Home » Brandy Gillmore: Could This Be The Missing Link to Your Health? at TEDxSantaBarbara (Transcript)

Brandy Gillmore: Could This Be The Missing Link to Your Health? at TEDxSantaBarbara (Transcript)

Sharing is Kindness in Action!

Brandy Gillmore – Mind/Body & Energy Expert

It’s early spring in March of 2005. I am lying awake in bed, I have been awake most of the night. Finally it’s morning, and I can see through a gap in the drapes that it’s dark gray overcast out. So, it must be around 7:30 because I can hear the sound of the gardeners outside unloading their equipment to cut the grass which also means that it must be Thursday because that’s when the gardeners come on Thursdays.

Years prior this would have been the time when I would have headed out the door off to start my workday, I did network engineering operations at the time, and I loved it. But in this day, going to work is the least of my concerns. Instead I struggle to make my way to the edge of my bed to get to my wheelchair because it’s time for me to take my morning medication. And even as I do this I’m still in disbelief that this is my life.

I mean I never thought I would be someone, who is injured or in a wheelchair, or using a cane or a walker to get around. Yet, it’s been like this for years. In and out of hospitals seeing teams of doctors, and yet one doctor after another says there is nothing else they can do for me. I’ve been given a whole list of illness including CRPS which is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome along with nerve lesions, spinal endplate fractures, spondylosis and a few other things that are painful and not fun to have.

They say that CRPS is one of the most painful chronic conditions that a person can have, and I can see why. Many times I’m in so much pain that I don’t want to move, or even breathe. It feels like there are razors and burning coals stuck throughout my body despite the fact that I’m on morphine every day. Since there is no cure for my condition, desperately I just started to look for anything. I start looking at chronic illness in general to see that there is something that others have done that I could possibly use to help my situation.

But instead, I find the exact opposite, that about half of the US population currently lives with one or more medical condition, and worldwide about 1.5 billion people live with chronic pain. And I thought to myself, I felt bad for them, but I also thought if they can’t get out of that how am I ever going to get out of this. And that’s when it became very clear to me if I really wanted to get better, I needed to do something different.

On this particular Thursday morning I got my opportunity to do exactly that. One of the hospitals that I’ve been going to notifies me that they are doing a research study on a brand new procedure, and that I get to be a part of it. And I cannot believe it, I mean this is exactly that I always hoped and dreamed that it would happen that somebody would find some new cure, and that I would get my life back.

So, I’m just counting down the days up until this study. Just elated. And of course I’m also thinking, Please don’t get the placebo. Please don’t get the placebo. I want the real treatment. And so finally the day comes for me to go in. I wheel into the hospital. As soon as I get there the nurse, she wheels me back, and she starts giving me prep for this procedure. She gets me in the bed and starts hooking me up to machines to monitor my vitals. I’m just lying there so excited. I can’t wait to meet this doctor start this procedure, and get my life back.

And so finally the doctor, he walks in, but he’s not smiling. And he looks at me and says: “Ms Gilmore, I’ve reviewed your file, and I’d really, really love to be able to help you. But I’m sorry, you can’t be the part of this study. We don’t expect you to get better.” I don’t remember leaving the hospital that day, and I don’t remember what happened the next few days.

The next memory I do have is I’m lying awake in my bed, my same bed, and I don’t even wan to open my eyes. I mean what’s the point. I can’t escape this pain, and I’ve tried everything. Every procedure, every nerve ablation every infusion, every injection every prescription medication and every, everything that I can find and yet still nothing is working. The thoughts that are going through my head are really dark, and I remember thinking I’m pretty sure this is what it feels like to lose your mind. And I just needed some type of hope that I could get better.

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I’ve started thinking about everything that I’ve tried over the past couple of years, and the research experiment. And that’s when I started to realize: in any study there is a certain amount of people that can actually get better from just the placebo. And I realized that if I could figure out what exactly it was that made the placebo work, then there’s actually still a chance that I could possibly get better.

So I began to dig up everything I could find on the placebo, how it worked. And I began to study it. But then I came across something called “spontaneous remission,” where people would go into remission and heal for no particular reason at all. That made me start studying the mind and what made this happen. For years I spent researching the mind day and night, trying to figure out, trying different things. Through trial and error, I’ve eventually began to figure out key things that I could do with my mind that would affect my pain.

So I started implementing them each day. My pain began to subside. And so I kept going, and I was able to move around easier. And so I kept going, and my body began to heal. I started practicing walking every day. And at first, it was just short distances, several times per day. But I kept going and kept going, and eventually I began to get strength back in my body. And that’s when I realized that what I did with my mind. It didn’t just change my health; it changed my entire life.

From my health and my physical strength to my level of happiness, my relationships, the entire way that I saw the world changed. Now, during all of that time, that I spent injured, I promised myself that if I did ever get better, there would be two things that I would do. First, that I would live every day to its fullest. So after I got rid of my last cane, I started walking again fully on my own. I started dong all the things that I always wanted to do, and just taking life in, and living it to its fullest, and just being grateful to being alive.

