evidence and start incorporating into their practice.
So that’s basically how I came into a mindset of combining Eastern and Western philosophies of medicine. As I studied Functional Medicine, the mind-body connection became my absolute favorite part because the mind is a constant in your environment, and depending on how you use your mind, your consciousness, it can have a dramatic impact on whether you are healthy or you have disease.
Scott: What’s interesting to me is that even scientific minded individuals would have to say the majority of medical studies have a double blind effect, or placebo effect. So in clinical trials where a placebo is given, the mind plays a role in that if a person believes that something is going to work, their results are going to be remarkably different versus a person who believes that there’s nothing that can fix their problem. Why do you believe that the traditional western medicine turns a blind eye to the effects of the mind in healing?
Keith: It’s getting better, but as a whole, you are right. Traditional Western medicine has had a major prejudice. It’s so ironic what you are saying about using placebos in these randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trials, which are considered the absolute gold standard in scientific studies.
It’s so ironic that they were using a placebo but didn’t give it any credit. They weren’t delving into the effects of the placebo, and they were just using it as an after-thought. At the same time, they were treating the placebo like a second-class citizen. In fact, there’s a ton of prejudice in the medical literature about the placebo. They were saying that there’s nothing to it, and it’s just a trick of the mind, and other derogatory statements.
Now what’s happening is that more scientists are studying the placebo effect and doing it properly. By properly, I mean they are accounting for all the different components of a clinical trial that may result in improvement and segregating those out so that what you are left with is the true placebo effect. When studied properly, they are finding that the true placebo effect has amazing capabilities. Even Harvard has dedicated it’s own placebo study department. There are clinical researchers like Dr. Fabrizio Bennedetti in Italy who are committing their lives to just studying the placebo effect because they are finding that it’s so powerful.
So you have made a very good point. Why are you going to use a placebo and then bash it? I could sum it up as a prejudice, but also from a physician’s standpoint, physicians like to think they know everything. They like to be the guy in charge. I understand that you are put in a very difficult situation and people are coming to you with their lives at stake. So you want to at least think you know everything so that you feel better about what you are doing.
When they were using the placebo and finding that it was doing really well in some clinical trials best thing, even besting what was considered some great medications, it kind of made them mad and upset because they didn’t understand it. A lot of that is fear-based and misunderstandings that contributed to the prejudice against the placebo. Now that the placebo effect research is coming out, it’s really enlightening a lot of physicians and educating them. And the placebo is starting to get a lot more respect.
Scott: Is there also a connection between the major businesses? I mean if we are honest, the American economy is heavily influenced by the pharmaceutical industry. Is there a fear in the medical community that if alternative methods were given greater value than it would have long- term negative effects on the economy? Or is it something different?
Keith: That’s an excellent question, and I think it’s a mixed answer. Just as every individual has different ethics and different mindsets about why they are in medicine and what their purpose is in life, you are going to have different reasons for the way you behave and that includes the medical field as well as the pharmaceutical industry. Doctors as a whole have good intentions to get people well. They are under a lot of stress taking responsibilities for peoples’ lives even when these people don’t take responsibilities for their lives.
The problem is the way doctors are educated and that education continues after you graduate from medical school via pharmaceutical reps. What you are asking is are people scared if we embrace alternative and complementary medicine, including the placebo effect, is it going to negatively impact our economy or their business? I would say yes; there are definitely people out there who feel that way, and hopefully it’s not the people with lots of financial influence such as the pharmaceutical industry. The pharmaceutical industry heavily influences legislation for an entire country, so yes there is a component of that. I don’t like conspiracy theories and I don’t advocate doom and gloom.
I like to think that people have better ethics and a higher awareness than advocating that type of behavior but that is out there. To what extent? We don’t know. It does exist but we don’t know how much of an influence it is as a whole. Despite that, you still see large and well- known institutions like Harvard creating a placebo effect department and committing millions of dollars to studying it. I’d like to think that the right thing is always going to win out eventually. It just takes time.
Scott: What thing can happen in the mindset of an average citizen who has a chronic illness? What changes are most helpful in a belief system to aid in the production of healing cells and thereby holistic wellness, in your experience?
Keith: In my experience, working with the mind-body connection is the most powerful thing that a person in that situation. They can practice nonresistance, which is an old mind-body concept that is so incredibly powerful. If you can go into a mindset of nonresistance despite what’s going on within you and without you; if you can at least practice going into a state of non-resistance. It can be a state of neutrality or it can be a state of euphoria.
You can do powerful things with your thoughts. Even if it’s just to go into a state of neutrality about your condition for even five minutes a day, it will reduce your overall stress response to your condition. This will help trigger your relaxation response. And even if it’s five minutes a day, but done on a regular basis, you’ll get better and better at it.
