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Photo of Maureen SmithHow Our Thoughts, Feelings and Emotions Relate to Our Health and How That Applies to North Toronto Energy Healing

Behind your thoughts and feelings, my brother, there stands a mighty ruler, an unknown sage – whose name is self. In your body he dwells; he is your body. (Nietzche,F.1978:34,Totton2003 p. 1)

Before reading this paper, I suggest that you read the ”Letter To the Reader” to gain a better understanding of how North Toronto Energy healing works using Health Kinesiology . That article will explain the Health Kinesiology (HK) system and how it relates to both Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and psychotherapy. By first reading that article and understanding those concepts, you will be better prepared when I refer to them as this paper progresses.

For more background information on how the Health Kinesiology system works, please see the article on my website: “Letter to the Reader “. You can also visit the International Health Kinesiology (HK) website at www.subtlenergy.com for more information.

This paper will briefly introduce how a client is balanced using Health Kinsesiology. The paper then will survey some of the research that has been done that examines how the physical body relates to the mind and emotions, beginning with ancient TCM and moving to more recent work done in the field of psychoneuroimmunology, as well as some ideas that other energy healers and psychotherapists have contributed. As well, I’ll momentarily touch on how this form of bio-energetic healing differs from allopathic Western concepts of medicine/ healing.

The first thing an HK practitioner does is to balance the body so that some of the major highways can become unclogged and allow messages from the brain to all parts of the body to flow smoothly. To do this, first a muscle that will respond to testing is found, usually this is an arm muscle but most other skeletal muscles in the body can be used as well. When pressed down the muscle will ‘hold’, but when ‘spindled’ or ‘alarmed’ it will weaken and release. To balance the body, the practitioner determines which meridians have the blockages and which reflex points will balance them. This is where Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) comes into play. In TCM the twelve meridians are coupled as Yin and Yang and are grouped into the Chinese Five Phases or Elements and these relate to: Wood, Water, Metal, Earth, and Fire. In HK these same elements are used, and as well the Governing Vessel and Central Vessel have been added to make the HK Seven Element Sequence. Below is a chart illustrating the connection between the elements and the organs and the related emotions.

The Organ- Emotion Link (Cohen 1997 pg.237)
Element Metal Water Wood Fire Earth
Organ Lung Kidney Liver Heart Spleen
Harmful emotions Anxiety sorrow Fear Anger Joy, shock Pensiveness,
empathy
Qi effect constrict drop rise scatter Knot
Positive emotions integrity wisdom kindness order trust

The elements can be identified by lightly touching around the navel, as well as above and below the lips, and muscle testing at the same time. This is important in determining which element is unbalanced so that a correction can be made.

Once balanced, it is now possible to find out what particular issues are disrupting the body’s work. One method is to directly ask the person what is their complaint or concern at this time; this is called Client Specified Issue. The person may have a constant headache, but when you ask the body permission to work with that headache, the body may respond with a ‘no’ meaning: “Well that headache is not my main (energy) concern right now, as we’re really dealing with some challenges with the liver now and we need to get that fixed up first of all. You can deal with the headache later.” It could also be that when the liver’s issues are addressed, then the headache will also go away. This answer is determined when the person tests positive for Body Sequence and not Client Specified.

This communication to the body is done through questioning the body and eliciting ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answers. A strong arm response means ‘yes’, and a weak arm response means ‘no’. It takes some time to grasp the idea that the body can hear you and know what you’re saying. I have always believed that the mind / head is the seat of knowledge and knowing, but the body was just the package that covered the insides. It took a while for me to realize that mind and body were connected and that the body and mind takes everything literally and is always listening to what we say!

This amazing new concept has been supported by my reading of other material such as the book by Barbara Hoberman Levine, Your Body Believes Every Word You Say. I needed to go to outside the HK literature to find support for Dr. Scott’s belief that you can talk to your body. I found that your body indeed hears not only what you say, but at a cellular level also knows your thoughts and feelings and responds directly to them as well. This is one idea that I’d like to further explore in this paper. Some examples in Levine’s book that supports this concept are:

There is a rich and intricate two – way communication system linking the mind, the immune system, and potentially all other systems, a pathway through which our emotions, our hopes, and fears can affect the body’s ability to defend itself. (Levine 2002, p. 20)

And so in HK testing when the health issue is revealed, the practitioner then consults several charts that indicate which meridian acupoints are to be held and for how long. For instance, if a person has a broken leg, or a fractured foot it may require precise placement of magnets, and specific acupoints to be held to reconnect the meridians to get the healing mode activated to accelerate the body’s ability to heal. As well, the liver and the pancreas may need more energy so the body can get back to making the necessary repairs.

