Ep. 62: Dawson Church, PhD – Think Your Way to Incredible Healing

Can you really heal with just the power of thoughts?

The answer probably depends on how you approach this. If you just think very hard about healing, it probably won’t do much for you (and if you’re focused on your injury, it might even make things worse). But there is definitely power in your thoughts to change your health and your life.

We’ve known it for a long time, and science is now slowly catching up to this.

That’s why I like hosting people who can take this subject, which so many still think is just pseudoscience, and very clearly explain all the evidence we already possess that our thoughts do have a direct effect on our bodies. And Dr. Dawson Church, energy psychology expert, best-selling author, and founder of the National Institute for Integrative Healthcare is a great guest to do just that.

In this interesting interview, you’ll discover:

  • How your thoughts affect your physical body and recovery.
  • Easy steps for learning energy healing and how to use it on yourself.
  • How your genes affect your healing and how to turn on those that positively affect your recovery.
  • Hands-on work: tapping session for creating a positive shift in your mind and body.

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Show notes & links

The show notes are written in chronological order

  • Dr. Dawson Church’s website:  https://www.eftuniverse.com/
  • Dr. Dawson Church’s books:
  • Crawford, S. E., Leaver, V. W., & Mahoney, S. D. (2006). Using Reiki to decrease memory and behavior problems in mild cognitive impairment and mild Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.)12(9), 911–913. [read it here]
  • Stub TIrgens ACHansen AH, et al. Impact of spiritual healing on moderate depression in adults: a study protocol of a pilot randomised controlled trial (RCT). 
  • Donna Eden | Eden Method [discover more here]
  • Dr. Roger Callahan was a research psychologist who developed Thought Field Therapy, which claims to draw upon the body’s energy field to alleviate negative emotions through a series of tapping movements.
  • Epigenetics Research on Rats [discover more here]
  • Weaver, I., Cervoni, N., Champagne, F. et al. Epigenetic programming by maternal behavior. Nat Neurosci 7, 847–854 (2004). [read it here]
  • The Science of Meditation (Dr. Graham Phillips self-experiment) [watch it here
  • Bach, D., Groesbeck, G., Stapleton, P., Sims, R., Blickheuser, K., & Church, D. (2019). Clinical EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) Improves Multiple Physiological Markers of Health. Journal of evidence-based integrative medicine24, 2515690X18823691. [read it here]
  • Yao L, Kabir R. Person-Centered Therapy (Rogerian Therapy) [Updated 2023 Feb 9]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. [read it here]
  • Paradox of Change [read it here]
  • Proof that life is getting better for humanity, in 5 charts [read it here]
  • Koithan M. (2009). The Inner Healer: Mind-body Strategies for Health. The journal for nurse practitioners : JNP5(5), 374–375. [read it here]

00:00 – excerpt from the episode
00:53 – intro (listen to discover a little more about your host. Martin will tell you a new lesser-known fact about Dr. Maya)

01:34
Dr. Maya Novak:
Can you really heal with just the power of thoughts? Well, the answer probably depends on how you approach this. If you just think very hard about healing, it probably won’t do much for you (and if you’re focused on your injury, it might even make things worse). But there is definitely power in your thoughts to change your health and your life. We’ve known it for a long time, and science is now slowly catching up to this. That’s why I like hosting people who can take this subject, which so many still think is just pseudoscience, and very clearly explain all the evidence we already possess that our thoughts do have a direct effect on our bodies. I did an interview with Dr. Dawson Church in 2019 when he joined me as one of the guests on The Mindful Injury Recovery World Summit that I hosted. The interview is packed with incredible information and I’m glad that I can share it with you here today. Enjoy.

02:34
Dr. Maya Novak:
In this interview, I am joined by Dr. Dawson Church, who is an energy psychology expert and best-selling author of The Genie in your Genes and Mind to Matter, which explore the connection between emotions and genetics and the science of peak emotional states. He is also the founder of the National Institute for Integrative Healthcare and the editor of the Energy Psychology Journal. In his work and research, he focuses largely on the ways that EFT and energy psychologies can be used in a variety of fields from mental and physical health to athletic performance. Dawson, thank you so much for being here.

03:15
Dr. Dawson Church:
Maya, it’s great to be here. Thank you for inviting me.

03:18
Dr. Maya Novak:
I’m super excited. Before we really get into it, I’m curious how you became an energy psychology expert.

