Chapter 6: How the Mind Can Make the Body Ill

Medical history is full of examples of patients whose physical problems seem to have no apparent physical cause. In fact, it’s estimated that 70% of all body ills fall into this category known as “psychosomatic illness.”

So what exactly is psychosomatic illness? Well, “psycho” refers to the mind and “somatic” refers to the body. So the term “psychosomatic” means the mind making the body ill, or illnesses which have been created physically within the body by the mind. And Dianetics has proven that engrams are the cause of all psychosomatic ills.

Here’s why:

This is an engram containing physical pain – an injury to your arm. The pain in your arm is recorded in your reactive mind along with all the other perceptions in the incident.

Now, when that engram is later restimulated by similar perceptions in your enviroment, your reactive mind plays back the recording, and the physical pain it contains may appear. In Dianetics we say the SOMATIC has turned on.

The word “somatic” refers to any pain, sensation, or body condition you experience as a result of engrams.

When a somatic turns on, the part of your body which was injured or ill when the engram was received becomes painful or ill again, to some degree

Just how many different kinds of psychosomtic illnesses could you have? Well, that depends in part upon all your previous illnesses and injuries and in part upon how many conditions your body can generate out of words and phrases contained in your engrams.

You see, the language contained in an engram can have a very damaging effect on your body as well as on your mind.

As an example, a little girl falls into a pool. In the commotion, someone near her shouts, “She can’t breathe!” This phrase is now stored in her reactive mind. Now, the reactive mind interprets the word in its command quite literally, regardless of what their meaning might have been when they were spoken. So even after she is grown up, this girl suffers from asthma, because her reactive mind is literally telling her body that she “can’t breathe.”

This woman thinks she’s made these decisions rationally. She thinks she’s worried about her argument with her husband [in the present]. She has no idea that she is nervous because her engram has been keyed in. And once keyed in it can easily be played back again and again.

For example, some time later when this woman is tired or stressed, she hears a man yelling at someone as a motor cycle passes by. These are “restimulators”; things in her environment that are similar enough to the perceptions in the engram to cause it to become reactivated – or “restimulated”. She starts to feel nervous but she doesn’t know why. When her child knocks over a vase, she begins to act out the engram. In other words, she will say and do to her child exactly what her husband said and did to her [She shouts at her child, “you’re always messing things up!” and “you’re such a faker!”].

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