As much as there has been a prolific amount of neuroscientific research into how the brain influences and controls memory, there has been a growing amount of research that supports the likelihood that memory is actually stored at a cellular level within the body. This finding has some exciting implications for how we think about changing, growing and healing as people, especially with respect to early or childhood trauma or abuse.
Research shows that, on average, a child can start to make real and accessible memories from around the age of 2 years old. This is because at this time the infant can start to think and communicate with the world, and think with themselves using basic language and thinking, a sense of meaning or story can start to be encoded within their experiences and therefore their memories.
It was previously believed that prior to this time in an infant’s life, memories were not actually formed due to the infant not yet possessing these basic cognitive assets. Research now shows that prior to 2, infants still hold memories but they are encoded differently. Rather than having images, or sounds or stories attached to their memories, they seem to be simply stored at a cellular level of the body as emotions. Simply put, the first 2 years of an infant’s memories are not memories in the sense that we understand typical memories to be, they are more like emotional memories.
We all know that certain stimuli can trigger specific memories. The smell of freshly baked bread can remind us of an earlier time where Mum used to make bread, or the smell of petrol can remind us of Dad’s work shed. Typically these memories are encoded in the form of pictures, sounds and often feelings. But our pre-cognitive memories are also triggered by events in our every day life too. The challenge here is that when these memories are accessed and recalled they do not come back as memories from the past, they can be experienced as emotions that seem to be from the present moment. In other words, because there is no story, picture or cognitive concept of the memory that links to their triggered feelings, often a person will not realise they are in fact recalling a memory, and will in fact think that the feeling Is emerging from something that’s happening right now In their environment. This point becomes increasingly important if there was early trauma in a person’s life, as these memories can come back as very powerful and unwanted experiences.
An example could be when a baby girl was given out for adoption at 6 weeks old. The baby intuitively stores their sense of grief and abandonment at a cellular level but with no cognitive story or meaning attached to the feelings of abandonment, it then becomes difficult for her to understand where these feelings come from when they are triggered later in adult life.
As an adult, if she’s faced with a situation where she has to say goodbye to a work colleague who is moving on to another company, she can suddenly become overcome with a disproportionately large amount of grief and sense of abandonment. In this moment she thinks that the current circumstance is the cause of their grief and abandonment, yet in reality the current circumstance is just a trigger for the very young and powerful cellular memory of being abandoned by her biological mother. For this person, there is no link in their mind between the emotion of abandonment and the original event of being abandoned.
Understanding, resolving and releasing these very early emotions can be difficult due to the fact that there is no cognitive memory involved. The person cannot think back and link their emotions to very early events and understand how and why they are overcome with powerful feelings.
Cellular memory transmission
Over the last 30 years, many researchers have shown that our early memories go back even further than birth!!!
As far back as the 1970’s, there has been research into the fact that a fetus can pick up on, and respond to, the emotions and the intentions of the mother carrying the baby, and those close to her, such as the father and extended family. Research suggests that both babies and fetuses are porous to other people’s emotions and actually take these on as their own. For example, if a mother, while pregnant, is angry and resentful at the fact that she feels too young to be a mother, the fetus actually stores the memory of feeling unwanted at a cellular level. Later in life the person has no possible way of connecting up the reason why they continue feel so unwanted and disconnected from others. Once again, the person thinks that what they experience as an adult now is a feeling caused from something occurring now, without seeing what they experience is actually an early stuck cellular memory being recalled.
In such instances, NET (Neuro Emotional Technique) gets powerful results in not only accessing these emotions, but in allowing the body to process them and let them go. NET works with the body’s natural intelligence and energy flows to pin point the times when the emotional memory was stored in the body’s cells, as well as where in the body the emotion primarily resides, and then quickly and painlessly helps the client to process and let it go with through the use of acupuncture and meridian points. The process is often so powerful that unwanted and life long patterns of behavior suddenly stop without the client having to try to change. The cycle in the mind body connection is broken and the person just moves on.
What types of early trauma can NET assist with?
- Alcoholic or addicted parents when a child was young
- Early violence or parental neglect
- Dysfunctional or destructive parental relationships
- Divorce while the child was young
- Early childhood sexual abuse
- Early adoption
- Death of a parent or sibling while very young