A Brief Neurological/Functional Review of BSW © Neurokinesis Hand Technique, BSW © Laughter Technique and BSW ©, for a Study of this New Approach to Solving PTSD and Suicide.
Dr Jill S Moncilovich,
PhD, OTR [ret]
This is a review from a neurological perspective and clinical experience perspective of a closed study performed from July to October 2016.
PTSD should not be and is in the process of being declassified as a mental illness. Nanotechnology has demonstrated that the brain and not the thinking, rationalizing mind is where the PTSD symptoms originate and become a cyclic loop. PTSD is nothing more than a normal person reacting to a very abnormal situation or series of events. This intervention is non-disclosure since the actual revealing of specific events/memory details are discouraged. The rehashing of “the story” only reinforces the cyclic loop. Therefore, the focus of this intervention is on the neurological intervention that affects the physical/behavior of the participants.
Many people participating in this study as coaches were actually students of the BSW© Neurokinesis Hand Technique, BSW© Laughter Technique and BSW© intervention [not paid staff]. The non-students were all volunteer participants. Therefore, all people participating as clients were volunteers with a willingness to learn how to control reactions to negative experiences [i.e. PTSD and Trauma events]. These people who participated as clients were given only one session composed of BSW© Laughing Technique, BSW© Neurokinesis Hand Technique and BSW© Suicide Prevention Technique training. Participants were required to participate in the 5-Question for 28 Days Survey for the student coaches to receive certification.
Participants also needed to agree to use the BSW© Laughing Technique and BSW© Neurokinesis Hand Technique at least 3 times a day They also needed to affirm that they would be willing to refrain from using any other mind/body technique so that information collected in the study would not be confounded by other interventions.
The purpose of the study is to determine if there is a significant reduction of trauma symptoms from the use of this BSW© Intervention. Taking a closer look, the study sought to determine if the brain could be imprinted to release these emotions and actions without involving the mind. Also, was self-administered use of these techniques sufficient to make a difference, or was continued work with a Coach required to make any significant difference in a person’s symptoms of anxiety and PTSD? It must be noted that the respondents had only one coaching session then repeated the questionnaire for 28 days.
The Summary of the Study Results:
The creator of the study designed the questions to relate to the major symptomatic impacts of PTSD.
According to the National Center for PTSD, these symptoms include: disturbed sleep [restless, sleepless or nightmares], anxiety/panic attacks, event flashbacks, unexplained mood swings with rage, muscle spasms [tics], and depression/guilt. The study is composed of 5 questions that were to be answered daily [at the same time of day] by the participants for 28 days. The responses were not reviewed by the creators of this study, developers of the intervention [BSW © Staff] or the participating coaches but kept unopened to be sent to independent research evaluators. Neither Coaches or BSW © Staff had access to the questionnaire responses during or after the completion of the study. The compiling of the information from this evaluation included 47,855 reports submitted online and 12,145 manual reports [those without computers mailed their responses]. Over 1,000 coaches participated in this world-wide study.
Questions Used in Study:
Question 1: “Do you have anxiety about having symptoms of PTSD right now? The scoring was: 0-no symptoms, 3-some discomfort with anxiety, 5-very anxious. There were no responses to this first question at any time of the study. It is possible that respondents did not wish to acknowledge their anxiety openly or were not consciously aware of the effects of anxiety on their lives. Another possibility could have been a computer glitch.
Question 2: “How well did you sleep last night?” The scoring was: 0-unable to sleep majority of night, 3-disturbed enough to bother you today, 5-had great sleep. Purpose of this was to measure any changes in quality of sleep during the 28 days of reporting. Average improvement was 68.6%. Extended times of sleep deprivation contribute to 89.1% of suicides. Sleep is a healing time and a time where the brain function recovers from some of the stress. Sleep or lack of it is an indication of the amount of brain stimulation as will be discussed below in background of neurology section.
Question 3: “How much do you appreciate learning to do the Neurokinesis Hand Technique?” The scoring was: 0-you don’t think it helps, 3-helps you more than expected, 5-it has changed your life for the better and more than you thought possible. Purpose of this question was to measure perception of effectiveness of the technique. Average improvement was 69%.
Question 4: “How much does your family or friends think you have improved since you started using the Neurokinesis Hand Technique?” The scoring was: 0-they don’t think it has helped, 3- they tell you they know it has helped, 5-they voluntarily tell others how much it has changed your and their life for the better. Positive changes to some degree were observed and reported by the majority of participants. Positive result average was 35.2%. The responses depended on the participant actually telling friends and family they were doing something different to manage their symptoms and/or asking friends and family if they noted any differences in them.
