Reviewed by Kelly Devine, Certified EFT Practitioner
The best is yet to come! Despite our current ineffective health system and the agonizingly slow appearance of energy and complementary medicine, The Genie in Your Genes: Epigenetic Medicine and the New Biology of Intention is a book that inspires optimism regarding the possible future of how we approach health and well-being as a society.
Although Dawson Church states, “Shifting the health habits of an entire civilization seems like a tall order,” it is also clear the momentum is building for alternative interventions and healing practices. The public is no longer satisfied with intrusive surgeries and treatments and is seeking more natural pathways to health.
Rather than suggesting this colossal shift needs to be led by governments or medical groups, Dawson proposes that each individual is their own “ultimate epigenetic engineer” and challenges the reader to take control of their health, gene expression, and, essentially, their lives.
Dawson describes the exciting research evidencing that genes are switched on and off by myriad factors over which we have control, including diet, thoughts and beliefs, intentions, environment, relationships, spiritual practices, and more. This is at odds with the previous thinking that our genes are fixed and unalterable.
The outcomes of other studies focusing on the mind-body connection further validate our intrinsic ability to affect our health, positively or negatively, via our mind. One such study conducted by Dr. Ironson found that a patient’s view of God (a punishing God vs. a benevolent God) could be used as a predictor of how fast HIV progressed in the patient’s body, essentially linking spirituality/beliefs and the immune system.
At this point in the book, readers may begin to wonder how to go about altering their own genes to improve their overall health and well-being. Dawson addresses this in detail by citing findings from more research and studies on the impact of psychology, prayer, meditation, visualization, and altruistic/volunteer work. It is overwhelmingly evident that health is not one-dimensional; in fact, leading-edge science dovetails with mind-body medicine and spiritual principles.
In Chapter 15, Dawson outlines 10 principles for treatment. I was compelled to translate what these mean in tangible terms for myself as an EFT practitioner.
1. Intentions first, outcomes second.
Dawson describes the tendency to look for an end result when determining and/or applying a particular treatment. This principle reminds me as a practitioner to practice non-attachment to what I believe may be the optimal outcome for clients and to ensure sessions are client led, allowing them to have their own insights
My intention is to trust that healing is a journey, not a destination.
2. Healing is a process, not an event.
Physical, mental, and spiritual well-being is not a linear process. Dawson states healing involves day-by-day commitment to lifestyle changes rather than a definitive event that “fixes” or resolves issues. He uses the example that going to church on a holiday (e.g., Easter) is an event, however, daily prayer “is a process that enfolds every event of the day.”
My intention is to support my clients to explore and apply practices and daily decisions that resonate with them as they move through the process of healing. I intend to honor each stage in the journey and stay out of judgment regarding the time frame and choices.
This principle challenged me initially as Dawson asks the question “Are you in love with your doctor?” I found, however, that rather than being a passage on ethics and boundaries, this principle speaks of the power of encouraging a heart-to-heart connection with clients.
My intention is to meet each client where they are, hold space for self-realization, and ensure each interaction is a quality connection that promotes trust and respect.
Every aspect of our lives contributes to our overall well-being: our relationships with friends and family, how we feel about our job, the thoughts we hold about ourselves.
My intention is to consider each client holistically, not focusing exclusively on physical/medical problems or on emotional/mental issues.
5. Treat whole systems.
Dawson states, “When we affect any part of an energy system, we affect the whole.” I liken this to a spider web; it is impossible to touch one strand without the vibration moving through the entire structure.
I intend to be a detective and explore client issues from all angles, consider a broad range of strategies and options and continuously review how these affect not only the client, but the energy system of which the client is also a part.
6. Healing before disease.
This principle refers to the concept that “prevention is better than cure.” When people are robust, in balance, and resilient, it is more difficult for disease and illness to take up residence.
My intention is to equip my clients with strategies that empower them, not only to manage challenges and symptoms when they occur, but also to integrate in their lives as habitual those practices that promote ongoing wellness.
7. Magnify the body’s inherent self-healing powers.
Dawson refers to the state of balance that each and every living being is capable of drawing from internal resources to promote well-being. This can occur by highlighting the abilities clients already possess that they may not be using to their full potential and increasing their skill in managing their own health.
I intend to use a solution-focused approach whereby the client’s existing strengths and successes are utilized in the healing process. My intention is to collaborate with my clients so that they are empowered and responsible for their own health.
8. Stream to appropriate treatment paths.
There is never only one right approach and rejecting either conventional or alternative medicine may result in a less effective solution and healing process.
My intention is to ensure I have personal experience with a broad range of both conventional and alternative practitioners that I am able to refer my clients to with confidence where required.
9. Revisioning death.
The story Dawson tells to illustrate that illness and death can be a growing, healing, and learning experience was timely as I had a funeral to attend the day after reading this. I had not previously considered dying as a healing and this new awareness and my subsequent change of perspective has allowed me a more balanced view and less attachment to the idea that energy therapies are a means to “escape death.”
My intention is to be conscious of any attachment I have (and that my ego has) to “healing” clients and the belief that success equals perfect health and well-being. I will respect the process and trust that overcoming death may not be the optimal outcome.
10. Understand the global context of healing.
This principle brings into question the impact of current medical practices on our resources and environment, as well as economic considerations.
As EFT is a client-led approach that clients can administer for themselves, I intend to support the education and empowerment for my clients to learn and practice these techniques so they have access to them outside of my services where appropriate and required.
After considering these principles and how they apply to me in my role as an EFT practitioner, I started to wonder: Where to next? How can epigenetics change society and future generations?
In the final pages of this book, Dawson provides a potential answer:
The changes in our bodies produced by consciousness reveal the most potent tool for healing we have ever discovered. To a culture accustomed to looking for solutions “out there,” it seems inconceivable that the answers might lie within. Yet scientific research, the very method we use to study the world “out there,” now boomerangs back at us, pointing us to a much more challenging frontier. It reveals that the world “out there” is influenced by every shift we produce “in here.” The stack of research piles higher every year. It shouts to us that the tools of our own consciousness—faith, prayer, optimism, belief, vision, charity, energy—hold promises of health, longevity, and peak performance that the interventions “out there” are hard-pressed to match.
In short, the answer lies within.