03:27
Dr. Dawson Church:
Well, I began in my teenage years when I was living in a spiritual community. I learned to do meditation, I learned to do energy healing, and I saw some absolutely stunning healings happening in that community. For example, once I saw someone had been in an accident in a carpentry shop and a nail had gone through the thumb of somebody. So the nail went in one side and out through the middle of the thumbnail, a really nasty injury. I watched as the energy healer then was sending energy to that thumbnail and the wound was closed up right before our eyes, in about 20 minutes. So that kind of thing makes you think. So for many, many years energy healing and energy medicine were very much on the fringe of modern medicine, but what really changed the game was when we began to apply science to it. So, for example, there were studies showing that energy healing was producing remarkable change in a whole variety of different conditions from Alzheimer’s to bulimia to blood pressure to psychological problems like anxiety, depression, PTSD. So science really helped change the game. In 2003 to 2005, I worked on this book, which became The Genie in Your Genes all about the epigenetics of shift. So that was one big change was that. We began to have the science showing that these techniques worked and worked great on a whole variety of things. But then the exciting – really exciting frontier was that we – in science, we developed more and more elaborate tools and one of these was the EEG. The EEG is more than 100 years old, it was discovered in the 1920s by a German doctor called Hans Berger and so it’s been around a long, long time, but the resolution has got better. Just like your cell phone and your screen on your laptop, it’s gone from being a really fuzzy picture to being a really clear picture. Now we get really clear pictures from EEGs and then other kinds of technologies more advanced, like MRIs, we now get much clearer MRIs. So as we now develop these new medical imaging techniques we see what’s going on inside the body, inside the brain, when we do energy techniques and it’s stunning. We’re seeing radical shifts in the way the brain processes information, in our hormones like cortisol, adrenaline, and DHEA, and on neurotransmitters. All of these things are changing, not just that much, but hugely when we apply energy to healing. So that’s sort of the trajectory from my teenage years and just discovering better and better methods and now being able to validate them with these advanced imaging techniques.

06:16
Dr. Maya Novak:
And that’s the reason why I’m so super excited about this interview because it’s true, it was – I don’t know – maybe a few decades ago it was just a miracle type of thing. Now, we can actually see that it’s working. It’s not just some sort of blah-blah thing, right?

06:35
Dr. Dawson Church:
And also we can teach it. Now, I used to think that energy healing was a gift that a few really remarkable people were born with. I met, I was privileged to meet many energy healers over time. So I thought that the ability to – like, for example, an ancient technique from days from the biblical times an ancient Egyptian times is laying on of hands where you hold your hands over people and then you see shifts in their bodies. There are some people who are brilliant energy healers and who are able to heal people using these kinds of invisible energy techniques. I thought it was just those special people. I thought this couldn’t be taught. Wrong, wrong, wrong! I was so wrong about that because my friend Donna Eden began to teach this, Eden Energy Medicine. Then people like Roger Callahan began to use these techniques like acupressure for psychological illnesses. You just teach people. Nowadays we train hundreds of people. We certify hundreds of people, and we train thousands of people every year in these techniques. Anyone can learn to use energy for healing. It works.

07:39
Dr. Maya Novak:
Beautiful. So you are really known for your research about epigenetics. Can you talk a bit about what epigenetics is, and why it’s important?

07:50
Dr. Dawson Church:
Well, Maya, epigenetics used to be confined to the arena of seeing if we could produce changes in the genome from outside the cell, outside the body, outside the gene. So this body of work was built up in the late 1990s, early 2000s, showing that if you change the environment around an animal, around – usually a rat, some mice were the animals used for the first trials – and the researchers found that if you changed the environment around them, that the gene expression, literally, in these animals could change. Now this was big, big news to science and it literally made the front page of the front cover of the journal Science because the fact that our genome was flexible, our genome was malleable, our genome could be shifted, was really a huge change in thinking. We used to think the genome was totally fixed. So that was called the theory of genetic determinism, that it’s all in your genes and who you are from your musical abilities to your hair color, it’s all in your genes. We’re now discovering that you can change your genes so much, and you can change it from outside of the body, outside of the cell, by changing your consciousness you can change your genome. The simple example I give in my new book, Mind to Matter, is that when you change your thinking about a stressful event, you are shifting gene expression. A simple example is if you are – like there’s a park near where I walk and there was a great big dog ran out barking at me the other day. It looked very scary so my adrenalin went up and my cortisol went up, my stress hormones go up. Now, I’m now – my body is now translating an external stimulus of the barking dog and my ancestor 100,000 years ago, may have been a wolf or a bear and you’re translating that into biochemical messengers and brainwaves in your body. So your adrenalin spikes, your cortisol spike, and so that is a response to stress. But, when I went home that night and told my wife about the dog and how scary it was, my heart began to pound and my breathing became shallow. I was reacting in my dining room, totally safe, as though the dog was still there. Now that is how many times in our lives we are producing epigenetic change. There is a gene – there’s several genes involved in cortisol synthesis – but the last gene involved in the process is called CYP11B1. So I’m literally when I’m recounting that story to my wife, later on, I am having – I’m triggering the expression of that gene CYP11B1. I’m turning it on. So here I am, when there’s no dog, and I am able to change my gene expression. So with doing that, that’s just one tiny example. There are over 100,000 processes that happen in the cell every single second. So it’s a very complex picture and I can have a huge effect on this. So that’s just one moment, one example, extrapolate this out for a lifetime. Then one of the studies that I talk about in Mind to Matter, in the book, I talk about a study that shows that optimists and pessimists – they may have these optimistic or pessimistic views of the world and responses to what happens in the world – and this again, tweaking their genome day after day, week after week. The cumulative effect is that optimists live on average eight years longer than pessimists because they aren’t stimulating all this adverse gene expression. They aren’t raising their adrenalin and cortisol all the time. So this has – these are moment-by-moment choices we make about our consciousness, but the long-term effect on your longevity and our lives and our life satisfaction is profound. So that’s the science of epigenetics and how I apply it in my books.

11:45
Dr. Maya Novak:
So if I understand you correctly when we are talking about genes, it’s not just about the time or how long we’re going to live, but actually, epigenetics is important when we are talking about injury recovery as well, and healing.

