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What the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study Means for Our Health in Adulthood

Adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, are potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood that can significantly impact our health as adults. Unresolved traumas can leave the body in a state of chronic stress, which releases a chronic, low-dose of inflammatory chemicals and creates unregulated inflammation that can eventually translate into symptoms and disease.

Research strongly supports the relationship between stress and physical inflammation. “For example, adults under the stress of taking care of spouses with dementia display increased levels of a cytokine that increases inflammation. Likewise, if an adult sibling dies, your risk of having a heart attack rises greatly. If you’re pregnant and face a big stressful event, your chance of miscarrying doubles. Encountering serious financial problems raises a man’s risk of falling down and being injured in the months that follow. A child’s death triples a parent’s change of developing multiple sclerosis. States of intense emotional fear or loss can precipitate a type of cardiomyopathy known as ‘broken heart syndrome’, a severe physical weakening of the heart muscle that presents almost exactly like, and is often misdiagnosed as, a full-blown heart attack.”

So if as a child you were:

  • experiencing violence or abuse
  • witnessing violence in the home or community
  • having a family member attempt or die by suicide

Or your environment undermined a sense of safety, stability, and bonding while growing up in a household with:

  • substance misuse
  • mental health problems
  • instability due to parental separation or household members being in jail or prison

Then your overall health may be reflecting some of these early stressors as ACEs are often linked to chronic health problems, mental illness, and substance misuse in adulthood and can also negatively impact education and job opportunities.

“The more categories of ACEs a child has faced, the greater the chances of developing heart disease as an adult… a child who has 7 or more ACEs grows up with a 360 percent higher chance of developing heart disease. More than half of women suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome report childhood trauma. People with ACE Scores of 4 were twice as likely to be diagnosed with cancer than someone with an ACE Score of 0. For each ACE score a person had, the change of being hospitalized with an auto-immune disease in adulthood rose 20 percent. Someone with an ACE Score of 4 was 460 percent more likely to be facing depression than someone with a score of 0. An ACE Score of 6 and higher shortened an individual’s life-span by almost twenty years.”

“According to ACE research in the US, 64 percent of us grew up in families in which at least one thing went wrong: we’ve had at least one Adverse Childhood Experience.”

“Today more than 1,500 studies cite ACE research and the World Health Organization now utilizes the ACE Questionnaire in fourteen countries to help screen for emotional distress and trauma that might lead to poor health. In the United States, twenty-nine states and Washington DC, are using the ACE Questionnaire to help improve public health.”

Feel free to take the ACE Quiz here by answering 10 quick questions. You can also visit the official website for the ACE Study here.

“I am extremely grateful for the 8 BodyTalk & Somatic Experiencing sessions I recently received with Jaya. I have seen a tremendous shift in my mind, body and spirit. Inflammation in my body, especially my colon has reduced (when my Doctor recently tested my Rheumatoid Factor, it had lowered significantly). I have a sense of calm now and no longer feel that I am hypervigilant. This allows me to be able to attend and engaged in social activities without anxiety. It has also helped me to be more present to each moment and feel more fully alive.

Jaya is an amazing, knowledgeable, gentle healer and has the expertise to support you wherever you are. I have learned so much about myself and appreciate each session that I have. I wish everyone to experience the wonderful transformations that I have experienced with Jaya. We are worth the investment.”

– Carol, Ottawa

We all deserve to live vibrant health on all levels. It’s time to take back our lives and thrive!


  • Quotes taken from, “Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal,” written by: Donna Jackson Nakazawa
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