The DNA of Everything Blog



    Anxiety is an extremely common problem, with one in seven Australians currently experiencing an anxiety condition. According to Beyond Blue, one quarter of Australians will experience an anxiety condition in their lifetime, while 26.3% of Australians aged 16 to 85 have experienced an anxiety disorder to date.[1] This is equivalent to 4.96 million people having experienced an anxiety disorder in the last 12 months, or 2.71 million people with anxiety right now.[2]

    Anxiety is so widespread that it is the most common mental disorder worldwide.

    This week we’ve been exploring natural remedies for anxiety, including those recommended by the ancient practice of Ayurveda, specifically the role excessive Vata dosha has on anxiety, and the need for grounding to bring consciousness back into the whole body.

    7 Essential Tips to for Anxiety

    Unlike pharmaceutical drugs, an Ayurvedic approach will include looking at your whole life to reduce imbalance and bring energy out of your head and back into your body that may include:

    1.     Diet: Avoiding sugary foods, take-away, junk foods like soda and I hate to say it - chocolate - as these foods can be overstimulating. Increasegrounding,warm, moist, less oily foods, like, hot cereals (porridge), dairy products, bread and pasta or their gluten-free or vegan equivalents like almond milk and oats

    2.     Structure: Staying warm, taking a hot bath with aromatic oils, and avoiding distracting or busy music, stressful work or study zones, or entertainment like violent programs or gaming. Create a sanctuary for yourself where you can control your environment

    3.     MindfulnessUse mindfulness techniques, meditation or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, listen to grounding music or guided meditation tracks, learn breathing techniques to help eliminate the use of stimulants like nicotine, coffee, energy drinks, illicit drugs etc.

    4.     Sleep: Keeping a regular sleep cycle in tune with your natural circadian rhythm, going to bed before 11pm and waking before 8am. Develop a wind-down routine to eliminate stressful activities like answering work emails or browsing social media at least an hour before bed-time, keep your sleep area free of blue light

    5.     Nature:Spending time in nature to ground your energy, get your toes into the sand or dirt, create a small garden, talk to your plants, sit on a rock in the sun, hug a tree or look at pictures of nature

    6.     Exercise:Undertaking exercise that grounds, strengthens and warms, hot yoga, weight training or hot pilates

    7.     Essential Oils: Supplementing with plant-based remedies like essential oils that include concentrates of grounding ingredients including cinnamon, cumin, ginger, nutmeg, rock salt, sesame seeds, anise, citrus, lavender as either aromatics or ingestibles have been shown to support the parasympathetic nervous system to relax, reducing anxiety and stress

    So far we have explored the role of Essential Oils and Exercise in the management of anxiety. If you missed these, you can find them here:

    Essential Oils:


    Today our topic is the wonderful benefit time in nature can provide to reduce our stress and anxiety.

    Natural wellness treatments and lifestyle routines for anxiety

    Tip Number 5 - Nature

    Spending time in green space or bringing nature into your everyday life can benefit both your mental and physical well being. For example, doing things like growing food or flowers, exercising outdoors or being around animals can have lots of positive effects.[3] It can:

    • improve your mood - even a short time in nature can improve mood according to researchers
    • reduce feelings of stress or anger , the simple act of being outside in nature has been shown to reduce stress
    • help you take time out and feel more relaxed by switching off devices
    • improve your physical health through exposure to fresh air and movement
    • improve your confidence and self-esteem as it takes you focus off your problems
    • help you be more active, just through the process of getting outside
    • help you make new connections by getting you out of your house
    • provide peer support, through accessing a safe space where you feel accepted and understood

    People “…are at higher risk for mood disorders as they age, from dealing with sudden life changes like health issues, the loss of loved ones, and even the new world of retirement," says Dr. Jason Strauss, director of geriatric psychiatry at Harvard-affiliated Cambridge Health Alliance. "They may not want to turn to medication or therapy for help, and for many, interacting with nature is one of the best self-improvement tools they can use."[4] But it’s not just people in mid-life and retirement who benefit from nature. Anybody who is couped up in an office (whether at home or in a town or city) can benefit just as much from spending time out-doors.

    Time in nature is grounding and inherently harmonizing. Try to put your bare feet on the earth, in the sand, or touch a tree for at least a few minutes (or much longer) every day. Get into wild nature at least once a week for a walk, hike, swim or picnic if your anxiety is severe. The restorative role of nature is a part of ancient Ayurveda, and it is also backed by science![5]

    Spending time in nature can act as a balm for our busy brains. Both correlational and experimental research have shown that interacting with nature has cognitive benefits—a topic University of Chicago psychologist Marc Berman, PhD, and his student Kathryn Schertz explored in a 2019 review. They reported that green spaces near schools promote cognitive development in children and green views near children’s homes promote self-control behaviours.[6]

    Adults assigned to public housing units in neighbourhoods with more green space showed better attentional functioning than those assigned to units with less access to natural environments. And experiments have found that being exposed to natural environments improves working memory, cognitive flexibility and attentional control, while exposure to urban environments is linked to attention deficits.[7]

    Here are some top ideas for spending time in nature:

    • grow or pick food – either your own garden, a community garden or with a foraging group
    • bring nature inside – create an internal green space with pot-plants or a terrarium, the process of caring for them will provide time-out from screen-based activities
    • do activities outdoors – meditate, picnic, walk the dog, walk on the beach, do tai chi or yoga, swim, row, kayak or hike
    • help the environment – join a conservation group, plant trees, goplogging, volunteer as a guide at your local botanic gardens
    • connect with animals – volunteer to walk shelter dogs if you don’t have your own, go bird watching, care for rescue animals, or volunteer on a farm

    Experimental findings show how impressive nature’s healing powers can be—just a few moments of green can refresh a tired brain. Australian researchers asked students to engage in a dull, attention-draining task where they pressed a computer key when certain numbers flashed on a screen. Students who looked out at a flowering green roof for 40 seconds midway through the task made significantly fewer mistakes than students who paused for 40 seconds to gaze at a concrete rooftop.[8] 

    Even the sound of nature has a recuperative effect. In a study published in the Psychonomic Bulletin & Review in 2019, researchers found that participants who listened to nature sounds like crickets chirping or waves crashing performed better on demanding cognitive tests than those who were exposed to urban sounds like traffic and the sounds recorded in a busy café.[9]

    In Summary

    Anxiety is a complex problem and, thus, there are no simple solutions. The greatest improvements I have seen come with dedicated effort across multiple dimensions of life. |As a clinical hypnotherapist for over 30 years, I have seen people experience dramatic improvements in their anxiety levels if these suggestions are consistently and diligently practiced. Think: lifestyle change rather than one-time adjustment.

    As Deepak Chopra says, “the journey of self-discovery, taken with an open heart, inevitably leads to healing.”[10]

    At Cephyra® we want you to Be Better, Naturally.

    You’ll see a symbiosis in the symbology and herbology of Ayurveda and Kabbala repeated throughout the Cephyra® Activated Oil™ products, which were designed to help us navigate our way through the challenges of the world and thrive, rather than struggle and just survive.

    My favourite Cephyra® Activated Oils™ for managing anxiety include Sirius™ formulated to take advantage of the well-established anxiolytic properties of Lavender, Bergamot, Chamomile and Lemon Myrtle. This wonderful edible essential oil can be used in combination with Cephyra® Earth™, Cephyra® Moon™ or Cephyra® Mars™, designed to support grounding and to feel safe and strong in your own body.

    To celebrate the release of these products we are offering 20% off store-wide.

    Calm your overstimulated brain with Cephyra® Sirus™:

    Regain your foundation with Cephyra® Moon™:

    Ground yourself with Cephyra® Earth™:

    Tone your nervous system with Cephyra® Mars™:


    Yours in Wellness,

    Elisabetta Faenza

    Cephyra® & LeafCann® CEO and Founder







    [8] (Lee, K.E., et al., Journal of Environmental Psychology, Vol. 42, No. 1, 2015)

    [9] Van Hedger, S.C., et. al., Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, Vol. 26, No. 2, 2019





    Continuing on this week’s wellness theme of Anxiety, today’s tip is all about the benefits exercise can provide to anyone struggling with anxiety, but first let’s recap the 7 Essential Tips for Anxiety


    7 Essential Tips for Anxiety

    Unlike pharmaceutical drugs, an Ayurvedic approach will include looking at your whole life to reduce the Vata imbalance and bring energy out of your head and back into your body that may include:

    1.     Diet: Avoiding sugary foods, take-away, junk foods like soda and I hate to say it - chocolate - as these foods can be overstimulating. Increasegrounding,warm, moist, less oily foods, like, hot cereals (porridge), dairy products, bread and pasta or their gluten-free or vegan equivalents like almond milk and oats

    2.     Structure: Staying warm, taking a hot bath with aromatic oils, and avoiding distracting or busy music, stressful work or study zones, or entertainment like violent programs or gaming. Create a sanctuary for yourself where you can control your environment

    3.     MindfulnessUse mindfulness techniques, meditation or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, listen to grounding music or guided meditation tracks, learn breathing techniques to help eliminate the use of stimulants like nicotine, coffee, energy drinks, illicit drugs etc.

    4.     Sleep: Keeping a regular sleep cycle in tune with your natural circadian rhythm, going to bed before 11pm and waking before 8am. Develop a wind-down routine to eliminate stressful activities like answering work emails or browsing social media at least an hour before bed-time, keep your sleep area free of blue light

    5.     Nature:Spending time in nature to ground your energy, get your toes into the sand or dirt, create a small garden, talk to your plants, sit on a rock in the sun, hug a tree or look at pictures of nature

    6.     Exercise:Undertaking exercise that grounds, strengthens and warms, hot yoga, weight training or hot pilates

    7.     Essential Oils: Supplementing with plant-based remedies like essential oils that include concentrates of grounding ingredients including cinnamon, cumin, ginger, nutmeg, rock salt, sesame seeds, anise, citrus, lavender as either aromatics or ingestibles have been shown to support the parasympathetic nervous system to relax, reducing anxiety and stress

    You may or may not have come across these 7 tips. They work best when used in conjunction with each other, and many of them are common sense.

    Natural wellness treatments and lifestyle routines for anxiety

    Yesterday we focused on contrasting plant-based essential oil natural remedies (tip 7) with pharmaceuticals. Today it’s all about exercise (tip 6).

    Tip 6. Exercise

    Warming exercise is important for anyone with anxiety. Dozens of studies have shown the benefits, but to truly get the most out of exercise to reduce anxiety, remember you must stay warm. No exercising in freezing conditions for you. Ensure you are in an environment that will keep you snug as you exercise, or wear appropriate clothing so the cold doesn’t bite.


    For example, aim to do 15-plus minutes of yoga-type exercise every single day in a warm, comfortable space.Yoga has been proven by multiple good quality scientific studies to be helpful for anxiety.[1]Out of 35 studies looking at the link between yoga and anxiety, 25 of these showed a link between Yoga and improved stress and anxiety outcomes, although the authors note that larger better designed studies are justified.

    Why does yoga work? Well, it is soothing for the nervous system, which is agitated when Vata is out of balance and/or you are anxious.Yoga increases glutathione, a natural antioxidant (helps you look young and radiant, prevents illness, and detoxifies the body).[2]It is also much easier to meditate after doing yoga, so consider doing 10–15 minutes of yoga followed by meditation first thing in the morning (and/or later in the afternoon as a work break, especially if feeling stressed or anxious). I’ll have more guidance on meditation later in the week.

    Weight training

    Several studies have found a positive link between weight training and mental health. Early studies used complicated work-out routines to elicit the benefit, however in recent times it has been shown that even quite simple weight bearing routines can produce significant improvements in anxiety levels.

    A 2018 review of studies,[3] published by JAMA, concluded that adults who lift weights are less likely to develop depression than those who never lift. In another study,published in 2012, women with clinical anxiety disorders reported fewer symptoms after taking up either aerobic or weight training.[4]

    In the latest study, scientists devised a simple resistance training routine, based around health guidelines from the World Health Organization and the American College of Sports Medicine. Both those organizations recommend muscle strengthening at least twice a week, and that’s what the volunteers began doing. After initial instruction from the researchers, the volunteers took up a basic program of lunges, lifts, squats and crunches, sometimes using dumbbells and other equipment.[5]

    While the control group showed no improvement in anxiety symptoms, the weight trainers scored about 20 percent better on the tests of anxiety.

    This effect was “larger than anticipated,” says Brett Gordon, currently a postdoctoral scholar at the Penn State Cancer Institute at Penn State College of Medicine, who was a co-author of the study. The benefits for mental health were also greater than those often seen in studies of aerobic exercise and anxiety.

    Dr. Gordon says. “There are numerous ways to strength train with little to no equipment,” he says. “Try common body weight exercises, such as push-ups, sit-ups or squats, or use household items as weights.”[6]

    As Dr Gordon says, you don’t need to go the gym, there are lots of exercises you can do at home, or in the park that will stimulate the same toning of the nervous system and release positive, uplifting natural chemicals throughout the brain and body. The New York Times has some great tips for those just starting weight training:

    Outdoor Exercise

    This type of exercise combines 2 of our Key Tips – Exercise and Nature. The idea that exercise can help to reduce anxiety has been researched extensively over the last 50 years. But while there’s plenty of scientific and anecdotal evidence in support of this, putting a figure on the benefit has, until now, been a mystery.[7]

    No longer. A recent study in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatryputs a number on it. And it’s a big one: about 60%.

    Swedish researchers analysed the data from almost 400,000 people, concentrating on the differences between those who were more active compared to those who were more sedentary. The researchers used a wonderfully Scandinavian criterion for identifying the active from the non-active: participation, or lack thereof, in Vasaloppet, an annual cross-country ski race of some 56 miles that has been running since 1922.[8]

    In the study, published in the journal Frontiers of Psychologyin September 2021, skiers in the race and matched non-skiers from the general population were studied after participation using the Swedish population and patient registries. Skiers had a significantly lower risk of developing anxiety during the follow-up compared to non-skiers.

    I think the take-home message from this study is the combination of outdoor activity and long-slow-distance exercise. Studies of long-distance walkers or runners have also shown positive results in quality of life and reduction in anxiety. One interesting observation from the Swedish study, is that the highest performing athletes had lower benefits than the slowest and more average participants. The message here is that exercising for fun or for your health, or as part of your community is better for you than training and competing in elite sports. So, it doesn’t matter how well you do it. It matters just that you do it!

    In Summary

    Anxiety is a complex problem and, thus, there are no simple solutions. The greatest improvements I have seen come with dedicated effort across multiple dimensions of life. |As a clinical hypnotherapist for over 30 years, I have seen people experience dramatic improvements in their anxiety levels if these suggestions are consistently and diligently practiced. Think: lifestyle change rather than one-time adjustment.

    As Deepak Chopra says, “the journey of self-discovery, taken with an open heart, inevitably leads to healing.”[9]

    At Cephyra® we want you to Be Better, Naturally.

    You’ll see a symbiosis in the symbology and herbology of Ayurveda and Kabbala repeated throughout the Cephyra® Activated Oil™ products, which were designed to help us navigate our way through the challenges of the world and thrive, rather than struggle and just survive.

    My favourite Cephyra® Activated Oils™ for managing anxiety include Sirius™ formulated to take advantage of the well-established anxiolytic properties of Lavender, Bergamot, Chamomile and Lemon Myrtle. This wonderful edible essential oil can be used in combination with Cephyra® Earth™, Cephyra® Moon™ or Cephyra® Mars™, designed to support grounding and to feel safe and strong in your own body.

    To celebrate the release of these products we are offering 20% off store-wide.

    Experience the calming power and get out of your head with Cephyra® Sirus™:

    Learn more about Cephyra Sirius 

    Regain your foundation and feel good in your body with Cephyra® Moon™:

    Learn More about Cephyra Moon

    Ground yourself and manage delayed onset muscle soreness with Cephyra® Earth™:

    Learn more about Cephyra Earth

    Tone your nervous system and improve your strength with Cephyra® Mars™:

    Learn more about Cephyra Mars

    Join me tomorrow when we’ll take a deep dive into the benefits of time in nature to manage anxiety.

    Yours in Wellness,

    Elisabetta Faenza

    Cephyra® & LeafCann® CEO and Founder












    Natural remedies and lifestyle strategies to manage anxiety

    Taking a natural approach

    Anxiety is an extremely common problem, with one in seven Australians currently experiencing an anxiety condition. According to Beyond Blue, one quarter of Australians will experience an anxiety condition in their lifetime, while 26.3% of Australians aged 16 to 85 have experienced an anxiety disorder to date.[1] This is equivalent to 4.96 million people having experienced an anxiety disorder in the last 12 months, or 2.71 million people with anxiety right now.[2]

    Anxiety is so widespread that it is the most common mental disorder worldwide.

    Data from the US National Institute of Mental Health suggest that around 31 percent of adults can expect to experience some type of anxiety disorder in their lifetime.

    But what can we do about it?

    There are many potential pathways to managing or overcoming anxiety, including lifestyle change, behavioural therapies like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or hypnosis, practices like mindfulness, yoga or tai-chi, exercise and traditional therapies drawing on herbal or plant-based remedies, and of course pharmaceutical drug therapies. Recent concerns about several classes of anti-anxiety medicines, including benzodiazepines, have led many to search for more natural ways to manage low to moderate levels of anxiety. However, there are cases where anxiety is so severe that pharmaceutical treatment will be the front-line treatment of choice.

