How does stress contribute to illness-health?
The link between stress and illness is becoming well-known but the extent to which stress affects our health is often under-estimated. We all experience some form of stress to some extent from time to time but it does not always make us ill.
The key question we ask when talking about psychosomatic illness is ‘how much and how long has stress been a part of daily life?‘
Psychosomatic Illness – What does it mean?
In strictly medical terms, psychosomatic illness is any physical dysfunction where the primary or major cause is psychological rather than physical. When we view psychosomatic illness from the perspective of holistic health, we see that all illness can be psychosomatic because the body reflects our mental, emotional and spiritual health.
The term ‘psychosomatic’ refers to the connection or the interaction between the body and mind. Therefore, psychosomatic illness refers to a physical dysfunction that is primarily caused by some form of emotional or mental stress – mild depression, work-related stress and even extreme personality traits can cause psychosomatic illness.
Any disruption to our mental, emotional or spiritual health creates stress in our energy centres or chakras so the more extreme or pro-longed the stress is, the more likely we are to experience a change in our physiology. Sometimes these changes go unnoticed until there is a severe dysfunction that causes us pain or discomfort.
Types of Stress – What are the different kinds of stress?
There are various aspects of living that contribute to our stress levels. There are three types of ‘stressors’ that cause a stress reaction in the body:
Chemical – caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, sugar, drug use, high fat diet, household or environmental poisons such as air pollution, asbestos, heavy metals
Physical – physical inactivity or overactivity, noise pollution, accidents, lack of sleep, barometric pressure changes
Emotional – fear, anger, guilt, sorrow, jealousy, hurt, anxiety
Furthermore, the effects of these stressors on the body are additive, which means that stress accumulates with each additional small level of stress. For example, one sip of coffee may not cause a stress reaction but one sip of coffee, plus one puff of a cigarette, plus one heated argument, plus inadequate sleep, plus a day of sitting at a computer can cause a physiological change in the body’s chemistry. In other words, it all adds up!
The Stress Reaction – How does stress affect the body?
Excess physical, chemical or emotional pressure causes a ‘stress reaction’ in the body. The stress reaction is a state of ‘overdrive’ where our organs work overtime to enable us to keep functioning when under pressure – our fight-or flight response. Take a look at the chain reaction that occurs in the body when we are stressed:
During prolonged stress, the body is forced to maintain higher levels of these natural chemicals which eventually results in burnout. This is where the term ‘adrenal fatigue’ comes from – the adrenal system literally becomes fatigued from having to operate in overdrive for long periods. How long we can operate under this stress reaction all depends on our tolerance for stress or our ‘stress threshold’.
The Stress Threshold – When does stress turn into illness?
Each person has a different tolerance level for stress. Some people handle stress well while others don’t – it all comes down to individual make-up. When we reach our threshold for stress, some form of breakdown occurs, either physically, emotionally or both. It all depends on how much stress we endure and for how long – the effects eventually manifest in our physical health…
When we have a breakdown (or even a nervous breakdown), our bodies are naturally seeking an outlet in order to normalize our systems once again. When we fail to ‘normalize’ or find an outlet for our stress, it becomes our habitual way of functioning. This is when we cross the threshold from stress to chronic stress.
Chronic stress occurs when there is a build up of stress due to no outlet. And our bodies start to show the tell tale signs…tiredness, sore joints/muscles, skin breakouts, dark circles under the eyes, food cravings – the list goes on.
This is because over time, chronic stress restricts the blood flow through the body and weakens the immune system which can eventually cause physical dysfunction. These changes happen gradually on a cellular level according to the principles of quantum healing.
Breaking the Stress Cycle – How can I avoid stress build-up?
Each moment of every day, we have a choice to hold on to feeling stressed or let go. When we find an outlet for our stress, it short-circuits the body, mind and soul to restore balance. To avoid the stress cycle, try finding an outlet next time you feel stressed as it lowers blood sugar, reduces stress hormones and adrenalin…
Often the process of dealing with a psychosomatic illness can be a cathartic release. For instance, the common cold is often a physical release of old habits and emotional attachments so it can be a cleansing experience. You might find that after a cold, you feel lighter or seem to have more clarity. This feeling occurs when a physical illness has provided the final release of our old ways of being.
Psychosomatic Healing Techniques
How can I ‘read’ my body?