Question 5: “How well have you done at remembering to use the Neurokinesis Hand Technique the second you need to?” The scoring was: 0-you do not practice or use it at all, 3-you only remember to use it when you are very anxious or fearful, 5-you voluntarily practice using it daily and choose to use it the second you feel unsafe, ashamed, uncomfortable, or anxious about the return of the PTSD symptoms or events. Purpose was to determine use of technique and perceived effectiveness. 65.3% of the participants indicated the techniques were very helpful with increasing their mood and mental state and that they were using them.
Comments Section: It was interesting to note that many participants commented that they really did not believe the intervention would work because it was “too simple” or thought they needed many visits with a coach to make any difference at all. But, their scoring showed that the intervention did make significant improvements for them. Participants also volunteered other information about frequency of technique use, and positive details about symptom relief voluntarily.
Background on Neurology:
The mind is what is addressed in traditional talk therapy, which can take years to make a difference in the PTSD/Trauma symptoms and behaviors and frequently is used in conjunction with pharmaceuticals. It has taken time and development of nanotechnology to show that PTSD is not a mental illness but a brain reaction to an event or an accumulation of events that result in symptomatic behavioral changes. PTSD/Trauma symptoms include anxiety/panic, depression, disturbed sleep, event flashbacks, unexplained mood swings with rage, muscle spasms [tics], and depression/guilt [according to the National Center for PTSD]. These symptoms are reflected in behaviors and sleep issues of nightmares, wakefulness and agitation/rage. These symptoms become a behavioral loop of repetition in the brain which can be interrupted and reprogrammed with this intervention.
Mind vs Brain Functions:
While the mind looks for a cause or causative effect related to global experiences. The brain looks at how to survive right NOW. This survival focused brain causes repeat of behaviors that resulted in a person’s survival of a similar incident or a perceived similar incident in the past so that it will survive again. The brain sees threat from a source [“memory” or “muscle memory” or physical threat in the now] as a real threat right now. If the threat is right now, certain behaviors will be automatically elicited by the brain to enable survival without conscious thought or decision of the individual. The problem is that if the source of the threat is in “memory” or “muscle memory” and not in the actual physical world the same or similar behaviors occur as if it were a physical threat right now. The goal of this intervention is to decrease negative sensations and the resulting reactions. It is important to note that this intervention does not remove the memory. It mitigates the automatic reaction/response to that memory or source.
To better understand the brain function we need to look at a summary of sensations and memory building in the brain.
The sensory organs include: eyes, ears [sounds and balance awareness], nose [olfactory organs in the nose for smell], skin [touch, pain, temperature] and tongue [gustation or taste] we gather components of the physical world to create memories. These sensory inputs are transmitted to the cerebral cortex which sends impressions to sensation centers of the brain and memory centers of the brain and personality centers of the brain. All of these centers are interconnected like a web.
These impressions are transmitted to the hypothallus [a relay station for impressions] that secretes hormones to various organs of the autonomic nervous system ant through those to voluntary muscles. This results in both the parasympathetic [not voluntary] and sympathetic [voluntary] reactions to stimuli. These reactions are transmitted in the Descending Reticular Formation [located in the brain stem] to levels in the spine for response. The counterpart to the Descending Reticular Formation is the Ascending Reticular Formation system [also located in the brain stem]. This Ascending Reticular Formation is responsible for varied degrees of consciousness and sleep. The ascending Reticular Formation sends information to the Thalamus [which functions as a relay center for impression]. These impressions are then sent to the cerebral cortex where those impressions or messages influence states of mental alertness and sleep. It has been shown that an EEG wave pattern changes when in an alert vs sleep state. So sleep depends on the number of stimuli reaching the cerebral cortex via the Ascending Reticular Formation.
This is a very long way around to say that decreasing stimulation from various sensory systems into the reticular nuclei will decrease the amount of stimulation to the thalamic midline nuclei and decrease stimulation to the cerebral cortex. This will result in decreased alertness and increased relaxation/sleep. The reverse is also true. The reaction to stipule from the body or a memory is responded to by the brain. The brain so stimulated is activated to alertness. The brain controls the behaviors needed to survive by overriding all other activities and promotes survival actions/behaviors.