    It's important to discuss treatment options with your physician and or therapists to determine which path of treatment is right for you, ensuring you do not over-use or misuse these powerful drugs in your attempt to alleviate the distressing symptoms of this condition. Likewise, you should never suddenly cease any treatment, especially drugs for the treatment of anxiety or depression and you should always manage medications under the supervision of a qualified medical practitioner. I will discuss the pharmaceutical options and risks later in this blog.

    Only about one-third of those who experience anxiety seek formal treatment, and anxiety is one of the most common reasons that people use holistic and alternative modalities.

    In last week’s Wednesday Wellness blog, I introduced Ayurveda as a source of traditional therapies for treating seasonal allergies, but what does this ancient healing system say about anxiety?

    From an Ayurvedic perspective, anxiety is an imbalance in the Vatadosha. Vata is referred to as the “air” principle. Its character is light, dry, and mobile. An imbalance of Vata, mentally or emotionally, is associated with an overabundance of lightness, flightiness or movement with erratic thoughts, worries, obsession, confusion, and difficulty focusing. Vataimbalance is also associated with a hyper-excitable para-sympathetic nervous system and trouble sleeping. If you’ve ever been described as “ungrounded,” that’s a classic description of Vata imbalance. It’s too much energy in the mind, not enough at the feet to anchor you to life, or like a tree that needs a good pruning that has too much growth in the branches leaving not enough energy in the roots. Interestingly the ancient middle eastern practice of Kabbala also sees anxiety as a lack of foundation, or grounding in life. The penultimate sephirot of the Kabbala Tree of Life is Yesod – Foundation, or the connection between all things – this sephirot along with final sephirot - Malkuth (Kingdom) - are the last steps required to incarnate into life and become grounded in the world. All progress stems from this foundation, and fear can only overrun us when we lose it. You’ll see me talk about this later on in this blog. Yesod and Malkuth correspond to the root chakra – Muladhara - in Ayurveda.

    Speaking of roots, when Vata is disturbed, you feel ungrounded and disconnected from the earth. In Ayurveda, to treat anxiety/Vata imbalance, you have to stabilize your energy—calm the nervous system, relax the mind, release obsessive thoughts, connect to your body and to the earth, and ultimately surrender to the flow of the Universe. This can involve a range of therapies and practices.

    7 Essential Tips to for Anxiety

    Unlike pharmaceutical drugs, an Ayurvedic approach will include looking at your whole life to reduce the Vata imbalance and bring energy out of your head and back into your body that may include:

    1.     Diet: Avoiding sugary foods, take-away, junk foods like soda and I hate to say it - chocolate - as these foods can be overstimulating. Increasegrounding,warm, moist, less oily foods, like, hot cereals (porridge), dairy products, bread and pasta or their gluten-free or vegan equivalents like almond milk and oats

    2.     Structure: Staying warm, taking a hot bath with aromatic oils, and avoiding distracting or busy music, stressful work or study zones, or entertainment like violent programs or gaming. Create a sanctuary for yourself where you can control your environment

    3.     MindfulnessUse mindfulness techniques, meditation or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, listen to grounding music or guided meditation tracks, learn breathing techniques to help eliminate the use of stimulants like nicotine, coffee, energy drinks, illicit drugs etc.

    4.     Sleep: Keeping a regular sleep cycle in tune with your natural circadian rhythm, going to bed before 11pm and waking before 8am. Develop a wind-down routine to eliminate stressful activities like answering work emails or browsing social media at least an hour before bed-time, keep your sleep area free of blue light

    5.     Nature:Spending time in nature to ground your energy, get your toes into the sand or dirt, create a small garden, talk to your plants, sit on a rock in the sun, hug a tree or look at pictures of nature

    6.     Exercise:Undertaking exercise that grounds, strengthens and warms, hot yoga, weight training or hot pilates

    7.     Essential Oils: Supplementing with plant-based remedies like essential oils that include concentrates of grounding ingredients including cinnamon, cumin, ginger, nutmeg, rock salt, sesame seeds, anise, citrus, lavender as either aromatics or ingestibles have been shown to support the parasympathetic nervous system to relax, reducing anxiety and stress

    You may or may not have come across these 7 tips. They work best when used in conjunction with each other, and many of them are common sense.

    Natural wellness treatments and lifestyle routines for anxiety

    Over the next 7 days I will be providing more detail on each of the 7 tips above, in reverse order, starting with the easiest to implement, and ending with the hardest, as part of a series blog posts to help you discover how to manage anxiety naturally. In this post I’ll be focusing on the best essential oils for anxiety and talking a little about the pharmaceutical treatments available and their risks.

    In a couple of days, I’ll be giving away my guided meditation as a free download when you register to subscribe, so make sure you stay tuned for each daily installment.



    Plant based alternatives for anxiety
    Tip Number 7: Essential Oils


    In addition to the spices mentioned previously (cinnamon, cardamon, clove, ginger and nutmeg) that were also discussed in last week’s blog about allergies, let’s have a look at some of the best studied essential oils and how they might benefit those suffering from anxiety, especially when used in combination with the 6 lifestyle tips above.


    The 4 best edible essential oils for anxiety


    Lavenderis one of the most popular aromatherapy oils. It has a sweet floral scent with a woody or herbal undertone. More recently lavender has been shown to be effective when ingested to reduce anxiety. It’s important to note that you should never ingest a concentrated oil, and you should only ingest one that has been made under Food Grade Good Manufacturing Practice (Food Grade GMP) that has been diluted appropriately in an edible carrier oil.

    According to HealthLine:

         Lavender oil can be used to calm anxiety. It also has a sedative effect and may help with sleep troubles, including if feelings of stress or anxiety are keeping you up at night.

         According to 2012 research, lavender aromatherapy is thought to calm anxiety by impacting the limbic system, the part of the brain that controls emotions.[1]

         A 2019 review evaluated 71 studies that used lavender to ease anxiety. It found that inhaling lavender could significantly lower anxiety levels measured using a clinically validated scale. Massage with lavender oil was also found to help reduce anxiety levels.[2]

    Edible lavender extracts may also provide support for people with anxiety.

         In a large meta-analysispublished in the Journal Nature in December 2019, people with anxiety disorders who took 160-milligram lavender oil capsules experienced significant decreases in anxiety.[3]Other studies have found similar results.

         One from 2015, involved 60 people in a coronary intensive care unit. The researchers found that those treated with lavender essential oil had lower levels of anxiety and better sleep.

         Another 2010 study compared lavender capsules to the anti-anxiety medication lorazepam, concluding that lavender’s effects were comparable to the prescription drug.[4]


    Chamomile oilcomes from the tiny daisy-like flowers of the chamomile plant. It’s been used for thousands of years for its relaxing and sedating properties and pleasant scent. You often see it as an ingredient in herbal teas or tisanes that aim to promote calm and peaceful sleep.

    While there isn’t much research on chamomile essential oil for anxiety, a 2017 studylooked at using edible chamomile supplements for individuals with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Researchers found that chamomile supplementation reduced the symptoms of mild to moderate GAD. However, it did not reduce the rate of relapse of anxiety symptoms.[5]

         A 2017 study assessed the short-term treatment of generalized anxiety using chamomile extract. Researchers found that after eight weeks, 58.1 percent of participants reported a reduction of their anxiety symptoms.[6]

         Low morning levels of a hormone called cortisol have been linked with anxiety disorders. A small 2018 studyfound that chamomile therapy helped reduce anxiety symptoms and increased morning cortisol levels.[7]

         Depression and anxiety often occur together. One study used oral chamomile extract in people with anxiety and depression.[8]Researchers observed a significant reduction in depression symptoms after eight weeks of treatment in the group that were given chamomile extract.


    Bergamot oilcomes from bergamot oranges, a hybrid of lemon and bitter orange. The essential oil is derived from the peel or zest of the fruit and has an invigorating citrus scent. It’s a popular ingredient in perfumes, and Bergamot is also the herb used in Earl Grey tea.

         Bergamot essential oil can have a calming effect and can help reduce anxiety. According to a 2015 study[9], both animal and human trials have found that bergamot helps relieve anxiety and improve mood.

         A small 2017 studyexamined the effects of inhalation of bergamot essential oil in women in the waiting room of a mental health treatment centre. Researchers found that 15 minutes of exposure to bergamot essential oil promoted an increase in positive feelings.[10]

         A small 2015 study done on women in Japan found that inhaled bergamot oil mixed with water vapor reduced feelings of anxiety and fatigue.[11]

         Similarly, a 2013 article published in the journal Current Drug Targets reported that aromatherapy with bergamot (among other essential oils) can relieve depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders by signalling the brain to release dopamineand serotonin.[12]

    Lemon Myrtle

    An Australian Superfood, the Lemon Myrtle (also known as sweet verbena tree, lemon scented verbena, lemon scented backhouse and sweet verbena myrtle) can only be found in the Australian rainforests of Queensland and grows up to 60 feet tall. I have a special affinity with this plant, both because of its long history of use by the first peoples of Australia[13], but additionally because one of my ancestors, the famed botanist James Backhouse, was the first westerner to describe and catalogue it while visiting Australia back in the 1830s. James brought samples back for study in the UK, though it was a friend sand fellow botanist - Ferdinand von Muelle - who named it after him. If you think lemon is an anti-anxiety wonder food, then you will love Lemon Myrtle. Lemon Myrtle’s history of use by Australian Aborigines goes back over 40,000 years, for both cooking and as a medicine using it for its flavour and antiseptic, calmative, sedative, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties.

    Did you know:

         The leaves of the Lemon Myrtle tree contain the world’s strongest and purest concentration of natural citral, with almost 20 times the amount of the terpenoid citral than lemon; citral is believed to be associated with lemon’s calming characteristics.

         With its high citral content, antimicrobial properties and aromatic scent, Lemon Myrtle has superpowers when appropriate formulations are ingested.

         The calming effect of Lemon Myrtle naturally relieves stress by encouraging better sleep, relaxation and uplifting feelings.  The Lemon Myrtle scent helps improve the mood and soothe the mind. Smelling the aroma of Lemon Myrtle when you’re anxious or worried may help calm you down and reassure you. [14]

    Herbalists and aromatherapists use lemon myrtle and its essential oil for various reasons. The fragrant aroma gives off a wonderful relaxing effect and is also said to improve your concentration as well as promote better sleep. It can be used as inhalant for treating colds, flus, and other congestive disorders. [15]

    It is also thought the magnesium content in lemon myrtle is responsible for reducing the effects of mild depression and anxiety. Magnesium may be one of the contributing factors to the herb being able to relieve insomnia, both directly and indirectly via anxiety reduction.[16]

    Traditionally lemon myrtle has been found to be effective against both mild depression and insomnia. In fact, one of the original uses of lemon myrtle by the Australian Aborigines was as a sleep aid. First Peoples would pick a handful of leaves, crush them up in their hands and inhale the fragrance, which has a calming, relaxing effect.

    As a clinical hypnotherapist, I regularly supported the use of Ayurvedic herbal remedies, in addition to the above behavioral approaches, to help people improve anxiety, ground Vata, and regulate stress levels. These Ayurvedic approaches have a long history of use in India and have passed the test of time. Many of them have also more recently passed the test of scientific analysis, combined with herbs and essential oils that help to ground the sufferer and de-clutter the mind.

    No discussion about anxiety would be complete without looking at pharmaceutical alternatives:

    The Pharmaceutical Treatment of Anxiety

    Modern pharmacological treatments for anxiety disorders are safer and more tolerable than they were 30 years ago. Unfortunately, treatment efficacy and duration have not improved in most cases despite a greater understanding of the pathophysiology of anxiety. Moreover, innovative treatments have not reached the market despite billions of research dollars invested in drug development. In reviewing the literature on current treatments, it is clear there is a long way to go to provide drug-based treatments for anxiety that do not produce dangerous side-effects.

    Anxiety medications fall broadly into four categories: [17]

    1.    Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

    ·      Citalopram (Celexa)

    ·      Escitalopram (Lexapro)

    ·      Fluoxetine (Prozac)

    ·      Fluvoxamine (Luvox)

    ·      Paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva)

    ·      Sentraline (Zoloft)

    2.    Selective Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SSNIs)

    ·      Duloxetine (Cymbalta)

    ·      Venlafaxine (Effexor XR)

    3.    Tricyclic Antidepressants

    ·      Amitriptyline (Elavil)

    ·      Imipramine (Tofranil)

    ·      Nortriptyline (Pamelor)

    4.    Benzodiazepines

    ·      Alpazolam (Xanax)

    ·      Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)

    ·      Diazepam (Valium)

    ·      Lorazepam (Ativan)

    1. SSRIs

    Although selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a type of antidepressant, doctors commonly prescribe them to people with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder(OCD), and use them as a front-linedrug treatment for anxiety. SSRIs work by stopping nerve cells in the brain from reabsorbing serotonin, which is a chemical that plays a vital role in mood regulation. The problem is, the model behind this medication that attributes anxiety and OCD to low levels of the naturally occurring neurotransmitter serotonin, has never been proven, and even under current guidelines, other life-style changes like exercise, nutrition, sleep, routine, time spent in nature are all recommended to boost the effectiveness of the drug. The model is so flawed thatresearchers have found that long term use of SSRIs leads to chronic serotonin deficit. For some people these drugs do work very well in the short to medium term, but they are not without their side-effects, which for many make long-term use of these drugs untenable. Remember, you should consult your doctor or physician before you consider reducing or stopping any medication. Stopping medications like these suddenly can have negative consequences and even worsen your condition.

    2. SSNIs

    Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are another class of antidepressant that treats depression and anxiety. Doctors may also prescribe them to treat some chronic pain conditions.

    Like SSRIs these medications work by reducing the brain’s reabsorption of the chemicals serotonin with the added feature that they also reduce the reabsorption of norepinephrine. The above caveats apply, with the added risk that these drugs used long-term may cause significant liver damage or raise bloodpressure.

    3. Tricyclic Antidepressants

    Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are an older class of antidepressant drug. Although they may be effective for the treatment of depression and anxiety, doctors often prescribe SSRIs instead, as they cause fewerside effects.

    However, TCAs may be useful for some people, especially if other medications do not provide relief.

    4. Benzodiazepines

    According to a 2014 study overuse of anti-anxiety drugs and sleeping pills are a major cause of drug overdose and mortality:

    “Anti-anxiety drugs and sleeping pills have been linked to an increased risk of death, according to new research. The large study shows that several anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) drugs or hypnotic drugs (sleeping pills) are associated with a doubling in the risk of mortality. Although these findings are based on routine data and need to be interpreted cautiously, the researchers recommended that a greater understanding of their impact is essential.”[18]

    “Valium and Xanax are in the class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. These medications help control anxiety, panic attacks and insomnia. But doctors say they are habit-forming and have some dangerous side effects.”[19]Dr. Roneet Lev, director of the emergency department at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego, often sees the downsides of benzodiazepines:

    "…people who come into our trauma center from car accidents because they’re on benzodiazepines, people who come in because they’re falling down, because that affects their balance and coordination on benzodiazepines," she said. "We’ve seen terrible withdrawals, when they’re used to having it, with seizures, that end up in the ICU.”[20]

    Lev said when it comes to drug-related deaths in San Diego County, benzodiazepines are right behind opioids:

    “Number one prescribed drug associated with death is oxycodone, then hydrocodone, the number three, benzodiazepine," she said.

    This epidemic is right on the heals of the opioid epidemic and its effecting armed forces veterans especially hard. Dr. James Michelsen, a specialist in internal medicine and chair of the San Diego VA’s pain council, said many veterans have conditions that would typically call for both a benzodiazepine and an opioid.

    “Anxiety related to their combat time, problems with sleep, post-traumatic stress disorder. And traditionally these conditions benzodiazepines have been used to treat," he said. "Additionally, many of our veterans came back with physical wounds, as well.”[21]

    It is no different in Australia, the ABC found that this class of drugs was the number one cause of overdose deaths from prescriptions drugs.[22]According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the sleeping and anti-anxiety pills were the most common single substance found in overdose deaths, ahead of opioids oxycodone and codeine and powerful narcotics like fentanyl.”[23]

    The ABC found:

    “Nearly 6 million scripts for this group of anti-anxiety sleeping pill medication were handed out through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) last financial year.

    That figure does not include hospital and private scripts, which experts estimate also run to the millions.”[24]

    It’s clear benzodiazepine drugs come with significant risks and should not be used long term.

    No wonder many of us are keen to look at other options!

    In Summary

    Anxiety is a complex problem and, thus, there are no simple solutions. The greatest improvements I have seen come with dedicated effort across multiple dimensions of life. |As a clinical hypnotherapist for over 30 years, I have seen people experience dramatic improvements in their anxiety levels if these suggestions are consistently and diligently practiced. Think: lifestyle change rather than one-time adjustment.

    As Deepak Chopra says, “the journey of self-discovery, taken with an open heart, inevitably leads to healing.”[25]

    At Cephyra® we want you to Be Better, Naturally.

    I created the Cephyra Activated Oils to support the life-changes we all need to maximise our quality of life and potential as human beings. Each oil blend has been designed to support you to achieve your wellness and life goals, making it easier to shed old unwanted behaviours and adopt new, healthy, productive habits that will last a lifetime.

