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The body-mind connection. Eastern medicine, reiki, energy healing and why it works

I often am asked how reiki works. So, I wanted to write something explaining the body-mind connection and how energy healing and our emotional state affects everything. By no means at all am I saying you no longer need doctors. Working with eastern and western models is thought by many to be the best way treat many conditions.

Eastern Medicine is based on a detailed map of energy, the meridians, that flow through the body. These maps show us the energy flow and how to access it. Illness is recognized as an imbalance or blockage in the flow of energy caused by poor habits, stress, or negative emotions. Balance is found by adjusting the energy flow.

Western Medicine sees a patient as a machine, eastern medicine sees the patient as an energy system that is always changing. Instead of looking at the outside cause or symptoms we try to find the connection between the outside and inner cause. This does not deny the organic causes of illness – such as germs, bacteria, or microorganisms, or that some illnesses are genetic and inherited. We also know that not everyone at the office gets sick when the flu is going around, or that not everyone experiences the flu exactly in the same way.

It appears the emotional and psychological state greatly influence the onset and passing of illnesses. As well as our ability to heal. People are starting to see that medicine must begin to see the origin of the disease. You must look at lifestyle, diet, social life, the environment, and the emotions and consciousness.

Dr. Candace Pert and Dr. Andrew Weil. Dr. Pert first discovered and scientifically proven the role of neuropeptides, which has transformed our understanding of how the mind directly affects the body. Dr. Weil has made integrated medicine- which takes into account the whole person and not just the symptoms. The role of the mind and emotions play a vital, and often overlooked, of the overall picture. By understanding this relationship, you can understand yourself on a much deeper level.

Recently Time magazine published that happiness, hopefulness, optimism, and contentment appear to reduce the risk or limit the severity of cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, diabetes, hypertension, colds, and upper respiratory infections. And that depression can worsen heart disease, diabetes, and a host of other illnesses.

Most of us believe the body and mind work separately. We feed and water and exercise our body’s. We feed our mind with ideas, intellect, entertainment, etc. Whilst experiencing all sorts of emotions that we usually attribute to how we treat ourselves or how others treat us. Making us feel either good or bad. When something goes wrong, we go to a doctor to treat the body or a psychotherapist to treat the mind. But this is not the whole story. Here’s a perfect example…

Can you remember the last time you interviewed for a job, or had a first date? You really wanted to impress this person. No doubt you wanted to come of calm and collected, but at the same time were probably feeling self-conscious and nervous. Can you recall how your body felt? Self-consciousness will tighten your buttocks muscles (so you’re literally sitting on your tension), you will sweat more than normal, may feel sick to your stomach, and may fluff your words, just to feel suave and confident. Your psycho-emotional state is affecting you physically. Geoffrey Crowley said in Newsweek magazine that “people may not be surprised that they blush when they get embarrassed, that a frightening thought can send their heart racing, or that a sudden piece of bad news can suddenly throw their system out of whack. Yet they find it hard to believe that mental abstractions like loneliness or sadness can also, somehow, have an impact on their bodies.”

When something goes wrong it is usually a combination of both physical and psycho-emotional causes. By learning the body-mind language of symptoms and illnesses, you can learn what is being repressed or ignored in your psyche and emotions and the effect this is having on your physical body.

Try this exercise. You will need a partner.

Hold out your dominant arm and tell your partner to push down while you resist and try keeping your arm where it is. Then relax. This is your natural level of resistance.

Now close your eyes and think of something that makes you sad. A sad memory, anything that provokes that feeling. Once you feel it lift your arm and again ask your partner to push down while you resist. Relax

Now close your eyes and think of a happy memory. When you feel it have your partner push again. Relax.

Most people notice an immediate difference and when they have a sad feeling its much harder to resist. When focused on happy thoughts they are stronger and able to resist. Notice how immediately your thoughts and feelings translate to a physical response.

The science of it all.

Neuropeptides. Secreted by the brain, the immune system, and the nerve cells. They are chemical messengers that carry information from the mind to the body. Neuroscientists have known for a long time that the limbic system is the emotional center of the brain. The limbic system includes the hypothalamus, a small glad that transforms emotions into a physical response. It also controls appetite, blood sugar levels, body temperature, and automatic functioning of the heart, lungs, and digestive, and circulatory systems.

The limbic system sits in the amygdala, a brain structure connected to fear and pleasure, and the pineal gland, which monitors the hormone system and releases powerful endorphins that not only act as pain killers but also anti-depressants. This includes the relationship between the mind, the endocrine system, and the nervous system- the connection between how you feel and how you behave, between your emotions and physical state. Each part or system of your body is reacting to your mental chatter, your every thought and feeling.

“Without the feeling there is no hormone, without the hormone there is no feeling. The revolution we call mind-body medicine was based on this simple discovery: where thoughts go a chemical goes with it” – Deepak Chopra

“The skin is not separate from the emotions, emotions are not separate from the back, nor the back from the kidneys, or the kidneys separate from the will and ambition, or will and ambition separate from the spleen, or the spleen separate from sexual confidence.” – Dianne Connelly

If damage on one part of your being is ignored it will manifest in another part. When you cannot, or do not, express what is happening on an emotional level, that feeling becomes embodied (you take it deeper inside yourself) until it manifests through the physical body.

The emotion most repressed is rage, as that is often the most inappropriate or difficult to express. Rage is connected to a loss of control, which is the most prevalent problem in stress-producing circumstances.

The cerebral cortex in the brain sounds the alarm whenever there is a form of perceived life-threatening or stressful activity. This affects the limbic and hypothalamus organization, which in turn affects hormone secretion, the immune system, and nervous system. This flight or fight response enables you to respond to danger if, for instance if you’re on the front lines in battle or face to face with a large bear. However seemingly unimportant events can also cause a stress reaction because the brain is unable to tell the difference between real and imaginary threats. When you focus on your fear of what might happen, it plays as much havoc with your hormones and chemical balance as when you’re confronting a dangerous situation in real life.

This response was intended to be temporary. Once the danger has passed, the body is meant to come back to normal. When there is consistent or constant psychological or emotional pressure you stay there. The higher levels or adrenaline and cortisol are sustained, leading to a compromised immune system, and more likelihood of physical sickness.

This is where mindfulness, meditation and reiki come in. We need to recognize these things happening in our bodies and take the proper measures to emotionally regulate ourselves. When we feel these things start to happen it is very important, we stop and evaluate our thoughts causing this reaction. Then quiet our minds, close our eyes and breath! We don’t realize then we hold our breath when we bare stressed. This prevents oxygen from getting to our brain and makes us feel worse. Reiki and energy or spiritual healing allow us to remove these energetic blockages and see where they are stemming from. We will be in a calmer state of mind and in turn make better discissions and have the confidence we need to live our lives happily and healthy. For more info on this topic read “your body speaks your mind” by Deb Shapiro.

Check out our website for many free programs and challenges for beginners.


Danielle Strano

2 of Hearts Healing Center

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