As you get better and better at inducing your relaxation response by going into a mindset of nonresistance about your chronic health condition, you’ll start to balance out the mindset of fear about your chronic health issue. By using mindfulness and meditation to go into that state of nonresistance, you help balance your autonomic nervous system, which is your autopilot.
You can practice going into those states of neutrality and nonresistance by doing something as simple as practicing five minutes of gratitude daily. This takes you out of that state of resistance to what you perceive as your stressor, and in doing, so your autonomic nervous system starts to balance. As it balances and your parasympathetic tone increases, your body starts to initiate the repair, recovery, and rejuvenation.
People who do those types of practices on a regular basis will also find that they start to sleep better at night because their autonomic nervous system is balanced. Their balanced autonomic nervous system stops waking them up with fear and worry in the middle of the night. Because you have been practicing relaxation though nonresistance a little bit each day by conjuring gratitude or simply just focusing on your breath, it takes you out of a state of fear. That’s absolutely the most powerful thing an individual can do who has a chronic condition. Does that make sense?
Scott: It certainly does and I don’t talk a great deal about myself on the program because I prefer to highlight the guest but for my own personal experience. I have several chronic conditions, some of which are birth related and others that have developed over time. It was only when I investigated the alternative methods that I began to see relief both in my mind and in my body.
Is there a connection and could you speak perhaps to the differences that are caused when a person is under a great deal of stress and the connection between stress and the development of the abnormal cells or the reaction of the brain that creates the response of pain when a person is stressed versus when a person is calm or in a mindful space?
Keith: First of all, your short testimonial is one that I hear over and over. When people who have a traditional western medical mindset and listen to a doctor who says to just take a pill, and then they ask why am I not getting better? At that point, they may start to explore alternatives and the mind-body connection. They start eating healthy and realize they are finally getting better. That speaks to the truly holistic medical approach, which is way more effective than just taking a pill.
So go on from there to what you are asking about stress and how it influences the body. Yes absolutely! I want to remind everyone that stress is not something out there. Stress is always, always, always a reflection of your perception. For example, you and I live in a neighborhood and the guy across the street from us is a complete clown. I think he’s funny and you think he’s just the worst person in the world. You are going to the neighborhood authority and try to get him removed. What’s the difference between you and me? You are completely stressed and I’m laughing. It all boils down to our individual perception as to what creates stress or not.
So always remember that emotional stress is a perception. and through mindfulness and meditation you can change the part of your brain that affects your awareness and emotional regulation so that when you do those practices on a regular basis it gives you a choice about your perception. All of a sudden choice appears that wasn’t there before. That’s because you have changed your brain through mindfulness and meditation to facilitate those processes.
So going to back how the stress impacts the body. I always like to go the example of the autonomic nervous system, which is the part of your nervous system that’s always functioning in the background without you consciously being aware of it or you consciously regulating it. It’s that’s the part of your nervous system that regulates your sweating, how your pupils dilate, how your digestion occurs and so on.
It’s important to remember that mismanaged stress or chronically uncontrolled stress, is going to negatively impact your autonomic nervous system. You have two main arms to your autonomic nervous system - the sympathetic arm, which is your fight or flight response. The other part is the parasympathetic arm, which is your relaxation response.
When you are stressed, you go predominantly into a high sympathetic tone. Sometimes we need stress; sometimes we need to jump out of the way of a moving car or run away from something. That’s an appropriate stress response. The problem is that when stress becomes chronically mismanaged, it results in a predominance of your sympathetic nervous system. We weren’t built to sustain a sympathetic fight or flight predominance. It’s just not physiologically possible without the body starting to break down. When that happens, you’re no longer able to go into that sustained parasympathetic tone, which is your rest, repair, rejuvenation, recovery, and relaxation response. So you are no longer able to adequately initiate repair of your body’s systems.
We know there are stressors in our environment such as toxins, and that our DNA constantly needs to repair itself. So if we don’t facilitate that process in some way by triggering our parasympathetic tone and increasing our ability to repair our DNA, that may result in cancer, especially if you have a genetic predisposition for it.
If you’ve got a genetic predisposition for any disease, it doesn’t mean you are automatically going to get that disease. There are very few diseases that automatically happen that way. This brings up the concept of epigenetics, which is the field of medicine that looks at how your environment turns your genes on and off. How your genes turn on and off determines whether or not you develop that disease or stay healthy.
The one thing that’s a constant in your environment is your mind - your thoughts, beliefs, and your emotions. Your attitude literally has an epigenetic influence on your genes and how they turn on and off, thus whether or not you have wellness or disease.
