Collective thoughts that heal

Lynne McTaggart

Last week, I was reading about a remarkable study carried out by Harvard University, as detailed in Dr. Joe Dispenza’s fascinating new book You are the Placebo.

Last week, I was reading about a remarkable study carried out by Harvard University, as detailed in Dr. Joe Dispenza’s fascinating new book You are the Placebo.

In 1981, eight men in their 70s and 80s attended a five-day retreat at a monastery in Peterborough, New Hampshire, organized by Harvard University, where they were asked to pretend that they were 22 years younger than their present age. 

When they got there, they discovered constant reminders of two decades previously: old issues of Life magazine and the Saturday Evening Post, shows on TV that had been popular in the late 50s, radios playing Perry Como and Nat King Cole.  The men were asked to discuss events that had been current two decades before: Fidel Castro’s sudden ascendancy to power in Cuba, Nikita Khrushchev’s stand-off with Eisenhower in a US meeting, homeruns hit by Mickey Mantle and knock-out punches by Floyd Patterson. This carried on throughout the five days of the retreat.


After the retreat ended, the researchers took the same physiological measurements they’d carried out at start of the study and discovered that the men actually had grown ‘taller’; they showed improved height, weight and gait, their postured straightened, their joints had become more flexible, their hearing, eyesight, grip strength, memory and general mental cognition had all improved. 


In fact, by the end of the five days, many of these octogenarians had given up their canes and were playing touch football.


Once they’d been reminded of their younger selves, their bodies actually became younger – and all in less than a week. ‘The change wasn’t just in their minds,’ wrote Dispenza, ‘it was also in their bodies.’


The conventional view is that our genetic destiny is fixed and inherent in our DNA, which selectively turn on and off certain genes. These genetic instructions make copies of themselves—as messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) molecules, which choose from an alphabet of amino acids to create the approximately 150,000 proteins in the body that carry out its myriad functions.

Cellular informational commands have always been thought to flow in a single direction—from DNA and mRNA to the selected combinations of amino acids and assemblies of proteins. Until recently, scientists maintained that gene activity was a closed-off process that took place independently of the environment.

As new research decisively demonstrates, genes, far from being the central controller, exist purely as potentials— to be activated (or not) by signals outside the body, much as a piano is silent until someone sits down to play it.

An environmental signal of some kind outside the cell alerts the DNA that a particular protein product is needed, activating a particular genetic expression pattern.

Genes work as a collective and get turned on, turned off or modified by our environment: what we eat, who we surround ourselves with, and how we lead our lives.

In fact, new evidence shows that gene expression changes from moment to moment, according to the food you eat, the water you drink the emotional climate within your family, the state of your relationships, your sense of fulfilment in lifethe sum total of how you live your life.

For instance, heart specialist Dr. Dean Ornish discovered that a group of men with prostate cancer were able to change more than 500 genes relating to tumour suppression and promotion simply by altering their diet and lifestyle. 

But the thoughts you think may have the greatest influence of all in turning our genetic coding on and off.

One Japanese study of diabetics discovered that they ‘turned on’ some 39 genes, 14 of them related to natural killer cell activity, just by watching one hour-long comedy video.

One of the greatest of environmental switches may be the quality of our social Bond. A group of psychologists at Northwestern University were examining the effect of social grouping on genetically inherited predisposition to depression.


In a nutshell, they found that Westerners define themselves by their individuality, while Easterners in collectivistic societies define themselves by the extent of their acceptance within a group, and place higher value on social harmony rather than individuality.


When studying the population of East Asia the research team made an unexpected discovery: the tighter knit the population, the higher percentage of the people who carried the gene for depression. According to the current genetic theory of depression, correspondingly high levels of depression should exist among these populations.


Instead, the researchers found the opposite: among these highly susceptible populations, the actual prevalence of depression was significantly lower than that of Western Europe or America.


The expectation of social support in these highly collectivist cultures seemed to buffer people from any environmental stressors that should have triggered depression. Even genetically inherited depression could be controlled by a social switch. 


So my next question is:  if our thoughts can make us younger, or improve our diabetes or even prevent us from getting depressed, can the thoughts outside ourself heal us?  What happens when a group of people are ‘intending’ for us to heal?


You and I will find the answer to this question after  April 25, when we’ll be running our next Intention Experiment: The Healing Intention Experiment.


This experiment represents the first time we will be trying to heal an individual, and also the first time we’ll be working with Quantum TV to run the experiment through international web television, and you are all invited to participate.  Please just write down the date and time NOW:



The Healing Intention Experiment

26 April 2014


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Lynne McTaggart

Lynne McTaggart is an award-winning journalist and the author of seven books, including the worldwide international bestsellers The Power of Eight, The Field, The Intention Experiment and The Bond, all considered seminal books of the New Science and now translated into some 30 languages.

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