Good day, experimenters. Today’s Pain Experiment post offers an ingenious twist on pain you won’t find anywhere else.
Can’t find anywhere else.
‘Cuz in addition to being a co-leader (Consciouseer) in this experiment, its author Rodney Dietert is a world authority in the burgeoning science of the human microbiome. You might recall his last contribution to the experiment was written on the cruise ship where he was lecturing to an exclusive group of cutting-edge thinkers.
Below, he addresses pain from his visionary perspective that our body is a community.
Lucky us! Read on.
You and Your Microbes in Pain and Wellness
It’s Consciouseer Rodney here with my final blog article on pain. Today, I will focus on the small, yet wondrous, part of your body as we look at pain, your microbes.
When you were in school sometime in the 20th century, you inevitably learned something about the human body in Biology class. Chances are you learned about germs – bacteria and viruses – and were taught that you needed to avoid them like the plague and kill them whenever possible. This was the era that saw the rise in products like Purell and antibacterial soaps to kill the germs outside of us before they could get inside and make us sick.
Now that we’ve moved into the 21st century, science has made some astounding discoveries about those germs and about us. We aren’t just human mammals, not by a long shot. In fact, we have a lot more in common with those germs we’ve been trying to kill off; they may actually be part of us.
You see, at least 57% of your body’s cells and 99% of your genes are microbial. They’re made up of some of those very same bacteria and viruses we’ve been trying to kill off.
Rather than just being pure mammals, it might be more useful to think of yourself as a walking coral reef exploding with multiple species rather than as a single, pure human organism. And when your body is depleted of any of these microbes, even the rarest species, you are less than healthy.
These microbes have been such an integral part of humans for so long that a major part of breast milk is designed to feed only the microbes. It cannot be digested and used by our human mammalian cells. That’s because these microbes have to colonize and grow on and inside the body (e.g., skin, gut, airways, urogenital tract, mouth, nose and more) so you can be healthy. In fact, 21st century science now realizes that these microbes support your mood, behavior, immune defenses, digestion, endocrine function and metabolism.
So, this is all interesting, you may say, but how do our microbes get involved with pain? This is the Pain Experiment after all. Microbiome researchers at the University College Cork, in Cork, Ireland and their collaborators have recently published their discoveries about the microbiome, neurodevelopment and functions, the origins of pain in tissues and organs, and pain perceptions. And it would seem, pain and our microbes are intimately linked.
Their most recent articles, Pain (doi: 10.1097/j.pain.000000000000077) and CNS Neuroscience and Therapeutics (doi: 10.1111/cns.12490), show that your perception of pain varies depending on the specific mix of microbes in your system. Thinking back to Janice’s blog of Pain as Messenger, one of the things that pain tells us is that there is inflammation in the body. This is important to know because microbes control inflammation in the body. Beyond that, the particular mix of microbes you house in your body determines whether you’ll be more or less sensitive to the perception of pain, and that’s important.
The good news is that the microbial mix in your body is relatively easy to adjust. Who hasn’t heard of pre- and probiotics by now? Plus, stress reduction techniques and many spiritual practices (think meditation, exercise, and yoga) that reduce cortisol have been shown to have a beneficial impact on the microbiome. So, you can approach the microbiome from many directions and apply many modalities.
If you are interested in reading more about you as a human-microbial superorganism in health and wellness, you can check out my new 2016 book The Human Superorganism: How the Microbiome is Revolutionizing the Pursuit of a Healthy Life from Dutton Penguin Random House. It is available in print, ebook, and audiobook versions from your favorite online or brick and mortar book sources.
Being a devotee of Ken Graydon’s Regeneration Healing, I would like to offer the Microbiome Body Balancing Process. Not only does this address the issue of pain and your perception of it, this process may lead other areas of your body to come into greater wholeness as your microbial mix returns to that which the Creator intended.
To your better health and painfree living.
Microbiome Body Balancing Process
I connect with the Creator, the source of all healing.
I accept blessings for all creation.
My intention with the healing is to attain the microbiome-body balance that the Creator had planned for me to have.
I journey to the Soul Library where all knowledge is available to me of how my body exists in balance and health in the universe as a superorganism.
I visualize bubbles of microbes and information that contain every part of the Creator’s standard useful to shift my body into balance in the universe. I watch as the bubbles and information burst upon me releasing all that is useful. I watch as my body slowly shifts with each bursting bubble. I notice that each shift brings a greater sense of wholeness and oneness.
I am filled with gratitude and blessings as I accept this re-balancing and healing.
Thank you Rodney! And experimenters, slowly, consciously take in the process and then let us know what you notice.
See you back here next Tuesday, Dec 20, for the final post in The Pain Experiment.