    You’ll see a symbiosis in the symbology and herbology of Ayurveda and Kabbala repeated throughout the Cephyra® Activated Oil™ products, which were designed to help us navigate our way through the challenges of the world and thrive, rather than struggle and just survive.

    My favourite Cephyra® Activated Oils™ for managing anxiety include Sirius™ formulated to take advantage of the well-established anxiolytic properties of Lavender, Bergamot, Chamomile and Lemon Myrtle. This wonderful edible essential oil can be used in combination with Cephyra® Earth™, Cephyra® Moon™ or Cephyra® Mars™, designed to support grounding and to feel safe and strong in your own body, and each featuring key ingredients mentioned in this article.

    To celebrate the release of these products we are offering 20% off store-wide.

    Experience the calming power of Cephyra® Sirus™: Learn about Cephyra Sirius

    Regain your foundation with Cephyra® Moon™: Learn about Cephyra Moon

    Ground yourself with Cephyra® Earth™: Learn about Cephyra Earth

    Tone your nervous system with Cephyra® Mars™: Learn about Cephyra Mars

    Yours in Wellness,

    Elisabetta Faenza

    CEO and Founder




























  4. Over the last 30 years I have focused my energy as a hypnotherapist, writer and mentor to assist my clients and readers to overcome unwanted habits, behaviours or thought patterns. During an in-depth period of research, leading up to and after the publication of The Energy Code in 2014, I was able to confirm that behaviour change is multi-modal, and that finding ways to subtly shift our chemistry through smell, taste, sight, sound and touch can provide the foundation for profound changes in our psyche.

    I also confirmed for myself, something I had long suspected: that hypnotherapy utilises sensory pathways to enhance the production of the endogenous cannabinoids (cannabinoids the body makes by itself) - Anandamide and 2AG. This explains the pleasant sensation of altered consciousness most of my clients reported experiencing under hypnosis, and how hypnosis could affect their perception of time, pain, temperature and their own bodies. By studying reports from elite athletes and extreme sport participants I confirmed that peak experiences also promote endocannabinoid production, creating a sense of flow and euphoria, of time slowing, and enhancing sensory awareness, while conversely reducing the sensation of pain. With the growing legalisation of both medicinal and recreational cannabis, research and investment in both endocannabinoids (cannabinoids made by the body) and phytocannbinoids (cannabinoids made by plants) was once more possible. Around this time, I co-founded LeafCann Group with my brother Ilario Faenza and a close friend and respected biochemist - Dr Jaroslav Boublik.  We gathered around us a team of like-minds dedicated to advancing the science and production of these plant extracts as medicines.

    As we deepened our understanding of the biochemistry and plant science, we began to wonder if there were other ways to stimulate endocannabinoid production.

    My team's research led to a wealth of information about plants, some common, some less so, that while not containing phyto-cannabinoids themselves, appear to help the body to manage its own production of Anandamide and 2AG, and complement the effect of both these endocannabinoids and their plant derived cousins - the phytocannabinoids - THC, CBD and a host of other minor cannabinoid molecules.

    These non-cannabinoid, plant derived molecules are commonly known as terpenes. Terpenes pack a punch; a tiny amount of a terpene can produce strong scents and tastes and are part of what makes plants and perfumes smell the way they do. Their role in the plant world is to attract or repel insects, they act as messenger molecules and are known to be adaptogenic. Unlike endocannabinoids, humans don't produce terpenes themselves, but we can benefit from them. Terpenes are extracted from plants as part of the essential oils used in everything from food flavouring to natural cleaning products, to perfumes and skin care.

    We wondered if we were able to extract specific essential oils from the right plants could we combine them to create products that would help us to mediate our own endocannabinoid production or enhance the medicinal benefits of phytocannabinoids? 

    Out of this research was born the Cephyra Activated Essentials range, made from terpene-rich, Activated Essential Oils, chosen for their compatibility with both phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids.

     To learn more about this journey visit our website...

     More than Aromatherapy

  5. I decided to write this blog update after weeks of concern about the tsunami of misinformation that permeates social media and many private conversations during this time of Coronavirus.

    When I was in my 20s and 30s I was obsessed with conspiracy theories. As a student of history and a writer I was fascinated with how people could take a small sliver of fact or opinion and develop a whole universe around it, but unlike an author, not know it was fiction. As an author, I love it when one of my off-the-wall hypotheses can be supported by a correlation or gap in history. It is exciting to be able to build a whole world, characters and events within that gap.

    But here is the thing: I know it is fantasy, I know it is fiction. I don't conflate my wishes for neat explanations and fanciful, adventurous narratives with the reality. What I learned studying conspiracy theories for over 20 years is that they are seductive, because quite frankly they are more interesting than real life. They allow us to believe that we aren't responsible for the failures in our lives, that it is somebody else's fault, and excuses us from participating in the civic project of advancing our society.

    A conspiracy theory is also extremely attractive, because like the mythologies created by cult leaders, a select few of us can become the hero in our stories, because we are privy to secrete knowledge, only given to the elect. Sheeple won't get it, sheeplewill refute the evidence that you find so convincing. Sheeplewill counter your experts with their experts who are just part of the conspiracy. This circular argument is a bit like the fundamentalist religious argument about faith. Faith can't be argued with, because to argue with it is an act of apostasy. If we ask for proof we are not faithful, not one of the chosen and we will no longer be special, but instead are the handmaidens of the devil.

    The 5G Coronavirus conspiracy is a distressing case in point. The current meme's circulating have led to the destruction of property and the threatening of anybody who looks like they are working on 5G infrastructure. Let's be clear, 5G cannot penetrate living cells. It cannot change the genetic make-up of any cell because its part of the electromagnetic spectrum that is too weak to enter the cell, has been shown to be safe and has been used in a range of telecommunications products for decades. It is not that different to 4G, which most of you are using to read this blog. I would also like to note that your home microwave, stove-top, oven and television most likely emit more radiation in your home than any 5G emitter could ever do.*

    Likewise with Australia's new Coronavirus tracking app. If you use facebook, messenger, What'sApp, google maps, Amazon Prime, Outlook mail, zoom, or use a search-engine you have already given away an enormous amount of information, and it has already been hacked, sold or used to advertise products to you online. You have also already given away information that could be handed over under a subpoena to the Australian, US or other government if they suspect you may have participated in terrorist or other criminal activity. The Australian Government has made a commitment that this will not happen with any contact information you voluntarily provide to the government, should you test positive for Covid-19.

    The Australian Coronavirus app is designed to allow us to get back to our lives in a coordinated way, so that should an outbreak happen, contact tracking can be facilitated more quickly. It is not tracking your movements, just your contacts if, and only if, you have downloaded the app and have it running in the background, you have come in contact for 15 minutes or more with someone who then tests positive for Covid-19, you are then contacted by someone from the Health Department and informed you have been in contact with that person, you then decide to upload the data, which up to that point has been stored on your phone. Furthermore, you can delete the app at any time.

    What is the point of a conspiracy in the first place? A conspiracy can be the product of imagination by someone who, to make themselves feel more important, becomes the centre of everything that is happening. This is a form of magical thinking that most people grow out of by 11 or 12 years of age. For instance thinking the Coronavirus App has been specifically designed to trap you. As a person who suffered considerable abuse as a child it took me a bit longer to grow out of this mode of thinking. I also have a good imagination, so I tend to connect the dots in creative ways. Fortunately, at this point in my life, I am mentally robust enough to be able to tell the difference.

    This study of conspiracies has led me to understand that, unlike the person who seeks to be the centre of the universe and engage in conspiracy theories, the originators of many of these conspiracies aren't so innocent, and don't believe the conspiracies themselves. They use conspiracies as tools to further their own greed and lust for power. Many conspiracies are used by convincing salesmen to push a product, course, book or course to help you 'see the truth' and you sign-up because you want to understand what is going on, to be able to look behind the veil of world history. They rely on 'confirmation bias' - the concept that people like to believe things that advance their existing belief system. Therefore it is easier to convince an anti-vaccination adherent that 5G is dangerous, because it confirms to their basic distrust of science, despite the originator of the anti-vaccination movement admitting his study was fraudulent, retracting it publicly and numerous subsequent studies showing no relationship between vaccines and autism.*** The originators of these conspiracies make money through product sales, advertising, subscribers, tours etcetera and they have discovered that on YouTube the more ridiculous and outrageous the claim, the more views and followers you get. This has led us to believe things that a decade ago we simply would not have fallen for en masse. The viral nature of social media means that many of these narratives get thousands of times more traction than they would before social media.

    Furthermore, stay home orders are not like Hitler's pre-war Germany. I have a Masters in International Relations, my dissertation was on genocide, and I am appalled by those trying to conflate the two, without any basis in fact. Hitler's policies were justified by a fraud - known at that time as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion conspiracy, that had circulated and been elaborated upon since publication in Russia in 1903, as if it had existed since the end of the 19th Century. This conspiracy said that a group of Zionist elders met regularly and created a plan to manipulate world affairs, subvert the media, orchestrate the Great War (and the subsequent Treaty of Versailles) to extract all of Germany's wealth and push the world into the Great Depression. The supposed group (which has been proven to never have existed) has since been said to be responsible for the disappearance of non-Jewish children, the abduction, enslavement and sacrifice of non-Jewish women, the hoarding of wealth with the aim of all humanity being tattooed with the number of the beast. This fraudulent 'Protocols' document was published by both Henry Ford and Nazis and the supposed conspiracy led to hatred of all Jews as members of this imaginary group and justified unimaginable atrocities throughout the world against anyone of Jewish ancestry. It saw this action as pre-emptive and necessary because the conspiracy 'proved' that the Elders of Zion would eventually enslave all non-Jews and bring about a New World Order where non-Jews would be persecuted. The holocaust was seen as a solution to this 'threat' and a way to get back all the hoarded wealth the conspiracy pushers said these Jews had amassed. To be clear, the conspiracy was based on a complete fraud, it was a dangerous fallacy that people fell for and acted upon during a time of great financial stress and societal breakdown. It was ascribed to by the followers of Hitler, Stalin and even many people in Britain and the US in the lead up to the World War 2, and influenced world events for almost 60 years.**

    So does anybody else benefit when we believe in conspiracy theories? Yes, if conspiracy theories fracture and divide society then they assist those who wish to undermine social cohesion, civil order and functioning society, they undermine government and democracy by causing us to question everything without using critical thinking. Questioning everything doesn't equate to critical thinking. Critical thinking asks us to check the sources of information, validate those sources are what they say they are and look for other witnesses or collaborating evidence or references that can also be validated to ensure the information is not just a viewpoint or a fraud. Most people don't track through the claims on a YouTube video to its sources. As long as other conspiracy theorists support it, they feel that the information is validated. They often don't look at the financial incentive, sometimes millions of dollars, for people to jump on the bandwagon.

    For example, considering the opinion of an engineer to be superior to the life-time research of a meteorologist when reviewing information about climate change, is not smart, it's not intelligent, it doesn't make you clever. It just means you don't understand that a lifetime working as an engineer is very different to a lifetime working in meteorology. It would be like saying that a Year 12 English Teacher is qualified to teach University mathematics, because at some point in their life they did some mathematics, or vice versa.

    The organisations that want you to ascribe to conspiracy theories are many and varied, and can come from both ends of the ideological spectrum. In the context of Coronavirus, I can tell you they are groups that want to control the agenda and prevent governments from functioning, to force us back to work so nothing changes, so the wheels of commerce keep turning and we don't have time to realise the possibilities created by innovative solutions, like universal basic income. They are the mining magnates, the media barons that want us to keep working with our heads down as our rights are eroded. They are the ideological organisations that want you to keep donating to their religion, their philosophy, their political ideology so they can keep existing and pumping out their destructive memes. They are the polluters that don't want you to notice that nature is doing better when humans stop their normal routines for a while; they don't want you to see that what we all do does matter and can make a difference. They suggest that the economy is something separate to the production of people and that sacrificing the old and vulnerable is acceptable. They suggest that to save the economy we must sacrifice some people.

    Where they are applied, the stay home orders are for our own safety and are the only proven strategy in the history of pandemics, dating back to the dark ages and used most recently en masse during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1919. They are still effective today. If better strategies arise, believe me, they will be applied. Fearing that you are being victimised because you have been asked to shelter-in-place or stay at home and social distance, ignores the sacrifice previous generations have made to keep future generations safe. Yes, it is tough mentally, yes it is tough financially, but the alternative is far worse. The stories from Northern Italy, Spain the UK and New York are heart-breaking. Developed societies pride themselves on valuing every life, but it seems this is only as long as it doesn't require much discomfort or come at economic cost.

    We will get through this if we come together and support each other, because I suspect this will be only the first of a series of shocks we will experience this decade. Living on the South Coast of Australia, this is our second shock for the year. The first was the ravaging fires over summer that reduced many of our homes and forests to ashes. We came together as a community to survive the fires, and we have brought that same mentality into the Coronavirus crisis. The recovery will ask much of us, to work together, to go without things we have taken for granted, to work in different ways, to think more flexibly, to find ways to keep active and keep our spirits up, to be agile in our businesses to stay afloat, and to financially support those whose place in society is precarious due to the casual nature of their work. Those that do will come out of this better than they went in, richer for having survived and done their part, healthier for having found the balance between work and home, and it will be up to us to help those who have had to carry more of the burden. Our society will similarly become richer, more sustainable and agile and we will understand that a resort to conspiracy theory does not serve us.

    *Comprehensive study into effects of 5G technology
    **The Elders of Zion conspiracy
    ***Vaccine conspiracy debunked

  6. The following is a letter from one of the pioneers of Medicinal Cannabis in the US, Andrew L McIntyre. I have republished it here in its entirety because it is crucial that governments and the industry do not lose sight of how and why the Medicinal Cannabis industry began in the first place, and address the very real concerns of the most vulnerable. The lessons and trends evident in the US, are also being felt in other jurisdictions like Australia and the UK.

    Elisabetta L Faenza

    Something That Grabs You: Epilepsy

    Who opened the door of legitimacy for the Cannabis Industry?

    As private use of cannabis to treat children with epilepsy became more widespread, caregivers and parents drew upon their talents to ensure safety at all levels of production. With a sense of urgency, families with epileptic children, small growers and commercial operations joined forces to perfect the process of producing and administering cannabis as medicine.

    This collaborative effort resulted in significant improvements in testing techniques and plant type or strain selection.  This compounding of different types of plants and molecules is proving to support not only epilepsy health outcomes but also other similarly sensitive neurological conditions.  Our culture has not fully digested how positive kids’ health outcomes from cannabis truly are and yet the impact is already being felt like load roaring thunder.

    An important outcome is that the successful use of cannabis in treating pediatric epilepsy has opened up new awareness in the public eye of how and why cannabis can support many other disease states.  All the groundwork that has been laid out in pediatrics is now being carbon-copied in such areas as geriatrics, where the insights gained about low-dose strategies for children were immediately applicable.

    While the new pediatric strategies were created under emergency conditions, parental demand and grower angst pushed development, the innovations that resulted from this struggle are fueling many of the continuing advancements in the cannabis industry today.

    Without this movement in pediatrics, various cannabis legalization bills might not have been passed and the techniques to deliver safe and quality medicinal product would not have emerged so quickly.  All of the successful pediatric studies changed the landscape of the cannabis industry, bringing a revolution of thought and legitimacy.  It was all driven by the efforts and sacrifices of parents, advocates, and medical professionals who fought for the right to access for kids.  This effort cracked the egg for the entire industry, but who is eating all the eggs?

    Unfortunately, as the industry is exploding the parents and people who fought for legalization see other families are left behind.  They are still struggling for safe access to the specific medicines they need.  It varies drastically from state to state.  Thousands of cannabis cultivation licenses have been issued and some states even require pediatric formulas be made.  Yet in many cases, even when it is required by the state, many of the new licensed producers do not make the right formulas for diverse and somewhat perverse legal reasons.   In other cases the testing is not used to the standards needed by the parents and prescribing doctors to drive these proven treatment strategies. 

    In fact, the scientific achievements around cannabis and epilepsy have been a great unifying factor of political factions in the cannabis industry.  These divisions in the industry historically haven’t always been on the same page, especially when it comes to legal definitions of drug class. 

    It is now a moot  point as we know everyone needs safe access now.  This is an emergency and we are in the middle of healthcare crisis all over the world.  Every child in America should get access Rights now under the Right To Try Act.  We should lead!!   It should clearly be delisted from the FDA schedule and graded for quality like vitamins.  Best quality gets a different stamp with approval by parents and advocacy groups.  EASY!!  Please move the FDA's failed and inconsistent drugs laws on cannabis aside and let America take its next golden ticket to the global markets.  That is what the story behind the pediatric cannabis developments should tell us. 

    Of course, we are not out of the dark age of confusion over cannabis as many of the cannabis industry leaders are still unclear on the production types needed. There will be leaders that emerge in the industry who understand cannabis is a warehouse of nutritional molecules. Finding the best ingredients  out of the 600 molecules in the plant is the equivalent to finding the God vitamin or supernutrient.  That is what we do in pediatric cannabis.  Something like this is happening in labs across the world after the new pediatric methods put a new drive to dive deeper into the science.

