Dear Awesome Woman,
Here’s a blurb that I wrote up for a magazine about the revolutionary doctor and pioneer of Mind-body healing, Dr. John Sarno and an easy to follow recipe for practicing it in your own life.
Dr. John Sarno revolutionized the medical field with his radical approaches to healing back pain and other physical ailments. He coined the term TMS, tension myostitis syndrome, to describe a circulatory constriction in blood vessels that results in pain in the body. This is also know as Mind-body syndrome. To sum up what Dr. Sarno wrote (“The Mindbody Prescription”) and taught for over 30+ years is that the brain will cut off blood/oxygen flow to different parts of the body in order to distract the individual from recognizing and feeling emotions that they are trying to avoid.
This lack of blood/oxygen flow is the direct cause of pain. In order to get relief from the pain, a person will go running around to different doctors and googling the internet to get answers and diagnosis for help with pain relief, when the healing is within their reach and within their own body.
They just need to feel to heal.
This is not to say AT ALL that the pain is only in the mind. The pain is real and the symptoms are real. But the healing comes from turning inward, getting honest about one’s emotions – especially anger, fear and sadness and allowing for emotional energy flow. Sounds good, right?
But how to do this is the question especially when so many of us have the habit of ignoring these emotions or getting stuck in them.
It’s quite simple actually, yet needs to be exercised to get the brain to cease it’s tricky behavior.
Emotions are energy in motion. They show up as physical sensations in the body, starting out very quiet and subtle, almost vibrational. When ignored, they get louder and louder until screaming as a migraine, backache or some other pain or weakness in the body.
The key here is to notice as soon as possible and as often as possible what we are feeling, and this means being honest with ourselves. This is where the healing begins.
Here’s an example: A friend shows up late again for a lunch date? Do you ignore that slight irritation you feel in your body and just smile when she/he shows up? Or do you blast them with your anger and risk the friendship?
Neither of these options may be the best choice for your body’s health and for your relationship.
A Mind-body (Somatic) healing approach to the situation is the following: Your friend is late. Put your attention inward. Wiggle your toes, take a deep breath in and out and NOTICE what physical sensation is happening in your body.
Does your stomach hurt? Is there a lump in your throat, a surge of heat welling up in your chest? Is your breathing shallower? Jaw clenched?
Whatever the physical sensation is, just be aware of it and allow it for ½ a minute or longer. You can even put your hand on that part of your body to keep your focus on it.
Breathe and know that you are safe in being in your body and feeling that emotion. Keep breathing consciously, allowing that physical sensation to be the center of your attention. An emotion word may also come up for you – anger (irritation, annoyance, rage) or sadness (disappointment, hurt).
That is called letting emotional energy flow. You may notice that the sensation changes and morphs into another physical sensation in another part of your body. You also may want some privacy in doing this.
Great! Even better! Go into a bathroom stall. Shake your fists around if you’re feeling anger. Do a silent scream -opening your mouth real loud with no sound coming out (Barbara Sher writes about this). Bow your head, allow tears as well if they want to flow.
No one can see you.
The best part is that you body’s emotional message to you is being heard. The recognized energy flows so it doesn’t get stuck as a neck ache later on.
This is how you are taking care of your health!
And after this very physical allowing of emotional energy, your intuition opens up so that you can choose from a place of higher wisdom the action you want to take with this friend. Perhaps you will decide to say something, but it will most likely be with clarity and consciousness.
Perhaps you’ll just accept that this is your friend and you’ll make adjustments – no more lunch dates or you’ll bring a book, having a clear recognition that this is your friend’s personality and it’s not changing. Or you’ll say something and end the relationship.
There are so many choices, but most times, because we are afraid of change, we ignore and suppress the emotional message our body is trying to communicate to us. When we choose to feel, we allow healing.
According to Dr. Sarno, when we give the message to our brain that we are not afraid of our emotions, it won’t try to distract us by constricting blood/oxygen flow and causing pain. We are freeing ourselves from the suppression – pain cycle and living a more vibrant, healthy life.