Transforming Emotions as a Part of the Healing Process

By Marc Gomez, L.Ac., Dipl.O.M.

All physical health challenges have underlying emotional components. Optimal health is achieved through the integration of the mind, body, and spirit. An important part of the healing process is discovering the roots of emotional components, untangling and transforming them. Our emotions have a direct effect on our bodies’ tissues and internal organs. When we get angry we tend to tense up, which can lead to muscle aches, pains, high blood pressure and eventually a heart attack or stroke. Stress has an obvious effect on our bodies. People usually hold the tension of their stress in their neck and shoulders or in their bellies.

An example that nearly everyone has experienced is what happens when we try to swallow immense grief. The effects can be felt immediately: you feel like there is a big lump in your throat, your chest feels tight and heavy, your eyes begin to burn, and you have difficulty swallowing or breathing. When signs like these occur, it means we are burying our emotions and these emotions do not just disappear. They tend to go somewhere in the body where they await consciousness and transformation. If these latent emotions are not addressed, they may lead to physical problems.

Physicians of Chinese medicine discovered long ago that sadness and grief are usually kept in the lungs and large intestine. Anger and resentment tend to be stored in the liver and gallbladder. Fear and Anxiety usually end up in the kidneys and bladder. Worry and pensiveness have an affinity for the stomach and digestive system. Too much excitement or stimulation has a strong effect on the heart. Acupuncture and meditation can help us to discover hidden emotions and accelerate the healing process. Often all it takes is a little awareness of where things are coming from to begin transformation. Deeper issues often require some form of psychotherapy or psychoanalysis to ensure transformation. Journaling, dream analysis, active imagination and creative expression of emotions through artwork are ways of initiating transformation. Exercise helps by dispersing and balancing emotions, but is not enough to transform them. Stubborn health conditions often require a combination of acupuncture, herbs, nutrition, exercise, meditation, lifestyle changes, and deep emotional work. Transform your emotions, feel well and thrive.

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