Dr. Mario Martinez’ work has been mentioned to me three times in three weeks. Bringing science to bear on what we already know to be true in our hearts, he is teaching us how to organize ourselves emotionally to heal our bodies physiologically. These concepts are informing my teaching, my ways of relating to my family, and my ways of seeing. Presenting fellow Sounds True author, Dr. Mario Martinez, who’s just released his latest book, Mind Body Code.
What moved you to begin relating cultural patterns to systemic issues within the body?
When I started studying healthy centenarians worldwide and found that their cultural beliefs are more important contributors to their longevity than their genes. I am the proponent of a new model for the immune system: Rather than a protector against pathogens, the immune system confirms the cultural beliefs you assimilate to interact with the world. For example, shaming causes inflammation. Women in Bolivia call their menopausal hot flashes “bochorno” (shame in Spanish). They have more inflammation, osteoporosis, and decreased self-esteem than Japanese women who refer to menopause as “their second spring.”
If someone is committed to healing, how long does it typically take to shift the physiology to see biological endpoint changes such as a decrease in inflammatory markers?
It depends on the illness and the person’s cultural beliefs. We’re now working with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia patients to teach them how to access honor mindfulness. Shame seems to be one of the triggers for inflammatory gene expression. In my clinical work I have found that honor has an anti-inflammatory effect. But I caution that this work should always be explored with the supervision of healthcare professionals.
Can you name the top 3 specific nutrition and lifestyle/movement interventions to help facilitate these changes particularly in stress-related chronic inflammation?
Reduce or eliminate sugar and refined carbohydrates from your diets, learn relaxation or contemplative techniques (meditation etc.) and learn to forgive at the mindbody level. Additionally, it’s important to identify and resolve what I call archetypal wounds: shame, abandonment, and betrayal with the biocognitive healing fields of honor, commitment, and loyalty.
What is the biggest obstacle individuals face that hold them back from transformation/evolution?
Their own patterns of helplessness learned by cultural editors who taught them limitations “for their own good.” Once you break from the cultural shackles, you need to create or find subcultures of wellness that support your commitment to wellness and personal worthiness. You’re worth more than what you were lead to believe.
What are you studying now?
How the subjective perception of time affects longevity. We have an objective duration of time measured by clocks, and a subjective duration of time measured by our internal clock in the hypothalamus. Our biology responds more to the internal than the external. This will be one of the topics for my next book.