Twenty five years ago a weird man named Gary Douglas channeled some information about touching points on the head and how that could change electrical brain function.
Ten years later, science discovered that the points he called “joy” and “sadness” were correlated with the experience of those emotions.
Several doctors who are experts in biofeedback—one psychologist, one chiropractor—have reported changes in their brainwave function when receiving the bars. They reported changes from beta through alpha to theta, the relaxed state just short of sleep.
Now Newsweek magazine, in a cover story called “Money Brain,” tells us more about research into localization of different functions in the brain. This has interesting implications for those of us who “run the bars,” performing that light healing touch to specific points on the head that create deep relaxation and profound changes in personality and behavior.
In tune with the times, Newsweek applies this information about addiction generally to the American addiction to spending. The same information really applies to all aspects of addiction and choices of short-term versus long-term gain.
The areas of the brain that scientists are now localizing as connected to addictions are the ventral striatum, deep in the brain, and the medial pre-frontal cortex just behind the forehead. Using functional MRI machines, researchers tracked electrical brain activity when subjects were presented with a choice of receiving money now or in the future.
In people who are “spend-it-now, to-hell-with-tomorrow,” the electrical activity in these areas diminished when they were asked to postpone gratification. The more they were asked to wait, the more the electrical activity in their brains dropped. In other people, activity in the two areas was the same whether they were about to receive money now or in the future—suggesting they were equally happy either way.
Applying this information to what we know about the bars can show us some interesting information about what actually happens when we gift the bars to someone.
The prefrontal cortex is the area stimulated by the joy and sadness bars. In people for whom those areas were more active, saving money (and by implication other activities in which gratification was not instant) was easier. The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex—more towards the side of the head—calms down other parts of the brain’s “I want it now” circuits. This part of the brain is associated with the ability to project oneself into the future and to plan for it. Could stimulating this part of the brain more contribute to our making better choices, not the same old ones again and again? It is this part of the brain that is directly underneath the healing bar, form and structure, and hopes and dreams. Interesting, eh?
And what about that ventral striatum deep inside the brain? Is it stretching things to say that the bars can reach that spot also? Consider this—it’s just underneath the aging toaster. The description of aging toaster in the bars book says it extends three inches into the brain. Some bars facilitators describe it as a “toaster” into which you could fit a soda cracker. Many people receiving the bars report a sensation like someone is actually sticking their fingers deep into their skull—even if they can feel the person lightly touching the top of their head!
It’s not really more far-fetched than science, either. While original experiments mapping the function of regions of the brain were done using needles, science is now doing studies about localizing brain function using the far less invasive transcranial (across the head) magnetic stimulation. If magnets can affect brain function—and they do—then surely the electric nature of human touch affects it also. The reports of the biofeedback experts on the changes in their own brainwaves suggest this is so.
And isn’t it interesting that the part of the brain affected by the aging toaster controls our ability to make intelligent choices that actually create the future we say we would like? If we did more of this, would we age less? Does diminishing this function contribute to aging?
Though most people who have much experience with Access have experienced magic, or things being possible that science said “couldn’t be done,” the study of brain science actually has an optimistic side. Scientists studying the plasticity, or ability to adapt and change, of the brain are finding that all kinds of things that were previously believed to be impossible are actually possible.
“Everything that’s been discovered about the plasticity of the adult brain suggests that it should be possible to increase the number or strength of these connections so that the midbrain (the part that’s interested in instant gratification) receives more calming signals.”
Weren’t you just looking for another excuse to have your bars run?