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Connecting the Dots Between Physical and Emotional Pain

May is Mental Health Awareness month, a fitting time to take a deeper look at how emotional and mental distress can play a part in chronic pain. Earlier this month I gave several examples of how pain can show up not only as migraines, fatigue, and muscle aches, but also as grief and anxiety. I described a variety of Healing Touch methods that are effective in reducing the frequency and intensity of physical and emotional pain.

It’s important to realize, however, that the physical and emotional are intricately connected. Often, physical symptoms are actually a reflection of deeper emotional pain. The ultimate goal of Healing Touch is to energetically address the “root cause” that keeps pain stuck in our bodies.

Carolyn Myss, a highly regarded intuitive healer, has coined the phrase, “Our biography becomes our biology.” Our life experiences are held energetically in our cellular memory. In fact, it is becoming increasingly apparent in our practice at WholeHealth Chicago that a large percentage of fibromyalgia patients have a biographical profile that includes childhood trauma or abuse. 

In the case of my client Jeffrey, he discovered that the intense muscle pain he had been experiencing for many years was due to a defense mechanism called “armoring,” adopted as a child as a way to protect himself from his verbally abusive father. He recognized that stress in the workplace and at home exacerbated the pain, but it wasn’t until we connected the dots during our Healing Touch sessions, tracing the root cause back to his traumatic relationship with his critical father, that he began to experience lasting relief.

Another way to take our healing to a deeper level is by realizing that our body often has messages for us. When viewed through a holistic lens, the pain can become an opportunity to consider the question, “What is my body trying to tell me?” In Your Body Speaks Your Mind: Decoding the Emotional, Psychological, and Spiritual Messages That Underlie Illness, author Deb Shapiro does a wonderful job of outlining “how your thoughts and feelings directly affect your physical health” and ways in which “the body shows us what we are unconsciously ignoring, denying, or repressing.”

Working the exercises in the book and listening to the accompanying CD helps bring awareness into what the pain might be trying to communicate to you. It is empowering to tune in to your body, discern what you might be holding onto, and release the energetic charge associated with trauma and pain.

Healing Touch effectively facilitates this shift. Clients report feeling “more neutral” about their troubling experiences and better able to move forward in their lives. When I observe a client giving a deep sigh of relief during a session, it lets me know they have let go of a heavy burden that they have been carrying for a long time. The result? Greater insight and sweet relief.

Katie Oberlin

A Healing Touch Certified Practitioner, Katie received advanced training in shamanic healing at The Power Path School of Shamanism in 2014. Her travels have taken her to power spots in the southwestern United States, as well as Mexico and Peru, where she has worked with shamans from the Q’ero and Shipibo indigenous healing traditions.