This was a term that was not really on my radar until very recently. Sure, I had encountered in the past and had some vague ideas about its relationship to health, but it was pretty far down the list of things to think about.
Thanks to a fortuitous encounter with Rhonda Wilbur, acupuncturist and PhD candidate in Integrative Biomedical Sciences, that changed very recently. (Here is a study she co-authored titled,
She is researching the relationship of the human microbiome on immunology and psychoimmunology. She had read Taijiquan: Through the Western Gate and was particularly interested in the effect of energetic coherence on health. Her excitement about the microbiome was infectious.
This PBS animated video is a great introduction to the human microbiome:
The microbiome varies widely from location to location, person to person, even from your left hand to your right. There are an estimated THREE TO TEN TIMES more “non-human” cells in our body than those that are characteristically “human.” These are the human microbiota, microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc. The human microbiome refers to the genes harbored by these cells, and there is up to a HUNDRED TIMES more “non-human” DNA than “human.” According to Defining the Human Microbiome, the terms microbiota and microbiome are often used interchangeably. “The diversity among the microbiome of individuals is immense compared to genomic variation: individual humans are about 99.9% identical to one another in terms of their host genome, but can be 80-90% different from one another in terms of the microbiome of their hand or gut.”
Recent research suggests that the human microbiome
- Is like a “second brain,” affecting inflammation, mood, metabolism, cravings.
- Imbalance may result in type 2 diabetes, depression, anxiety, immune deficits, and even cancer
- May be adversely affected by some foods and environmental factors, including sugar, GMOs, pesticides, pharmaceutical drugs, and others
- May be restored by increasing benign intestinal flora.
Each of these microbiota…trillions of them…are living creatures with their own survival impulses…and their own energy patterns. The information they generate is unconscious, but we do feel its effects even if we don’t recognize the source. When our diet, environment, and ingestion of antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals disrupt this delicate ecosystem, then the message we hear will be spoken in the language of poor health, disease, and mental unrest.
And the energy will be decidedly noncoherent.
Can Increased Body-Mind Integration Affect the Human Microbiome?
In Taijiquan: Through the Western Gate I wrote about the effect of enhancing our energetic coherence, even a little. It creates a state of body-mind integration, wholeness, which is felt as effortless power, relaxation of muscular tension, clarity of mind, and peace. Previously, I wrote about Exporting Coherence and how we can affect others through our own enhanced coherence. It can also be easily demonstrated how enhanced coherence instantly and dramatically creates an energetic connection with the earth, called rooting in taijiquan. (My hypothesis is that greater wholeness in your physical body allows for greater resonance with other wholenesses, in this case the earth and its energy field.)
The science of the human microbiome is in its infancy and it may be decades for a clear picture to emerge. But that doesn’t stop us from observing effects now. As a polarity therapist I get to work with clients presenting a wide array of difficulties and get to see the effects, sometimes immediately, of enhanced energetic coherence.
Polarity doesn’t target symptoms directly; they are seen as warning signs from the body-mind that something is out of whack, like the “Check Engine” light on your car’s dashboard. But, like the “Rising tide that lifts all boats,” symptoms abate or disappear when the energy of the body-mind becomes more coherent. Even though your intention is not to “cure,” you can’t help notice the improvement in conditions like fibramyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, colitis, anxiety, insomnia, and many more.
Similar results can be noted in regular practice of taijiquan. Conditions improve. Could it be that enhancing energetic coherence on a regular basis gets our “second brain” aligned with the rest of the body-mind, thereby creating better mental and physical health? Certainly, awareness of this vast, unconscious inner world of living creatures demands that we get to know it better. And treat it a little nicer.
After all, our bodies are mostly microbe.