12:00
Dr. Dawson Church:
Very important, and one of the most relevant examples recently was a friend of mine who has a book coming out soon about her experience with cancer. She was diagnosed with a tumor, breast cancer, on her right breast and she had a large solid tumor on her right breast. It was about five centimeters in diameter so this was a – actually, maybe my thinking was bigger, that’s a big tumor – and a large solid tumor on the top of her right breast. So when she went in she had a lot of medical consultations, she had a lot of scans done, and the doctors found using thermography scans that all of the lymph nodes underneath her right armpit were inflamed. So it looked as though the cancer had escaped from the primary tumor, and it was now metastasizing through her lymph system throughout her body. They looked for it in other places and sure enough, they found three spots of inflammation on her right lung. Now, this is a serious prognosis and a serious diagnosis. So the doctor at the cancer clinic when she got the final diagnosis that particular day said Beth, this is so serious. Not only are we signing you up for a course of radiation and chemotherapy to start soon, but this is so serious I want you to go to straight from my office to the radiology department for your first radiation treatment today. Beth, to her credit, said I don’t want to be stampeded into a decision. I want time to think. She went home, she talked to her husband, she phoned friends, she talked to me, she talked to many other well-qualified people in the scientific field, and she decided to have no treatment at all. Her reasoning was, my body created this and my energy created this, and I’m going to use energy techniques and see if energy can shift matter. So in March, she got the diagnosis. She began to do Qigong intensively. We did energy healing with her. We did remote EFT tapping with her. She turned off everything in her life that stressed her, like the alerts on her cellphone. She quit watching the news, which I strongly recommend whether you are vibrantly healthy or sick as a dog – I recommend you quit watching the news because there’s no happiness to be found there. She quit volunteering – she was volunteering for a bunch of non-profits, which was very stressful for her. She changed her diet. She upped her exercise level. She changed every single intangible energy part of her life and – so she got the diagnosis in March – she went back in May, two months later. The tumor had shrunk from five centimeters to 1.4 centimeters and all the lymph nodes on her right armpit were clear, free of cancer cells. So she then said – well, the doctors then said well, it’s great that it’s shrinking, we want to operate anyway and just bombard the rest of it with radiation. She was like I don’t think so. In August of that year, she had blood tests and her body was completely cancer free. In fact, she phoned me after the first diagnosis in a panic and she said they’ve given me a gene test. I have eight defective genes that predispose me to breast cancer. I said Beth, take a deep breath; you have 24,000 genes that are perfectly fine, let’s work with those. So that’s the miracle. That we’re shifting our bodies and whole physical function epigenetically by the quality of energy, the quality of our thoughts, and the quality of emotions. It’s having a massive effect on our genes.

15:31
Dr. Maya Novak:
I love this, and just before we started we chatted a bit about my story and my recovery from an ankle fracture. And I also heard so many hard dropping things, like your ankle is never going to be the same, your talus bone could die off so you might need more operations that might be successful or not. This is really not a good thing to hear when you are in this stressful situation. But I also heard I might be limping for the rest of my life. I do believe that a part of why this didn’t happen, why I did not have this kind of outcome, was because I wasn’t tuning into the potential of what could become. So I was really – I was taking care of my thoughts. I was not tuning into it. So is it the same then with injuries, or is what you just explained more accurate for diseases that we create?

16:27
Dr. Dawson Church:
It’s for everything. It’s any kind of disease. You can imagine any kind of physical condition, any kind of limitation anywhere in your life, not just your health. There’s one story so funny in Mind to Matter. I tell a couple of muddy stories and this is a muddy story that I thought was outrageous. A friend of mine was teaching – his name is Ray – was teaching a class to a group of people on manifestation. It was a one-week class and the idea was that you’re going to make an affirmation and have an outcome of what you wanted to see after seven days - some way in which you wanted your life to change after seven days. So one of the guys, it was his turn to share what he wanted to have happen in the next seven days, and he stood up and said, I want to manifest a million dollars. Ray just rolled his eye in his head and thought what, that’s crazy, how can you manifest a million dollars in seven days; it’s not going to happen. The guy went on to explain that he had a small struggling stem cell biotech company and that he just hadn’t been able to really make a go of it. He had great technology, but had no money and was really struggling and had been struggling for years and that a million dollars would make all the difference to his stem cell research. So he sat down and my friend Ray was thinking oh, what a crazy man. The next guy next to him stands up and says, you know, I’m going for a million dollars in the next seven days as well. Then Ray was like oh god, I can’t believe this. Two crazy men in my class. I can’t deal with this. Anyway, fast forward seven days and the first guy stands up and says you’ll never believe what happened. This guy next to me, his dad is an investment banker and he put me on the phone with his dad the day after I shared that and I’ve been talking to his dad, gave him my prospectus. His dad’s looked over my company, and he believes he can bring me investment into my company and he has investors lined up to invest 100 million dollars into my stem cell startup company. Ray was just absolutely amazed. So then, the other guy stands up and says yeah, so I introduced this guy to my dad and my dad loved his work, he’s raised 100 million dollars to support his work and I get a finder’s fee of 1%. So there are these outrageous stories in Mind to Matter of people not just doing it for their health like Beth did to make that cancer tumor disappear. But like those two crazy guys did for a million dollars. For some people, it’s love, that they just haven’t been able to manifest love in their lives and have really good love relationships. For some people it’s spirituality. Many people find it really hard to meditate. So what I do in Mind to Matter is I give you 30 concrete practices you can try, you can do, to actualize this in your life. Meditation is number one. Meditation is essential for everyone to do, and I helped with other scientists, I put together a really simple form of medication called eco-meditation. It is so simple. All you do is you breathe a certain way, you assume certain physical postures, relax certain muscles and bingo, you are deep in meditation in under four minutes. So, we have people meditate. We have people do things like grounding, walking barefoot in the ground. Time in nature is really important. And then, of course, EFT – emotional freedom technique, also called tapping, which is simply tapping with your fingertips on acupuncture points and there are these meridians flowing through your body, energy meridians, and when you unblock them by tapping on them suddenly your health can improve, your emotions certainly improve in just a few minutes. So there are 30 of these techniques in my book Mind to Matter and they can make a huge difference in your life. Just experiment with them. Play around with them and then see what happens.

