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What Is Body Memory?

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  • Written By: Laura M. Sands
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 05 August 2014
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Body memory is a term used in alternative medicine where it is believed that the body stores memories related to past trauma or stress. Also referred to as cellular memory, those that believe in this phenomenon often believe that such memories are suppressed and only awakened when the body is placed in circumstances similar to the original traumatic event. It is believed by some that victims of sexual abuse and individuals affected by post-traumatic stress syndrome are most likely to experience body memory.

Researchers continue to study the human memory and the various ways in which it is processed. As has been found to be the case with false memory syndrome, where events that never actually occurred are planted into a person’s mind via hypnotic suggestion, many do not consider body memory to be a valid type of memory. In particular, experts in the field of psychology give little credence to the idea of memories being stored within the body.

Some alternative medicine practitioners believe that body memory affects the body in a variety of different ways. Some of the symptoms commonly associated with this type of memory include muscle tension, muscle spasms, painful joint conditions, fatigue and headache. It is believed that poor circulation and vision problems may also be attributed to repressed memories stored within the body.

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Another way of explaining body memory is as events that have caused immense emotional or physical pain, which are stored in the subconscious mind and manifested in the body. Some alternative medicine practitioners even theorize that the body actually is the subconscious mind. The trauma of recalling such events is assumed to be so deeply buried within a person’s subconscious mind that an individual cannot consciously recall the memory.

Vital organs are thought to be most affected by a precise type of body memory known as cellular memory. It is believed that the psychic energy that accompanies repressed memories is deeply embedded within organ cells and produces a variety of painful, irritating and sickly symptoms. In psychology, as well as traditional medicine, similar events such as headaches due to excessive worry or stomach ailments due to anxiety are sometimes found to bear a mind-body connection, but such is not considered by mainstream practitioners to be evidence of body memory.

Some alternative medicine practitioners believe that body memory is evident in transplantation medicine. Stories of patients who have received organ transplants and later recall events experienced by the original organ donor are sometimes held to be proof that this type of memory exists. These stories, however, are not supported by scientific evidence.

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