Scott: It makes a whole world of sense but it’s also disturbing that we undervalue the power of the mind so greatly that people are suffering all over the world and they don’t have to be. There are thousands or millions of people who could maybe be cured or certainly at least experience prolonged or notable relief from chronic conditions.
Now I’m curious. Does this affect the mental disorders as well? Depression? Anxiety? Post-traumatic stress disorder? Or is what you are speaking of the autoimmune challenge is more reserved for autoimmune diseases such as cancer or diabetes and those type of challenges?
Keith: Well I wasn’t describing an autoimmune issue. Epigenetics doesn’t always equate with autoimmunity. Epigenetics is simply how your environment impacts your DNA and changes how your genes turn on or off. It can be a toxin in your environment. It can be the food you’re eating, the stressors in your life, or it can be all of the above.
As far as how many people could get better if more of this information was out there? Millions. And that’s why the ancients were teaching the mind-body connection thousands of years ago. But what’s happening now is that the science is just now catching up with what the ancients were teaching thousands of years ago. The science is now proving it.
In my Udemy course, I talk about a mindfulness meditation study where they took a group of individuals, some who were experienced practitioners of meditation and others who were novices. They gave them a daylong course and sent them all home with techniques for calming your mind and triggering your relaxation. They also sent them home with a guided meditation to listen to for twenty minutes a day for eight weeks.
They tested their blood at the beginning and again at the end of the eight weeks and this is what they found. After just an eight-week mindfulness meditation practice, it turned genes on and off resulting in better blood sugar regulation, better mitochondrial resiliency (improved cellular energy), less oxidative stress (less body rust), and a dramatic reduction in inflammation. It even preserved the length of their telomeres, which are the caps at the ends of their chromosomes, which has an anti-aging effect. Now they did find that the experienced meditators had a more profound impact on their DNA, but even the novice meditators had a positive impact.
So this is the power of the
mindover body on many levels. It’s called mind-body genomics, and this is going to be an exploding field in the very near future. There’s going to be more and more scientific studies showing how mindfulness and meditation, your thoughts and emotions actually impact your DNA. If you had told scientists this ten years ago, many would have laughed in your face.
Scott: I find this so fascinating because I think it affects everyone. I think we all know someone who...and I can think of a friend off the top of my head... who was diagnosed with cancer and he was stage three and he was told oh well, we’ve done all we can do for you. And he went through the grieving process, went through all of the challenges with that. Being in his mid-forties, he was obviously devastated. Then he said, “You know what. I’m not going to accept what the doctors tell me. I’m going to research for myself everything.” And now he’s cancer free for three and a half years when he was told he had less than a thirty percent chance of surviving. I think there’s so much to educating oneself to alternatives.
Keith: Absolutely. We’ve got to get out of the mindset that the doctors know everything. No, actually you know everything. If people would pay more attention to their intuition, what feels right, and what their gut is telling them, we’d have better outcomes. You’re talking about your friend who had this experience. It’s very interesting. There are a lot of studies on spontaneous remission. I’m not saying he got better without therapy. I’m just saying complete recovery of a cancer was just not anticipated.
The one finding across multiple studies of spontaneous remission is that the common denominator was what your friend said. I’m not going to accept that. I know I can get better and I’m going to do it. What is that? That is mind. The power of his mind and that’s what the placebo effect
research shows. It shows that we have an inner physician built in that we can turn on and off by our mind. This is not voodoo anymore; this is solid science. The placebo effect research is amazing, and in my opinion, it’s one of the major breakthroughs in modern medicine. Yet people still don’t believe in it. Well they’re just not educated.
Scott: Obviously we’re in an election year with so much going on, with the affordable healthcare act and all these challenges for millions of Americans. If we started to see medical practitioners, doctors, nurse practitioners, and nurses teaching mindfulness as part of the recovery process, what do you think that would do for the average American who has health conditions? And do you think it would shift into seeing reduced medical costs across the board?
Keith: A recent study that came out that showed a group of patients for which they instituted mindfulness meditation practices resulted in a 43% reduction in the need for healthcare services. Absolutely yes the data is out there. It does result in a dramatic reduction in healthcare costs at least in that one study and it makes sense to me that you could extrapolate that across the board. To me it’s common sense.
You know the problem is, even if this information is out there, you’re still going to have individuals who won’t embrace it and that’s fine. It’s their choice. So you’re always going to have that group of individual patients who won’t get better because they didn’t embrace it. You’ll even have that group of individual patients that embraced it and didn’t get better. That’s just the mysteries of the human body and the human mind. Yet in
thatlast group you’ll still have individuals who don’t cure but they heal, and I mean healing from an emotional perspective. They go into such a place of non-resistance and they know they’re dying and they still make powerful changes in their community and within their families to show what a powerful experience it was for them. And families heal - all rifts are gone. I’m going off on another topic but that’s also one of my favorite topics. There are numerous ways people will embrace it or won’t embrace it and depending on if they do or not, there’s no guarantee, but the odds are in their favor that it will have benefits for them.