    From Greek origins, the root of the word epilepsy essentially means something that grabs you. That something also grabbed the cannabis industry and set it on a scientific High with legitimacy.

    The thing that takes hold of the person in epilepsy or the “Grab” that causes a seizure is a breakdown or interruption in the “bodies balance”.  This is what biologist refer to as metabolic homeostasis.  This is related to much more disease states than just seizure activity.  Not enough of cannabis science has been directed toward metabolic considerations but it has been slowly growing in the direction for decades.  These metabolic considerations are now dead center under the microscope as a result of the pediatric influence.  It is a very common understanding that the same diverse metabolic dysfunctions that occur in epileptic seizures are present in autism, ADHD, sleep disorders, bipolar and migraines. The list goes on.  The Door just blew open scientifically.  

    If you do not understand magnitude of metabolism please take this part away with you and spread it throughout your circles.  This new pediatric cannabis emphasis on the body’s balance and its impacts on broader medicine is the equivalent to discovering and harnessing electricity. As a result, the industry is exploding with new low dose, low psychoactive techniques, and I believe it is just the beginning.  We owe this to the kids and their parents who won for us all...We should open access for kids like them now and in the future.  May their lives inspire us.

    Please get cannabis use for epilepsy and autism on the right to try Act Now Mr President.  And Please push to Delist cannabis off the FDA drug schedule.

    Hope and Health,
    Andrew L. McIntyre

     Why we shouldn't delay on medicinal cannabis legislation...

    I know I haven't posted for a while. That's because I've been working with a team of scientists, quality assurance manufacturing experts, cultivation experts, clinical and plant phenomics researchers and business leaders on a very important project.

    If you've read my posts before you'll know I'm a writer who is extremely passionate about understanding the roots of health and disease and all the ways we can improve and maintain health and cure disease. This passion is very personal because of my life-long health issues.

    In my book - The Energy Code - I explored many different mind and body health 'hacks'including mindfulness, hypnosis, exercise, diet, nutrition, hydration and over-coming trauma. I explored how our genetics and brain chemistry are both modified by our environment and lifestyle choices and how we can maximise our health, vitality and quality of life through applying these methods.

    In early 2016 I fully ruptured my Achilles Tendon and was off my feet for 6 weeks and then spent another 6 weeks in a boot. I'd been working on a side-project looking at how we might extract essential ingredients from botanicals without chemical solvents and became very passionate about the potential of SuperCritical CO2 to achieve this, enabling people who are sensitive like me to use plant-based extracts without fear of reacting to solvents or preservatives. Around the same time the Australian Government announced the legalisation of Medicinal Cannabis. I had been interested in the plant's possibilities for years, but had been unable to do anything more than reading about it while it was banned. The time off my feet gave me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to focus completely on understanding what this amazing plant could actually do, and if it is something I should get behind.

    This began a quest to understand everything I could, traveling to Israel twice to speak to the leading scientists in the field, talking to experts from the Netherlands, Canada and the US as well as emerging scientists in Australia. Very quickly I had an amazing, small team of people around me doing the same and by the end of that year LeafCann was born.

    Since then LeafCann has been establishing production facilities in Australia, applied for licences, employed cultivation and quality assurance experts, begun a clinical trial into the effectiveness of Medicinal Cannabis on the Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia, and partnered with major research organisations to understand the genetic and morphological expression of different cannabis cultivars. 

    In November 2018 we will host a Symposium that will bring together leading experts in Medicinal Cannabis research, regulation, medicine, patient access, plant cultivation and manufacture to discuss what is needed to overcome political inertia and medical skepticism to advance the sector and provide patients with efficacious, affordable, quality medicines.

    We've also been liaising with government on both the Federal and State levels and pushing for more stream-lined and faster access for patients in need. To support this, LeafCann regularly talks to the media, contributing to the evidence based debate to bring the best quality Medicinal Cannabis medicines to those who need them most.

    After a LinkedIn conversation with Carol Coombes OBE, I realised that there might be many in the UK and elsewhere who could benefit from the work we have been doing. So, I've decided to post our Australian media teasers on my blog and start posting more regularly about what we are learning here about the pathway to legal Medicinal Cannabis. I'll be in the UK in November and hope to meet with advocacy groups and government while I am there in support of the growing patient access movement that uses the hashtag #weeditandreap.

    I hope you find this information helpful


    Elisabetta Faenza, MAICD, BA, MIR, Dip Clinical Hypnotherapy
    CEO LeafCann Group


    UK moves to make medicinal cannabis available on prescription after being approved for use by government.

    The move is great news for those with certain conditions such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, however, there is still some work to do to make more products available to those who need them.  While imported Cannabidiol (CBD) only products are already available without prescription in the UK, they are extremely expensive and out of reach of many people with chronic conditions. Certainty around the future legal framework for a local medicinal cannabis sector is essential to the development of new cannabis based medicines, better affordability for patients, product safety and the fostering of medicinal cannabis research.

    Phone app shows that medicinal cannabis is successfullytreating a wide range of conditions

    Recent studies conducted by the University of New Mexico have found that medicinal cannabis provided patients with statistically and clinically significant therapeutic benefits for a wide range of symptoms. The studies used the commercially developedReleaf app for mobile phones which allowed users to record immediate changes to their symptom intensity levels and side effects. Withalmost 100,000 recorded user sessions the studies contain the largest repository on the effects of medicinal cannabis. To date, the results are promising.

    The studies found that medicinal cannabis has numerous therapeutic effects for conditions ranging from chronic pain to insomnia. Over 94% of cannabis users reported a reduction in symptom intensity, as well as recording that the side effects that do occur are far less serious tan those found in prescription medications. Medicinal cannabis has great potential to replace some of the traditional pharmaceutical products currently in use.

    New data on opioid deaths means alternatives must be found 

    A recent report released by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre has found that 1045 Australians aged 15 to 64 years old died from opioid overdoses in 2016. Opioid deaths have increased from 3.8 to 6.8 deaths per 100,000 between 2007 and 2016, an alarming trend that is also occurring overseas. 

    Now is the time to look at alternatives, such as medicinal cannabis, for pain management rather than looking to pharmaceutical opioids which are far more dangerous. Medicinal cannabis is a safer option that has never resulted in death due to overdose, nor does it the addiction problems associated with opioids

    Imitation products harm the medicinal cannabis industry

    A recent report of 52 people experiencing illness after using unregulated cannabidiol (CBD) oil in Utah is a timely reminder of the dangers faced by desperate consumers forced to purchase unregulated (and sometimes illegal) products because they can’t access them through normal channels. The case in Utah found that over half the 52 reported illnesses tested positive for dangerous synthetic compounds instead of authentic CBD.   

    This should serve as a warning to the emerging medicinal cannabis industry to remain vigilant and expose imitation products and their producers before they harm the reputation of genuine medicinal cannabis producers who diligently prepare products of the highest standards.

    Time to face the (real) facts on medicinal cannabis

    Results of a recent study on the effectiveness of cannabis in treating chronic pain are alarming to the medicinal cannabis industry. Not because the study challenges thousands of other studies that have found cannabis to be an effective treatment, but because it relies on flawed research: that used illicit cannabis (think street weed); relied on participants to self-report; and was not conducted in controlled conditions. Medicinal cannabis is treating chronic pain in over 30 countries, yet Australian research is not keeping up with reputable international studies. More work is required to educate the public on the real facts and potential of medicinal cannabis. The publicising of flawed research in the media must be called out and discredited.

    Medicinal cannabis imposters must be exposed

    The Australian medicinal cannabis industry should take notice of imitation products being produced internationally and expose the producers before they gain a foothold here. A recent report in Utah found that 52 people experienced illness after using what they thought was authentic cannabidiol (CBD) oil. Instead, they took synthetic compounds mostly found in a product called Yolo CBD Oil. A product so highly touted by its manufacturer that U.S officials still cannot determine who produces it.

    Australia’s regulations and standards are heading in the right direction in what is an emerging industry. It would be a shame to see imposters enter our market and quickly reduce the consumer confidence in medicinal cannabis which has taken some time to earn.  

    Cannabis extract might be the ibuprofen replacement you’re looking for

    A groundbreaking study has documented the superior therapeutic properties of whole plant medicinal cannabis extract rich in a particular cannabinoid known as Cannabidiol, compared to synthetic cannabidiol, Aspirin or Tramadol.  This study leads the way for the use of whole-plant medicinal cannabis that is rich in CBD as a combined pain-management and anti-inflammatory treatment. It also further confirms the superiority over synthetic CBD-only treatments, and as a replacement for Aspirin, Nurofen, Voltaren and addictive opioid treatment regimes. Could Cannabis extract change the way we manage pain? 

    Increasing synthetic cannabis overdoses in the U.S emphasise the importance of regulation in the medicinal cannabis market

    Recent reports of overdoses related to recreational-use synthetic cannabis have highlighted the importance of ensuring the medicinal cannabis industry operates to the highest of standards. Although some medicinal cannabis products do use synthetic cannabis, these products are created in strict laboratory controlled conditions. U.S authorities report that recent deaths related to synthetic cannabis were laced with dangerous chemicals such as fentanyl, an opiate, or brodifacoum, an anticoagulant found in rat poison. Consumers can be confident that medicinal cannabis products available in Australia are free of impurities and safe to use.

    Elisabetta Faenza - CEO, LeafCann Group & Medicinal Cannabis Precision Medicine Expert 

  8. The Australian Hemp Lobby was given a mixed result today, when Australian State and Federal Health Ministers announced the legalisation of hemp seed with no or very low THC levels as a food for sale in Australia, but maintained the prohibition of the use of other parts of the hemp plant as a food or supplement.

    Ministers met on Friday after receiving a recommendation from Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) and the findings of a Swinburne University of Technology study showing that the consumption of low THC hemp seeds provided no risk to road safety.
    Hemp seed food producers must ensure that products made from or containing hemp seed make no claims using the words, marijuana, cannabis, cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD) or THC, or infer that consumers can get high from their products or receive medicinal cannabis style therapeutic benefits.
    This decision maintains Australia’s obligations under the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and is consistent with Medicinal Cannabis regulations, as hemp seed is specifically exempted from the convention. CBD remains a Schedule 4, and THC a Schedule 8 Narcotic in Australia and as such are prohibited to be sold as foods or nutritional supplements.

  9. Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has approved Proposal P1042 to legalise Low-THC Hemp as a Food in Australia and New Zealand, and now awaits the results of a study on the effects on roadside drug testing, due late April. Health Ministers in Australia and New Zealand then have 60 days to notify FSANZ whether they intend to ask it to review its decision or not, and will meet on April 28th to consider their decision.
    Should the Australian Government accept the recommendation, foods made from hemp seed or hemp oil will be legal for human consumption and sale in Australia. Long considered a super-food, hemp oil can be processed to make a protein rich flour and used as a substitute for wheat products.
    However, recent announcements in the media about the creation of a Hemp Hub in Geelong, Victoria and millions of dollars of investment by the sector into equipment and facilities may be premature, as representatives of the Office of Drug Control (ODC) and TGA recently commented in a public meeting that until the UN signals its approval of Low THC, high CBD Hemp Foods, they will remain prohibited here. 
    Australia has an obligation as a signatory to the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961  & 1972, to not move in advance of changes to this schedule. Hemp is part of the Cannabis family of plants and therefore every part of the plant is covered by the convention (except for industrial or horticultural use). The difficulty comes when low THC Hemp is touted as significantly different to low THC Cannabis, which it is not. Hemp is the term used to describe the sub-species of cannabis used for industrial purposes, generally a taller and more fibrous plant. To produce the proposed hemp foods a shorter version of the plant would be bred, higher in CBD oils, which is exactly the same as low THC Medicinal Cannabis. 
    Consumption of any part of the plant as a medicine is permitted under the same stringent licensing conditions that were announced in Australia in February 2016 for MedicinalCannabis. Furthermore the total amount of hemp foods produced made from extracted oils would have to be included in Australia's Annual Narcotics Estimates to the UN.

    The obligation of a signatory include the following:

    "Article 36 PENAL PROVISIONS 1. a) Subject to its constitutional limitations, each Party shall adopt such measures as will ensure that cultivation, production, manufacture, extraction, preparation, possession, offering, offering for sale, distribution, purchase, sale, delivery on any terms whatsoever, brokerage, dispatch, dispatch in transit, transport, exportation of drugs contrary to the provisions of this Convention, and any other action which in the opinion of such Party may be contrary to the provisions of this Conventions shall be punishable offences when committed intentionally, and that serious offences shall be lable to adequate punishment particularly by imprisonment or other penalties of deprivation of liberty."

    In other words, because hemp flour is made from high CBD, low THC hemp oil, and touted as a super-food with health benefits, it is technically a Cannabis Medicine and therefore regulated by the Office of Drug Control. Legalising Hemp Foods in advance of the UN could put Australia into direct contravention of our international obligations, causing the loss of our status as a complying signatory. This could lead to a delinquency notice from the UN, and the destruction of Australia's massive potential as an exporter of Medicinal Cannabis products and hemp products to complying signatory countries.

    The Hemp Foods lobby can't have its cake and eat it too, claiming health benefits from its CBD flour but avoiding the compliance standards and regulation required of Cannabis Medicines.

    Will the Single Convention be updated to allow Hemp Foods some time soon?

    Probably, but until then the Australian Government needs to tread with caution, and industry needs to look at the big picture for a sustainable Cannabis and Hemp Food sector, and not short-term gains by circumventing legislation.

    Hemp seed, however, is exempted from the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and is the most likely candidate for legalisation, when Federal and State health ministers meet.
    You can learn more about FSANZ and hemp foods here:
    You can learn more about the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961 here:

    Why all the fuss about Hemp Foods?

    While sourcing Omega 6 and Omega 3 rich oils from marine sources has serious environmental consequences, including the risk of heavy metal contamination, hemp is a vegan friendly, environmentally acceptable and ethical alternative to fish-oil and krill oil. High in insoluble fibre, hemp oil is also a good source of tocopherols and essential minerals.

    The 9 remarkable dietary and skincare properties of hemp oil

    With the imminent legalization of hemp as a legal food in Australia, and its touting as a super-food. Here are 9 reported properties of hemp, when used as a food or for skincare:
    1.    Fact #1: Hemp Oil may help maintain hormonal balance: Hemp is the only edible seed that contains gamma-linolenic acid, which is eventually converted to the protective hormone prostaglandin PGE1 that regulates hormonal balance and supports menopausal health.
    2.    Fact #2: Hemp Oil may regenerate and energise the skin’s protective layer: Due to its high content of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, hemp oil has a composition similar to skin lipids, which makes it an excellent natural emollient and moisturizer. It is especially useful for dry, tired or dehydrated skin and nails. Hemp oil increases the skin’s elasticity and the water retention capacity of tissues. Pure hemp oil can be used to treat dry hair and is often included in vegan hair conditioners.
    3.    Hemp Oil is vegetarian and vegan friendly: Getting the right balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can be tricky for vegetarians and vegans. Hemp oil naturally has the optimal ratio of these acids, is plant based and a renewable crop that conditions soil.
    4.    Hemp Oil may lower cholesterol: The only vegetable oil to contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the right ratio (3:1), hemp oil may help lower cholesterol levels by accelerating metabolic processes. With a faster metabolism, fats burn at a quicker rate preventing them from forming plaques on artery walls.
    5.    Hemp Oil may benefit diabetics: Due to its low glycaemic index, hemp oil can be a great food additive for diabetics. The nutrients present may help moderate blood sugar levels.
    6.    Hemp Oil may help prevent psoriasis: Psoriasis has been associated with a deficiency of omega-6 fatty acids in the body. The fatty acids present in hemp oil may help improve skin oxygenation and hydration.
    7.    Hemp Oil can boost your immunity: Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids improve immunity while regulating intestinal flora, thus building a natural barrier against microbes and increasing digestive and immune resilience. 
    8.    Hemp Oil may prevent demyelination of the nervous system: Essential fatty acids are necessary for a healthy cell membrane structure. They also prevent the demyelination, the destruction of the myelin sheath (a membrane that protects the nerve cells). Hemp oil is high in essential fatty acids.
    9.    Hemp Oil may prevent varicose veins: Like other compounds high in omega-3s, hemp oil thins the blood, reducing blood clots and varicose veins.


    Cannabis extract (CBD) might be the opioid, ibuprofen or Aspirin replacement you’re looking for…

    A groundbreaking studyhas documented the superior therapeutic properties of whole plant CBD-rich medicinal cannabis extract as compared to synthetic, single-molecule cannabidiol (CBD), Aspirin (non-steroid anti-inflammatory) or Tramadol (an opioid pain medication).
    “Our data together with those of others provide legitimation to introduce a new generation of phytopharmaceuticals to treat diseases that have hitherto been treated using synthetic drugs alone,” the Israeli team reported.

    This study leads the way for the use of whole plant CBD rich medicinal cannabis as a combined pain-management and anti-inflammatory treatment, and further confirms its superiority over single-molecule, synthetic CBD only treatments, and as a replacement for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (for example the NSAIDs: Aspirin, Nurofen, Voltaren) and addictive opioid treatment regimes.