The second thing, as I promised, if I did figure it out, I would start sharing what I did to get better because in going to all of that, it made me realize that healthcare isn’t just a “me” problem, it’s a “we” problem. It affects a large amount of people and all of us really. I mean, either personally or through family and friends, or financially. So I wanted to figure out a way that people could visually see the results. That’s when I reached out to Dr. Hilary Smith, who does advanced medical thermography. She has been able to scan people while I work with them.

Now, this woman has neck pain, which we can see by the intense red and white. They show intense areas of heat which indicate pain and inflammation. The green areas represent areas that are normal temperature or healthy. While I work with people, the scans are being taken every one second. You can see as their pain goes away, the scans turn from red to green.

Now, this woman was out of pain in under five minutes, using only her mind. And that’s normal for me to see. Some people even do it as fast as 2 to 3 minutes. And it’s not just pain, I see this with all types of ailments. Pain is just the quickest and easiest to be able to take pictures of. Which is what led me to ask the question: Could this be the missing link to our health?

Now, some people would say, “But Brandy how much can the mind really affect the physical body?” Well, let’s think about it for a moment. Studies show that infants, that don’t get enough love can actually die. Or seniors whose spouse dies have a much higher rate of death following their loss. It’s called the widowhood effect. And the thing is, I’m not trying to give you medical advice, or treat you, diagnose you or tell you to stop seeing your doctors, or quit your medication or anything like that.

But what I am saying is that it is really incredible what we are capable of, using our minds. The thing is beyond infants and widows, we know that emotions can affect infants and widows to the point of death. We know emotions can affect the body, but there are countless other studies. I mean one that was done on stress and heart disease by Laura Kubzansky of Harvard. Her study showed that emotional vitality was able to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by half. We know that emotions affect the body. I mean even on a simple note, if somebody is embarrassed their face can turn red. Or even a lot of stress can spike blood pressure, or sexual thoughts create actual physical response. Obviously, none of us would be here if it wasn’t for that one, so it’s got multiple benefits. Right?

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An easy way to remember it is just to think of it as feelings with benefits. Which is like friends with benefits but a lot less complicated. So we know that emotions affect the body. I mean I didn’t discover that, but what I did discover is how to get back to back results. Now the way that I do this is that I start the awareness that different emotions affect the body differently. For example, if somebody’s feeling embarrassed it will result different than a nervous stomach.

Then I begin to look at the subconscious mind. We know that emotions store in the subconscious, which is why you could think of a beautiful song or maybe something by Adele, and you start thinking about somebody that you love and you miss. Or depending on the song, somebody that you don’t miss anymore and start thinking about these feelings of anger and hurt. Because both positive and negative emotions store up in the subconscious. So what I do when I help these people is I identify the emotion and help them to release it.

Now, part of the reason that I am able to figure this out is because in going through my injury I developed an intense sensitivity to emotions. And not just to mine but what other people are feeling. Have you ever heard before that a dog can sense fear? Okay, so I don’t really want to compare myself to a dog, but it’s kind of like that. Or more technical way of describing it would be similar to mirror touch synesthesia. which is a condition where one person can feel an experience with another person’s experiencing.

So whatever you want to call it, this ability has given me insight to be able to help people to use their mind to identify this specific combination of emotions that are affecting them, so they can release them. The thing is I do want to warn you, there can be side effects. When people start to release these negative emotions, they tend to feel happier, and research has shown that happiness can affect every area of your life. Forbes published research that was done at Harvard that shows that happier employees are much more productive, are more creative, have higher sales, and which gives them the opportunity to make more money.

Research also suggests that happier people have better relationships. So I call this process turning chronic pain into chronic gain. Because when we let go of the pain of the ailment or whatever hurt is that is linked to it, we get more happiness into our life.

So, what I would like to do is share with you a few simple ways where you can get more of these feelings with benefits in your own life. One thing that you can do is you could just simply start to feel a feeling of gratitude for the things in your life, like being alive, the people in it, and just feel it and take it in. Or another thing you could do is you could change your physiology which is basically the way that you move your body. Because the way that we move our body controls what we have access, what emotions we have access to.

For instance, if you try to sit like this for just a moment, now try to feel sexy or confident. Anybody got it? Okay, but if you put your shoulders back, chest out and try to feel the feeling of confidence. It’s a lot easier. And that’s because by changing the way we move our body, we can access more positive emotions. Or another thing you could do is simply start to laugh more, or even smile. It’s contagious. See.

But really, I know all these sound very simple. Okay, but when we start to add in more positivity, It can start help to decrease the amount of negative emotions that’s been stored up in the subconscious mind. Which is what I did, and why I’m standing here with you today, as I’m standing here on my own two feet, no wheelchair, no walker, no cane, no medication and no pain.

Sharing is Kindness in Action!