Scott: So... and I want to come back. I can’t believe we’re almost two- thirds of the way through the interview already and I feel we have just barely scratched the surface. I want to come back to when you became more vocal about your belief in mind-body-spirit connective oneness. How much resistance did you encounter from colleagues and other medical professionals and have you seen that evolve over the years?
Keith: So that’s a really good question. I think it would’ve been different for me if I had stayed within an academic institution that hadn’t yet embraced mind-body medicine. Can you imagine being in a big wig institution where they’re arrogant - this is the way it is and this is the way it will always be?
And then you have Harvard Medical School who has a department designated to studying the placebo effect. It just depends on where you are. For me in northeast Florida, I found a clinic where I really resonated with the other practitioners. It also depends on the individual doctor. If a doctor has a kind and caring heart, they’re good at what they do and set a good example for their colleagues, then even if they bring something to the table that seems a little different, they’ll listen. Okay we’ll just listen to doctor Holden because we like him and we know he’s a good doctor. Because we like him we’ll listen. And that’s what happened. Did they embrace it and take it into their own practices? No, but they were actually very curious and enthusiastic about it.
I didn’t get a lot of derogatory statements or negativity. It just depends on the individual and the community you’re in and the environment and practice you’re in. It’s highly variable.
Medicine is consumer driven believe it or not. The traditional medical model is being pushed to embrace a lot of these concepts. I started training in functional medicine in 2009. I see these so called science- based blogs online, which are written by doctors who are basically scared to death that other doctors are going to know something new that they don’t that might help patients. It’s completely psychological, but they bash doctors like functional medicine doctors and I just have to laugh because I know in my heart that the science proves it. So you have to maintain that perspective so it doesn’t take you down.
I found that Functional Medicine was bringing things to the table very early that I’m now starting to see in big name journals like the New England Journal of Medicine, and on traditional online medical educational communities like Medscape. While Medscape does have a huge pharmaceutical influence, you can also see it’s starting to shift from the inside. They’re putting more information out there like Functional medicine concepts such as non-Celiac gluten sensitivity, the use of probiotics, and mind-body medicine. Then you read the comments from the doctors and, as a whole, you’re seeing a lot of positive comments.
When I go to these Functional Medicine conferences, there are doctors attending from all over the world and the conferences are completely sold out. There has definitely been a shift thankfully. It’s shifting and it will also be consumer driven. As you get more and more Functional Medicine type doctors out there that start to get their patients well after they have been struggling in the traditional medical model, that opens a lot of eyes, and you will start to see the shift happening faster.
Scott: And as those shifts happen obviously courses like your course on Udemy.com, which I want to switch to now, have a lot to do with that shift. Education is knowledge and knowledge is power. So take us through the process of your Udemy course and tell us what somebody who takes it will learn and how it’s beneficial to an interested party.
Keith: Okay. I appreciate you letting me talk about my course. I love to teach, and I actually love to teach more than I love to treat, so to be able to create this course was a huge milestone for me. Udemy hosts it and is a company that allows people to create courses, which are screened and checked for quality.
I created a course called “Power of the Mind in Health and Healing,” which was inspired by a talk I did at a Functional Medicine conference. I had done a lot of research on mind-body medicine, mind-body genomics, and the placebo effect. The more I did the research for the talk, the more I became absolutely amazed at the solid science that’s out there on mind-body medicine. So I developed a course about it.
I’ve also been meditating for about six years, and I like to experiment with different types of meditation. I’ve used binaural beats and isochronic tones embedded in music tracks, as well as drumming to facilitate my meditation. I’ve experimented with these types of meditation aids because I’m not going to bash something or even talk positively about something without me having experienced it personally. So used all all my experience, my education, and my research, and I created the course “Power of the Mind and Health and Healing.” It’s a six-module course designed to be taken over six weeks, though you can take it over whatever time period you prefer. Once you sign up, you have lifetime access to the course.
It’s broken up into six modules. The first module is called “Making the Science of Mindfulness Meditation Work for You.” That module is actually free. You don’t have to pay for the course to take the first module. All the lectures in the first module are in a preview mode, and that means you can view all of them for free. So if everybody wants to just go on Udemy.com and enter “Power of the Mind in Health and Healing” in the search box, you can take the entire first module for free. If you like what I say and how I say it, then sign up for the entire course. If you go to my website www.Dr-Holden.com and, sign up for my email list, I give you a 75% discount coupon for the course.
