Repressed emotions can cause disease. How this disease manifests in each of us is completely individualized. Releasing emotions can heal disease. Even cancer. Even diseases that Western medicine deems incurable.
Perhaps these notions seem presumptuous, yet they have been well-documented by the investigative tools of Western science, and are also found within the tenets of global healing traditions worldwide.
Anger, fear, and sadness: These are three primary emotions that may be causes of disease. They are normal and natural feelings, and we all experience them as natural aspects of our wonderful humanness. But when these feelings remain internalized without avenues for expression and release, they can create a vibrational state in our body-mind that disrupts our natural homeostatic balance.
This imbalance can express itself in body-mind symptoms. I use the term body-mind because these symptoms can express themselves in physical symptoms or as emotional symptoms or both. When symptoms become loud enough, we may have a label for them in Western medicineâ€”a disease.
Where do repressed emotions come from? This depends on your worldview.
First, they may come from experiences that weâ€™ve had in this lifetime that were traumatic. Most often, in early childhood, this occurs after we lose the wonderful state of being unselfconscious and become aware and attuned and sensitive to the experiences around us. We may have experiences that are painful emotionally, and one natural response may be to protect ourselves and internalize these emotions.
Another source of repressed emotions may be past-life experiences. If this concept is challenging, I ask you to suspend any disbelief and read on. There exists a wide body of research, conducted by reputable scientists, supporting the veracity of this phenomenon. Again, details are beyond the scope here, but please write for details if youâ€™re interested.
Past-life experiences that were traumatic and were not healed during past incarnations may have been carried with us as we entered our present body-mind in this lifetime. Interestingly, this worldview of past lives is shared by most global healing traditions. These healing traditions accommodate and utilize the notion in their understanding and treatment of health and illness.
Often it is easier, given the paradigm of Western medicine, to first consider the physical body, symptoms, or â€œdisâ€-ease. Focusing on the physical body can be a starting point for healing and transformation on many levels. Yet unless we address emotional roots and links, we cannot heal completely on any level.
Our thoughts, emotions, and physical symptoms are intimately linked.
Most familiar in the West are traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda, two systems that have found footing on our shores. These systems link bodily symptoms and emotions. In Chinese medicine, the lung is the repository for grief, the liver for rage, and the kidney for fear. In Ayurveda, the vata dosha may yield arthritis and worry; the pitta, ulcers and rage. It may be helpful to consider these connections when reflecting upon your own health concerns.
There are many, many ways to enable healing. I will briefly summarize some of these.
Some tools and techniques are â€œpassiveâ€; others are â€œactive.â€ Passive approaches are those that are done to you, such as acupuncture and massage. Active ones are those that you can do yourself, completely on your own, such as pranayama, or breathing exercises. Active techniques can be truly empowering, but passive ones are useful too. Sometimes it is helpful to have an experience to shift oneâ€™s body-mind state without having to put forth a lot of effort.
Breath and Food
Breath is the fuel and life force for our body-mind. Western science has well documented the relationship between respiration and physical and emotional health. Interestingly, this is an inherent tenet of global healing traditions. Qi and prana are considered life force in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda, respectively. Without breath, we do not exist.
Compromised breathing can cause illness; optimized breathing can enable healing. Learning natural breathing as well as specialized breathing techniques can affect our body-mind, our emotional state, and can be a conduit to emotional healing.
Food is medicine for our body-mind. All foods have effects on our emotional states. These effects are unique to each of us. Hippocrates, considered the father of Western medicine, wrote of these concepts. He believed that â€œfood should by thy medicine and thy medicine food,â€ and also taught that it is â€œmore important to know the patient that has the disease than to know what disease the patient has.â€Â
Any therapeutic modality affects both body and mind, hence the term body-mind. This is so even in Western medicine. There are many approaches, tools, techniques, and systems. The following is merely a list, not exhaustive, for your consideration:
Energy medicine techniques; energy psychology techniques; body-centered therapies such as Rolfing; Ayurvedic treatments and bodywork; Chinese medicine approaches, including acupuncture; manual therapies such as chiropractic and osteopathy, vibrational medicine such as flower essences; herbal therapies; homeopathy; the various techniques of yoga traditions; past-life therapy; breath-work therapy; creative self-expressive therapies; writing or journaling therapies; and movement therapies. Some of these require a practitioner, some of these you can do on your own.
Some final suggestions: Be gentle and patient with yourself. The greatest healer lies within you, not within the office of any practitioner or the scope of any technique or system. Healing is a journey of exploration and growth, a journey that will only and always lead to a greater sense of well-being.