Learning More About the Body’s Innate Intelligence

Learning More About the Body’s Innate Intelligence

Dr Joe Dispenza | 20 June 2023

At our recent retreat in Denver, Colorado, Dr. Hemal Patel – Professor and Vice Chair for Research in the Anesthesiology Department at UC San Diego – shared some early scientific findings with our community.

As I watched and listened to Hemal’s presentation, I knew you would want to hear about it, too – because, though these findings are preliminary, what we’re learning points to some exciting possibilities in an area of need for many people: pain relief.


What’s Possible in Seven Days

When Hemal and his team reviewed a data subset from our massive QUANTUM (QUest to ANalyze a Thousand hUmans Meditating) study, they noticed several participants had something in common. Regardless of their ailment or illness, many indicated some level of pain as a primary symptom before the beginning of the retreat (where the study was taking place).

Now, this isn't surprising when the condition in question is cancer or osteoarthritis (for example). But pain also featured prominently in the profiles of those suffering from anxiety and depression … hypertension … allergies … and many other maladies.

And something even more unusual caught our attention as we studied the data. In survey results provided after attending one of our Week Long Advanced Retreats, study participants reported a significant decrease in pain – regardless of their disease or condition.

Our scientists began to form a theory. Were these study participants, during roughly 35 hours of meditation in the course of a seven-day retreat, naturally elevating their opioid levels?


Equipped to Receive

To understand the direction our research goes in from here, I’m going to ask you to bear with me for a breakdown of some terms and ideas.

We’re working with the premise that meditators who experience pain relief during a retreat are naturally manufacturing compounds that create that effect. Most of us are familiar with pain-relieving compounds only in their common, human-made, pharmaceutical forms – morphine, fentanyl, and buprenorphine, to name a few.

Now, in those manufactured forms, the only way to deliver those compounds to our system is exogenously, meaning: we take an external substance – in this case, a drug – to achieve an internal effect of reducing pain.

But here’s the thing. Those compounds would never have been created if our bodies weren’t equipped to respond to them.

And this is where another complicated-sounding term comes into play: G-protein-coupled receptors. We’ll call them GPCRs for short. Just as their name suggests, GPCRs are built in to the cell membrane to receive a compound specially made to bind to them. So, for example, when an opioid compound targets an opioid GPCR, it will bind to it and cause a reaction.

The unique thing about these G-protein-coupled receptors is, in order for a scientist to name a receptor, they have to first identify a ligand – a molecule that binds to another molecule; made by the body to bind to this receptor specifically. So, instead of that molecule coming from outside the body – exogenously – it’s created naturally within the body – endogenously.

Let me put it another way. Long before any human manufactured morphine, or fentanyl, or buprenorphine in a laboratory, the body naturally made B-endorphin, enkephalin, and dynorphin – the endogenous (internal) equivalent to those exogenous (external) substances. And that has to be true – because for those GPCRs to be named – and exist at all – it means there has to be a corresponding molecule that fits into them; one the body can produce naturally.

There is a prevailing principle in biology: If you don’t use it, you lose it. And so, the question is: Why are these receptors there?

This indicates that, for every drug we’ve created to bind to a GPCR, there is an endogenous compound that will do the exact same thing. The fact that the receptor is there on the cell – innately programmed; prepackaged in our biology – suggests there’s a high probability of the body manufacturing something that should fit into that receptor and do the same thing the exogenous substance is doing.


The Body’s Innate Intelligence

Seeing the survey responses regarding pain relief in our study participants, our research team set out to determine what pharmacology is being created by the body – and if we can start measuring it in the blood of our meditators.

In other words, we’re looking for something made within the body that would be the same signaling molecule as the exogenous substances we take. To begin to explore this theory, we decided to extract a very small sample – 20 people – from another study we began early last year.

IMAGINE (Integrating MAGnetic Imaging with rich pheNotypE) was our first study where we captured data using fMRI, EEG, biometrics, blood, and health surveys. As Hemal says, “We’re describing these 20 individuals in excruciating detail.” Though we’re working with a very small group, the thorough samples they provided gave us an excellent opportunity to see if there was a detectable difference in opioid levels in their blood at the end of a retreat.

The first molecule we looked at was B-endorphin; our body’s natural equivalent to morphine. When we looked at that across all subjects, pre-retreat to post-retreat, B-endorphin was elevated at the end of the week. We were on to something.

Next, we looked at dynorphin, which is the body’s endogenous equivalent of buprenorphine, another powerful opioid. Once again, in all subjects, dynorphin was elevated by the end of the week. And not just elevated; the concentration was so high, we had to determine a way to work with the samples in the lab so we could measure the amounts.

What we think this means is: the body is not only capable of manufacturing these compounds to fit their intended receptors, but somehow, with its innate intelligence, the body knows how much to create to achieve the desired effect. That’s big.


Where Do We Go From Here?

I want to state again, these are very early findings from a very small sample. And yet, within that sample, 100 percent of the subjects (people self-identifying as having many different ailments and diseases; all of them suffering pain as a result) demonstrated an elevation in these endogenous opioids after a single intervention – one week-long retreat. Every one of them had elevated opioid levels – and reduced pain.

This is statistically significant; almost unheard of. There have never been percentages like these in a standard drug trial.

So many areas of potential study stem from these exciting preliminary results. Here are just some of the things our research team is considering:

  • If we can determine how to signal the body’s ability to elevate opioid levels naturally, and when to turn those “switches” on and off, what could that mean regarding pain relief and addiction treatment?

  • Are there correlations between the level of mystical experience a meditator has during a retreat, or while experiencing sustained brain wave states – and the amount of “feel-good” chemicals they produce? Not limited only to opioids, but also compounds that mimic the effects of psychedelics like psilocybin … and others that counter stress responses?

  • Will we find a correlation between what happens in the minds and bodies of healers (those transmitting healing energy) and healees (those receiving the healing) during our Coherence Healing™ sessions – and elevated levels of those same “feel-good” compounds?

  • Given what’s already established about the heart’s natural ability to produce opioids, and the mitigating effect of opioids on the pathologically hypertrophic (an unhealthy enlargement of the organ) effect of heart disease, could this work lead to another avenue of treating heart disease?

There are so many exciting possibilities … and we’ll continue to pursue them with our ongoing studies. Stay tuned for future updates from our research team.

One thing that strikes me, as we continue to parse our massive collection of data and analyze the results: we’re never disappointed. When we study the effects of our meditations on this community, we’re constantly surprised by our findings – and often thrilled – but they never let us down.

As we uncover more of the mind-body mystery, we peel back layer after layer of reality as we know it. The more we learn … the more dimensions we discover behind what our senses perceive … the more we realize about our unlimited potential to create – and heal.