Module 2 is called “Biological Stress and Maximizing Energy.” I talk about stress and energy and how these issues impact the body and the mind.
Module 3 is “Making the Science of Heart Consciousness Work for You.” There’s some amazing research done by the Institute
forHeartMath, which is leading the charge on peer-reviewed clinical evidence on how the heart and the mind interact. The heart has its own consciousness and HeartMath has mastered the ability to use heart rate variability, which is the beat-to-beat variation of the heart, to actually monitor the effectiveness of your medication practices. HeartMath is also doing the latest research on nonlocal intuition, which is intuition that comes from outside of you. Nonlocal intuition has nothing to do with the type of intuition studied by the traditional medical model. That type of intuition studied by the traditional medical model which is related to memory retrieval and pattern recognition. In contrast, nonlocal intuition comes from outside of you from the unified field of energy that connects everyone.
Nonlocal intuition relates to how parapsychology works, how psychics and mediums work. I know some people will start to call me a quack but there’s actually science backing this and HeartMath has done the research and published it in peer-reviewed medical journals.
The fourth module is “Understanding Brainwave States and Removing Limiting Beliefs.” I talk about how to alter your brainwave states by different modalities such as isochronic tones and binaural beats embedded in music tracks, and the importance of dropping your brainwave state from a high beta, overthinking type state down into the alpha relaxation and theta dream-like states. That’s something you can do and I discuss how you know when that’s happening and why it’s important to get down into that alpha and theta range and sustain that brainwave predominance in your meditations.
If you’re going to work with your subconscious mind, you need to sustain that lower relaxed brainwave state. I teach a technique for removing limiting beliefs from your subconscious, and it involves sustaining that alpha and theta brainwave predominance. It’s not hard to do.
Module five is the placebo effect module. I go into all of the details about the placebo, but I do it in an interesting manner that’s not like a typical college professor teaching you a course. It’s about making the psychology of the placebo effect work for you I every day life.
Each module has a guided meditation with a specific process. I also teach how to use positive affirmations, because unless your subconscious mind is okay with the affirmation, it’s not going to be effective no matter how much you say it. So I teach how to effectively work with your subconscious mind.
I teach how to effectively use core positive affirmations like “I love myself unconditionally” and “I forgive myself unconditionally” and discern if there is a limiting belief linked to that affirmation. If there is, then I teach you to use meditation to go into your subconscious mind to remove the limiting belief.
Module number six is a review, which brings all of the information together. I talk about the Higher Mind and in this course, and I categorize the different layers of consciousness I can teach all of the concepts related to each. I start with the Higher Mind, which is the consciousness related to your Higher Self or Soul Self. The Higher Mind is the part of your consciousness that sticks out of your body like an antenna and connects you to the entire unified field of energy.
This field of energy is the energy that connects everyone and everything. Scientists are studying energy to come up with the unified field theory, a mathematical model to explain that field. You can tap into this field of energy with your Higher Mind.
I also discuss the Conscious Mind, which is your thinking analytical mind, and your Heart Mind, which is the consciousness of your heart. Your Subconscious Mind is the part of your consciousness that acts like a super computer and memorizes everything. And finally, I discuss your DNA Mind, which is a category of consciousness I named that emphasizes your mind, your consciousness, impacts your genes.
So that’s kind of my course in a nutshell. If you go on my website www.Dr-Holden.com, on the landing page is an eight-minute video that gives you an overview of my entire course.
Scott: Obviously that would be the easiest way for people to be able to contact you. We have only got about five minutes remaining so I just want to tie things up here. So far with thousands of people taking the course, what has the feedback been and what are you looking to do in 2016 and beyond to further your efforts to educate the world that really does need this information?
Keith: My course has been active for a year now and I have just over 2800 students enrolled from all over the world. Students from the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia and India make up the bulk of my students. I’ve got forty-five 5-star ratings, which is the highest rating you can get, so it’s been very well received.
There is a discussion board within the course that I use to interact with my students. There are fantastic questions and discussions that we share with each other. In the discussion board, I introduce even more research or books that back up the concepts found in the course. I’ve gotten very positive feedback on this course, and I’m very excited it’s been so well received globally.
I’ve just submitted my first book to the editor, which is a book based on the course. It will eventually be on Amazon.com for people who don’t want to take a course online and can just read the book. Readers will also have access to the six guided meditations associated and the course.
I’m also working on my second Udemy course called “Healing Your Inner Child.” There is some very interesting scientific research coming out about how adverse childhood experiences impacts your body-mind and increases your risk for physical diseases and mental diseases. So it’s very important to work with the consciousness of your inner child. I do introduce that topic in my current course, but the main bulk of that information is coming in the next course.
