After years as a practicing surgeon specializing in urology, I am now a medical hypnotist as a second career during my retirement. Why? There are many reasons, but the most profound was witnessing the spontaneous remission of three cancers during my years in private practice. This piqued my curiosity of how spontaneous remissions occurred and how they could possible be reproduced to improve a person’s quality of life.
A spontaneous remission is the partial or complete reversal of disease without any medical interventions. In the medical world, they are considered rare and are poorly understood, but the fact is, they are quite common. Seeing these spontaneous remissions and experiencing the power of my own body to heal from a major trauma led me to study the link between the subconscious mind and the development of disease. I then became a medical hypnotist, where I now see spontaneous remissions and healings of a variety of chronic illnesses on a regular basis. Examples are improvement or complete reversal of chronic pain, migraines, side effects of cancer treatments, alcohol and opioid addictions, PTSD, depression, and a variety of auto-immune diseases. There are many definitions for what constitutes a chronic illness.
However, the overall consensus in the medical community is that a chronic illness is a disease that is persistent or otherwise long-lasting in its effects for greater than three months. We’ve been taught that a chronic illness is something that happens to you through external forces, such as diet, toxins, pathogens, genetics, stress, or for unknown reasons. While some of these certainly are contributing factors, rarely do they ever explain the true root cause of a particular illness. Why is it that if 100 people are exposed to the exact same thing, some people get sick and some don’t? Not everyone who smokes gets lung cancer or every alcoholic develop liver cirrhosis.
Nor does everyone given a prescription for opioids to control pain become addicted. What I have found is that every chronic illness, whether physical or mental, is associated with an emotion. No, this does not mean that all chronic illnesses are psychosomatic. I’m not coming at this from a psychological point of view. I’m simply stating this is the nature of all chronic illnesses based upon my years of observation as a physician and surgeon. The cumulative effect of negative emotional responses has a direct impact on the physiology of the body. If each of you had the same disease, you would each have a different path to spontaneous remission or healing because you grew up in different family and social environments, creating different coping strategies.
That is why I tell all my clients that every person’s healing is as unique as their fingerprint. Now, let’s dive deeper to understand the birth of a chronic illness and how a spontaneous remission occurs. To do so, I need to explain the roles of the conscious and subconscious minds.
Conscious Mind What is the Conscious Mind?
• It is our brain.
• It’s analytical.
• It uses logic.
• It must rationalize everything in order for it to make sense, based upon our values and beliefs that we’ve created from our social environments. • It’s a very weak mind because it uses will power to try to overcome challenges. • It’s where we store our short-term memory.
Subconscious Mind What is the Subconscious Mind?
• Now, in contrast to the conscious mind is the subconscious mind, which is a very powerful mind.
• It stores long-term memories and the gestalt timeline of your life.
• It is the most powerful, goal-oriented entity known to mankind. When a goal is accepted by the subconscious mind, it will work upon that goal, nonstop, until it is achieved.
• It harbors all of our emotions.
• In contrast to the conscious mind, it is illogical, making no sense consciously whatsoever.
• It is the source of our imagination, allowing us to see and feel events as being real or true, even if they are not.
How many of you have cried or laughed watching a love story or suspended all reality as you watched Iron Man or Wonder Woman flying through the sky?
During this time, you created an image in your mind that was not true, but your subconscious mind saw it as being true, which sparked an emotional response.
• The subconscious mind runs the physiology of the body and communicates with the 300 trillion + cells located within us. The subconscious mind is not in your brain – it is in the entire body. In the book Molecules of Emotions, 1999, NY: Touchstone Publishing, Candace Pert, biochemical researcher at Georgetown University, states that every cell has over 6000 receptor sites on its surface and each cell has its own consciousness.
It is important to understand that the physiology of the body is run by the subconscious mind, not the conscious mind of the brain. This is often a hard concept for people to understand, but think of it this way. If someone is in a coma, the brain, the conscious mind, is not working; yet, the physiology of the body still runs. The lungs still have gas exchange and the heart still pumps blood. The endocrine system, liver, kidneys, and bowels still work. Since the subconscious mind still runs the physiology of the body, by definition, it must also run the physiology of disease, or what we physicians call “pathophysiology.”
Critical Factor To understand how the subconscious mind creates chronic illness, it is necessary to learn some key concepts on how the mind functions. Because the subconscious mind is illogical and the conscious mind is logical, some type of wall is required between the two so that we don’t go crazy. This is what is called the “critical factor.” It is an intangible barrier between the conscious and subconscious minds that filters the multitudes of stimuli received y the mind every second so that we don’t become overwhelmed.
When a child is first conceived, they have no critical factor. The formation of the critical factor is based on a child experiencing something for the first time and creating meanings behind it. This repeatedly occurs during fetal development and up to four or five years of age. Now the child has a reference point to compare against future experiences. This is a completely subconscious process. You can then extrapolate how a variety of values and beliefs are formed by a child to cope with the stressors of life. For instance, let’s assume that I took sole responsibility for the care of a child for the first five years of their life. During my care, in the process of teaching the child about shapes, I inaccurately taught them that a circle is a square. Over the next five years of the child’s life, every time they saw a circle, they would associate it with the word “square.” When the child went to kindergarten and began learning shapes, the child would be confused when the teacher taught them that a circle shape is called a “circle.”
Initially, even when the teacher would correct the child, they would still be convinced that it is a square, based on their earlier learning. The child would become confused, frustrated, and perhaps angry, because they “know” from their experience that the circle shape is called a “square.” It would become even worse when the other children in the class would start laughing at the child, making them feel embarrassed and stupid. As a result of this, the child could develop anxiety, become withdrawn, and be scared to speak up again in class. After experiencing this repeatedly in class, they might become anxious and stressed, exhibiting physical symptoms of anxiety, depression, or ADHD, etc.
This illustrates that everyone’s life experiences are different, and that each person has their own unique coping skills to manage their life events; therefore, each person’s path to healing is different. As my mentor and dear friend, the late Stephen Parkhill, author of the book, Answer Cancer, would say, “There’s more than one pathway to Rome.” In other words, everyone’s healing is as individual as their fingerprint. We, as hypnotists, need to keep our eye on the prize and do whatever is necessary to help someone heal.
Throughout my life as a surgeon and hypnotist, I am constantly humbled and reminded of the body’s amazing ability to heal itself. I’m honored to be part of this great profession, because as a hypnotist, consoling words and a profound yearning to find the subconscious mind’s truth are far more healing than any scalpel or medication that I’ve used.
Dr. Emile Allen is the former Chief of Urology and Vice Chairman of Surgery at Scripps Memorial Hospital-La Jolla, California. Throughout his career, he saw the power of the subconscious mind's ability to control post-operative pain. His decades of experience and unique perspective as a surgeon and medical hypnotist led him to develop the MindWise Protocol for Drug-Free Pain Management, a unique patient-driven methodology to manage chronic pain and acute post-operative pain. Dr. Allen enjoys teaching the MindWise Protocol to healthcare practitioners so they can have an impact on the national opioid crisis.