During the correction, certain words or phrases may need to be thought and focused on by the client at a cognitive level. Throughout our life situations occur that stresses our body, some of them we are completely aware of while some of them we have never consciously thought about. If these thoughts/ feelings are not addressed, then they are stored in our energy system at a deep level that may be completely unconscious to the person. However, these thoughts and feelings can create blockages in our physical body that can impede the body’s flow of energy and its ability to do its work at a cellular level. Identification of these thoughts or feelings is necessary to enable them to be acknowledged and processed and corrected. I can see how this process directly relates to psychotherapy as well as HK.

For so many years I have gone to the Western medical doctor to heal me and to tell me what is wrong and what to do, I have given my power to him/her to determine my body’s needs. I am not about to discount all Western wisdom and learning, for certainly western medicine has done amazing work in the field of surgery. However I am beginning to realize that there are other ways of healing and HK is a way that is making a lot of sense to me right now. We are all connected in nature and are not ‘islands unto ourselves’.

This is reflected in the TCM concept that the physical body, the mind, the emotions and thoughts and feelings are also all connected. This differs from the allopathic, Cartesian mind/ body division that tends to compartmentalize us into neat sections. I am learning to believe in my body and see it as part ‘of me’ and not simply the shell that houses the organs and ‘other mysterious things’. I now believe that my body knows my thoughts and at the cellular level and knows what is best for me. I am also beginning to understand the body relationship to the subtle energy fields that are both inside ourselves, and those that surround us. This is another concept that I’d like to explore later in this paper. Thurnell – Read describes Subtle Energy as, ‘a loose term to describe any energy that is not recognized and categorized by conventional scientific knowledge’. (Thurnell-Read 2002 p. 163) .She goes on to describe Subtle Bodies as :

Traditionally, six subtle bodies are recognized (etheric, emotional, mental, causal, intuitive, and spiritual). They are as much part of the individual as the physical body. They are progressively less physical and more spiritual. Meta analysis works directly with these subtle bodies. (Thurnell- Read 2002, p. 163)

So far this section of the paper has provided a very brief overview of HK and some of its principles. This next section will look at some of the work that other scientists and researchers have found that supports some of the above beliefs and principles.

Researcher, Candace Pert in the field of pyschonueroimmunology, has been developing the idea that all illnesses have a psychosomatic component. She has been examining the molecular basis of emotions and has developed an understanding that molecules of emotion share inseparable connections with our body. (Pert 1997, p.18)

Pert tries to explain how these emotions can communicate with the body. She begins by suggesting that peptides are tiny pieces of amino acids that when joined together produce a chain called a protein and this protein is in every part of our body. She then speculates that the amino acids are the letters of language, and that the peptides and proteins are the words that are made from the letters. Thus, all together the peptides and amino acids make up a language that directs every cell, organ and system in your body. (Pert1997, p. 65)

Pert tries to explain that the information does not come from the brain but from emotions. She feels that molecules of emotion run every system in our body. Her research went on to suggest that the connection between the body and the brain that links together and communicates to all the cells in the body is a separate realm called the ‘inforealm’… that allows us to experience the emotions, the mind and the spirit……some say it is the wisdom of the body and others call it God.” (Pert 1997 p. 310)

She calls this, the emotional resonance, which she explains as the connectors that “ flow between individuals moving among us as empathy, compassion, joy and sorrow… it is a scientific fact that we can feel what others feel…. Our molecules of emotion are all vibrating together.” (Pert 1997. p. 312) This concept resonates with me when I am working with a client and I feel their energy both at the physical level (such as when I hold my hands over their body) and at the emotional level when I look at them and see their emotions displayed on their face and in their body language.