Scott: We have got only a few minutes remaining. I think we need to have you back on and the book will give us the opportunity to do that. I hope you keep in contact with the team and let us know when that comes out, and we’ll have you back on to discuss the book as well as the inner child work, which I’m a big fan of.
I’ve worked with coaching clients from all over the world and one of the things that I can validate for you is so much of where we are is related to the subconscious of the inner child. Our experience and how we relate to these experiences is so fascinating and a conversation I look forward to continuing when the book has been released.
Keith: Okay Scott thank you very much. I really appreciate you and your appreciation for my work as well as you also getting the word out there.
The healthy expression of negative emotions is very good for you. It is when these negative emotions get trapped in the tissues of the body, and are not expressed, or processed and removed, is when dis-ease occurs.
Know that every experience and emotion you have in your life has the potential to be a powerful teacher. That, if you listen, these experiences and emotions will teach you something about your life and yourself that can be a powerful catalyst for growth and transformation. The consciousness of your heart, your Heart Mind, reminds you that it’s okay to fully feel every negative emotion, as long as you express it, process it, and release it.
Spectrum of human emotions
Fear, anger, grief, frustration, and other low energy emotions represent a spectrum of the human emotional experience, and are not something we should run from or avoid.
To heal a negative emotion, especially if it’s one that has become chronic and is producing an associated physical dis-ease in the body such as pain, you’ve got to first allow yourself to feel the negative emotion. This is so that your Subconscious Mind and your Heart Mind can align to give you insight and a higher awareness about the original experience that created it.
Through the consciousness of your Heart Mind, you have at your disposal the powerful energy of pure unconditional love, inherent in which is unlimited forgiveness, which you can use for self-healing. Your Heart Mind reminds you that you are an all-powerful spiritual being with an unlimited ability to love and heal.
Unresolved emotional conflict
A life experience may be so traumatic that it creates a fragmentation of your psyche and locks a negative emotion into your body and mind. This is what I call an unresolved emotional conflict.
In my practice, I’ve seen time and time again, that unresolved emotional conflicts prevent healing of longstanding health conditions.
Because of the inability of the psyche to resolve the original emotional trauma, the associated negative emotion becomes unresolved, lodges in the body-mind, and creates a chronic interference field.
This chronic interference field is the stagnant energy of an unresolved emotional conflict. Any interference field in the body-mind has the potential to disrupt the optimal flow of energy and create physical dysfunction. Often this dysfunction manifests as pain or some other physical disturbance.
What’s interesting is that the pain or other physical dysfunction may not be in the exact area of the associated interference field, though it often lies on the same Chinese meridian.
Unresolved emotional conflicts can be removed, just like any interference field in the body, through the use of energy. Remember, everything is energy, including your thoughts as consciousness.
Transmuting negative emotions technique
In my course, “Power of the Mind in Health and Healing, I teach a technique called Transmuting Negative Emotions. This technique taps into your Subconscious Mind to let you view the circumstances of the original event, which created the unresolved emotional conflict. When you are able to view the original trauma with a higher awareness, you have the ability to change your perception of the original trauma, thus initiating the healing process.
This technique also brings in the consciousness of your Heart Mind to show you how to finalize the healing with the energy of unconditional love. Inherent in unconditional love is unconditional forgiveness, which is often required to heal an unresolved emotional conflict.
Shamanic wisdom of the heart mind
Ancient Shamanism describes a healer who has the wisdom to take a mystical journey, find the missing parts of someone’s fragmented soul, and make them whole again.
With this technique, I’m asking you to be your own Shaman. To take a mystical journey inward, find the missing fragments of your psyche, and piece them together so that you can be whole again.
With the wisdom of your Heart Mind, you are empowered by seeing the bigger picture of this experience, and intuitively are given clues on how to effectively express the emotion, process it, and release it.
But you must first invite the negative emotion to sit with you as a friend, a friend who has a powerful and loving message.
For more information about the mind-body course that contains this powerful technique, go to "Power of the Mind In Health and Healing."
Keith R. Holden, M.D.
This lecture by Keith R. Holden, M.D. was presented at the Accordo Health Institute's 2014 Spring Symposium in Orlando, FL on May 3, 2014.
by Keith R. Holden, M.D.
Placebo effect research
Research on the placebo effect is revealing some amazing discoveries about the power of belief. Placebos were created to control for suggestion, imagination, and bias in both investigator and patient in clinical studies.[i] At the time placebos were first introduced into medical research, investigators didn’t know how they produced their effects. As the field of neuroscience has evolved, it is becoming clear that belief induced within the context of the placebo produces very specific and powerful physiologic effects.
