What on earth is QEC?!

Updated: Jun 14

That is a common question us QEC practitioners face, and sometimes we're not even that adept at providing that two minute "elevator pitch" about it ourselves! So when I came to launch myself and my website I found myself writing up notes on the multi-faceted foundations to QEC. So read on if you want to know more...

QEC was originally developed by a UK based GP, and Gestalt Therapist, Dr Melanie Salmon, who increasingly felt that medication alone was not helping her patients and sought out something that also harnessed the power of the mind to help heal her patients.

QEC has the following influences

Gestalt style enquiry process – Gestalt Therapy emphasises personal responsibility and focuses on the individual’s experience in the present moment, the bond between client and practitioner, the environmental and social contexts of a person's life, and the self-regulating adjustments people make as a result of their overall situation.

Cardiac Coherence - Some of us might have learnt in school that the heart is constantly responding to "orders" sent by the brain in the form of neural signals.

However, what is not so commonly known is that the heart actually sends more signals to the brain than the brain sends to the heart. In addition, these heart signals have a significant effect on brain function—influencing emotional processing as well as higher cognitive functions such as attention, perception, memory, and problem-solving. In other words, not only does the heart respond to the brain, but the brain continuously responds to the heart.

The effect of heart activity on brain function has been researched extensively over the past 40 years. Earlier research mainly examined the effects of heart activity occurring on a very short time scale—over several consecutive heartbeats at maximum. Scientists at the HeartMath Institute have extended this body of scientific research by looking at how larger-scale patterns of heart activity affect the brain’s functioning.

HeartMath research has demonstrated that different patterns of heart activity (which accompany different emotional states) have distinct effects on cognitive and emotional function. During stress and negative emotions, when the heart rhythm pattern is erratic and disordered, the corresponding pattern of neural signals traveling from the heart to the brain inhibits the higher cognitive functions. This limits the ability to think clearly, remember things, learn, reason, and make effective decisions. This helps explain why we may often act impulsively and unwisely when we’re under stress. The heart’s input to the brain during stressful or negative emotions also has a significant effect on the brain’s emotional processes—actually then reinforcing the emotional experience of stress.

In contrast, the more ordered and stable the pattern of the heart’s input to the brain during positive emotional states has the opposite effect—it facilitates cognitive function and reinforces positive feelings and emotional stability. This means that learning to generate increased heart rhythm coherence, by sustaining positive emotions, not only benefits the entire body, but also affects how we perceive, think, feel, and perform.

Heartmath Institute:

Neuroscience – Neuroscience is the study of the brain’s function.

Every thought you have causes neurochemical changes, some temporary and some lasting. For instance, when people consciously and regularly practice gratitude, they get a surge of rewarding neurotransmitters, like dopamine, and experience a general alerting and brightening of the mind, probably correlated with more of the neurochemical norepinephrine.

In neuroscience, synaptic plasticity is the ability of synapses to strengthen or weaken over time, in response to increases or decreases in their activity. A synapse is a structure that permits a neuron (or nerve cell) to pass an electrical or chemical signal to another neuron. Way back in the 1940s Donald Hebb theorised that the more activity between the synapses the greater the efficiency. Hebb’s theory is often summarised as “cells that fire together, wire together”. In other words when you repeatedly think along the same lines, neural pathways become hardwired and this is the basis of habit. Habits unfortunately can of course be both negative and positive – QEC can help us reframe the negatives!

The research on neural pathways is every growing and continues to fascinate - recent research in Optogenetics by Professor Kay Tye has shown how neural pathways can even be changed immediately in studies on mice using light on particular neural pathways.

Epigenetics – is the study of how genes are expressed and used, rather than the DNA sequence of the genes themselves.

You are speaking to your genes with every thought you have. The fast growing field of epigenetics is showing that who you are is the product of the things that happen to you in your life, which change the way your genes operate. Genes are actually switched on or off depending on your life experiences, and your genes and lifestyle form a feedback loop. Your life doesn't alter the genes you were born with of course, but what changes is your genetic activity, meaning the hundreds of proteins, enzymes, and other chemicals that regulate your cells. A thought is an electrochemical event taking place in your nerve cells producing a cascade of physiological changes.

There are thousands upon thousands of receptors on each cell in our body. Each receptor is specific to one peptide, or protein. When we have feelings of anger, sadness, guilt, excitement, happiness or nervousness, each separate emotion releases its own flurry of neuropeptides. Those peptides surge through the body and connect with those receptors which change the structure of each cell as a whole. Where this gets interesting is when the cells actually divide. If a cell has been exposed to a certain peptide more than others, the new cell that is produced through its division will have more of the receptor that matches with that specific peptide.

So, if you have been bombarding your cells with peptides from negative thoughts, you are literally programming your cells to receive more of the same negative peptides in the future. What's even worse is that you're lessening the number of receptors of positive peptides on the cells, making yourself more inclined towards negativity.

Every cell in your body is replaced about every two months. So, the good news is, you can reprogram your “pessimistic” cells to be more “optimistic” by adopting positive thinking practices, like mindfulness and gratitude, and of course QEC, for permanent results.

Only about 5 percent of gene mutations are thought to be the direct cause of health issues. That leaves 95 percent of genes linked to disorders which can be influenced one way or another, depending on life factors and enviroment. Of course, many of these are beyond your control, like childhood events, but some are entirely within your control, such as diet, exercise, stress management, and emotional states. The last two factors are directly dependent on your thoughts.

Your biology doesn't spell your destiny, and you aren't controlled by your genetic makeup. Instead, your genetic activity is largely determined by your thoughts, attitudes, and perceptions. Epigenetics is showing that your perceptions and thoughts influence your biology, which places you in the driver's seat. By changing your thoughts, you can influence and shape your own genetic readout.

You have a choice in determining what input your genes receive. The more positive the input, the more positive the output of your genes. Epigenetics is allowing lifestyle choices to be directly traced to the genetic level and is proving the mind-body connection irrefutable. At the same time, research into epigenetics is also emphasizing how important positive mental self-care practices are because they directly impact our physical health.

Meditation and mindfulness put you in contact with the source of the mind-body system, giving your thoughts direct access to beneficial genetic activity which also affects how well your cells function, via the genetic activity inside the cells.

Quantum Mechanics – Quantum mechanics is the best theory we have for describing the world at the nuts-and-bolts level of atoms and subatomic particles.

Perhaps the most well-known of its mysteries is the fact that the outcome of a quantum experiment (read about the Double Slit experiment) can change depending on whether or not we choose to measure or observe it.

But, for me, it is a hard one to explain and link to this process of coaching, and there is a lot of debate around the link between quantum mechanics and the mind or consciousness. I think it fundamentally comes down to what you believe … if you believe that your thoughts have their own energy and therefore influence, then possibly quantum mechanics explains it.

Neuroscientist Joe Dispenza says in his book “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself”: “The quantum model of reality tells us that to change our lives we must fundamentally change the way we think, act and feel.”

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