by Sheila Julson
In spring 2013, Sandra Vela and Stacey Lemire, certified facilitators for the Higher Brain Living personal development technique, met during a presentation by Dr. Michael Cotton, founder and developer of the method. While Vela and Lemire each had slightly different personal goals, both were drawn to the presentation in search of bringing a unique and accessible holistic modality to Austin.
Lemire, a licensed massage therapist and massage instructor, was seeking additional self-healing approaches. Vela, who had recently moved to Austin from the Rio Grande Valley, was a human resources professional, offering training and coaching in organizational management. After working in the corporate world and independently, she was looking to shift her focus and begin a new carer helping people reach their highest potential. She also had a strong interest in neuroscience.
At the time of Cotton’s presentation, there were no Higher Brain Living facilitators in Texas. Vela and Lemire were enthralled by Cotton’s method, in which the psychology of the brain is altered through a gentle touch protocol, causing a surge of energy to awaken the prefrontal cortex of the brain and bypassing the lower, fear-based portion of the brain.
Vela later traveled to Kansas, the closest state hosting a practicing Higher Brain Living facilitator, to experience a session. Vela and Lemire personally experienced benefits from the Higher Brain Living method and felt it would be advantageous for other Austin residents. They traveled to Chicago for additional training and opened three Higher Brain Living locations in Austin in September 2013.
“People in Austin are ready for this,” says Vela. “It’s a brand-new protocol. It’s helping our clients bypass the part of the brain that doesn’t allow change and giving them the opportunity to shift that energy to the part of the brain that does allow change.”
Clients begin a Higher Brain Living session by lying on a table, fully clothed. There may be more than one client in the room at a time during a session. There’s no machinery involved, and the facilitator begins a light touch technique to generate certain properties of the nervous system.
Vela explains that clients can expect to feel expanded breath, since a physiology change is occurring within the body that relieves stress, “They get an overall sense of wellbeing and expansion. It’s an an accessible system, because it doesn’t require any disrobing or special equipment. Sessions last 45 minutes, and once the higher brain is energized, clients are able to utilize that newly found energy that’s been released from the fear-based brain to the prefrontal cortex, or higher brain.”
They have a new guidebook they use to lead clients through making positive changes within the four dimension of life: mind, body, relationships and environment. “Clients begin to set goals and make changes more easily because they’re no longer being limited by the part of the brain that filters everything and keeps people from wanting to make change,” says Lemire. “The program utilizes the very latest information in neuroscience, as well as knowledge of ancient wisdom and quantum physics that show how people can begin to energize the part of the brain designed to make change.”
Vela adds that Higher Brain Living is a good starting point for people like her who have not had a lot of exposure to alternative healing. “With some of our clients, this is their first experience in any holistic arena, and now they’re interested in doing yoga, meditation, or changing their diets and exercising.”
Personal experiences have inspired Vela and Lemire to empower others to awaken the higher brain. Lemire has lost loved ones who succumbed to stress-related illnesses. “We want people to wake up so they have more choices,” she says. “People are frozen by stress and they can’t think clearly and make confident decisions. They can’t see all the variety of choices they have because they’re consumed by stress and in a fight-or-flight state. When you relieve that stress, you have expanded thinking, expanded awareness and you see solutions that you never saw before. Now you’re running your own business instead of working for ‘The Man’, you’re making more money and having more joy and excitement in your life.”
Vela is motivated by motivated by the potential that lies within everyone, once they get past the fear-based mechanism of the brain, “If people can get past that fear, then the potential for expansion is unlimited. I always want to help people reach their goals. Higher Brain Living is a vehicle for me, and it helps me do what I believe I’m here to do.” Higher Brain Living has locations in north, central and south Austin.