Research shows there are actually multiple placebo effects. In other words, there are multiple ways the placebo influences the body-mind to heal depending upon the therapy or condition being treated. This research shows that the placebo effect is mediated by the release of neurotransmitters, consistently impacts certain areas of the brain, and even mirrors the action of pharmaceuticals on human physiology.[ii]
Randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trials are the gold standard for proving effectiveness of a medication. The placebo - a pill containing no active substance – is used in these trials to act as a comparison for the active drug being tested. If you say the words ‘placebo effect’ to a pharmaceutical industry researcher, they might cringe. This is because it is not uncommon for the placebo to beat the active drug in clinical trials, and this is especially true for antidepressants.
Antidepressants versus placebos
In 1998, researchers published a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of sixteen antidepressant medications. They found that 25% of the effectiveness was due to the specific action of the drug, 25% was due to spontaneous remission, and 50% was due to the placebo effect.[iii] Ten years later another meta-analysis of antidepressant clinical trials for four modern antidepressants was published. It showed antidepressants were clinically significant in only a few relatively small studies conducted on extremely severely depressed patients. For moderately depressed patients, these antidepressants had no effect at all.[iv]
The mind as healer
Research on the placebo effect proves the mind is capable of great feats in healing the body, which is really not a surprise given that the body is an infinitely intelligent organism. Humans have been healing themselves long before the invention of modern medicine techniques. Indigenous shamans have been facilitating healing for thousands of years, often in conjunction with the placebo effect. They gave patients hope, and through expectation, the mind initiated the changes in physiology for the body to heal.
Psychosocial factors of placebo
It turns out that the placebo effect is the power of belief, and is related to multiple psychosocial factors. One factor is expectation, which relates to a reduction in anxiety or in expectation of reward. Learning is another factor related to conditioning through giving a medication prior to a placebo. Social learning is another whereby patients heal because they see others heal.[v]
The placebo effect provides insight into the complexity of consciousness and how little we really know about the mind and its ability to heal. But the scientific evidence is accumulating and points towards the possibility that the mind has an unlimited healing ability. This makes total sense to me, but skeptics don’t like common sense until the science proves it. They should be prepared to wait a very long time before science proves everything.
Placebos mimic drug effects in the body
Research shows that a placebo exactly mimics a drug’s effect when the patient has been exposed to the drug prior to the placebo. This has been shown with pain medications, an immune suppressing medication, an anti-Parkinson’s agent, and an anti-anxiety drug. The placebo effect can even be quantified based on what is told to the patient regarding the likelihood they will be getting a drug.[vi]
Ritual of the therapeutic act
The placebo effect is a mind-body phenomenon that starts in the brain, results in clinical improvement, and is intimately related to the ritual of the therapeutic act. This ritual involves things such as the people in the room, spoken words, syringes or other devices, and even the color of a pill.
One of the most important factors that trigger expectations and belief is a verbal suggestion. Verbal suggestions are frequently given in clinical studies of the placebo effect, and these words as part of the therapeutic ritual have powerful effects on the body. This is an important concept to remember because your own words based on your innate beliefs are part of your own therapeutic ritual every single day of your life.
Fabrizio Benedetti, M.D., one of the world’s lead researchers on the placebo effect says, “In fact, what is emerging today from a strict scientific standpoint is that the very ritual of the therapeutic act can change the patient’s brain, thus anybody who performs a therapeutic ritual can influence the physiology of the patient’s brain and obtain positive effects.”[vii]
Your body-mind is listening
The placebo effect emphasizes the importance of belief in overall health and wellness. Be positive in what you say and be discerning about what you believe. Your body-mind is listening.
[i] Benedetti F. Placebo and the new physiology of the doctor-patient relationship. Physiol Rev. 2013;93(3):1207-46.
[ii] Benedetti F, Carlino E, Pollo A. How placebos change the patient's brain. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2011;36(1):339-54.
[iii] Kirsch I, Sapirstein G. Listening to Prozac but hearing placebo: A meta-analysis of antidepressant medication. Prevention & Treatment. 1998;1(2)
[iv] Kirsch I, Deacon BJ, Huedo-medina TB, Scoboria A, Moore TJ, Johnson BT. Initial severity and antidepressant benefits: a meta-analysis of data submitted to the Food and Drug Administration. PLoS Med. 2008;5(2):e45.
[v] Colloca L, Klinger R, Flor H, Bingel U. Placebo analgesia: psychological and neurobiological mechanisms. Pain. 2013;154(4):511-4.
[vi] Kam-hansen S, Jakubowski M, Kelley JM, et al. Altered placebo and drug labeling changes the outcome of episodic migraine attacks. Sci Transl Med. 2014;6(218):218ra5.