    References: Ruth Gallily, Zhannah Yekhtin, Lumír Ondřej Hanuš,“Overcoming the Bell-Shaped Dose-Response of Cannabidiol by Using Cannabis Extract Enriched in Cannabidiol,”Pharmacology & Pharmacy (Feb. 2015), 

    Supplements, who really needs them?

    You’ve probably heard a lot in the press about the ineffectiveness of vitamin supplements. You’ve probably also heard about ground-breaking studies showing the benefit of plant-based extracts in the treatment of hard-to-manage conditions. Why do these reports seem to contradict each other?

    Well not all supplements are equal, and their clinical use is difficult to patent and produce at standards acceptable to the various regulatory bodies that govern medicines around the world. While difficult, though, it is not impossible. Recently more research has begun into therapeutic botanical extracts and better ways to produce them, and the evidence is compelling.

    Think of it like this: while eating an apple a day is beneficial to health, taking synthetic versions of the vitamins and minerals found in an apple might provide little or no benefit. That’s because there are dozens if not hundreds of other molecules bound up in that apple that help it to support human health, that aren’t in the supplement.

    The rule of thumb is, if a supplement is made of a whole-plant extract, and you can find peer-reviewed studies to support it, then it’s probably going to help for the conditions indicated in the study. If, however it’s a synthetic copy or just contains a couple of the molecules found in the plant, then odds are it will just help you to make extremely expensive urine. The other alternative, of course, is to simply eat the apple.

  11. Cannabis shows promise in treating meth and opioid addiction

    The International Journal of Drug Policy recently concluded a major Canadian based study into the effect of medicinal cannabis on pain management, tobacco use and prescription drug addiction. 63% of the 271 study participants reported that they managed pain more effectively with cannabis and preferred it to prescriptions pain medications. 30% of participants preferred cannabis to using highly addictive opioids. 12% of recipients had used cannabis to quit their tobacco addiction (Lucas, 2017).

    In another review, The National Institutes of Health concluded that a "growing number of studies support a critical role (in addiction pathways) and provide further evidence that the cannabinoid system could be explored as a potential drug discovery target for treating addiction across different classes of stimulants" (Oliere, 2013).

     Studies, such as this one, are overturning the false belief that cannabis is a gateway to more potent drug addictions, and instead shows that medicinal cannabis is an effective and safe pain management treatment, helping sufferers avoid developing dangerous addictions to opioids and other pain medications while adequately relieving pain.

    In a separate study, The National Academy of Sciences, found that there is no valid evidence connecting marijuana with increased usage of other illicit substances. As a result the US Federal Drug Administration (FDA) was forced to remove unsubstantiated claims about marijuana being a gateway drug from its website.

    This move is in line with a growing body of evidence substantiating the medicinal applications of cannabis for chronic pain and otherwise untreatable conditions. While smoking marijuana does not provide optimal dose or quality control, formulations based on Cannabinoid extracts and delivered as an oil, capsule, dermal patch or via metered inhaler show great promise with few if any side-effects.

    As the peak medical practitioner body the AMA must now be under pressure to update its policy on medicinal cannabis and work with the TGA to support practitioner education and licensing, to meet the growing, medicinal demand.

    Industry Expert: Elisabetta L. Faenza Co-founder – LeafCann


    Lucas, Phillipe and Walsh, Zach, April 2017, Medicinal cannabis access, use, and substitution for prescription opioids and other substances: A survey of authorized medical cannabis patients, The International Journal of Drug Policy, , Vol 42, pages 30 -35

    National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, 2017, The health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids: Current state of evidence and recommendations for research.Washignton, DC: The National Academies Press

    Oliere, Staphanie, Jolette-Riopel, Antoine, Polvin, Stephane, Justras-Aswad, Didier, 2013 Modulation of the Endocannabinoid System; Vulnerability Factor and new Treatment Target for Stimulant Addiction,Semantic Scholar, Psychiatry, 2013
    Cited at

  12. What is Self-Awareness?

    The process of learning mindfulness practices like self-hypnosis, meditation or other autogenic techniques, can be compared to preparing thoroughly for a journey. The journey of course, is life, however, armed and prepared with greater insight, we are able to understand and reap the benefits of observing and learning from the journey of life as never before.

    There are many subconscious levels of perception and the more we consciously apply ourselves to the task of knowing ourselves, the deeper the level of perception and consciousness we can achieve. This is at the root of all mystic traditions, and what lies screened by the dogma of the world’s major religions. Knowing ourselves is not always a simple task, and the hardest part seems to be acknowledging our responsibility for the life we've ended up with. Once this is achieved, other insights come more easily. By learning mindfulness techniques like self-hypnosis and meditation we can begin to peel back the layers of self-deception that we create. Many of these layers were created as protection against adversity, loss and trauma.

    In previous posts I have discussed the mechanisms through which we develop inappropriate behavioural responses. When these responses are re-stimulated we act out old scenarios learned in childhood or early adulthood, that are mostly completely unrelated to the situation at hand, and almost useless as strategies for problem solving. Perceiving the origins of this behavior is a first, and very important step, but if lingered upon, can become counter-productive. We naturally seek to blame the authority figures of our childhood for all of our adult problems. Where does this stop, however? Our parents, equally, could blame their forebears, and they in turn their own. What does this achieve?

    The answer to evolving beyond negative learned and instinctive behaviours, is to emerge from the cycle of blame and ignorance, and to look inside once more. Those behaviours could never linger if we didn’t find some comfort from them. This is what we call a secondary-gain. 

    For example, sometimes the attention and sympathy of friends and relatives keeps us chronically unwell, or more precisely our addiction to that form of approval and validation that ensures we do not give 100% to the business of becoming well. Medicare, insurance policies, pharmaceuticals, invalid pensions etc, are all conspirators that cushion the discomfort of illness. They are necessary to assist us to get through the initial phase of trauma, and support us through the healing process, but become counter-productive over the long term if they become a crutch. 

    This may sound harsh, but think about it for a while. Once we’ve been unwell for long enough, we can lose our ability to think of ourselves as well, and our self-image has shifted toward the victim end of the scale. Naturally, we feel we need help to cope with the repercussions of chronic illness, in the form of rebates or financial payment as compensation, especially for injury. The longer this goes on, the worse it gets. The part of us that no longer perceives itself as capable of health, clings stubbornly to the secondary gains of illness, preventing us from moving back toward a state of wellbeing.

    Any type of subsidy needs to be paired with a caring system of rehabilitation - identifying what abilities can be strengthened and using technology to assist with disability. This allows us to emerge from helplessness and take back our power.

    Please be aware that in this discussion, I am not referring to terminal illness.

    These are issues I have discussed at length previously, but they are pertinent to the topic at hand; that is the achievement of an Empowered Life. Our interactions with each other, at all levels of daily life, are also governed by social mores, and were learned by observing the world of adults that surrounded us in childhood. We intuitively perceived the interplay of power in the world of adults, and adopted the behavioural tools we deemed most appropriate, in order to navigate our way through life. In summary, there are myriad ways one human being can relate to another, and most of the methods we employ are not only reactive but help to perpetuate the hostile environment that foments envy, deceit, murder, prejudice, war and intolerance.

    We are Energy

    It all boils down to the concept that individuals interact in non-visible ways. We often put this down to vibes, by saying someone has good or bad vibes. What does this mean? Does it reveal anything more than some amorphous feeling? The answer in my opinion, and coming from quantum biology is a resounding yes!

    Physicists have discovered that there is a web of energy, which links beings together, formalizing what has hither to been called intuition. This web is an electromagnetic field of energy, measurable in the laboratory. It exists at the level of sub-atomic particles in a detectable manner, and its discovery has created a cleft between the adherents of mechanistic view of the world, and the more contemporary, but far less tangible quantum view of the Universe as a connected whole. Quantum biologists have observed the interaction of this field with human DNA.

    Fritjof Capra, in The Turning Point, and The Tao of Physics, John Gribbons, In the Beginning, Peter Tomkins and Christopher Birds’ The Secret Life of Plants, Paul Harper in Cosmic Wormholes are amongst a wave of scientists and investigators in fields of physics, biology, anthropology, cosmology and genetics who have perceived the interconnectedness of life in the Universe. Even more than that, as John Gribbon put it, the Universe is organic, it is evolving and self-organising just as cellular organisms do. If the actions of very small sub-nuclear particles can effect each other over great distances, and seemlingly instantaneously, and if 99% of all matter in the Universe is invisible, then how can we say that humans stand outside the Universe as impartial observers, unmoved by the invisible, instantaneous processes that act on all matter from the quantum to the macro?

    When you are able to see the Energy Field around all things, you are also able to see the state of flux of all things, and this helps us understand that our solidity is only an illusion. Electrons obey the Uncertainty Principle of physics, and can never be precisely placed in space. Instead, physicists offer a probability quotient for the position of electrons within atoms at any precise moment. In other words because sub-atomic particles are always moving, very, very fast, and because every visible thin in the Universe contains atoms, which form molecules, which form elements, which combine to become higher forms of life including all animal, plant and insect life, then we too are continually in movement.

    The electrons within the atoms of our own bodies are vibrating and spinning at incredibly fast speeds so that it gives the illusion of solidity, much like a spinning propeller on a plane visibly cease to spin at a certain speed and gives the illusion of a disk, and can even appear to be spinning in reverse.

    The Energy Field around all things in the Universe, animate or inanimate, is a cloud of energy being discharged by the atomic and chemical processes that occur continuously within us in order to keep us alive. Interestingly Kirlian Photography and the testimony of those who see the energy field, has shown that the mood, health and perception of any individual impacts on the form, intensity and colour of that individual’s Energy Field or aura. It has long been known that our hair, skin and nails reveal inner states of health, so why not the energy discharge of our atoms?

    Those who can perceive the electromagnetic Energy Field of living beings often report flaring, or huge surges of the Energy Field in the direction of the perception, or when individuals experience strong emotions. We seem, in general, to filter out the information that would show us the world and ourselves as fluid energy. The five sense act as filters of information, not only gatherers, especially when compared to the sensory world of plants. As we evolved into moving, verbally communicative and creative creatures, we developed more specialized senses. We filtered out the ultraviolet and infra-red extremes of the light spectrum. We filtered out extremely high or extremely low sound frequencies and we lost our ability to pick up subtle odours. Yet, there are creatures on earth and in the sea, who are able to do any or all of these things because it is pertinent to their survival. We filtered out this information, perhaps, because it overloaded our brain, by providing too much input. By becoming more specialized it allowed our mind to do other things, like master speech.

    A plant has a large open field of sensory perception because its movement is limited as is its volition, and it needs a very wide spectrum of information in order to prosper. As we lost our ability to perceive the flux of existence, and the dynamic interplay between the energies of living things, we also forgot our connection to the living world. We separated ourselves in towns and cities, and filled our lives with tangible, material things – so much so that we began to believe, falsely that these things were reality.

    This is a rock-logic, unmindful perception. 

    What is it? We ask, and the answer is – a book, a clock and car. We use the symbol book to connote in a very superficial way what the book realty is. Then we are fooled into believing that the symbol is as real as the information the book contains, then we begin to believe that like the symbol the information in the book is static and not dynamic. 

    All of us are human becomings. We are still evolving, and have not achieved or become fully evolved, and may never be. The environment influences our genes. DNA is switched on or silenced by chemical tags triggered by these epigenetic signals. Experience can in turn alter the genes we pass onto our descendants. We started existence in this Universe approximately 15 billion years ago, and contain elements, which are only higher vibrations of the primordial elements of hydrogen and helium. We are the stuff of exploded stars, interstellar debris, gas clouds, volcanic eruptions, primordial swamps, prehistoric sea creatures, land dinosaurs and the higher primates.

    Every element in our bodies has been on a fifteen billion year journey, evolving, refining itself and combining in new ways to create higher and higher orders of life. Here we are with brains that require the resources of an entire planet to sustain, with a history stretching back eons and yet we deny our connection to this planet and the cosmos at large?

    Another side effect of limiting our perception to a rock-logic point of view, is that the pool of energy readily available to all living things became more and more removed from us, or to be precise we removed ourselves further and further form it. Natural things in pristine environments have Energy Fields that are enormous, and this is why we feel so good when we immerse ourselves in a natural environment. Indigenous peoples embrace a tree or rock in order to energise themselves before a confrontation or when they are ill, and many animist cultures attribute spiritual powers to all living things. We too were once surrounded by an enormous field of energy, but as we removed ourselves more and more from a pristine state of existence and spiritual connection with the planet of our birth, our Energy Fields diminished to a size that for most people is limited to less than a metre beyond the physical boundary of their body.

    Because all beings need energy, if any being is cut off one source of energy it has to find alternative sources of energy. Most of you would think of food as the primary source of energy, but isn’t it interesting that the amount of food humans consume is not proportional to their energy requirements, and our ability to judge our energy requirements from food, via the hypothalamus is almost totally non-existent in Western society. Often we know we have fulfilled our caloric requirement for food, and yet we still feel lethargic or run-down. A balanced diet and perhaps vitamin therapy go a long way toward alleviating this problem, but what drives us to eat poorly in the first place? We are all capable of eating well when we feel good, but the minute we feel low or depressed, or drained we begin to eat high-calorie, low nutrition foods. The word DRAINED, is an important clue.

    The primary source of energy humans use today (aside from food) is the energy they drain from other human beings and the environment. Having lost our ability to tap into the Universal Field of Energy and Information, we instead take the ‘easy’ way out and drain someone less powerful than ourselves of their energy. Of course, in the end this is not really the easy way out, because there is never enough energy around at this level, and the draining process creates a chain reaction whose end result is the society we lament all around us.

    Overturning the tyranny of our genes

    All of this can be changed by becoming mindful of the power we all have over our own lives.

    Information and knowledge are at this moment competing with DNA as the determining force of existence. With inner knowledge comes the power to change everything about ourselves: to overcome the limitations of our physical birth, our upbringing and our environment. It enables us to evolve to a state unparalleled in the history of the earth. Our DNA, that guardian of our inheritance has given birth to a brain, which has runaway in its development, far outstripping the limitations of our genes. Our genes can add to themselves by mutation – and that occurs over a geologically long period of time. Epigenetics is a recently discovered process that reveals how experience and the environment can edit the genes, changing the genome that is passed onto subsequent generations. Learned behaviours can be transcribed into the genome, affecting how our children and grandchildren respond to stress and trauma. Mindfulness allows us to consciously edit our DNA.

    Mindfulness training provides the key to creating a process of change, and a dialogue with our inner selves. It is the basis of conscious evolution that frees us from the chains of a slow genetic process of development from primordial slime to complete human being. Change is the hallmark of our era, and the ability to change is the pre-requisite for survival. We do not have the time as a species, to wait for genetic mutation to come to our rescue, and help us to stop acting in a gene-multiplying self-prophecy of doom. No other species of living organism has ever had to face the question of cutting its own reproduction rate in order to survive, yet this is the very task facing us today. In fact, it is this most important characteristic of genes that reveal them to be the force behind the negative road of mankind. Genes are selfish by nature, and create a body that gives the genome the greatest chance of survival through reproduction. The gene is immortal and cares little for the carrier – the human in this case – except as a means to an end. The gene is also blind, and cannot see where this selfishness is leading.

    The task we face is to take the under-utilised brain that our DNA has created and use it to evolve beyond gene domination. Through mindfulness we can free ourselves from gene driven behavior, that while good for the gene does little for our quality of life, nor for the future of life in general.

    While DNA is slow to change, and protects itself against change, the mind is able to add to its files continually. Further, it can completely re-organise itself in the light of new information, it can learn new skills that influence its survival consciously. DNA, on the other hand, is a the mercy of mutation and natural selection, and can do nothing to change its chances of survival even over generations.

    The only way we can be free of the tyranny of our genes, is to develop our minds. Mindfulness training develops skills that open up the inner world of our mind, and can help us in our quest for knowledge, enlightenment and self-actualisation. 

    The choice is ours.


    Elisabetta is the author of the best-selling non-fiction book - The Energy Code.
    She is also the author of The Infidel, Veritas and Nemesis and was the librettist for  the musical  - D'Arc, The Legend of Saint Joan.
    Elisabetta works is a professional speaker and consultant to government organisations, entrepreneurs and NGOs on innovation, change management and talent retention.
    Learn more about Elisabetta at:

  13. Ever been told you need to change your outlook, or adopt a more ‘resilient mind-set’?  Are mindsets even real, or are they just psychobabble?
    According to brain plasticity experts, mindsets are real and the result of the interaction between our environment, nervous system and DNA. A mind-set is actually a group of neurological mind-maps that we create to perform a task, or respond to input coming from the senses.
    Resilience has become a buzzword for a group of behaviours that enable an individual to withstand, or recover quickly from, adversity or adapt to changed conditions. Much attentionhas been paid by researchers to the study of individuals who demonstrate a resilient mind-set in the face of trauma, in the hope that a model of resilience can be developed and taught.
    In my research into the interaction between behaviour, our DNA, and the environment, I was drawn to the work of neuro-plasticians (scientists who study the brain’s ability to change itself) like Edward Taub and Michael Merzenich,[i]⁠1 whose work is complementary to that of quantum biologists Pjotr Gariaev and Vladimir Popponin.
    While quantum biologists, Gariaev and Popponin, investigate how environmental mechanisms switch DNA on or off, Taub and Merzenich have dedicated their lives to understanding how the nervous system responds to signals from the environment, learns new skills, and develops habits. Their research reveals a dynamic neurological process where the mind creates maps for how it responds to signals coming from the senses, and then recreates them on demand.

