ICE is an acronym that describes a simple healing method, which relies on cellular peptide-receptor chemistry and the natural tendency of a body to heal once it reaches its resting state of complete calm.
- Identify an issue,
- Calm or Chill your state of being,
- Exchange the chemical peptides of the issue state with the chill state.
For more about the science behind the method, please read the science page.
I – Identify
Identify the issue of concern, some combination of an emotional state, a physical sensation, and perhaps associated memories. The emotion you experience around the issue is literally directing the response of your body, and is likely a source of your physical pain.
In using The ICE Method, you can start anywhere, with any issue of concern. Simply by paying attention and observing, other important issues will surface in your mind, and the chill state and exchange process will be employed in an iterative process, over and over, as your circle of calm and peace expands to encompass more and more of your present circumstances, past memories and concerns about your future.
C – Calm or Chill
Enter a Calm or “Chill” state in which thoughts cease racing through your brain, and your body-mind relaxes to its default state of calm and peaceful emotion. As explained in the science of The ICE Method, cells at complete rest can function in Growth mode and restore cellular health automatically and naturally.
Entering a chill state will likely be a new experience for many. If you haven’t experienced this before you are in for a profound treat, a sense of relaxation that may be entirely new to you. Some people who use The ICE Method say it reminds them of a meditative approach. This is true, but the addition of the exchange process provides an element that functions quite differently from most meditative processes.
To enter the calm or chill state, I use the “pure awareness” process described by Frank Kinslow in his book, The Secret of Instant Healing (highly recommended).
Observing the space
- Locate two objects in your view. The objects can be anything; two telephone poles if you’re outside, two pencils on your desk, two paintings on a wall, two letters in a word on a page.
- Focus intently on one of the two objects. Observe the object with all your intent, as if you were to be tested on this observation and you MUST get it right. Notice that the cells of your body might get a little activated as you intensely make this observations.
- Next shift to the second object and make a similar intense observation of the object. It only needs to take a few seconds, but make sure and get into the state of the observation
- Now shift your attention to simply observing the space between the two ojects. This is space between the two objects, so observe that it is empty. Observe that in its emptiness there is nothing for the body cells to engage in. You will likely feel a subtle difference in your body as you shift from observing the two points to observing the empty space
- As you observe empty space, there is nothing for your cells to respond to in the external world. Your cells go to rest state and begin to focus on internal rest, restoration, rejuvenation, and healing.
- Cells turn to this restorative state as soon as our minds stop requesting their participation in the events of the day. Notice that in the state of observing the space, you are still aware of your environment, but the cells of your body are at rest, they do not need to be on guard. Mostly, if you’re not in the state of observation, our cells are on alert, responding to every thought. Our cells are usually on alert even when the thoughts are about the past or the future.
- There’s literally nothing we can do about a thought from the past or a worry about the future, so if we can learn to observe rather than react, then we can observe past and future while our cells remain at rest.
- Observation doesn’t remove us from participating in life. Observation allows us to participate fully in life, while allowing the cells of our body to remain at rest. Our cells rejuvenate and we have more energy available for when an actual activity requires the use of our body, such as a game of tennis, a swim in a lake, or cooking dinner.
Once you first become aware of the space between objects, you’ll notice that there’s a space between everything, even the words of an argument. Play with the space between for awhile and it can become your default state. You can learn to live, completely participating in your life, and having your cells at rest. If you’re inerested in reading about this method in more detail, I’ve written up a verbatim style description for a typical session with a fibromyalgia patient.
At some point, you’ll pretty much be completely in this calm space. As explained on the science page, when you’re in the calm state your cells are in growth mode and they can attend to cellular restoration in their most pure mode. This state is not something that you just created. It’s a state that is always a part of your life, but its more subtle than our normal reactive thoughts so we mostly don’t notice or observe it. Once we observe it, we realize that we have entered a state that is always present, and always available to us.
Getting out of the way of all your conscious concerns allows the body to be in its most effective and most natural healing state.
If you practice entering this calm state, you will soon discover that this calm state becomes your default state. When an issue or a challenge disrupts your calm state, you’ll notice it quickly and can return to your calm state by simply using the process of awareness described above.
The calm state is a state of freedom, free from the reactivity that you experience from the rest of your life. In the calm state, you don’t have to react to past experiences or future fears, or present concerns. You can still actively engage all aspects of your life, but you’ll have the opportunity to engage any issue of your life from this calm space, rather than from a place of reactivity.
On its own, this calm state would be hugely healing for any issues in your physical and emotional life. Combined with the exchange process, the calm state allows you to gain peace with the circumstances of your past, present, and future.
For more, see this blog post. The Space Between Objects.)
E – Exchange
The transformative power of the ICE Method lies in the exchange process. Recent neurobiological study demonstrates that memories must be renewed each time they are recalled. The glue that holds the cells together for a specific memory are peptides. And peptides are created in specific response to whatever emotion you are feeling. Through a gentle back and forth process, the emotions and peptides of the calm state are exchanged for the emotions and peptides of the identified issue.
The value of a facilitator: While The ICE Method can be done without outside help, it is in the exchange stage that a person can often most benefit from the assistance of a trained facilitator. When we’re on our own, many of us tend to flee from painful memories or challenging emotions. The exchange process is very gentle, but because it actually encounters the emotions of the disturbing issue, it is not a natural direction for most of us. A facilitator can keep the back and forth process going, retreating from the disturbance before it reaches a state of turmoil, then backing into the calm state and approaching the disturbance again after calm is restored. This back and forth process, properly handled, is an extraordinarily gentle yet effective method for creating new body chemistry and gaining freedom from debilitating emotions, memories, experiences, and physical sensations.