20:15
Dr. Maya Novak:
Yes. The recovery journey is definitely a challenging one, as with any health suffering that people have. Now before, you mentioned pessimists and optimists - when we are in such a difficult situation it is hard to stay optimistic and positive and maybe you’re okay for a few minutes or maybe for a few hours and then it’s really hard. So talking about thoughts, first of all, how do you explain if someone asks you how is just being positive about my fracture, or broken back or something, how is it going to help me? How can something so simple, in a way, really help me or change my body?

21:04
Dr. Dawson Church:
Yeah, so that’s one good question and the earlier question you asked was that it’s hard to stay positive – and it is hard to stay positive. There is a phenomenon in the brain called the negativity bias. It’s been very well understood in psychology for 50 years. So thanks to the positive and negative possibility, our brain turns automatically to focus on the negative one, and the reason for that I explain in Mind to Matter is really simple. It’s because that’s what kept our ancestors alive. If your ancestor was walking down the jungle path 100 thousand years ago and there was this brown thing lying in the path, if your ancestor made a mistake and thought that that brown thing was just a piece of rope, or piece of reed and ignored and that brown thing was a snake and bit your ancestor, they died. Now if you made the opposite mistake, and you were really paranoid and every piece of rope, every reed, you thought was a snake and 99 percent of them were not snakes, but you were always looking out and trying to find the snake. Most of the time it wasn’t a snake at all, you were always the little boy crying wolf. You were always trying to find the bad stuff. You were the pessimist always looking for the gloomy outcome. That kept you alive and your optimistic cousin who wasn’t looking for the snake died. So in the past, being gloomy, paranoid, pessimistic, was the best survival strategy you possibly could have in the world of 100 thousand years ago. In the world today, it’s driving your cortisol high, it’s driving your adrenalin high, it’s dysregulating neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine in your brain. It is robbing the body of vital chemicals because just the way that I mentioned earlier that the gene that makes cortisol is CYP11B1, the opposite hormone is also made in the same area of your body. It’s DHEA and DHEA is made by a gene called CYP17A1, and that is your main cell repair and “youthening” hormone. So you have much more DHEA if you make less cortisol. If your cortisol rises through stressful thinking, your DHEA drops. If your cortisol drops through stress reduction techniques, like meditation and EFT, your DHEA rises. It keeps you younger. So it’s hard to do this because it was useful for our ancestors to think negatively, but we have to retrain ourselves today. It is not a recipe for a happy life to do that. Does it make a difference? Absolutely. When I’m doing – I do a lot of live workshops every year in Europe and also in the US and other countries – and I hook people up sometimes to monitors that monitor their heart rates or their brainwaves. So I’ll have people hooked up to a monitor. I’ll get them nice and calm, and then we’ll see all these green lights flashing, their heart rate’s good, their heart rate variability is in sync, and all their brainwaves are looking good. Then I’ll tell them, now think one negative thought. And all of those green lights on the monitor turned red thinking one negative thought. It is hard, but it is necessary, you have to retrain yourself and what I talk about in Mind to Matter is the phenomenon of neuroplasticity. In chapter one of Mind to Matter, I tell the story of a particular man called Graham Phillips. I tell stories because the science is really profound and compelling, but also love to hear how it applies to real people like you and me. So this man Graham Phillips was kind of a hard-bitten guy. He was a TV journalist and he didn’t really believe in all this mediation and tapping and all this woo-woo stuff, but he’d done some research about it being good for you, so he decided to give meditation a try for an eight-week meditation course, a mindfulness course. So for eight weeks, he decided he was going to commit to this practice of mindfulness. Before he began though, he took his whole TV crew into a lab at Monash University and a biological scientist called Richard Chamberlain gave him a whole work up – MRIs, EEGs, and blood tests, various kinds of cognitive and physiological tests. He just examined him exhaustively before he began doing this, which was the baseline. After two weeks, he noticed his mood had changed. He was much less stressed than before. After eight weeks, he went back into Monash, and they measured his body and brain again and he had changed profoundly. Different parts of his brain had grown by 3%, 2%, 4% - but the part of his brain that grew most was the part of the brain called the dentate gyrus and it’s this part of the middle part of the brain that regulates emotion across multiple regions of the brain. So it’s the emotional regulation control center, the dentate gyrus. In eight weeks, the dentate gyrus grew by 22.8%, okay. That’s more than a fifth bigger, almost a quarter bigger – that tissue, in just eight weeks. That’s how quickly our brains are rewiring themselves based on behavior. There’s no pill here, no surgery here, our bodies are reshaping themselves based on our positive thinking, on our emotional regulation, on our attitude, on our spirituality. So it is hard to do this, but in Mind to Matter, I give you these 30 practices. Just play around with them. Pick the ones that work for you. But definitely to tap and definitely learn meditation, because they can make this kind of massive difference in your physiology. So is it hard? Absolutely. Can you do it? Yes. Do you need to do it for your health and longevity? You definitely to do that, you will have a much longer and a much healthier life.