Reading someone’s body is both a science and an art, but with a trained eye and practise, anyone can learn the magic of mind-body communication and experience the amazing effects of psychosomatic healing.
The Mind-Body Connection in Action – What is Body-Mind Communication?
The beauty of body-mind communication is that it allows us to recognize understand and respond to people in the present moment. Reading someone’s face or their non-verbal cues is about communicating in the present and ‘knowing someone’ before you establish a relationship with them.
Body-mind communication is the essence of psychosomatic therapy: how the body communicates with the mind and visa versa.
In psychosomatic therapy, we use various techniques to understand a personality. These include:
Posture & Shape Analysis
Emotional Anatomy & Bodywork
Full Body Analysis
These techniques based on the mind-body connection are used by a trained therapist to effect psychosomatic healing. That is, healing the mind through the body and healing the body through the mind.
Posture & Shape Analysis
Your posture reflects how you carry yourself throughout life. That’s why when you feel tall, you stand tall. Similarly, when you feel small, over time, your body posture ‘shrinks’. Our bodies are designed to stand in the center of gravity. So if you stand next to a vertical line, your overall body posture should follow the line from the center of the soles of your feet to the center of the crown of your head.
When we analyse the posture of the body, we can see how you tend to ‘stand within yourself’ by analyzing:
Areas that are under excess pressure;
Whether we stand with our heads projected forward;
The angle of your pelvis;
The placement of the hands;
Over the course of our lives, our posture greatly affects our physical health. Once you understand the underlying reasons for your posture, you can ‘stand tall’ in mind and body. Correcting posture alone can have a profound affect in the psychosomatic healing process.
Emotional Anatomy & Bodywork
Emotional anatomy focuses on the appearance of the body and the emotions stored in its tissues. Bodywork combines intuitive massage with pressure applied to emotional trigger points which activate the energy centers of the body. This technique, called emotional release, works on the principle that emotions are stored in the body’s cellular memory.
There are particular emotional release points in the body which, with pressure applied, release the trapped energy in the tissue. This physical release triggers an emotional release in the form of crying, laughing, shaking or screaming (it sounds scary but it’s not!). Here’s how the process works…it’s all based on unlocking cellular memory:
After a session of emotional release, you will feel the effects of psychosomatic healing: an incredible difference in your body and mind, like a physical and emotional weight has been lifted!
Full Body Analysis
Full body analysis looks at all parts of the body and how they make up the whole person. It looks for key themes in a person’s nature which are reflected in more than one area of the body. There are all sorts of clues when looking at someone’s body such as:
The imbalances between the left and right sides of the body;
Any excess fat or lack of tissue in particular areas; and
Any parts which are disproportionate to the whole.
How can you learn more about psychosomatic healing?
People say the most important thing in life is your health, because without it, you can’t enjoy what life has to offer. So why do so many people pay so little attention to their bodies? Good question!
Many of us live our day to day lives taking our bodies for granted, without a real appreciation for what our body provides them in every moment. Most people are unaware of the many influences on the shape and state of the physical body, particularly the mind!
In order to have the body that you want, you have to firstly understand ‘why you are in the shape you are in’.
Everyone’s body tells a story about their life experience. Without a spoken word, you can ‘see’ how a person lives in their internal world – how they tend to feel, react, behave and think in their day-to-day life experience. The most valuable revelation is how YOU experience life and how it affects the state of your body.
Why psychosomatic therapy?
Psychosomatic therapy is about using the principles of the body-mind connection to create lasting positive change in all aspects of your life. You will come to understand the tangible impact the mind has upon the body and how you can see the affects of the mind by observing different physical traits. You will experience this first-hand by having your own body analysed from top to toe and you will be amazed at what you discover about yourself. This unique insight into your own character will make you see yourself and every person you meet in a different light!
How do I experience these benefits?
The goal of psychosomatic healing is a happier, healthier, more balanced you. The courses are designed to take you where you on an educational healing journey where you experience the magic of body-mind communication. The courses are structured so that you not only learn but actually experience the benefits:
Theory – learn the basic principles of the mind-body connection
Experience – experience the positive effects for yourself
Understanding – understand yourself and others more deeply
Appreciation – appreciate your body and be more accepting of all aspects of yourself
Change – change your inner and outer worlds for good!
As you learn how to achieve balance in your body, mind and soul, a course in psychosomatic therapy provides the ideal platform to begin your own healing journey. Let this be the beginning of your path to healing!