Diana Burns | November 23, 2017
Words are powerful. What we read, hear, and say influences how we behave and how we feel. But few of us know how to harness the power of words, both spoken and unspoken, to help us overcome pain or other problems. And most of us have no idea how much everything we think and do influences what we feel and how we live — or what to do to change that.
At Write, we’re fascinated by the power of words, in all their forms. So we jumped at the chance to host a session with a visiting British osteopath, health psychology researcher, and personal development expert, Phil Parker. Phil has pioneered a life-changing way to use words and thoughts to change damaging entrenched patterns. His technique is called the Lightning Process.
Phil was studying to be an osteopath, with dreams of becoming a rock superstar, when he severely damaged his arm. He was told he’d never play the guitar again, but he refused to believe it. So determined was he to get well, he listened only to the one person who said he’d recover. And he did, by finding a way to trigger different neural pathways in his brain, then training himself to make those pathways strong.
That set Phil on a path of research and academic study, and led him to design the Lightning Process.
People used to believe that the brain couldn’t radically change itself. But neuroscience has established that our brains are ‘plastic’ — able to adapt and learn in surprising ways. Our brains learn by creating neural pathways. The more we think something, the more we say something, the stronger that neural pathway will become. And the neural pathways we use less will weaken.
‘It’s a dramatic example of use it or lose it,’ says Phil. ‘Our brains are efficient, and create shortcuts. But if the paths and shortcuts we’ve created are harming us, we need to learn how to change them. The brain is like our muscles. The more we use them, the stronger they get.’
The Lightning Process is firmly based in science. It’s not a magic formula, but a learned technique based on principles of neuroscience, neuro-linguistic programming, and osteopathy. It equips you to take charge of your neural pathways to improve your health and well-being.
‘We know that pain is always processed in the brain, no matter where in the body a person feels it,’ says Phil. ‘The Lightning Process helps people learn how to restore healthier patterns that have been disrupted. It lets people access the connection between their mind, brain, and their body at will.’
Phil has many stories of the success of the Lightning Process. Hannah suffered from such extreme chronic fatigue that she had been in hospital for 5 months, barely able to move. Three days after learning the Lightning Process, she returned her walking frame, and was able to move so freely that hospital staff didn’t recognise her.
In a study of over 1,200 clients, 81 percent improved significantly after taking part in the Lightning Process. A recent study published in the British Medical Journal concluded that ‘the Lightning Process is effective’.
Clients tend to be people who have tried everything to fix their problem. Chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, anxiety disorders, ME, and depression are some of the conditions that have improved after people learn and apply the technique. But it has the potential to help almost any deep-seated problem, he says, because the brain has an influence on all body systems. So working on the brain’s patterns can have wide-reaching effects.
‘Words link to states of mind, and to how the body responds. To change your state, you need to learn how to channel heath-boosting, helpful thoughts. A good start is to slow your thoughts down — to breathe and speak more slowly.’
The internal conversations we have with ourselves are so powerful they can even override logic and facts, often to our detriment. ‘We teach people how to trigger more useful ways of thinking, and create more helpful neural pathways by coaching themselves, as if they were talking to another person. For most of us, if we talked to other people the tough way we talk to ourselves, we’d have no friends!’
The Lightning Process has now spread to 12 countries, including New Zealand.