26:52
Dr. Maya Novak:
I love what you just explained and even though, of course, if we are not used to these kinds of techniques and what to do, of course, it’s going to take a bit more energy but your life and your recovery depends on it so you actually have to do it. It’s not just like, let’s go home and hope for the best, because we actually have the power. We just have to take it back and do the work, right.

27:18
Dr. Dawson Church:
That’s right.

27:19
Dr. Maya Novak:
So can we – you mentioned EFT a couple of times – can we do tapping on some negative emotions or thoughts, or maybe any disability that we experience, anything that you think that would be like, mm, let’s do this?

27:37
Dr. Dawson Church:
Yeah, we can do that right now. Usually the way I use EFT, and in my book The EFT Manual, I explain this, is you use it on events, especially childhood events. But that, we’d usually reserve to teach people at a workshop because we have therapists in the workshop, we have people who are there to help you if you tap into a childhood event, or if you start to think about a childhood event that’s pretty emotionally triggering.

28:04
Dr. Maya Novak:
We'll continue in just a moment. I wanted to quickly jump in for two things. First, thank you for tuning in. And second, I’m sure you have at least one friend, colleague, or family member who would very much appreciate this episode. So share it with them and help us spread the word. Now let’s continue…

28:25
Dr. Dawson Church:
So what we’re going to now is tap on something – do EFT on something that’s really easy and simple and we won’t risk triggering you, we’ll pick a minor event, we’ll pick a minor issue. So think about any area of limitation in your body. What do you believe about your body? Do you believe it’s impossible to lose weight? Do you believe that I’ll never heal from this disease? Do you believe that I can’t change because this problem is genetic? My mother had it, my grandmother had it, and my great grandmother had it, it’s genetic. So what is your limiting belief around your body? Range of motion – can you raise your arm up high or to the back? If you can’t, and you have a limited range of motion in your legs or your arms, find something in your body like that that it is your belief that this is a limitation for you. So as you’re listening right now, find something either in your history, or your belief system, or your physical limitation. It could also be a physical pain you have, and you want to work on. So find that. Find that thing, that physical pain, limitation, and then give it a score from zero to 10 with zero being no limitation and 10 being maximum. So, for example, maybe you have elbow pain, you have elbow pain, you tune into your body on a scale of zero to 10, and maybe it’s a five out of 10, just for argument's sake. So take a moment now, tune in and score that either limiting belief or that physical sensation in your body. Maya, do you have one?

30:03
Dr. Maya Novak:
I have.

30:04
Dr. Dawson Church:
What’s your number?

30:06
Dr. Maya Novak:
I would say five to six. I’m not super high, but yes, five to six.

30:11
Dr. Dawson Church:
That’s good. It’s worth working on ones that are lower at first. You don’t pick a 10 because who knows where they may take us. One host I worked with, she picked a 10, and she was crying for half an hour, so we don’t want to go there just yet.

30:24
Dr. Maya Novak:
No, I’m not going to be crying, I promise.

30:28
Dr. Dawson Church:
This was live on air on a big syndicated radio show too, so it was different. So yeah, you’ve got your five or six, so now we’ll do a little bit of tapping. We’ll start with tuning in and also finding any kind of event that might have dramatized it. So, for example, if you have a pain, a physical pain, could there be an event something like - my pain gets worse when my workload gets too high, my pain gets worse when I look at my email inbox and there are too many emails to deal with, my pain gets worse when I watch the news. Find some events like that as well and we’ll work on the event and we’ll work on the physical sensations. So we’ll start with tapping over here on the side of the hand point and, Maya, say after me – and everyone can say this out loud if you can for your own issue – even though I have this problem …
I am safe now.
Nothing is threatening me.
This problem is only in my mind...
… even though it is a real problem.
It’s a real problem.
It’s a five.
It’s a real five...
… and I’m safe now...
… and I accept myself.
This problem might get better.
It might never get better.
Either way …
I deeply and completely accept me.
Tap on the top of your head. It might get better. It might get worse.
Eyebrow point. It might get a lot better.
It might get a lot worse.
Getting better or getting worse…
… going to zero or going to a 10.
Staying a five.
Going down to a three.
Going up to an eight.
And under your arms about four inches down. Going away completely.
Never going away.
And whether or not it changes.
I am completely safe.
I love and accept myself.

33:21
Dr. Dawson Church:
You can take a breath now, and then before we get your second number, let’s just focus on any event that makes it worse, like I get stressed when my sister-in-law comes to visit, or my pain flares up when I have too many household tasks and my house is too messy. So think about an event now. So we’ll tap here, and say … this event bothered me.
I was emotionally triggered by that event.
But that was then and now is now.
That was the past and now is the present.
Better that it was bad.
It triggered me emotionally.
It really got my emotions fired up.
It made me feel really bad.
Better that it should never have happened.
It caused all those bad feelings.
And even though the bad event happened
It’s in the past
and I am fine right now.
Now focus on the bad event as you tap. The bad event.
Let’s tap both sides this time. That bad event.
The side of the eye. That bad event.
Under your eye. That bad event.
Under your nose. That troubling event.
That emotionally triggering event.
That terrible event.
I wish it never happened.
And it did happen.
And even though it happened
I am safe now.
That was then and now is now.
That was the past, now is the present.
And I accept myself just the way I am.

