In 1995, a large collaborative study involving the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Kaiser Permanente’s Health Appraisal Clinic in San Diego was initiated to study the relationship between the abuse and maltreatment of children, and their health and well-being as adults. The research was called the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study and it involved over 17,000 Kaiser Permanente HMO members. (For more specifics see: http://www.cdc.gov/ace/index.htm.)
Categories of abuse and household dysfunction during childhood include psychological, physical and sexual abuse, violence against the mother, living with household members who were substance abusers, mentally ill, suicidal, or ever imprisoned. Over 50 scientific articles have been published in peer-reviewed journals as a result of this study. The site provided, above, links to many excellent articles produced as a result of this research project.
People who were exposed to adverse childhood experiences in these studies had higher risks of psychological, behavioral and even physical illnesses (like ischemic heart disease) later in their lives, compared to people without this kind of childhood exposure. As the number of adverse experiences increased, so did the risk of adult disease. Dramatically. This was true even after all known risk factors (like smoking and obesity) were carefully controlled for. One of the strong implications from these studies is that emotional damage in childhood somehow increases the risk of physical illness later in life. While these studies do not prove this, it is a distinct possibility that this relationship is causal.
I posted an earlier article about a form of energy psychology called EFT (for Emotional Freedom Technique) that provides an orientation to what EFT is and how it was developed. If you haven’t read it, you may need to do so now to get full benefit from what follows. (https://chuckgebhardtmd.com/2011/07/26/a-healing-method-i-would-stake-my-reputation-on/) When Gary Craig, the developer of EFT, began to treat physical problems with the EFT method, not only did he frequently find that long standing physical problems improved or resolved during EFT, he also found that people sometimes vividly recalled specific childhood traumas that carried with them a lot of negative emotion. He found that treating those memories with EFT and eliminating their negative emotional charge often eliminated the current pain or limitations that was the focus of the treatment. He gave these memories with the negative charge the name “core issues.” He found that a very efficient way to eliminate physical problems was to look for the core issues and remove the associated negative emotions by the EFT strategy. I have seen this work and thousands of published reports indicate amazing results. There is no doubt in my mind that it is an effective way to eliminate some very difficult problems.
To me, there is an obvious parallel between what the CDC found in the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study and what has been observed by practitioners of EFT. The ACE research shows the importance of early traumas in the development of disease and thousands of EFT reports from around the world attest to the ability to sometimes eliminate these same problems in adults by returning to the memories of the traumas and neutralizing the emotional charge that apparently maintains the disease process. The study of the emotional roots of human disease is still in its infancy. If the work discussed here is any indication, we have much to look forward to in the future as this type of research progresses.