Continuing in her research, Pert struggles to explain the energy in the body and how it relates to other energies in the universe. She suggests that the neuropeptides and receptors are the biochemicals that are called ‘information molecules’. These information molecules use a coded language to communicate via a body-mind network. She suggests that information exists outside of time and space and belongs to a different realm from what we think of as reality. She goes on to say that “information in the form of biochemicals of emotion are running in every system of the body and thus our emotions must also come from a realm beyond the physical.” ( Pert 1997, p. 257)

Pert’s theory proposes that:

The emotions are the informational content that is exchanged via the psychosomatic network, with the many systems, organs, and cells participating in the process. Like information, then, the emotions travel between the two realms of mind and body, as the peptides and their receptors in the physical realm, and as the feelings we experience and call emotions in the nonmaterial realm. (Pert 1997 pg. 261)

One of Pert’s friends commented that now she sees her body not as a machine being pushed around by the brain, but an integrated body and mind that have an intelligent system that rapidly exchange information between the mind and the body. She sees the cells as talking to each other with an emotional intelligence and at the same time to the brain which is in on the conversation. (Pert 1997, p. 262)

This concept seems to support Levine’s work that was mentioned above as well as the TCM belief that there is a two-way communication system that travels around the body connecting all our organs and emotions and thoughts and feelings. The ancient TCM belief is that each organ is responsible for the different emotions that we feel and have experienced. To maintain good health physically, cognitively and emotionally, the qi needed to flow freely through each organ.

Carrying on with Pert’s research, she feels that when feelings are not expressed but are buried deep below the unconscious, they are stored in the body’s energy field at a cellular level. Our culture has a challenge expressing our emotions appropriately and honestly, as we tend to deny feelings and suppress them and go through the motions of being happy. Some of our upsetting feelings are new and recent, while other feelings may have originated many years ago. Although both types of feelings may remain un-addressed, they are stored at a cellular level and at this level they cause blockages that impede the smooth flow of energy and nourishment in our body. While psychotherapists will address the thoughts and feelings – they do not address the physical body; and conversely, the western physicians treat the physical body but pay no attention to the mind and emotions.

Linda Hartley, in her book Somatic Psychology seems to support Pert’s work by stating that the energy body and the physical body interact and when the energetic flow is blocked then this is reflected in the body and mind. Her work looks at the conscious awareness of the interconnection between the body and the mind. She suggests that our thoughts, feelings and images are in constant movement, and that our sensory impressions from both the inner and outer world impact on our nervous system at a cellular level of our body. (Hartley 2004, p. 4)

Hartley goes on to suggest that the skin is the body’s largest organ and it defines the body’s physical space. The skin is where communication between the inner and outer world takes place. This sensory organ registers pressure, contact, and treat, and the sensory nerves send impulses to the brain that interprets the messages as pleasure or pain. She feels that it is through the skin that we learn about ourselves , and about those around us. While the layers of fat provide warmth and protection from the body, they also hold energy as a form of protection from either the outside that may harm us, or from the inside to stop our feelings from flowing out. She continues to suggest that the fat that we hold on to may be connected to our emotional and mental states that “are woven into our unconscious neurohormonal process of the body”, and thus how we hold or express our feelings may be related to our body fat. (Hartley 2004, p. 144)

Hartley proposes that there is a direct relationship between our thoughts and feelings and our body’s ability to protect itself from invaders in the form of viruses, infection and disease through our lymphatic immune system. The process begins with the bone marrow producing B-cells that patrol the cells and provide natural antibiotics that protect us from invading bacteria, toxins and viruses. Then the thymus gland produces T-cells that check out the body and destroy worn out, damaged or infected cells in a process called ‘cellular immunity’ (think of this in the form of housekeeping). When the body is in good health, the T-cells and B-cells work together harmoniously. However stress, in the form of fight or flight, disrupts this balance by activating the sympathetic nervous system, which increases the B-cell activity and decreases the production of T-cells. Thus the stress upsets the harmonious balance and weakens the immune system. While the body has increased B-cell activity to fight off the invaders, it is not attending to the clean up duties at a cellular level. Under prolonged ‘military’ action, the body looses touch with the internal self-regulating balance and healing. (Harley 2004, p. 146)

While many of us have felt that occasional ‘fight or flight’ experience, far too many of us are living in that mode on a daily level with no opportunity to allow the body to rest and relax and return to a balanced situation. Not only are we suffering from emotional stress, our body is also dealing with toxins in our air and foods, drugs and vaccinations that results in a compromised immune system.
Rather than looking to drugs to fight off our infections, perhaps we need to more aware of our own ability to reduce toxins in our foods and the environment, as well as eliminating the negative thoughts that weaken the immune system and over activate the sympathetic system. We can support our parasympathetic system to restore the natural balance of the immune system by providing periods of rest, and improving our nutrition. Balance can be achieved by visualizing the inner workings of the lymphatic system and even by imagining the B-cells and T-cells working together harmoniously. Hartley suggests that both bodywork, such as T’ai chi and qigong, as well as touching the cells directly (such as in acupressure) can profoundly support the process of cellular immunity. Hartley quotes a T’ai chi Master Liang who says:

