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Healing Adverse Childhood Experiences with Niki Gratrix
In this episode of The Dr. Hedberg Show, I interview Niki Gratrix in a discussion about adverse childhood experiences, overcoming trauma, PTSD, EMDR, somatic experiencing, relational trauma, anxiety, depression, emotional freedom technique, ADHD, chronic fatigue, and psychedelics. Niki speaks with great passion about her work which is why I wanted to interview her. Dr. Hedberg: Well, welcome everyone to the Dr. Hedberg show, this is Dr. Hedberg. I'm very excited today to have Niki Gratrix on the show. I heard her on the 15-Minute Matrix with Andrea Nakayama and just really enjoyed that interview. So, I wanted to have her around today. So, Niki, she's actually an award-winning nutritional therapist, bioenergetic practitioner, and transformational coach. She helps people to optimize energy. And in 2005, she co-founded one of the largest mind-body clinics in integrative medicine in the UK. The results with patients at the clinic were published as a preliminary study in 2012 in the British Medical Journal open. In August 2015, she hosted the largest ever online health summit on overcoming fatigue, interviewing 29 world leading experts on optimizing energy with over 30,000 attendees. So, Niki, welcome to the show. Niki: Thank you so much for having me. It's awesome to be here. Dr. Hedberg: Great. So a lot of my listeners are familiar with the material I've been putting out on average childhood experiences, but why don't we just lay some bedrock for that? Can you give us just an overview of what adverse childhood experiences are? Niki: Yes. So, it's very interesting. It's based on a lot of data that's been done actually. It's been a lot of mainstream research that should get more attention in my view. So there were some big studies done by the CDC and Kaiser Permanente, looking at what they were calling adverse childhood events, and they called them ACEs. And they were looking at if you had a high level of ACEs, the sort of correlation with illness in adulthood. The sort of things they were looking at were sort of parents separating, divorce, that would count as an ACE, things like physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, physical or emotional neglect, domestic violence, mental illness in the family, substance abuse, or things like incarceration of a family member. So those were the particular categories that were chosen by the researchers that were working on this. It's about the mid 1990s, they started that work. And it's important work because it really... I'm sure you've covered some of the data, it never does any harm just to mention, you know, if you had a high level of ACEs, you have an increased risk of 7 out of the top 10 causes of death, 67% of all the people in these studies. And it was a huge study, they were like...it was almost seventeen and a half thousand people in the study. Sixty seven percent had said, "Look, we had exposure to some degree of this." And that was probably an underestimate, which we can talk more about why that is. I got into this topic because things like chronic fatigue, you have a six-fold increased risk of chronic fatigue in adulthood if you had ACE's in childhood. So I called fatigue and the kind of fibromyalgia and those kinds of related illnesses, I like the poster children for adversity and childhood. You know, and if you have six ACEs, you have a 20-year reduction in lifespan. So you that gives people a bit of an idea about why we're talking about it and the types of things we're talking about. Dr. Hedberg: Yeah, it's a big issue. And in my 15 years of functional medicine practice, I do admit that it's something that I overlooked, you know, early on for many years, just no one was really familiar with it or talking about it. So one thing I wanted to ask, you had mentioned... So one of the questions on the ACE questionnaire I'm having difficulty getting a good answer on this, so maybe, you know, but, how come an ACE is if your parents get a divorce,