Many times when someone receives physical body work, such as massage or reiki, it seems that often, perhaps just a few days, later their pains return just the same way they were before their treatment. This could be due to two things: First they may have only had one particular layer addressed and treated (such as just the muscles, just the mind, just the energy layers, or just any one avenue of the body in isolation). The second reason is possibly due to the fact that we as a population do not know our bodies and our minds well enough to continue with whatever shift the body has just undergone through a particular treatment. There are no meditation, coping skills, or energy awareness classes offered in school (unless you are super lucky!). Until you journey into this deeper path of awareness, you could miss so many things that your body is experiencing without your conscious knowledge. In my book The Body Heals Itself: How Deeper Awareness of Your Muscles and their Emotional Connection Can Help You Heal I hope to rectify this by at least shining light and introducing you into the various layers that make up your whole being.
How does the body experience feelings and emotions? First, we have an outside stimulus—something that happens that locks into our minds and our bodies. We try to understand it and simultaneously we try to experience it. These experiences encompass positive, negative, and neutral perceptions. When we experience something that is painful we lock it into our minds and into our bodies. We feel it through our nerves (the stimulus to feel the emotions throughout our entire bodies via the central nervous system as they occur), through our blood and plasma (which carries memory), and through our fascia (which moves our energy patterns along the matrix of the fascia throughout our bodies); it shows itself in our auric field in our energy patterns, and embeds itself deeply into our muscles (muscle memory is so much more than remembering how to move). Our muscles hold our emotional experiences very similarly to the way our minds lock in our experiences. When we go through any extraordinary experience, we deal with what we can in the present and then store the rest to be dealt with at a later time. If it never does get uncovered, it can bury itself and plant deep roots of pain, anguish, shame, etc., into our whole bodies. Feelings and emotions that root down or ignored never die nor do they lay dormant. They fester deep within and without being recognized can manifest realities that are not healthy.
In many cases we only attempt to heal ourselves through our mind and cognitive therapy without acknowledging the rest of the body in conjunction to these painful situations. It is my belief that herein lies the divide between understanding our pain, and truly liberating ourselves from our pain. When we shift in our bodies through addressing each of the many layers of our understanding and then learning to transmute that energy into something tangible, this is our liberation. The experiences then become something that we can understand, accept, lessen, and release so that we can finally allow the body to heal itself. We must address each and every layer: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and energetic in order to process it into something we can move forward with in a way that is positive. What our outside influences may be in order to help us heal (doctors, surgeons, psychotherapists, reiki masters, ministers…whatever it may be) are all a necessary part of our path to healing; it is nearly impossible to go it alone. In the end, however, it is our body that decides once and for all whether or not we heal in full. Your body holds all the keys to your energetic wisdom and it is our most powerful ally.
The body communicates its emotions and pain patterns in magnificent ways. The body is reliable and does not play games; it speaks your truth always. Yet we know so little of how to decipher its messages. The communcation our bodies provide through our pain patterns and energy signals is fairly straightforward. If we are perpetually exhausted and our energy is depleted, that is a big red flag that we need to switch it up and look deeper. Maybe we need to change our schedules, adjust our diets, sleep more. If we are depressed or anxious, this is a big sign that we need to seek help from someone to help us get to a new level of being.
Physical symptoms are often coupled with a spiritual crisis. We don't understand our spiritual gifts and instead manifest pain and anguish instead of understanding how to use our sensitivities for something much more grand in our lives. These situations are avenues that are nearly impossible to go it alone. If we have constant pain in a particular area of the body but have no memory of when it started or why, we need to find someone who might be better at communicating with your muscles to help you shift and release. Holding pains in direct areas of our bodies without experiencing a physical trauma, we must look at which muscles groups are storing the emotions and look deeper into why this is. We tend to decide for our body what it is trying to say and we don't reach out for support until the pain becomes a full burden or worse and we find ourselves sick. For example: have you ever felt like you are just stuck in mud or quicksand? You don't know what next step to take and you find yourself feeling lost, confused, lacking energy, not trusting yourself? Chances are, you feel this in your knees. The knees and the muscles around the knees are all about moving forward in your life, figuring out what the next right step is and where to begin. We don't need to overburden ourselves trying to see the whole path, just take that one next right step. Followed by the next one right next step. This can help liberate knee aches, pains, or swelling issues in this area very quickly. Your body and your mind absolutely must be on the same team for anything to work well in your life. It actually can be that simple.
We know when we are sad, mad, happy, fearful, resentful, shame-filled. We have spent a lifetime learning about emotions because they are very mainstream and accepted widely by everyone. What we have a harder time with is understanding why we physically hurt in the same place time and time again. We don't understand fully that those same emotions that we can identify with are also living inside our muscle body just as much. Also, what we don't realize is that by ignoring the signals from our bodies we could actually be leading our selves to become sicker, and more disconnected. Unfortunately, illness is the final signal that our body gives us in regard to all of our systems being out of whack. The good news is that our bodies are magnificent beings and amazing healing miracles can occur simply by understanding and changing the way our body is operating. Our best form of defense is to learn our bodies language and listen to what it has to tell us, followed by feeding it well in response. (This does not just pertain to what you put into your mouth.) Your body's ability to heal is so much stronger and more amazing than anyone has given you permission to believe. Miracles take place across the world every single day. First, however, we must learn to listen to its wisdom, learn to follow in its guidance, and honor the sacred possibility that our bodies can hold. This takes a lot of work, openness, and faith.
I have every faith in you!
Emily A. Francis
Emily A. Francis has worked in corporate wellness and as an aerobic director, kickboxing instructor, and yoga instructor. She is a clinical massage therapist with extensive specialized training and the author of Stretch ...