If I ask someone if they think that emotions can affect them physically, the response is always an immediate 'yes'. Likewise, I get the same response when I ask if how they feel physically affects them emotionally. No surprise here. Everyone gets this on some level. "Anything can cause anything" is sort of a mantra in the holistic healthcare world.
There is a constant dance, an interaction of structure and energy, that keeps the body attempting to do what it was designed to do, which is survive. This balancing act plays out many levels, those known to us and those not yet discovered. Ill health is the result of interferences to this balance from many possible sources.
"It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver." - Mahatma Gandhi
Health is Defined Three Ways in Medilexicon's Medical Dictionary
- The state of the organism when it functions optimally without evidence of disease or abnormality.
- The state of dynamic balance in which an individual's or a group's capacity to cope with all the circumstances of living is an optimal level.
- The state characterized by anatomic, physiologic, psychological integrity, ability to preform personally, valued family, work and community roles; ability to deal with physical, biologic, psychosocial and social stress, a feeling of well-being and a freedom of the risk of disease and untimely death.
According to the World Health Organization's Classic Definition:
"Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." Now that we looked at the definition of health, let's look at some of the possible interferences to health. I refer to these interferences as barriers or stressors, since they interfere with and add stress to the body, causing an imbalance.
Eight Primary Barriers to Health
The More Common Barriers or Stressors to Healing Are:
1. Food Allergies/Intolerances
People are increasingly suffering from allergies or intolerances to certain foods. If you yourself do not have a food allergy you probably know someone who does. The most common food allergies are:
- Wheat/gluten, especially if unsprouted or genetically modified
- Pasteurized dairy products
- Soy foods, especially if unfermented
2. Heavy Metal Toxicities
There are many heavy metals toxicities, however the most common are mercury, aluminum, arsenic and lead.
3. Chemical Toxicities
These include acetates and acetones, dry cleaning chemicals, food colorings, fragrances, heavy chemicals, hydrocarbons, medications, pesticides, petroleum solvents, plastics, food preservatives, with chlorine and formaldehyde being the most commonly found.
4. Immune Challenges
5. Surgical Scars
Surgical scars may cause interferences in the sympathetic nervous system. Besides surgical and injury scars, tattoos, piercings, vaccination scars, episiotomy, tooth extractions, stretch marks, acne and chicken pox scars may be involved. The most commonly found are those on the mid line of the body such as episiotomy, umbilicus and C-Section surgical scars.
6. Structural Interferences
Including vertebral subluxations and other skeletal and soft-tissue imbalances including nerves, muscles, ligaments, organs and glands.
7. Electromagnetic Frequencies
Includes dirty electricity, cell phones, computers
We are all aware that emotions can make us feel bad but they also can affect the course of our lives if not handled and processed. Have you ever had your heart broken? Have you ever said or done something you regret? Have you ever experienced pain, anxiety or stress? Of course you have and most of the time these emotions are processed, let go of and you move on. Other times, for reasons we do not yet understand, emotions do not process completely. Instead of moving on, these emotions energetically get stuck or trapped within the physical body. Instead of recovering after the death of a loved one, a relationship break-up, a physical trauma, or an angry moment, this negative emotional energy stays within us, potentially causing significant emotional turmoil and stress.
We all carry some emotional baggage to some degree. We think we can ignore it, resist it, deny it or run from it. It seems like that is the easier way out because we fear confronting it. And let's face it, confronting pain just doesn't sound like much fun.
85 Percent of All Diseases Appear to Have An Emotional Element
The idea that emotions can affect your health is not new. The conservative Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that 85 percent of all diseases appear to have an emotional element. Some would argue that trapped emotions are involved either directly or indirectly in all or nearly all diseases.
An estimated 75 to 90 percent of visits to primary care physicians are now related to the effects of stress. Trapped emotions become chronic stress when carried for years.
