The Science Behind FasterEFT – An Article by Chip Brown
I remember standing in my living room and watching the news the morning United Airlines flight 175 hit the World Trade Center. On the live feed, smoke bellowed from the side of the building to newscasters’ horrified cries. When the second plane collided with the second Twin Tower, my mouth dropped open in shock.
That was 15 years ago. I still see the tragic moment all in detail, but for the life of me, I don’t remember what I did the day before, rest of that day, or the next day.
Horrible moments carry strong memories, don’t they? New moments—those “firsts” where our minds and body are on high alert—also carry strength. And in the same way, wonderful moments are the conduit for brilliant mental and emotional recall.
I remember the first time I made love. The anticipation. The awkwardness. The awareness that it was actually happening right then, with the brilliance of the moment strong and immediate. What did I do during the day before or the day after? I don’t have a clue. I do remember after we parted that I felt like I was floating home.
The mind is a funny thing. Even though the accuracy of our recollection of experiences can be a blur, we do recall flash bulb events.
Why do we recall emotional events so clearly but the larger part of our past seems insignificant or lost? The answer is within a simple premise generally accepted by psychology.
A person who experiences intense emotions tends to be more receptive to ideas and is, therefore, more suggestible (1). Such presupposition allow us to evaluate how memory is created and how evolution influences the process of memory consolidation.
In general, memories are installed and accessed by the parts in our brain called the hippocampus and the cortex.
If we wanted to create a metaphoric picture to understand how the brain works, the hippocampus would be the key board and the cortex would be the hard drive. (2) Like a computer with different functions for recall, our brain has different methods of recall. The memory could be a picture, a feeling, a sound or a smell.
Our brain also acts differently when remembering immediate information versus long-term information.
Let’s say that someone has given you directions to a new restaurant. You sprint across the room to get a pen and paper to write it down before you forget. After a moment, the memory of the directions are gone. This is short-term memory.
Long-term memory, or the storing of information for a long time, can be explicate (declarative) or implicit. Explicate memory remembers how tall we are, what school we went to, and where we grew up. Implicit memory can involve skills and habits, as well as physical memory pieces such as riding a bicycle, driving the car, or tensing up the moment we hear the voice of someone we dislike.
When we use implicate memories, we respond with little or no conscious thought.
In order for the mind to correct or replace a disruptive memory, we need to know how the memory was formed. Our exposure to patterns and the impact of an event decide what we remember, how we remember, and the importance of the memory.
Skills and events are either moved to implicit memory by repetition or in an instant with the influence of the Sympathetic Nervous Systems (SNS) and endocrine system. To reconcile an undesirable memory swiftly, we must exploit our SNS and endocrine system.
To survive in the wild, we automatically respond to a threat with the sympathetic nervous systems (fight or flight) response. Our heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure increase. In order to get the extra energy that we need to feed our muscles and brain, our blood vessels dilate to handle the flow of extra blood, oxygen, and glucose.
The endocrine system sends hormones like epinephrine (adrenalin), cortisol, and glucocorticoids (a class of steroids) into the blood stream. These hormones direct the body to convert stored fat to glucose and dump it into the blood. Our bodies work on high gear to meet fight-or-flight demands.
And there’s more. The hormones we just mentioned put our brain on high alert and keep it focused. Unneeded processes like digestion, growth hormones, cell repair, and replacement shut down.
Higher brain functions of abstract and cognitive thought are pushed aside, allowing the instinctual brain to take control of our entire being. All of the changes are necessary, as when a lion is attacking, it’s not the time to consciously consider what to do, right? We act implicitly, without thinking, in order to survive.
Now comes the most important part of why in the world we’re talking about the body right now. Our bodies going through physical gymnastics and craziness brings us to exactly why you and I respond so strongly to the World Trade Center attacks and our first love-making experience.
The physical changes during the fight-or-flight process enhance memory retrieval and recall. We increase memory creation, and we improve our chances of survival. The real or perceived threat heightened our emotional state—our fear—and caused us to move relative and explicate information into our implicate memory quickly. The fear, with its intense emotions, helped us form the long-term memory.
This is the work of the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS).
Now, stay with me.
Due to the influence of the SNS and endocrine system during a threat, the brain communicates tremendous amounts of information with its neurotransmitters. The brain’s hippocampus and frontal cortex, where memory is formed, have a disproportional amount of synaptic receptors for glutamate, the most excitatory neurotransmitter.
These excitable “glutamatergic” synapses are unique in memory formation and retrieval for two reasons.
First, glutamate is a non-linear neurotransmitter. Non-linear transmitters are important because they make a distinction between important and nonessential information. In a typical synapse (the gap between neurons), a little neurotransmitter is emitted from one neuron, and the second neuron gets a little excited. If even more transmitter is released, the second neuron gets even a little more excited.
Now there’s a major difference between “typical” neurotransmitters and non-linear transmitters. With the non-linear glutamatergic synapses, glutamate is released and nothing happens. So then, a little more is released…and, again…nothing happens. But then (wait for it)—when a certain quantity of glutamate has been passed across the synapses from one neuron to another, suddenly, a massive wave of excitation explodes across our physiology. Not only did the neuron speak—it shouted.
For example, a teacher tells a student in a monotone voice the same thing again and again but the student just can’t seem to put it together. There is little to no mental stimulus. Then the information is mated with a funny story or an unexpected event (sight, sound, movement) that elevates the student’s awareness.
The senses are activated and the memory sticks. The student “gets it” because the glutamate has reached a level high enough to create a cascade of excitement across the synapses.
When the brain is in this excited state, the glutamate is heightened and, again, we “get it” quickly.
Second, once the excitement threshold has been passed by the glutamate, the neuro network created by the abundance of glutamate is more easily excitable in the future.
This is good news for learning and memory, creating the formation of “long term potentiation.” (2) The flash bulb memory is now easily accessed.
All of the above is why we remember an emotionally painful or pleasant event but not what happened before and after. So, it goes to reason, if we want to reconcile a painful or traumatic memory, then we should work within the exact same system that created the memory. In other words, we can use the process that embedded the undesirable perception, feeling, and thought… to heal the wound.
FasterEFT is an easy to understand, highly effective way of changing how we represent our past. The utilization of elements from EFT, BSFF, NLP, spiritual awareness and science allow the mind to adjust itself. The adjustment resolves emotional discomfort and we regain physical, mental, and emotional health.
FasterEFT uses the same system that created the unwelcome memory, belief, or thought to resolve it. FasterEFT adjusts the unproductive link between love and food so we stop eating to feel better, or stops the link between love and abuse so we no longer unconsciously end up with people that hurt us.
When a practitioner completes an intake on a client, the practitioner records the events, the emotions, the beliefs, and the desired results. The desired results could be forgiveness of one’s self or others, self-acceptance, and / or the release of the painful emotions associated with a trauma.