[vii] Benedetti F. The placebo response: science versus ethics and the vulnerability of the patient. World Psychiatry. 2012;11(2):70-2.
Relaxation Induces Healthy Gene Expression
In 1975, Herbert Benson, M.D. published the book “The Relaxation Response,” which scientifically details how emotional stress contributes to health problems. It quickly became a national best seller, and reveals the scientific basis for yoga and meditation. The Relaxation Response (RR) is produced by any mind-body practice that activates the parasympathetic nervous system causing relaxation in the body and mind. Mindfulness practices such as yoga and meditation elicit the RR, and now science is beginning to show how such practices produce physiologic effects down to the level of gene expression.
DNA contains our genes and acts as a blueprint for the body’s physical expression. Gene expression is what dictates optimal health or illness, and is highly dependent on epigenetic influences from our environment, including food components, toxins, and our thoughts. Whether directly or indirectly influenced, it is scientifically proven that our mind impacts the way our genes express themselves by upregulating or downregulating gene pathways of expression, and thus our body’s activities.
Relaxation Reduces Oxidative Stress
A 2008 Harvard University study provided the first compelling evidence that the Relaxation Response (RR) elicits specific gene expression changes in short-term and long-term practitioners. In this study, 19 long-term practitioners of various types of RR techniques (meditation, Yoga, and repetitive prayer) participated, and 20 people without any prior practice served as the control group. Blood analysis showed that 2209 genes were differentially expressed (switched on or off) in the long-term practitioners compared to the novice control group.
Certain gene expression profiles were only observed in long-term RR practitioners, but after 8 weeks of RR training, 428 gene expression changes in short-term RR practitioners now overlapped with those of long-term RR practitioners. Most important, many of these overlapping gene expression changes involved regulation of oxidative stress and inflammation. Oxidative stress and excessive inflammation are increased in excessive emotional and physical stress, and are related to progression of chronic disease and cellular aging. This clearly demonstrate that any mind-body practice that leads to the Relaxation Response produces distinct and consistent gene expression changes, which suggest a greater capacity to respond to oxidative stress and the associated cellular damage.
Relaxation Improves Mitochondrial Energy, Insulin Production, Telomeres, and Inflammation
A 2013 study looked at rapid time-dependent gene expression changes after one session of a Relaxation Response practice. In both long-term and short-term practitioners, one session of listening to a 20-minute guided meditation CD evoked immediate changes in gene expression, but these changes were more pronounced in the long-term practitioners. The genes upregulated by RR practices in this study are linked to pathways responsible for improving mitochondrial energy metabolism, boosting insulin production, and for stabilizing DNA through preventing the depletion of telomeres. Gene expression changes in this study also showed RR practices act as an anti-inflammatory by downregulating the pro-inflammatory transcription factor called NF-KB.
Another study has shown a similar downregulation of the NF-KB transcriptome in a randomized controlled trial of of yogic meditation intervention in caregivers of dementia patients. 
Psychosocial stress causes mitochondrial oxidative stress that can lead to metabolic syndrome. This stress also leads to activation of NF-KB, which in turns worsens oxidative stress and metabolic syndrome. 
Relaxation triggers expression of genes that:
- Control oxidative stress (body rust)
- Improve energy production in mitochondria (batteries of the cell)
- Improve insulin production (better manage blood sugar)
- Prevent depletion of telomeres in DNA (slows aging)
- Reduce inflammation
The importance of these findings is underscored by the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in the United States, and the implication that structured mind-body techniques that produce relxation can signifcantly improve the emotional and physical health of millions of Americans.
Take home message
Find ways to R-E-L-A-X. Science proves it betters your health by modulating gene expression.
 Dusek JA, Otu HH, Wohlhueter AL, et al. Genomic counter-stress changes induced by the relaxation response. PLoS ONE. 2008;3(7):e2576.
 Bhasin MK, Dusek JA, Chang BH, et al. Relaxation response induces temporal transcriptome changes in energy metabolism, insulin secretion and inflammatory pathways. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(5):e62817.
 Black DS, Cole SW, Irwin MR, et al. Yogic meditation reverses NF-κB and IRF-related transcriptome dynamics in leukocytes of family dementia caregivers in a randomized controlled trial. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2013;38(3):348-55.
 Tamashiro KL. Metabolic syndrome: links to social stress and socioeconomic status. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2011;1231:46-55.
 Hofmann MA, Schiekofer S, Isermann B, et al. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells isolated from patients with diabetic nephropathy show increased activation of the oxidative-stress sensitive transcription factor NF-kappaB. Diabetologia. 1999;42(2):222-32.