The single most upsetting event in an individuals' life can be the death of a loved one. Grieving is a natural and necessary process and the range of emotions one goes through can be overwhelming. Everyone grieves in their own way and in their own time, however, some emotions can fail to be processed. For example shock, despair, sadness, guilt, anxiety, anger, blame, panic, depression and fear are commonly associated with the grieving process.
In addition to emotional pain, countless people are dealing with physical aches and pains. Sometimes we can pinpoint a physical traumatic event that caused the pain initially, however, quite frequently the problems just seem to develop for no apparent reason.
Carrie has been a patient of mine off and on for many years and in the past would usually have complaints of a mild flare-up of neck pain due to degenerative arthritis. One day after not seeing her for a couple of years she came to my office complaining of neck pain again, however this time it had been going on for many months and was beginning to worsen. I tested her to see if her symptoms were being caused by trapped emotions and the answer her body gave me was 'yes'. Continuing to test, I determined that the trapped emotion was 'crying' and that the emotion had become trapped approximately one year ago. At this point she decided to share her story. She confided that her husband had passed away a year ago and although she deeply mourned the loss, she had never cried at all. We released the trapped emotion of crying from her body and she immediately felt significant relief from her neck pain and could move her head freely again. When she returned a week later for follow-up, she was back to her normal self again. She informed me that following her previous visit, "I went home and cried and cried and cried for two days. It all came out." She had moved ahead significantly in her grieving process and now feels she can move on with her life again.
Granted, this is a dramatic example of how trapped emotions can affect you physically. Typically processing a released emotion is not as dramatic or intense as Carrie's was. Usually there is a much more subtle change in symptoms when a trapped emotion is released.
"The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly." - Buddha
The other side of the coin is how our physical state can influence our emotions. Ask any woman if pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) affects them emotionally. The imbalance of the hormonal system varies from tension, irritability, mood swings and crying spells to anxiety and depression. Even mild dehydration can affect mood. When you are hurting and experiencing physical discomfort, for example low back pain, does it affect your mood? Are you fun to be around and having a good time?
And the seemingly ever present sugar contributes to anxiety, hyperactivity, depression and difficulty concentrating (along with more than 150 other known ways it can negatively affect your health).
New research has revealed that chronic stress is causative to molecules. Patients with depression-related stress are found to have telomeres more than 5 percent shorter than those without depression and the shortening of telomeres is associated with accelerated aging. The effects of stress can be diverse and can create or contribute to an imbalance in cortisol, glucose, insulin, and immune activity, and can cause adrenal fatigue, altered brain function and inflammation. Obviously the effects of chronic stress can significantly impact a person's health.
"A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic, too busy to take care of his tools." - Spanish Proverb
In these bodies "anything can cause anything." Environmental toxins can suppress the immune system which may allow a viral, bacterial or other immune challenge to obtain foothold, creating chronic stress and inflammation, causing altered brain function and negative emotions. And on and on, in any other order involving the above.
According to the Mickinley Health Center, University of Illinoise, wellness "is a state of optimal well-being that is oriented toward maximizing an individual's potential. This is a life-long process of moving forward enhancing your spiritual, intellectual, emotional, social and environmental well-being."
"The devil has put a penalty on all things we enjoy in life. Either we suffer in health or we suffer in soul or we get fat." - Albert Einstein
ln the holistic healthcare practice field, we try to keep it simple. Stop putting the bad stuff in and let go of that which no longer serves you (whether it be processed, de-natured or genetically modified food, environmental toxins, negative people or negative emotions, etc.).
Get the bad stuff out (through natural nutritional, herbal and homeopathic detoxification methods and emotional release techniques).
Start putting the good stuff in. Begin the process by switching over to wholesome real food, taking whole food supplements when needed and by healing yourself emotionally. Have fun with this!
"The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not." - Mark Twain
Dr. Donald L. Piccoli is certified in advanced Nutrition Response Testing and is the director of Holistic Solutions Health Center in Kensington, CT.