35:49
Dr. Dawson Church:
Okay, now huge deep breath and relax and now tune back into your body and see what your number is right now. So what’s your new number after doing the tapping?

36:11
Dr. Maya Novak:
Mine is, I would say, three to four. So definitely, it went down, but the first round was a bit confusing for my mind because it was going with bad and good and bad and good, so I actually felt pain changes in my body. I didn’t have it before, but as soon as I started thinking about it, it was going up and down. But after the second, definitely down.

36:38
Dr. Dawson Church:
Yeah, and what you do is – our practitioners are trained in a technique called chasing the pain and it’s actually good when the pain moves because moving pain is more fluid and flexible than stationary pain. So if pain starts to move from one part of the body to the other, we call it chasing the pain. It very often happens. So the pain will go down in one part of your body, and up in another part. So what you want to do is, for the number you want to score the same part of your body you scored at the beginning, not a different part. Does that make sense?

37:07
Dr. Maya Novak:
Yes, absolutely.

37:09
Dr. Dawson Church:
So what part were you at the very beginning, which part were you focused on?

37:12
Dr. Maya Novak:
It was my lower back, and then it went to my hip, and then it was just swinging there.

37:20
Dr. Dawson Church:
Okay.

37:21
Dr. Maya Novak:
Yes.

37:21
Dr. Dawson Church:
From one side to the other.

37:22
Dr. Maya Novak:
Yes, yes.

37:23
Dr. Dawson Church:
Okay. Well, let’s tap one more time on that swinging pain. That pain is swinging from one side to the other.
And it isn’t going away.
It might never go away.
It might be a three or four forever.
It might go away completely.
It might go to a zero.
It might go up to a 10.
Either way, I’m still me.
Either way, I’m still me - either way.
I am me with a pain at a 10.
… with a pain at a 10.
Let’s say it the other way around. With the pain at a 10.
I am me.
With a pain at a zero I am me.
With the pain at a five I am still me.
Wherever the pain is I am still me.
And I accept myself however I am.
And however the pain is.
Okay, the top of your head. The pain.
Eyebrows. Going from side to side.
The side of the eyes. Being in back being in my hips.
Under your eye. Never going away, always going away.
Under your nose. Getting better, getting worse.
Lower lip. Getting much better, getting much worse.
Going away completely.
Going to a zero.
And however the pain is, I am me.

Okay, deep breath again, then tune back into your lower back, back into your hips and see what the number is now.

39:47
Dr. Maya Novak:
It went down to one.

39:49
Dr. Dawson Church:
It went down to one, yeah. You see we aren’t doing therapy here. We aren’t trying to give you chiropractic or osteopathy or any kind of physical manipulation. We’re just changing this up here, and it is changing your body. When you get in the habit of doing this every day for all your physical stuff and suddenly you’re like Beth and you’re able to heal much more easily. That doesn’t mean that Beth’s path in doing those things for cancer is everyone’s path. Another friend of mine did energy work and did chemotherapy and radiation, and did fine as well. So for some people - there is as many different paths as there are people, so pick the path that’s best for you. The big point here is use energy therapies and use them first before you run to the doctor because in research, we’ve done over 100 clinical trials of EFT and, on average, pain drops by two-thirds off tapping. So tap, and then go see your doctor for the one third that might be left after you’ve tapped. Don’t go and try to medicalize the two-thirds, that’s just emotional and spiritual.

40:49
Dr. Maya Novak:
Mm-mm. So what would you say to someone who is listening right now and recovering from an injury – what is your number one advice that you would share with someone?

41:00
Dr. Dawson Church:
Well, that is how – in that EFT routine, there are three parts to it. The middle part is admitting there’s a problem. My back, my bone fracture, my cancer, my heart disease, whatever it might be. So one of the amazing things about EFT is it doesn’t embrace positive thinking initially. It states the problem, and it even says this problem might get worse. So I was talking about optimists today – optimists and pessimists earlier – but we get really pessimistic in EFT because there’s a part of our psyche that’s like that. In some of my books, I talk about the dark side or the shadow self. So parts of the self, even though part of you is being really optimistic, parts of you aren’t. So we talk to those parts and we admit we have a problem. So that’s one thing about EFT, we are not avoiding the problem. We’re admitting we have a problem. We’re not being Pollyanna; we’re not doing wishful thinking. We admit we have a problem. But we then frame the problem with the words even though I have this problem. The second part is I am safe now and I accept myself. The single most important part of this is accepting yourself, loving yourself. In my live workshops when we do an exercise on self-love, usually on the second or third day of the workshop, we have people talk about self-love and we do an exercise around self-love. Maya, you’d be shocked when you hear a whole room full of people and how few people really love themselves just the way they are. They say well, you know, once I make that other $10,000 then I’ll love myself. Or once I get fitter, or once I run the triathlon, or when I have a house in Barcelona, then I’ll love my self, blah blah blah. There’s always some reason they don’t love themselves. So a real focus in EFT is to have you love yourself. The crucial thing is to – sure, I have problems, you have problems, we have all problems – just love yourself. Don’t be trying to make yourself change. Just love yourself the way you are. There was a brilliant, brilliant therapist in the 1950s, Carl Rogers, he invented the therapy school called Client-Centered Therapy, and he called this the paradox of change. The paradox of change is that change begins by accepting yourself right where you are. When you do that, you break all the tension in the psyche between where you are where you want to be and you start to move and grow and transform. So the first thing to do is just say, I love myself just the way I am. I imperfect, I have problems, I have flaws, and I love myself anyway – and that’s where you begin.