    What do we use Mindmaps for?

    There are maps for everything we do, hear, see, feel, taste and smell. These maps contain the precise sequence and location of neurones (cells) in the brain as they are fired. The more we are exposed to something, and respond in a similar way, the more defined and refined these maps become, and the more of our brain the map owns. We have maps for walking, for holding a ball or gripping a cup, and we have maps for our emotions, for what triggers feelings of love, sadness, fear, anger or arousal.
    Being aware of how our behaviour is laid down in our nervous system by repetition and reward allows us to decide if a particular mind-set is productive.
    Mindsets are literally groups of associated neurological mind-maps that work together, or fire together. There is a saying in brain plasticity that says: ‘neurones that fire together, wire together’ and ‘neurones that fire apart, wire apart.’[ii]
    This grouping of mind-maps doesn’t just apply to physical responses, but to the secretion of brain chemicals that underpin emotion. Our brain maps our experience by creating 3D, holographic, topographical maps and then storing these throughout our cells, from the brain stem and spinal cord, down into the peripheral nerves themselves.
    When a situation resembles an aspect of a past experience, this triggers the projection of the 3D mind-map almost instantaneously, and causes neurones to fire in a precise sequence, making our response feel automatic or unconscious. Every time we relive an experience, we add detail to, or amend information in the map, literally re-writing our past.⁠3  The brain then links experiences to deepen and add detail to mind-maps, making them more refined and complex.

    Overcoming Damaging Mindmaps

    Sometimes, however, circumstances in the environment change so swiftly that our mind-maps are no longer appropriate. 
    It therefore follows that someone who is good at playing piano will have a bigger map for the movement of their fingers and hands than a soccer player. While the soccer player would have more of their brain devoted to the nuances of moving the body, legs and feet than would the pianist.
    Mind maps draw on abilities we have inherited from our parents that are the best fit for a particular experience or stimulus coming from our environment. This explains why we can carry a gene for depression and anxiety, but if we do not experience sustained bullying or trauma as a child, this gene may not be called on. Meanwhile if we are taught functional ways to handle aggression and conflict, these skills will instead become the basis of a mind map that gives us an evolutionary advantage for survival and thus reproduction, and may then be naturally selected for over the generations in preference to humans with the older code.[iii]
    If this mind map is reinforced over and over again by practice and experience, there is a good chance it will be laid down in the DNA as an alternative code, which can be passed onto future generations. A parent who copes well with conflict and aggression is also more likely to teach these skills to their offspring, further reinforcing the resilient behaviour. Over multiple generations, this reinforcing of a healthy response to aggression and conflict may lead to a dominant trait in descendants that predispose them to resilience.
    This brilliant, new research over-turns both the ‘dominance of the gene’ and ‘brain localisation’ theories, proving the dynamic interplay between genetic material and our experience of the world through our senses.

    Developing Resilience

    Resilient individuals can be said to have highly functional maps that provide a strong pattern for the nervous system to rely upon, as well as the ability to be able to break these maps down when they are no longer useful and replace them with better response maps.
    Positively charged emotions like gratitude, love, acceptance and joy produce dopamine and endorphins that help lay down new mind-maps, as well as oxytocin that helps dissolve the old mind-maps being replaced. This explains why it is only at the point of acceptance in the cycle of grieving that individuals are able to finally let go of what was lost and move on. Acceptance promotes the production of the very brain chemical that melts away old mind-maps and allows new mind-maps to supersede them.[iv]
    Experiencing a reward for new behaviour also triggers more dopamine, helping to reinforce connections between neurones, strengthening a new map. Fear, on the other hand, shuts down the nervous system and DNA expression, leaving us with only the most primitive maps to fall back on.
    This explains why fear and anxiety can render us speechless and unable to respond. Soldiers are trained to overcome this through the repetition of skills under extreme pressure, and through receiving rewards for the desired, resilient behaviour.⁠6 Even soldiers, when exposed repeatedly to stress and trauma, may experience post-traumatic stress symptoms and be overwhelmed by fear, rage or depression.
    The amazing thing about mind-maps is that they are three dimensional, and stored holographically within the nervous system and DNA. But even more amazingly, they are plastic and highly susceptible to change. This new evidence is transforming the way medicine rehabilitates stroke victims and brain injury patients, leading to a virtual rewiring of damaged brains around dead cells. The key to this new model of rehabilitation is to re-learn skills for the damaged limb, motor skill or brain function as if for the first time, step-by-step, like a baby, and by providing a reward for each incremental improvement.[v]
    In this way, some patients with catastrophic damage have regained almost full function of motor-skills, despite a prognosis they would never recover.[vi]
    Elisabetta is the author of the best-selling non-fiction book - The Energy Code.
    She is also the author of The Infidel, Veritas and Nemesis and was the librettist for  the musical  - D'Arc, The Legend of Saint Joan.
    Elisabetta works as a consultant to government organisations, entrepreneurs and NGOs on innovation, change management and talent retention.
    Learn more about Elisabetta at:

    [i]M. M. Merzenich, 2001, Cortical plasticity contributing to
    childhood devSiegler, eds. Mechanisms of Cognitive
    Development: Behavioural and Neural Perspectives. Mahwah,
    N.J: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, p68.
    [ii]Norman Doidge, MD, The Brain that Changes itself, Scribe,
    Melbourne 2010
    [iv]4Sugden, Karen, Kings College Bullying Study, Kings College
    2010, London
    [v]Ramachandran, V.S, The Tell-Tale Brain, 2010
    [vi]Doidge Opcit, p119

  14. What is Hypnosis?

    Hypnosis defies precise definition, as it is a personal experience with few objective points of reference available to the observer. What is agreed is that hypnosis involves and altered state of perception, characterized by a focusing of awareness, stillness of the conscious mind and is accompanied by physiological changes such as slowing of respiration and circulation, muscular relaxation, lacrimation of the eyes and feelings of either heaviness or lightness.

    In this course you will be introduced to the latest breakthrough in Autogenic and Flow State Training systems to help YOU achieve your goals.

    What is the mind?

    To date, experts have not been able to pinpoint the location of the conscious and subconscious minds within the brain. This failure does not, however reflect on the existence of the mind, but rather on our inability to come to terms with things we cannot see or measure. Until the last century we could not measure or detect activity at the nuclear of sub-nuclear level, yet that does not mean there was no activity at these levels previously.

    What we have determined in the laboratory, under EEG and fMRI is that certain areas of the brain are associated with certain functions, however, this being said, it is interesting to note that in some, stroke victims have learned to grow new neural pathways to previously unused areas of the brain, and these areas have taken over the work of the damaged neurons.

    It is my opinion that the brain is the hardware, and looking for the mind within the brain is like looking for programs (software) by taking a computer apart. Using this model, the subconscious mind is the software, while the brain is the hardware. The subconscious mind is a set of programs – or mindmaps that are accessed via the hardware and used like we use Apps on our smart phone - to manage behaviors or functions.

    What we do know…

    The conscious mind is associated with the Somnic Nervous System – or the activation of the voluntary muscles, centered within the Cerebral Cortes, or the outer layer of the brain.

    The information receptors of the brain are located in a lateral strip of neurons that sit across the top of the head, at the front of the Parietal Lobe of the Cerebral Cortex. The area that controls voluntary movement is located just in front of the Parietal Lobe, in an area at the back of the Frontal Lobe. One of the oldest areas of the brain is the Thalamus, which is located at the base of the Cerebrum. It interacts with the sensation receptors in the Parietal Lobe to alter the intensity of sensations, and it is thanks to this interaction that pain does not completely overwhelm us – for example without it, the pressure of our clothes would be unbearable.

    The thinking, reasoning part of our brain is located in the extreme Frontal Lobe and Cerebral Cortex. These are all implicated in the workings of the conscious mind.

    The subconscious mind, on the other hand, is identifies with the Autonomic Nervous System or areas controlling the use and regulation of the involuntary or smooth muscles such as the lungs, heart and digestive system and glands. More significantly to our interest, the subconscious mind is the realm of memory storage and retrieval.

    Memories are stored in the Temporal Lobe of the Cerebral Cortex, located either side of the front of our brain, near the temples.

    The Cerebellum sits in the back of the brain stem, and is the storehouse of chain motor responses learned in infancy by trial and error. It operates at the subconscious level, coordinating the movements of voluntary muscles in an habitual, learned fashion, that no longer requires detailed conscious thought.

    The Frontal Lobe directs these movements and the Cerebellum provides the detailed instructions that allow fluid, efficient operation of muscles. Damage to the Cerebellum causes the loss of co-ordination. The Cerebellum then is part of the subconscious mind that works in concert with the Conscious Mind.

    In layman’s terms, the Conscious Mind has come to be associated with the ‘will’, while the Subconscious Mind is associated with day dreams and imagination – it is these very characteristics that the practice of hypnosis is based upon.

    Left and Right Brain

    To complicate matters, much of twentieth century psychology and psychiatry has been based upon division of the brain into two hemispheres. The Corpus Callosum is the connective area of the brain that links right and left hemispheres. Interestingly it is thicker in women than men, suggesting that there is great integration of left and right brain functions in women than men.

    In modern society we have come to associate left hemisphere dominance with intelligence, success and rationality, and have undervalued the creative, intuitive abilities that characterize right hemisphere functions. Perhaps that is due to the dominance of male values and patriarchy in the modern era, and a society steeped in Newtonian, mechanical certainties. With the coming of Quantum Physics, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, Quantum Biology and Psychoneuroimmunology, and Neuroscience, and a growing awareness within the scientific community that much more is going on than can be explained by a mechanistic view of the Universe, however, the right hemisphere and the Split-Brain theory is being re-evaluated.

    Evidence gathered from fMRI, EEG and during brain surgery suggest that rather than the brain being split by function, the two hemispheres are divided and unified by perspective. The right hemisphere provides context, and an abstract understanding of the world, including an ability to create internal language and recognize patterns. The left-hemisphere conversely provides our ability to ‘act’ in the world; to manipulate objects, language and ourselves to influence the world.

    Another way to look at this is that the right brain provides the framework to understand the world and create new ideas, while the left brain provides the tools to enact those ideas. If an artist was only right-brained they would have no way of conveying their creative ideas into any manifest form, the ideas would be locked inside their head. Likewise if a mathematician was only left-brained they would have no ability to recognize patterns, envisage solutions or make connections between things.

    So the next time you see one of those ‘Are you left or right brain dominant’ quizzes, walk away – it’s based on outdated science and is pure rubbish.

    It is now agreed, that in order to function at optimal levels we need the integration of both hemispheres of the brain. How much of each hemisphere we regularly use appears to be correlated with personality, but that’s a whole other lecture.

    What is REM?

    Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep time has long been regarded as necessary to our very mental survival and people deprived of this deep sleep state experience major psychological disturbances and emotional upheaval. REM sleep is characterized by the rapid movement of the closed eyes from left to right and back again, and seems to be some kind of rapid integrative process, where the left and right hemispheres communicate with each other, relaying information, retrieving memories and formulating responses to the day to day demands of our lives. This process is akin to what happens when you back-up your computer onto an external drive. It allows short and mid-term memory to be converted to long-term memory and is associated with mental health.

    We can create this process through hypnosis and by repeatedly practicing this technique, which takes less than ten minutes, we can synchronise both the hemispheres and the electrical activity of the brain.

    Here is some background to the powerful phenomena of Brain Wave States you’ll be experiencing:



    You are wide-awake, alert. Your mind is sharp, focused. It makes connections quickly, easily and you're primed to do work that requires your full attention. In the Beta state, neurons fire abundantly, in rapid succession, helping you achieve peak performance. New ideas and solutions to problems flash like lightning into your mind. Beta training is one of the frequencies that biofeedback therapists use to treat Attention Deficit Disorder.

    Beta-centred Flow Training help you prepare to take an exam, play sports, give a presentation, analyze and organize information, and other activities where mental alertness and high levels of concentration are key to your success.

    Beta waves range between 13-40 HZ. The Beta state is associated with peak concentration, heightened alertness, hand eye coordination and visual acuity. Nobel Prize Winner Sir Francis Crick and other scientists believe that the 40HZ beta frequency used on many Brain Sync tapes may be key to the act of cognition.



    When you are truly relaxed, your brain activity slows from the rapid patterns of Beta into the more gentle waves of Alpha. Your awareness expands. Fresh creative energy begins to flow. Fears vanish. You experience a liberating sense of peace and well-being. In biofeedback, Alpha training is most commonly recommended for the treatment of stress.

    Alpha-centered Flow Training help you tap your creativity and are excellent for problem solving, finding new ideas and practicing creative visualization. Choose Alpha programs when you want to attain deep levels of relaxation that are so essential to your health and well-being.

    Alpha waves range between 7-12 HZ. This is a place of deep relaxation, but not quite meditation. In Alpha, we begin to access the wealth of creativity that lies just below our conscious awareness - it is the gateway, the entry point that leads into deeper states of consciousness. Alpha is also the home of the window frequency known as the Schuman Resonance - the resonant frequency of the earth's electromagnetic field.



    Going deeper into relaxation, you enter the elusive and mysterious Theta state where brain activity slows almost to the point of sleep, but not quite. This is the therapeutic hypnogogic state. Theta is the brain state where magic happens in the crucible of your own neurological activity. Theta brings forward heightened receptivity, flashes of dreamlike imagery, inspiration, and your long-forgotten memories. Theta can bring you deep states of meditation. A sensation of "floating." And, because it is an expansive state, in Theta, you may feel your mind expand beyond the boundaries of your body.

    Theta rests directly on the threshold of your subconscious. In biofeedback, it is most commonly associated with the deepest levels of meditation. Theta also plays an important part in behavior modification programs and has been used in the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction. Finally, Theta is an ideal state for super-learning, re-programming your mind, dream recall, and self-hypnosis.

    Theta waves range between 4-7 HZ. Theta is one of the more elusive and extraordinary realms we can explore. It is also known as the twilight state which we normally only experience fleetingly as we rise up out of the depths of delta upon waking, or drifting off to sleep. In Theta, we are in a waking dream, vivid imagery flashes before the mind's eye and we are receptive to information beyond our normal conscious awareness. Theta has also been identified as the gateway to learning and memory. Theta meditation increases creativity, enhances learning, reduces stress and awakens intuition and other extrasensory perception skills.


    Detached Awareness

    Long, slow, undulating. Delta is the slowest of all four brain wave frequencies. Most commonly associated with deep sleep, certain frequencies in the Delta range also trigger the release of Human Growth Hormone so beneficial for healing and regeneration. This is why sleep - deep restorative sleep, the kind that Delta frequencies help induce -  is so essential to the healing process. Delta centred Flow Training can promote conversion from short term to long-term memory.

    Delta is the brain wave signal of the subconscious, the seat from which intuition arises. That means Delta-based programs are not only an ideal choice for their sleep and deep regeneration potential, but also when you want to access your unconscious activity and help that wellspring of information flow to your conscious mind for clearing and for empowerment. Delta waves range between 0-4 HZ.

    When we are in REM sleep we are alternating between low Alpha and high Theta activity, so that alternating our attention between our right and left hemispheres synchronises our brain’s electrical activity into a range somewhere between 6 and 10 HZ, which has been shown in bio-feedback to be extremely beneficial physiologically and psychologically.

    The Power of Imagination

    It is an interesting feature of living, thinking human beings, that our Will Power is often overwhelmed by our imagination, especially with the importance we place on Will Power in our society. Many people when beginning a diet, for example, say they will rely on their will and very soon find themselves thinking almost exclusively about food, even to the point of dreaming about their favorite foods.

    At the opposite extreme, a person who suffers from claustrophobia may be able to logically convince themselves that this fear is irrational and resolve, time and time again to use their Will Power to overcome their feelings, yet when confronted with an enclosed space their Will Power flies out the window and their imagination takes over.

    The two examples above demonstrate the destructive ability of the subconscious mind to overcome the conscious will. What hypnosis does is to tap into the imaginative power of the subconscious mind, to facilitate growth and personal development and to help individuals use their imaginations as a tool for goal attainment.

    Imagination is a skill, and like any other skill the direction and manipulation of the imaginative mind be greatly improved by practice. You will find, during this course, that both the quality of your imagination and your control of your imagination are greatly enhanced, opening up a whole new realm of creativity, intelligence and personal discovery you thought belonged to the world of the genius.

    Elisabetta is a Clinical Hypnotherapist with over 25 years experience facilitating behaviour change and maximising performance. Elisabetta is the author of The Energy Code, The Infidel and Veritas (all available on Amazon), and the creator of the online Personal Transformation Course - Activ8DNA on Udemy. Discover how Elisabetta can help you or your organisation achieve its potential at:

  15. Everyone talks about innovation, as if it something they can make happen, just by deciding it. Innovation is the product of very specific abilities and attitudes, and therefore is driven by people with specific talents, and requires an organisation-wide mindset shift, that results in an Innovation Culture.

    The rationale behind developing an Innovation Culture is to ensure all that every employee within an organisation is being engaged in work that utilises their strengths, and provides the authority to manage, innovate, implement and engage in collaboration. This level of autonomy is crucial to the development of Rainmaker teams to drive innovation and maintain a leading edge within the sector.