When the mind moves, the mind intent is immediately aroused; when the intent is aroused the ch’i will follow. So heart (mind), the intent, and the chi are closely connected like a circle. (Hartley 2004, p.148)

Similar to the TCM’s concept that each organ regulates the different emotions in the body, Hartley also sees a direct relationship between our organs and our emotions and our overall health as seen from her work in a chart below:

Heart connects with fear, openness, love, and compassion.
Lungs connects to the 4th charka that deals with grief, sorrow, loss, letting go, and sense of connectedness
Kidneys filters the blood and eliminate waste and toxic substances, as well as stressful lifestyles
Spleen is the internal balance of the body and the chemical messenger system of the body
Liver assists with the digestion (Harley 2004)

Moving on to the discussion of energy body that is also at the core of HK, Hartley quotes Smith in her book who describes the mysterious energy fields that flow both in and around the physical body and how the physical body and energetic body influence each other:

In the human body, there is a great complexity of energy movement, currents, and vibrations. As in the ocean, body energy can exist freely, in layers, or in an organized flow that maintain their integrity and have little tendency to mix. Energy can be blocked, flow freely, or vary in frequency of vibration: it can be in excess or deficient in quantity; and it can be of varying quality. (Smith 1986, Hartley 2004, p.47)

In Hartley’s book, Smith discusses the three ways that energy takes form in the body.

The first level is the background energy field that is diffused and unformed, is influenced by forces from without and permeates the whole body. This first level forms an aura that extends beyond the body and can be seen and felt by some people. In this level every thought and emotion is registered and the general feeling and vibration of the person available here.

The second level are the channels where the energy flows in a vertical fashion through the body, and maintains the independent integrity of the person and as an interdependency of the person to nature. It connects us to the universe, to heaven and earth moving and transforming the energy that passes through us. It flows through the skull, spine, pelvis and legs, and through the skeleton that is the densest of the body tissues.

In the third level, Smith feels that the flow that energy takes are the internal flows that are in specific pathways within the body. (meridians?) At the deepest level the energy flows through the bones and bone marrow, while the middle level flows through the muscles, tissues, nerves, glands and blood. The more superficial level flows just below the skin and has a closer connection to the emotional and mental life than the flow through the skeletal structure. Smith suggests that many healing systems such as acupuncture and TCM have developed ‘sophisticated models and methods to balance this energy system’. (Harley 2004, p.49).

The interrelatedness of the body’s energy system and its relationship the enmeshment of the body and mind, and our emotions and health is well described by Barbara Brennan when she says:

We stop our feelings by blocking our energy flow. This creates stagnated pools of energy in our systems which when held there long enough lead to disease in the physical body…. The connection between therapy and healing becomes obvious when disease is seen this way. The broad view of the healer encompasses the totality of the human being. In healing there is no separation between body and mind, emotions and spirit- all need to be in balance to create a healthy human being. (Brennan 1998 p. 99)

There is still much more research that has been done to describe how our minds and body are all interconnected and how our emotions play a pivotal part in maintaining our health. However, the readings and this paper have been most helpful for me to try to better understand this compelling energetic system that we call our body, and hopefully for you as well! When I practice HK, I now can better ‘see’ inside the body and visualize the miraculous interplay between all of the systems. I know that when I ask questions of the body through muscle testing, that the answers are coming from the cellular level and the innate wisdom of the body that knows what it needs to run this incredible complex system. If I can assist the body by helping to remove blockages that impede the flow of energy, whether they are of a physical or emotional nature, then I feel truly blessed to be working with such an incredible organism that is powerful beyond words.

Maureen Smith M.Ed.

References

  • Beinfield, Harriet and Korngold, E. (1991). Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine. Random House, New York.
  • Brennan, Barbara Ann. (1987). Hands of Light: A Guide to Healing Through the Human Energy Field. Bantam, New York.
  • Cohen, K. ( 1997) The Way of Qigong: The Art and Science of Chinese Healing. Random House . New York and Toronto.
  • Hartley, Linda. (2004). Somatic Psychology. Whurr, London.
  • Heller, Michael. ( 2001). The Flesh of the Soul: The Body We Work With. European Academic Pub. Bern, Switzerland.
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