43:38
Dr. Maya Novak:
Yes, and it is important because you cannot actually create something beautiful and healing – you cannot create it from something really pessimistic, and like oh, I don’t love myself, I don’t want to do anything with me, right.

43:51
Dr. Dawson Church:
Yes.

43:52
Dr. Maya Novak:
Yes. So you mentioned optimists and pessimists, so there are some people who are listening to this and they’re losing hope about their recovery, about their healing. What would you say to someone who doesn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel?

44:09
Dr. Dawson Church:
I did a lot of work recently with fibromyalgia patients and one of the real challenges in fibromyalgia is helplessness and hopelessness. Those are two of the symptoms of fibromyalgia and it’s a disease that lasts for many, many years. It is regarded as the incurable – except that it is not incurable. There’s plenty of evidence showing it’s not incurable - that helplessness and hopelessness. What do you do the person who says I can’t change, my doctor’s given me this diagnosis, and they’re the experts. I tapped with one guy on this, he had had a stroke, and he had an 80% hearing loss in one ear. We tapped. I talk about this in one of my books. We tapped over the course of about 45 minutes working on issues with his son and his father and all kinds of other life problems. So then, I asked him at the end of that, now that 80% hearing loss in your ear how is it now? And his eyes just opened wide, and it was gone. One of the things we tapped on was my doctor told me that I have 80% hearing loss, it must be true, it’s a medical diagnosis. So there are lots of reasons why people feel hopeless and helpless and that they can’t change, but you don’t have to change wholesale. You don’t have to change everything in your life. In fact, if you try to change too much, you will usually crash and burn. Just change one thing. So, for example, I have this little program called Eco-Meditation, and just download Eco-Meditation and those meditations are 15 minutes long. Play them each day and meditate along to the music and to my voice and that starts to unlock change in people’s lives. So do one small thing to help yourself, make that a pattern and make that habit. Then do a second small thing to help yourself and make that a habit. Don’t try and change everything all at once, but do something, however small, because that small thing you do is the leverage point for the next thing. If you believe the life script that you’re doomed, that this is your doomed, and that this is your genetic destiny and this is the way you are, this is the way life is, this is the way people are, this is the way the world is – the world is not that way. The world is full of beauty, kindness, peace, joy, enthusiasm, and love and you adjust and align yourself with that every day. I talk about this in my own meditations. I get up in the morning. If I’ve kind of had a bad dream, I’ve dreamt about laying on barbed wire last night and was really miserable and horrible, and woke with a bad dream and felt kind of grouchy and I thought all the things I had to do today, and then I meditate. I tune in to the universe. The universe says I love you; I have a sacred and wonderful unfolding day ahead for you. What will happen today? What magic will happen each day? You live your life with the delight of a child at play. So you deliberately attune yourself to that energy every morning, every day, and then you go there over and over and over again. It doesn’t take long, like Graham Phillips’ brain, only eight weeks and it 22.8% changed in his dentate gyrus in his brain. If you do that every day, in just eight weeks your brain is changing radically. Do that for eight months or eight years, and you are an incurable optimist. Last year in October – or the year before last in October, my wife and I were awakened at 12:45 a.m. with light low on the horizon. We walked outside onto the deck, and we saw flames on the hilltop opposite our home and we literally raced, grabbed our car keys, and ran to our car and the trees were all on fire. By that time, the fire was traveling so fast, by the time we got to the car and we were driving out of there, all the trees were on fire about our heads. We got pictures sent to us back two days later by some friends who went into the fire zone and 5,300 houses were just burned down in a few hours in Santa Rosa where we lived. So there we were, just totally – I mean our office building burnt up, our home was gone. It was just this total devastation, and yet – with our brains – meditators brains – we were resilient and so we were able to recover really quickly. That’s what these practices do for you. They make you resilient. They give you a brain that’s able to cope with the ups and downs and problems of life. After a while, you become really strong. You become a strong person and you become a kind person, you become a compassionate person. It’s power to learn to do this stuff so when the bad stuff happens, the financial crash, the fire, the job loss, a friend of yours dies, your spouse dies, your kid dies, whatever it might be. We all have losses. So the more resilient our brains are, then we can cope with all of those things. We don’t fall into hopelessness. We become not survivors, but thrivers. So that’s really what the possibility is and what I encourage you to believe in, hope for and just set up those conditions every day by listening to that great meditation, tuning yourself to the universe, and then the universe has all kinds of wonderful blessings that it pours down on your head.

49:00
Dr. Maya Novak:
I love that you’re talking about practice, that it’s not like it’s going to happen if you do it once and that’s it. It’s really tuning into and coming back to your decision and just doing it over and over and over again and soon it’s going to be like brushing your teeth in the morning.

