Last month, I introduced the bodymind as discussed in Deb Shapiro’s Your Body Speaks Your Mind. The idea is based on the ancient eastern thought that all disease (or dis-ease) begins in your mind and then translates those issues into your tissues. Now, Shapiro doesn’t ignore the fact that other factors play a role in many diseases, such as gender, environment, and our chemically-altered food. She agrees that these are contributing factors, but (rightly, I believe) she goes on to say that the parasympathetic nervous system plays just as important a role as the rest.
In other words, feelings, particularly repressed and ignored feelings, cause problems over time. What I found to be interesting was that Shapiro particularly focuses on the things that happen to us as children, whether it’s neglect, malnourishment, or abuse. It is often these instances that begin to arouse sentiments that stay with us for our entire lives, even though we might not consciously recognize them.
Another interesting key phrase is “over time.” Our tissues can harbor things for a very long time without us even knowing it. The deeper the trauma, the deeper those pains are stored. For instance, one student of mine told me that she once fell and bruised her spine, but it wasn’t until years later when she had a massage (it might have been her first massage too) that the therapist was able to release that bruise out of the affected bony tissues.
Granted, not all issues stem from our childhood. Shapiro often remarks that sometimes illnesses, diseases, and accidental injuries manifest because of fears or going in the wrong direction or even while we’re battling ourselves during a hard time in life. Here are some great examples that I found while reading:
- Bone issues are about core issues within oneself. Broken bones therefore signify deep inner conflict while arthritis (inflammation of the joint) implies a poisonous build-up of thoughts, attitudes, and feelings.
- There are many things that cause headaches, including hormones, environmental issues, food allergies, a lack of exercise, and perhaps some other causes: spending too much time within one’s head, pushing oneself to achieve, repressed feelings, a rigid personality. Migraines, in addition to these things, could stem from a fear of failure, relate to issues of control/power, fear of participation/involvement, and even a way of getting attention.
- Fibromyalgia (and chronic fatigue syndrome) possibly stems from a loss of purpose or direction, and a loss of spirit–the desire to participate in/enter life has gone.
- Irritated Bowel Syndrome isn’t so much a problem with the intestines as with the nerves causing the muscles to contract/spasm. Anxiety, emotions, and depression are major contributing factors.
- Loneliness, isolation, and a lack of love/companionship seriously undermine the immune system, and may be contributing factor to cancer. Also repressed negative emotions that cause one to become timid or overly polite. Other characteristics of cancer include lack of assertiveness, avoidance of conflict, and ignoring one’s own needs.
There’s much more information stored in this book. I look forward to exploring its contents in more detail as needed. For those interested in researching alternative ways of experiencing physical and emotional healing, this is a great resource.