Another reason a facilitator can be useful in this stage is that most of us have little experience connecting our emotions, memories and experiences with our physical condition. We have not been raised with an awareness of these relationships. We go to a doctor for chemicals for our body. We go to a therapist for emotional trauma. Few of us are aware of the depth of connection between mind, body, and spirit. A trained facilitator of The ICE Method can help a person to observe the connections, thus speeding the peptide exchange process and bringing healing more quickly and more completely to a person.
Yet another reason a facilitator can be useful is to remind you what this process is actually doing – replacing the peptides of a memory or physical condition so as to provide healing and relief. The ICE Method exchanges emotional peptides in memories that have been recalled, but it does not affect memories that are not active at the time. Thus, other memories that arise after the session, can cause both emotional and physical reactions on their own. A person may feel that a session did not solve the problem, but this is only because a different memory or experience or sensation has arisen. It is important to remember that each memory, emotion, or physical sensation is actually an opportunity – a new situation has now become fragile. If you enter the calm state and then begin the process of exchange, your realm of calm can be further expanded.
Tips for the exchange process: There are various ways to imagine the peptide exchange process occurring, and you’re going to want to find one or more that are effective for you. In working with people once they have entered the calm state, I often begin by inviting a person to imagine in their mind’s eye that they are turning toward the issue they have identified. They can imagine that they are a great distance from the center of their issue, simply turn and view it from afar. After a moment I ask them to check in with their body and emotions and report whether they are still in the calm state or whether they are experiencing emotions or sensations after they turn to face the issue. If a person still has the calm state with them, I invite them to remain in the state for a bit, just being aware and observing this calm state of nothing. After a moment I invite them to take a single step toward their issue and then do another check in.
The stepping process is repeated for enough steps until it becomes easy to take one step right after the other. At that point, I invite the person to step directly into the imaginary center of their issue and monitor their emotions, memories, and physical sensation. In most cases, the issue has resolved and is now encompassed with the sense of calm. If it’s not, I have the person step back until they are in a calm state, and then continue the stepwise approach to the issue.
As a person makes their steps towards the issue, I share with them a visual, comparing the calm state to the ocean, and the issue to a sandy beach. In this exchange process, we are sending waves up from the calm ocean, towards the issue of concern. With each wave emotional peptides are being exchanged, back and forth, back and forth.
Repeatedly, to help a person maintain their calm state, I remind them that this is the body’s natural rest state, and in this state their body has complete freedom to engage in healing itself. Without any outside emotions giving direction and requiring energy, the cells of the body can rest, repair, and restore.
The exchange process, in this step-by-step manner, like the ocean consuming a sandy beach, expands our calm state to include issues that have been keeping our cells stuck in a reactive mode. This exchange process in The ICE Method, gives specificity and power to the process of healing.
Thank you for investing this time toward learning about the ICE Method. The following note is a reflections on my experiences with my clients.
Trying The ICE Method just one time:
Many of the people I work with tell me they feel more calm and peaceful during a session than they can ever remember experiencing. So why do some people only come for one session?
Whenever I find something really powerful and amazing for my life, I pursue that thing by reading, researching, and experiencing it, until I feel I have come to know it well. I have come to realize that some people are not like this – they experience something profound, and then that’s that. I think some of the people I get to work with are like this.
But even if a person might not naturally grab like a pitbull onto a new discovery, there’s another simple reason that people experience The ICE Method once and then quit. The results, for many people are unimaginable. Decades of bone-on-bone vertebrae back pain, gone in a single session. Fibromyalgia symptoms reduced in a single session. Grief dissipated in a single session. Jealousy or anger melted away quickly. These are results that would have been unimaginable to a person until they experience them. If something happens after the session to trigger a renewal of the issue, its once again unimaginable that they could be in a pain-free or issue-free state. This kind of healing is simply unimaginable for many people, from outside of the calm state.
I include these paragraphs so that you can be aware of The ICE Method as a process. From your calm state, you will address whatever issues arise during your session with The ICE Method. Peptides are being exchanged for specific memories, specific emotions, specific bodily sensations. After a session, other memories or emotions or bodily sensations may arise. This would be a good time to do The ICE Method again. Often, though, because a person is outside of the calm state when they experience these new issues or symptoms, they don’t think to do The ICE Method right away or even at all. I’m writing this note as a reminder in advance. Learn to make The ICE Method a tool for having a better life.
Beyond having The ICE Method as a tool for specific issues, I encourage you to consider making The ICE Method a habit. Frank Kinslow who has done so much writing and teaching on this calm state, shows how it can easily become our default state. Rather than living in reactivity, we can live from the calm state, and then be much more free to choose our responses. From the calm state we are no longer simply reacting out of old habitual patterns. We become free to chose.
Here’s how to make The ICE Method a habit. Just start practicing awareness and observation whenever you realize that you’re not in a calm state, not in a state of observation and awareness.. As soon as you become aware that you have not been observing your environment, that’s an opportunity to reenter the calm chill state. In the beginning you’ll find yourself continually drifting out of the awareness state and back into your reactive, issue laden, emotion-filled state. This makes sense, this is the world we’ve lived in most of our lives. But do the awareness a couple dozen times a day (it gets quicker and quicker the more you practice) and do this for a couple weeks straight and you’ll find that the delicious calm of the chill state will be with you more and more.
When you’re in the calm state, don’t think of it as a withdrawal from the world. Think of it instead as a full engagement with the world. You are not isolating yourself, rather you are creating a state from which you are free to choose your responses, and you are creating a state in which the cells of your body are naturally resting, repairing and restoring for the good of your whole body system.. Instead of reacting emotionally to all the events of the environment based on your subconscious fears and patterns, the chill state allows you to choose from a state of calm. This change from reactivity to choice is a profound difference for your life and for your health. Try it. You’ll see. Show up for the process. You’ll be amazed.