As alcoholic patients progressed through the training, they altered their own neurochemistry.
Learning changes physiology.
Peniston and Kulkosky discovered that stress hormone levels dropped. Neuroendocrine systems, and personalities normalized.
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Dr. Peniston had a vision....
The initial results were startling.
During an alpha-theta neurofeedback seminar at the Menninger Clinic with Dr. Elmer Green and Dr. Dale Walters, pioneers in biofeedback training, Dr. Peniston had a vision.
It was a comprehensive treatment program for alcoholism. He envisioned an intensive 30-session sequence, roughly broken into a five-phase testing and training protocol that combines biofeedback- assisted relaxation training, several levels of focused visualization, alpha-theta EEG neurofeedback therapy and maintenance relaxation techniques.
He hurried back to Fort Lyon, Colorado and, after initial hesitation, launched a small pilot project to test out his vision.
The initial results were startling. Within a very short time (usually less than two weeks) marked personality changes were noticed in Peniston's patients. They quit taking psychotropic drugs and showed significant changes on personality inventory tests.
Hospital staff, nurses and other doctors were mystified. In discussing the rapid changes with psychophysiologist Dr. Paul Kulkosky of the University of Southern Colorado (USC), Peniston decided to have the blood chemistry of his patients tested for changes that might correspond to the personality and behavioral changes that were being observed.
Peniston and Kulkosky discovered that the patients' beta endorphin levels dropped significantly following the Peniston training. Beta endorphins are correlated with stress. A drop in beta endorphin levels indicates that physical changes are taking place in the patient's neuroendocrine system which are significant enough to generate measurable chemical changes in the bloodstream.
In other words, Peniston and Kulkosky were demonstrating that learning changes physiology. As alcoholic patients progressed through the training sequence, they alteredg their own neurochemistry by allowing their bodies to learn new ways to think, learn and remember.