All symptoms of PTSD will create stimuli to the cerebral cortex which will increase alertness and decrease sleep. The issue is that the brain does not recognize that the PTSD stimuli/symptoms are NOT actual threats in the here and now, but the brain forces the body into alertness and reaction as if it were in the here and now.
For this intervention to work the automatic reactions and responses to the memory must be suppressed/cleared. The memory is not removed only the reaction to it. My clients have reported that looking at these “old negative memories” are just perceived as neutral events – meaning they had no negative behavioral urges when seeing these memories. They said they knew what had happened, but the remembering did not get them emotionally or physically activated. The BSW© Laughing Technique sets the stage for success by increasing the “feel good” chemicals in the brain [endorphins]. Then the BSW© Neurokinesis Hand Technique is utilized to address the emotions, feelings, reactions to a memory and neutralize them. The BSW© Neurokinesis Hand Technique utilizes hand motions that relate to reflexology and acupressure points in the hand. Acupuncture, performed by a trained physician has been shown to alleviate some PTSD symptoms. So, this study was to determine if the self-administered BSW© Neurokinesis Hand Technique [self-reflexology or acupressure] could make a significant difference in symptomatology.
My Observations during interventions with clients:
While I was teaching the BSW© Neurokinesis hand technique I observed nearly all of my participants moved their eyes, like they were searching for information, and moved their hands. The hand movements as they were choosing a memory to work with were as if they were uncovering, sweeping something aside or checking something off on a list. Very interesting to observe.
While they were using the BSW © Neurokinesis Hand Technique while listening to me read/recite the script, I noticed tension in the faces changing. There was some degree of tension in all client/participant’s faces that changed from some level of distress to calmness to puzzled [what happened] to relief expressions. It was beautiful and very interesting to watch them as they worked the technique. Every client expressed a decrease in the effect the memory had on them after the intervention. This does correlate with the responses to Questions 3, 4 and 5 of the study.
Through review of the responses to the questions in the survey, this is an intervention that does make a difference in the interference reduction of PTSD/Trauma symptoms in people’s lives in a relatively brief time. As a coach administering the intervention I was impressed with the universal response of increased calmness, relief that was physically noticed during the intervention. Since the intervention techniques are taught to the clients they are able to utilize them as needed to gain more control and function with less interference from the symptoms. But, “practice does make perfect” and the more a client actually utilizes the techniques taught during the intervention the more benefit perceived/reported. It takes many repetitions of a motor learning activity [think typing] to become automatic and so repetitive use of the techniques will make this activity more automatic as the brain will promote utilizing this activity first rather than the symptomatic reaction approach. The brain’s function is to make you survive and it will search out the best course of action towards this goal. If the threat is not physically in the here and now, the brain will choose the intervention tools as the effective way of maintaining life and function.
I found it very interesting to note that all the coaches participating in the study were students of the program using scripts that resulted in consistent positive responses across all the participants to the intervention. Meaning that the coaches do not have to have years and years of training to use these techniques to make a difference. Practice does increase effectiveness f coaches, but vast experience is not the only criteria for effective intervention. What is vital is an excellent protocol, which is what these participating coaches had. And this protocol does NOT include the use of any pharmaceuticals which may have undesirable side effects.
This study had a large number of entries in the study: over 60,000. Large number of entries increases the validity of a study. The larger number of entries and participants the greater probability that there will be a 95% level of confidence that the findings will correlate with true population averages [this means only 5% chance of error in correlation to the general population.]
This study just begins to touch the implications of working with the brain rather than the mind to intervene in the PTSD/Trauma behavioral loop. I believe further study is warranted with additional participants and a few modifications to the study to include things like participants age, sex and gender. Is a participant at the age range of adolescence and young adulthood, which is the time of crucial identity formation where their memories are related to life-shaping decisions? Or is the older participant looking back to this time for guidance from experience? If the traumatic event occurred in the identity formation stage of life it could be more deeply rooted. Also knowing the sex of the participant would allow for examination of any differences in responses to trauma and the intervention are significant.
This study has shown to be of benefit to the participants [clients]. Therefore relating to Question 4 of the study there is an additional question well worth studying. I believe that would be to include intervention training for family and those close to the individual to determine potential additional benefits of a wider circle of assistance.
From my own experiencing using the intervention and the comments provided ty the participants of the study it is quite evident that the intervention has great potential to make a significant difference in the treatment of anxiety, depression and PTSD symptoms. This intervention also shows potential to alleviate symptomatic responses for the families of those affected by these symptoms and needs to be investigated.