    In my experience Rainmaker Innovation Practices can be implemented in two stages:

        •     The Business Opportunity Analysis Team (BOAT) process
        •     The Business Implementation Team (BIT) Process.

    A detailed level of personality and strengths profiling will reveal whether an organisation has the existing Starter human capital to create a BOAT, or whether they will need to recruit key personnel. Many organisations already have sufficient staff with the requisite finisher profiles to create a Business Implementation Team (BIT), but these will still require proper training in BIT processes and an adequate respect for the BOAT skill-set.

    This mix has been shown to create an ideal return on investment on R&D and new enterprises as long as:

        1.    The finishers (BIT) are utilised in the enterprise-modelling phase.
        2.    Founders and C-Level management are consulted and their GLI (Gut Level Intuition) is utilised in the brainstorming phase; all enterprise proposals must be run through the BOAT before any commitments are made to potential enterprise partners, or product development.
        3.    It is essential that the strong Finishers lead the BIT process and ensure they do not bury an enterprise model created by the BOAT before implementation, and trust in the information and intelligence provided, once approved.  It is equally crucial that the BOAT fully briefs the BIT members to achieve real acceptance and ownership of the enterprise at the ‘coal-face.’
        4.    Once sign-off is achieved, enterprise plans should be implemented, tracked and re-assessed at pre-determined times. These enterprises should not be tinkered with outside of the BOAT / BIT process.
        5.    Regular (monthly) group meetings are essential in order to track feedback on new and existing enterprises, manage resources, and to identify any potential unforeseen opportunities, capacity constraints, weaknesses and threats.

    Barriers to Innovation

    Some powerful barriers, in particular risk and scrutiny, have a specific impact on innovation. Managers are judged on their success and, in seeking to avoid criticism or failure, they can become conservative or resistant to innovative approaches, because innovation is inherently risky. In the not-for-profit sector, failures tend to happen in the full glare of public scrutiny, with consequent risks for the reputations and careers of all those involved. It can therefore be much easier to avoid criticism by not taking risks.
    A Strategic Masterplan should acknowledge and examine a diverse range of barriers to innovation. These include risk aversion; failure of leadership; resource constraints; lack of direction and measurement; value conflicts; hierarchical attitudes; silo mentality; legislative limitations; accountability concerns; and resistance to change. Some are a function of necessary requirements for accountability, profitability, impartiality and transparency and cannot be easily swept away. There is no panacea. Finding ways to overcome such barriers will take creativity and determination.

    Innovation is also anti-hierarchical—a new idea can come from any level within an organisation or from an external source. Organisations that are open to a range of ideas and suggestions and that encourage development and experimentation thus tend to be innovative. A narrow range of inputs and rigid, multi-tiered approval processes discourage innovation. The BOAT and BIT processes aim to streamline New Business Development without stifling innovation or undermining the value of experience. Innovation requires a tolerance for experimentation and thereby, by definition, for failure. For each innovative success there will be multiple unsuccessful attempts. Such failures have a value in demonstrating what does not work and why; and can contribute to later successful innovations. A culture that punishes failure is not conducive to innovation. It is the nature of management to not focus on the 90 percent of things that go well, but rather on the 10 percent of things that have problems. This mindset is personality dependent, and arguably, this contributes to a culture in which failures or shortcomings are regarded as unacceptable.  Conversely identifying failure early and acting upon it is a crucial part of developing an innovation culture.

    Finally, innovation can be transformational or it can be incremental. Both types of innovation are important. Incremental innovation (e.g. streamlining processes) drives continuous improvement and a steady growth in productivity. Transformational innovation (such as introducing a new technology into a workplace) is often highly disruptive, but can lead to large leaps in performance and productivity. It will be the purpose of the Masterplan to provide the context for both incremental and transformational innovation, set out the strategies for both, indicate timetables for their development and implementation and create the benchmarks for tracking results.

    It is important to recognise that innovation is more than just coming up with a good idea. Translation of an idea into a successful outcome is what is required for innovation to take place, and it is failure at this point that often causes an innovation culture to stall .

    It is this level of innovation that is required to transform any start-up into a sustainable entity and ensure it not only survives but also thrives.

    Past, present and future enterprises should be profitable, autonomous, and linked within a collaborative culture of continuous improvement and innovation, once identified and developed. While processes are crucial, all research shows that it’s the business strategy and people, rather than the process alone, that matters. There is little evidence that success rates for research and development productivity can be increased much by just having a new product or process. In fact research suggests these have absolutely no impact on performance or profitability. It’s the people that drive these that determine success or failure.

    More specifically, the strategy is to create a Business Opportunity Analysis Team (BOAT) to identify appropriate, innovative new enterprise development opportunities to enable financial sustainability. It is advisable that all new enterprise proposals, regardless of their origin, would be put through the BOAT process once developed.

    Growth from innovation is a fundamental business strategy. To succeed, there must be a corresponding innovation mindset across the organisation as well as in Research and
    Development (R&D).  However, abdication of growth to R&D without support and involvement from the BOAT (including marketing and production support) means the growth initiatives are likely to fail. A Business Opportunity Analysis Team with the authority to drive innovation through collaboration, and thus growth and profitability is an essential part of any start-up Masterplan strategy.

    Myers Briggs (MBTI) and Dow have identified - through a 10 year study - the five steps that drive effective New Business Development (NBD):

    Five Steps to More Effective NBD:

    1. Determine if R&D leadership is innovative enough:

    Dow identified two main personality types: Starters, later characterised via the MBTI instrument as NTPs and NFPs  - preference for intuition, thinking / feeling and perceiving, and Finishers characterised as STJs - people with sensory, thinking and judging preferences.

    The Starter Personalities are creative, intuitive, visionary and curious. They continually challenge the status-quo, and tend to be difficult to manage as well as difficult to follow
    when in leadership roles without training. They tend to dislike details, agendas, may be viewed as impractical, and can be procrastinators.

    In contrast the Finisher personality types are far more pragmatic, better focused, more respectful of authority, and more task-oriented. They like details, agendas, and are far
    steadier, consistent workers. They are the people who get the job done. They capture the cash as they exploit the developed opportunity, but can be rigid and negative when faced

    with a change to the status-quo. They may resist innovation with the attitude ‘if it ain’t broke why fix it?’

    While Starter personalities suit Business Opportunity Analysis, both Starters and Finishers are clearly needed in BOATS, but require initial induction and appropriate management.

    Because individual personality is determined to a large extent by genetics, researchers believe it must follow that organisational cultures are also determined to a large extent by genetics, when organisational culture is defined as the collective mindset of the leadership in that organisation. For BOATs to flourish the culture most likely needs to shift its mindset, and thus its culture toward an autonomous / collaborative culture.

    2. Match leadership personalities to job roles:

    People tend to perform best and gain the greatest job satisfaction in roles that enable them to use their natural gifts. Therefore, understanding the genetic nature of personality means it is critical to match the personalities of the leaders with appropriate job roles, otherwise productivity suffers dramatically.

    Starter personality types are best suited to job roles involving innovating and developing, requiring them to operate in an area of ambiguity. These job roles include determining what new types of enterprises or products are needed to meet customers; needs, and then creating them and the marketing and sales plans they need.

    Finisher personality types are best suited to growing and enhancing job roles that usually rely on using well established procedures to solve problems. These jobs include commercialising existing products, keeping plants running well, and implementing procedures. Both continuous improvement and incremental advances are hallmarks of Finisher roles.

    When Finishers are asked to innovate, they typically fail and are miserable as well. Likewise, when Starters are asked to implement established procedures, at best they typically perform at a lacklustre level.

    It is important to emphasise that there are no right or wrong personality types. All are needed, but in the right roles in the right balance.

    3. Train and coach Rainmaker BOATs

    Rainmakers are a specific type of BOAT that includes a majority of Starters and minority of Finishers who have been selected for their ability to innovate, think outside the square, gather information quickly  and morph one idea quickly into another.

    Rainmakers should be trained to assess opportunities in the following ways:

        •    Making sure the new product concepts fit within the business. BOAT leaders use a ‘Gut Level Screen’ ensuring that the opportunities presented to them by the BOATs would truly excite top management from a stand-point of potential size and profitability, timing, geography, technology and markets.

        •    Visiting customers and stakeholders at their locations and plants, testing the draft propositions, determining the customers’ true functional requirements (which they often cannot articulate themselves), and analyzing the results.

        •    Building system cost-performance models of the way customers use products or services (including labor, capital and raw materials), both today and tomorrow - so the next generation of products is already on the drawing board. These results then need to be compared with potential new offerings based on both performance and cost, to determine whether the new business concepts will beat the best-performing competitors, and by paying greater attention to developing a sustainable competitive advantage by establishing exclusive intellectual property rights, or through commercial agreements

        •    Morphing the concept until a winning concept for commercialisation is identified, then reporting to upper management, while typically staying with the zone of top management’s Gut Level Screen

    Typically the Rainmakers are likely to discover why the starting point idea should be shelved or even killed. This is a major problem a linear business development process - turning them into killing machines. Successful BOATs need a creative mindset which enables them to morph a starting point idea (statistically doomed to fail) into a winner.

    Dow’s study found that the top performing Rainmakers BOATs uncover the real customer’s unmet needs (often unspoken, and sometimes unknown) along with the value of meeting those needs. In short, they morph the starting-point idea. Statistically 95% of the morphed ideas made money after commercialisation vs. the normal 11% odds of success from the end of the early stages of an NBD process.

    New businesses are typically begun by innovative Starters. For those that do survive, there is far more work requiring Finisher skills (production, selling, accounting, safety,
    quality, shipping and logistics) than Starter skills (innovating in R&D, marketing, advertising). Therefore, the leadership of most firms typically shifts over a period of time toward becoming a culture of Finishers, operationally excellent but no longer able to innovate at world-class levels. The end result is usually a sudden turn-over catastrophe, from which only 1 in 3 businesses recovers. Most organisations literally have a biological lifetime based on their natural ageing process as they gradually shift from a genetic Starter culture to genetic Finisher culture.

    Understanding the largely genetic nature of personality should allow  any organisation to have subgroups of creative leadership composed of more Starters, even within a larger organisation that needs to be more heavily staffed with Finishers - allowing the business to be both low cost and highly innovative at the same time. This would create a remarkable people-based sustainable competitive advantage, making the organisation nearly unstoppable.

    In the research it strongly suggests that managers who refuse to take the right actions based on the BOAT’s findings (or do not refute those findings with better information) they
    should be reassigned. This requires fast and strong action from top management. Far too much is at stake financially. Another way to say this is that NBD managers who make bad decisions usually go on to make many more bad decisions if allowed to do so. Nothing is more damaging to the future success of an organisation than poor decision making by NBD management.

    4. Ensure enough Finishers among non-leadership professionals:

    Someone has to grow the opportunity to make money. The evidence suggests this requires a higher percentage of Finisher personality types within the larger group of Implementers, than within the BOAT group.

    From the research to date  it appears that whereas BOAT groups should be 60% Starters, and 40% Finishers, the implementation group should be only 20-30% Starters with 70 -  80% Finishers.

    Research shows that the leadership mix needs to be continually rebalanced with each businesses portfolio and product life-cycle, while the non-leadership groups among both should be primarily Finishers.   For a new organisation this means that the initial phase should be driven by the the R&D team, but once the model is implemented, tested and refined, it should be handed over to a team pre-dominated by Finishers, while the R&D team investigates and develops revenue streams derived from spin-off opportunities.

    5. Review Middle Management’s Implementation Plan:

    The BOAT’s final step is capturing the information in a clear presentation to the business management, describing why it fits the founder’s Gut Level Screen and why it will win. But then what? Sometimes middle management does the right thing and takes action to commercialise the new business opportunity.  Sometimes they legitimately ask for more information.

    However, far too often (Stevens and Swogger found approximately half to two-thirds of the time) middle management fails to take the right actions. After a BOAT presentation with a recommended course of action, a manager should either agree with the information and take appropriate action, or disagree with the information, refuting it with better information and take a different course.

    Either way all decision making should be evidence based, even if the initial line of innovation was prompted by a founder’s Gut Level intuition.

    The research shows that there are two major categories of management failure from a BOAT:

        •    Management fails to shut down the work which the BOAT proved cannot succeed. In all of the cases where BOATs clearly showed why the starting ideas were doomed, and management tried to commercialise them anyway, failures occurred, often ending in massive write-offs involving hundreds of millions of dollars.

        •    Management fails to commercialise the positive morphed ideas from the analyses. The opportunity costs of missing out on new commercial products and services can be substantial. In both cases the financial impact of improving management’s actions is high.

    A better fit of leaders’ personalities with job roles - especially managers who are Finisher types - is needed to understand the importance of Starters involvement when innovation is needed. Achieving an excellent fit between personalities and job roles is critical for all the business functions and leaders, not just within R&D.

    With the odds of success for BOAT initiated projects being between 84% and 95% it is clear that projects identified by a BOAT should be implemented. Review of implementation plans must be periodic in order to raise implementation rates, dramatically capturing the otherwise lost opportunity cost of stalled projects.

    While the BOAT team need to be dominantly Starter, the model requires the implementation staff (BIT) to be comprised of teams that are 70 - 80% Finishers, ensuring completion.

    Pre-implementation action-planning meetings for middle management, with top management and the BOAT present are recommended. It is simple to measure whether or not the pre-implementation planning review meetings are taking place. It is also possible for top management to take fast and appropriate action based on the results from these meetings.

    It is worth noting that Starters form less than than 5% of top managers, as they are usually lost early in their career, and they occur less than 200 times out of every 10,000 people.  The starter trait is emergenic - meaning that while it is a genetic trait, it isn’t inherited from one generation to the other, but instead arises from a lucky combination of a series of unrelated genes, that when all present create a highly intuitive,  innovative individual with the ability to think logically.

    The attributes of a Starter cannot be learned, so no amount of creativity workshopping will turn someone into a Starter. Within the workplace, these individuals generate 9,500 times the revenue of their non-starter peers when placed in a conducive environment. When an organisation attracts Starters it needs to do all it can to keep them, and it needs to listen to their advice. Simply being creative is not enough, it is the ability to think through the logical steps for modelling or assessing an innovation that is crucial, so not all intuitive types, and not all creative types are suitable.

    Elisabetta is the author of The Energy Code (2014, Motivational Press), The Infidel (2015, True North) Veritas (2015, True North) and is a Performance Expert with 30 years experience working with individuals and organisations world-wide.

    Click here to visit her website


    Stevens, Greg A, and Swogger, Kurt; ‘Creating a Winning R& D Culture, Vol I and II’  Industrial Research Institute Inc, Jan- Feb 2009, pp 22- 50.
    Nardi, Dario, The Neuroscience of Personality, Radiance House, Los Angeles, 2011.
    Kirton, Michael. Editor. 1989, Adaptors and Innovators; Styles of Creativty and Problem Solving. Routledge, London.
    Stevens, Greg, James Burley and Kurt Swogger; 2003 Dow Chemical Achieves Major Transformation of PO&E R&D Group: Personality-Oriented Aproach Improves NPD REsults. PDMA Visions XXVII, No. 3, pp 6-10.

  16. In my last three posts, I discussed the individual and group affects of bullying and their cost to society and business.

    In this post, I'd like to discuss some of the latest updates in epigenetics that have identified the inter-generational effects of trauma, and how that is shaping the wellbeing of current and future generations.

    In a study from the University of Lethbridge in Canada, researchers identified that generational exposure to stress and trauma, progressively shortened pregnancy length, leading to ongoing negative effects for both mother and child. These effects had a compounding effect, growing more pronounced with each generation:

    "Gerlinde Metz, senior author of the article, says: "We show that stress across generations becomes powerful enough to shorten pregnancy length in rats and induce hallmark features of human preterm birth. A surprising finding was that mild to moderate stress during pregnancy had a compounding effect across generations. Thus, the effects of stress grew larger with each generation."*

    In another study it was shown that trauma effects histone and methylation, leading genes that should be silenced to be expressed, while others that should be expressed to be silenced.

    "This distinction is especially important when a cell copies its genetic material, which happens just prior to cell division. As the cell replicates its DNA, it must also preserve the epigenetic marks that delineate active and inactive areas of the genome. In fact, silencing machinery, which deposits methylation marks on H3.1, works in tandem with the replication machinery. "Because H3.3 can't carry this modification, its presence on active genes allows them to escape silencing," says Jacob. "In our research, we discovered a way for cells to protect active genes from silencing and preserve that memory through successive cellular generations.

    This study also has implications for how the genetic material is copied. "We have found that replication (how DNA copies itself) and transcription (how DNA is copied into RNA) are controlled by the same highly conserved histone. Thus, these most fundamental properties of the genetic material are regulated by our chromosomes," says Martienssen.**

    This study identified the mechanism through which gene expression is silenced or not, explaining a phenomenon that has been postulated for some time.Histone, it appears, is the epigenetic smoking gun.

    In a further study it was shown that even two childhood exposures to bullying or psychological trauma predisposed the individual to the activation of a genetic risk factor for PTSD, Bipolar Disorder and Depression.