49:16
Dr. Dawson Church:
Yes.

49:16
Dr. Maya Novak:
Hopefully all of them – the listeners – are brushing their teeth, but yes, it’s the same.

49:21
Dr. Dawson Church:
Yes.

49:22
Dr. Maya Novak:
Yeah.

49:23
Dr. Dawson Church:
Make it routine like brushing your teeth, yes.

49:25
Dr. Maya Novak:
So, if you were stuck on a desert island with an injury and you could bring only one thing that could help you heal perfectly, what would that thing be?

49:36
Dr. Dawson Church:
Good question. Well, I’d certainly bring the best possible attitude I could find and I know that I can shift other circumstances with my inner workings of my consciousness and my mind. If I were on a desert island and stuck there I suppose I’d bring something that was really going to be of use to me, and that I could work with, like a knife, you know. Something to cut vines, make splints, and swab wounds and so on, so something useful. But also, I would know the power of the mind to shift things and so I would look for unusual ways of looking at the world around me and finding an ingenious way that I could approach familiar tasks. So when you get out of your old mindsets, and I talk a lot about this in Mind to Matter, we are stuck most of the time in local mind - the local mind inside your head. Thinking I am me, I am Dawson Church. I am wearing a purple shirt. I am whatever it might be - what you see locally about our own little self. I encourage people in the book, in the very introduction of the book, to shift to thinking from the non-local mind. Then, whether you’re on a desert island or whether you’re in your life, when you’re thinking from non-local mind you have all the resources of the universe to bring to bear on your problems. That’s a far greater set of ideas, and insights than your own local mind would come up with. So that’s the thing to do, is to tune into non-local mind.

51:06
Dr. Maya Novak:
Beautiful. One last question and I hope you don’t mind me asking, how do you see the future of medicine and the future of healing from injuries?

51:18
Dr. Dawson Church:
We are at a point in human history that is unprecedented. The world is getting much better and has been getting much better for several centuries. If you look at any metric – child mortality, women’s rights, human’s rights, slavery, respect for life, medical care, by every single major metric, like the spread of democracy, at the macro and micro level everything has been improving for the last few centuries. There are lots of books and lots of scientific papers to prove this. In every dimension, our lives are getting better. The big change that’s about to happen now is that research shows that we have the ability to heal dramatically more, especially mental health issues like anxiety, depression, PTSD, phobias. When you do that, your body heals. When you relieve the burden of stress that the mind places on the body, you’re no longer mentally stressed, the body just automatically shifts. It stops making that cortisol, your DHEA rises, and you’re much healthier. So we’re at this point in history we’re about to start, I think, as a species – we’re about to start deploying these tools like meditation. It’s already in a lot of hospitals. EFT is in a lot of clinics and hospitals and these methods are spreading all over the globe. They’re in Rwanda. We’ve done studies on people who are children of people killed in the genocide in Rwanda and applying these techniques with them. People in Haiti who suffered through the 2010 earthquake and other disasters. We’re working with people in different parts of the world through our volunteer and our non-profit work. So we’re seeing that in all of these situations, people’s mental health gets a lot better. So we’re at the point where we can cure a lot of these mental health issues we used to have for the last many years. We’re going to become much happier and much healthier in the coming era. This will change our gene expression. This will change the way our genes work. This will change our genetics inter-generationally as we pass this unstressed world onto our children, our children’s children, and their children. This will result in an explosion of human potential in the rest of this century. We’re going to see enormous leaps in science, technology, music, art, law, education, every single part of – we’re in the middle of a new renaissance that’s going to completely re-shape not just human life, but life as we know it on the earth. It will be completely different at the end of this century. So we’re in the middle of this absolutely astonishing second renaissance that is going to have an effect and change the entire course of life on earth. So I end my book Mind to Matter with that vision – where is this taking us. In the afterword, I talk about where this is taking us next, and that’s where we’re going.

54:09
Dr. Maya Novak:
Beautiful. Dawson, I know that there are so many people who would love to find more about you. Can you share where people can find more about you?

54:17
Dr. Dawson Church:
Sure. My main website is for the book, it’s mindtomatter.com and there you will find all kinds of resources. You will find those meditations; you will find a free copy of the EFT Tapping Mini Manual. If you click on the tab on mindtomatter.com that says live events, you can see where I’m traveling and also where all of our certified trainers are teaching. There is also a list of practitioners on the site who are certified by my organization who can help you with issues that are too big for you to deal with by yourself. So mindtomatter.com is where you get all of those resources.

54:55
Dr. Maya Novak:
Beautiful. Dawson, I had such a blast. Thank you so much for being here and for sharing this, and thank you for just being such an incredible human being.

55:04
Dr. Dawson Church:
It is a delight every day. Maya, thank you for your vision of sharing this with so many people through your community, thank you.

55:11
Dr. Maya Novak:
This wraps up today’s episode with Dr. Dawson Church. If you haven’t done it yet, subscribe to the podcast on whatever platform you’re using to tune in. Of course, also remember to share this episode with your loved ones and help them out. To access show notes, links, and transcript of today’s talk go to mayanovak.com/podcast. To learn more about The Mindful Injury Recovery Method visit my website mayanovak.com and find my book Heal Beyond Expectations on Amazon. Until next time – keep evolving, blooming, and healing.

Love and gratitude xx
Dr. Maya

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