    The question of whether the genetic risks for developing PTSD are similar in other populations that are exposed to different traumas at different periods in their lives remains to be further tested, noted Galea. "However, our findings that the ADRB2 factor might be shared by men and women, African Americans and European Americans, and military and civilians is consistent with the idea that some genetic risk factors for PTSD might be common across populations and even shared by other stress-related disorders, such as depression."***

    What is the take-home message from these and other studies into gene expression and the epigenetic effects of trauma?

    1. It's clear that bullying and other psychological trauma changes gene expression for the individual experiencing it. These effects can continue well into adulthood, contributing to mental and physical illness.
    2. If your parents or grandparents experienced bullying or other psychological trauma, the genes you inherited from them were changed by the experience.
    3. If you inherited these changed genes and experience bullying in childhood or adolescence your response will be more severe.
    4. If your children then experience bullying the negative effects will be magnified.
    5. If your mother was psychologically or physically abused before or during pregnancy, the downstream effects for each subsequent generation become more pronounced.

    So when we bully, either as an individual, group or community, we create negative outcomes for generations to come. When an individual or group is oppressed, the effects get worse for each generation, making it harder for subsequent generations to fight for their rights.

    When we stand by and do nothing while an individual or group is bullied, we contribute to this problem. The long-term effects may well create fertile ground for crime and terrorism, as the second or third generation feel themselves immersed in an inescapable sense of hopelessness and despair. Indeed population studies seem to make this link - that individuals or groups will struggle to achieve their potential and may become easy targets for radicalization.

    If you've been bullied, seek help and support and as much counseling as you require to reverse these effects, so you can pass on more resilient genes to subsequent generations.

    As communities, we need to provide more support for the victims of bullying and trauma, providing inter-generational counseling and opportunity to those most at risk, rather than oppressing them further and compounding the problems.

    Elisabetta is an expert in human performance, specializing in the study of epigenetics. Elisabetta is an in demand speaker, writer and mentor, and the author of The Energy Code (2014), The Infidel (2013),The DNA of Bullying (2011),The Energy Bucket (2010) and D'Arc, the Legend of Saint Joan (1998),as well as the soon to be released novel - Veritas...

    Visit her website

    Buy her books

    * Youli Yao, Alexandra M Robinson, Fabiola Zucchi, Jerrah C Robbins, Olena Babenko, Olga Kovalchuk, Igor Kovalchuk, David M Olson, Gerlinde Metz. Ancestral exposure to stress epigenetically programs preterm birth risk and adverse maternal and newborn outcomes. BMC Medicine, 2014; 12 (1): 121 DOI: 10.1186/s12916-014-0121-6
    ** Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. "Unraveling mystery in 'histone code' shows how gene activity is inherited." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 March 2014. <>.
    *** Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. "Evidence of genetic link to PTSD in soldiers exposed to childhood trauma." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 September 2014. <>.
  17. In my last blog I shared my experience of individual bullying at the hands of a psychopathic father.

    When the power of a bully is entrenched through societal privilege, political dominance or wealth, their behavior can become even more extreme. Nowhere is this more apparent right now than Scotland.

    Despite a positive campaign atmosphere in the run up to the Scottish Referendum for Independence, the post election atmosphere has revealed a dark face.

    This weekend video evidence has emerged within Scotland of interference in the referendum electoral process, with footage showing apparent vote stacking at polling booths and the misappropriation of YES votes into the NO count at the counting room; allegedly distorting the proportion of YES to NO votes. A petition has been signed by 90,000 Scottish voters demanding a recount. So far none of this has been reported by mainstream media.

    Video footage from Glasgow on the day after the vote shows Unionists taunting YES campaigners, charging them and threatening an escalation of violence. Social media posts reveal YES voters in Glasgow are afraid to leave their homes.

    So if these allegations are true, why would the victorious NO voters - a supposed majority - behave in such a manner?

    My hunch is that some of the NO voters know the vote was rigged, and are now beginning a campaign of intimidation to ensure YES voters are too afraid to speak up. This is the typical modus operandi of the bully. You see, the bully knows they are not a winner, and can only win through intimidation, fear and cheating. They will do anything to win, and yet the fruits of that victory taste hollow. Because the bully is emotionally immature, the only way they can cope with this uncomfortable feeling is to lash out and ensure that anyone who suspects the deception is silenced.

    My advice to anyone facing this kind of situation is:

    1. Collect the evidence: take photos, video footage and note in a diary each and every incident, post these to social media, as that will provide a date stamp - this evidence will stand up in court. Do not embellish or exaggerate  incidents, the bully will use errors on your part against you, and because they have the support of mainstream media, and government on their side your evidence has to be rock solid.

    2. Do not retaliate: when confronted with a bully, simply walk away, do not invite trouble and as much as you can avoid trouble spots, do not be drawn in.

    3. Keep the positive movement going, energize each other with hope and positive steps to achieve your goals, no matter how steep the odds may seem right now. The bully hates your positivity. They want to drain you of that and draw you into anger, rage, fear and hopelessness - because that is where they live.

    4. Withdraw your energy from the agents of the bully, and spread the word, far and wide - you are part of a bigger movement for reform in the UK, the opportunity to end an antiquated system of centralized power.

    5. No matter what happens, don't give up on your vision, support each other, become as educated as you can, and help others to become more so.

    Defeating a bully takes endurance and wisdom. Theseus of Greek legend had to negotiate the labyrinth to find and defeat the minotaur - the half man half bull that has come to symbolize the bully.

    Our task today is no different, we must understand the foe we face, know the mind and tactics of the bully to defeat them. As powerful as they might seem, they are a minority, that is why they are so afraid, that is why they behave the way they do, that is why they can be overcome.

    Elisabetta is an expert in human performance, specializing in the study of epigenetics. Elisabetta is an in demand speaker, writer and mentor, and the author of The Energy Code (2014), The Infidel (2013),The DNA of Bullying (2011),The Energy Bucket (2010) and D'Arc, the Legend of Saint Joan (1998),as well as the soon to be released novel - Veritas...

    Visit her website

    Buy her books on Amazon
  18. These are the adult scars of child-abuse; of a childhood controlled by a psychopath, and the bullying that ensued in the schoolyard because I was different. The ones you can't see are much worse.

    This scar happened some 45 years ago when I was 4 years old. I had only been back in Australia with my parents for less than a year after life-saving surgery in Italy. My mother worked as a primary school teacher, my father worked night shift, and so I spent the days with him. I now know my father was a psychopath, but back then I was his adoring pre-school age daughter. The dark side of my father was first revealed to me some months earlier. I have a clear memory of my grandmother gathering me into her arms, running to the bathroom and locking the door while my father pounded on it, screaming he was going to kill me, at that time I was only 3. This rage started to happen regularly anytime someone commented on what a pretty child I was.

    On the day I got this scar, we had been grocery shopping. There was a crate of soft-drink bottles on the floor in the back seat of the car next to me. My father told me to stay in the car while he took the groceries in. I waited and waited, but I wanted to help. I got out of the car and took a glass bottle of lemonade with me, carrying it carefully in my arms. I remember it was a dark green glass and the bottle felt heavy.

    The last thing I remember before the blood, was as I approached the screen door. My father was coming out, he saw me carrying the bottle and roared at me for disobeying him. I remember freezing as he grabbed the bottle, raised it and swung it at my face. I remember putting my hands up in front of me. Then everything went black. When I came to, I was standing. My dad was wrapping me in towels and I remember fountains of blood running down my body and spurting out of my right wrist; the towels turned instantly red. I heard myself ask:

    "Daddy, am I going to die," though my voice sounded funny, probably because half my lip was detached and there was a gaping hole in my face.

    Then my father punched me and knocked me out.

    The next thing I remember was waking up in emergency, doctors all around, my mother crying her eyes out at the end of the bed, my father looking down, at me. I heard my mother ask through tears,

    "How could you let her carry such a big bottle, you know she is clumsy."

    I never told, I wore my scar as a badge of my supposed clumsiness, and took the bullying when children ridiculed me for having a mustache scar, or being 'it' - neither a girl or a boy, just a thing. I resisted all attempts by my family to have it surgically repaired or covered up, it was part of me, part of my journey and I knew every time my father looked at me it would silently remind him of what he had done.

    Over the next 15 years I watched as my father drove my mother to madness through his violence and control; how she eventually became an accomplice, ruining our childhood through emotional, mental, physical and sexual abuse.

    This story is hard to tell, but I tell it because hundreds of people knew this was happening. My father was a violent psychopath, beating men almost to death and yet was never arrested. Family and friends knew this, I imagine doctors at the very least suspected, and yet nobody did anything.

    My father's bullying behavior in the workplace meant he didn't keep jobs in one place for long; not because he was sacked. He was too productive a worker for that. They would just move him to another contract, another mine, another town. Dad would be charming to start, and his productivity was so impressive he was always paid well, thought the gambling meant we never saw much of it. He had a nick-name in the Snowy Hydro-Electric Scheme - Nero - for his black temper, and reputation for beating all-comers in street fights.

    My father was protected by a society that worships superhuman strength, record breaking productivity and compartmentalizes that from the damage that bullies do to their families, co-workers and communities.

    My father is now 80 years old and suffering dementia, he has conveniently forgotten his crimes and blames everyone else for his poverty and loneliness. 

    You may read this and think he was a product of his upbringing, his genes, his socioeconomic class. My father was born the son of a self-made millionaire in Italy in the early 1930s. By age three the signs he was different were already apparent when he tried to murder his mother with a garden implement and was only stopped when his grandmother walked into the scene. He was physically talented, and highly intelligent with an infamous temper, who could flip on a dime and go from charming and warm to deadly.

    WWII couldn't have helped as the violence he experienced as a young child at the hands of both the Nazis and US forces is beyond the comprehension of most of us. And yet his cousins experienced the same thing and none of them turned out like him.

    I write this because bullying, domestic violence and child-abuse are being discussed on talk shows everywhere. Everyone has an opinion, but nobody seems to have a solution.

    These experiences set me on a lifelong quest to understand human behavior and, along with the rare genetic condition I have, inspire me to keep searching for answers. So here's what I know to be true. Not as a theory, but as a reality:

    Bullies, whether they are abusive parents, spouses, teachers, schoolyard children, politicians, professionals, blue collar workers or terrorists, only thrive on the energy we give them through our attention, fear and desire to appease them or cure them.

    This is just what they want, and it is all they need.

    The solution?

    Withdraw your energy. Become aloof to them, distance yourself in any way you can. Starve them of the financial means to thrive, if you have the power. In the workplace, close your doors to them, and do this without being drawn into an argument. Refuse to play, cut them out of your life, and document everything. Put it all on paper, dates, times, what happened, and photos if you can. Don't fool yourself into thinking you can beat them head on, you can't.

    If you know someone is being victimized by a bully, offer to help the victim, support them to notify the authorities, but make sure everything is documented. If they say no, stay vigilant, there will be a moment when they need you. If it is a child, don't hesitate, report their abuser.

    If you are the spouse of an abuser - you cannot fix them, you cannot cure them. That is up to them and it will only happen when all other forms of support are withdrawn and they are forced to look themselves in the mirror. But don't expect a miracle, the violent, psychopathic bully rarely changes.

    Society - stop rewarding bullies with high incomes, flashy cars and positions of power and stop holding them up as roll-models. Look for the signs, and address them. Provide real programs to help anyone with rage issues learn better skills. Make your organization's culture a NO-Bully zone.

    The Justice System - stop treating domestic violence as a lesser crime, prosecute regardless of whether the victim files a complaint or not.

    Set this as an example to our children that might isn't right, and manipulation isn't good. There are plenty of constructive, non-violent productive people who were born as psychopaths. They are the ones whose families realized there was something different about them early on, and managed them with insight, not denial.They are the ones that learned about their psychological profile and understood the future that faced them if they didn't learn different behaviors.

    When we say one thing, but do another, our children notice and they tend to copy what we do, not what we say. So, if you have anger issues and tend toward violence, don't justify it because you were beaten in childhood. That doesn't make it okay. Get help, talk about it, and change. Create a support system to keep your family safe from you. Own up to the problem, and then you can own up to the solution.

    As long as we promote, justify, reward and overlook the behavior of bullies (whether they are wife-beaters, child abusers or the workplace tyrant) they will continue to thrive, and we are all to blame.

    Elisabetta is the author of The Energy Bucket, The Energy Code, The Infidel and the upcoming books The DNA of Bullying, and Veritas.

    Her books and articles are available from: 

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  19. Bullying and its affect upon individuals and society has been in the news a lot this year. It's also been a hot topic on many of the interviews I've done around the world lately.

    Interviewers are often surprised when I show little sympathy for the bully. I hear things like - but they are humans too - which of course is true. The issue is that serial bullies lack one important human trait - empathy. Perversely this seems to provide them with a social advantage when it comes to manipulating and traumatizing their victims and then getting away with it.

    A recent study by the University of Warwick has recommended that anti-bullying policies must focus on all of society,because as long as bullies reap the life-long benefits of increased status and opportunity, bullies will thrive, while their victims suffer life-long negative health and social impacts.*

    So, here is the unadulterated truth: society loves bullies. Yes, that's right, society selects bullies for promotion, leadership, wealth and position, and has done so for thousands of years. We love winners, and despite our moralistic preaching, will look to blame the victim, because we perceive them to be a loser in the competition of life.

    Neil Tippett, lead author of the review, emphasized, "This hierarchy is familiar to us all from our own school days. In my view, so long as the rewards exist for bullies in the form of social status, it is difficult to make bullies to change their behaviours as there is little incentive for them to do so."*

    We are fascinated by bullies, uncompromising winners and those who pursue success at all costs. The charismatic bully holds us in their thrall, convinces some of us to participate in acts of physical, emotional or psychological harm to others, and promises to share the rewards. This phenomenon contributed to the Global Financial Crisis, and resulted in those who tried to warn government and the financial sector of the impending crisis, being ostracized and victimized.

    If the bully is rewarded early in life, they are unlikely to change their behavior for the better, or develop empathy, instead hard-wiring in the mind-maps for bullying and manipulation, becoming extreme narcissists. If they are one of the 3% of the human population who is a psychopath, then this bullying behavior can set them on a path that will most likely do immense harm to others. If the psychopath is bullied, then the results can be even worse. Research suggests that when a psychopath is bullied during childhood their lack of empathy can become pathological.

    So what do we do?

    As a society we need to stop rewarding bullies, from the playground, to the classroom, to the shop-floor to the board-room. We need to take complaints about bullying seriously, and swallow the short term bitter-pill of removing a bully from their position of power. If we observe a bully in action, submit a complaint and then remove yourself from the bully's sphere of influence. It is not your job to fix them, it is not your job to make them better, leave that to the professionals. Take your energy elsewhere and reclaim your life.

    If we are serious about creating a bully-free playground, we need to stop rewarding the teenage and adult bully; we need to champion co-operation, consultation and collaboration and reward these behaviors instead.

    Are we as a society prepared to walk-the-talk?

    Elisabetta is the author of The Energy Code, The DNA of Bullying, The Infidel, Veritasand D'Arc, the Legend of Saint Joan.

    More from Elisabetta 

    *Journal References:
    1. Neil Tippett, BSc, and Dieter Wolke, PhD. Socioeconomic Status and Bullying: A Meta-Analysis. American Journal of Public Health, April 2014 DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.301960 
    2.  University of Warwick. "Anti-bullying policy must focus on all of society." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 April 2014.

  20. When the 'Jack The Ripper DNA' story hit the headlines today, I was interested and intrigued by the variety of responses; especially how people clung to their conspiracy theories despite evidence to the contrary. At the same time I was having an interesting conversation via The Energy Code Facebook Fan Page about the nature of ideology and dogma.

    It got me thinking about how many of us have 'sacred cow' beliefs that we will defend bitterly, sometimes violently, and how the tyranny of truth has held back advances in science, the arts and philosophy throughout the ages, mainly via religion's repression of thought and freedom of expression.

    Before anyone gets offended here, I would like to add that academic and scientific edifices are just as capable of repressing ideas that challenge the accepted wisdom of the age, although historically, science has been more ready to adapt than religion; with change measured in decades for science versus centuries for religion.

    I believe that our attraction to holding on to cherished beliefs has a lot to do with the way our brains create mind-maps for familiar activities. Mindmaps are life-hacks, they allow us to reduce the amount of effort required to think and do. Once we have performed a task, or acquired knowledge, or taken on a belief, it is easier to rely on the existing mindmap than to edit or replace it. Think of mindmaps as being paths of least resistance, a lot like a pathway through deep snow. Once we have trod a path through the snow, it is easier to retrace our steps, making that path more obvious, and requiring less effort. The more we walk along the same path, the easier and easier it gets.

    Now we may discover there is a shorter route to get to where we want to go, but it is through virgin snow, so it is going to require a lot more effort to go that way at first. Here's the caveat, however, once we have walked the new path a couple of times, it too will become ingrained and be the path of least resistance, as well as more efficient.

    So next time someone presents you with evidence that challenges a cherished belief or way of doing things, don't just resist it out of habit. Sit back, take a moment and assess if this new information is useful, and then allow yourself to update your mindmaps to accommodate it. The first few times might feel like trudging through foot-deep snow, but believe me, pretty soon you will be be glad you made the effort to escape the tyranny of a familiar truth.

    Elisabetta is the author of The Energy Code, The Infidel, Veritas, and D'Arc the Legend of Saint Joan.

    Visit her website 

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