In my 17 years as a mind-body psychotherapist, I've worked to address the whole person whenever a health issue is presented. I ask my patients how in touch they are with their inner landscape, because it's just as important to their overall picture of health as diet and exercise.
Accessing those deep, inner feelings lays out a pathway to health and recovery, not because of any therapeutic school of thought, but because of biology itself. As human beings we are wired to be whole and happy. Mind-body healing often begins with a simple desire to feel good, and culminates with the true release of anything internal that might block that.
Here are four things that everyone should know about the benefits of mind-body therapy.
1. The mind and the body are one system.
The mind and body are one system — not the body with some disembodied mind or spirit hovering around it — but one whole system.
Psychoneuroimmunologists have discovered and isolated the neuropeptide "molecule of emotion," as a biological carrier of emotionally charged memories and information embedded throughout the human body. We each possess within us, a vast fluid network of these dynamically encoded molecules that churn out non-stop images, feelings, warnings, attractions, beliefs, etc., at the speed of light from the internal library of our subconscious and even unconscious memories into the light of our everyday awareness.
Many people know this holograph-generating mechanism as the mind.
The mind as it turns out, is in the body. And the good news is, that if in fact we are biological machines we were taught in junior high school science class, we are biological machines with a heart. A heart that feels deeply and remembers everything.
2. The heart is the key to unraveling the mystery of dysfunction and disease.
Speaking of hearts: Have you heard the story of the heart transplant recipient who months after her surgery started experiencing the memories and food cravings of her deceased heart donor? Or have you heard that they're curing warts with hypnosis?
What's happening to the mind-body gap? It's shrinking, that's what! Science is finally bridging the gap in ways our intuition has already been doing for years. The deep feeling, healing paradigm is this: health and illness don't happen in a vacuum. They happen in the context of your humanity. The heart is the key to unraveling the mystery of dysfunction and disease, and body language doesn't lie.
3. Physical ailments can be seen as stored psychological pain.
Deep feeling therapy says: "The body follows what's in the heart and mind of a person," and that means physical ailments can be seen as primitive pantomimes of inner unconscious dramas, and more specifically, as stored pain. At a primitive level we put, and even hide, pain in the body, in order to protect ourselves from it. We'll fragment painful memories out of consciousness for survival's sake, which makes biological sense, but leads to problems. This can often set the stage for sickness.
4. Deep feeling therapy can access and heal stored pain.
The goal of deep feeling therapy is to reach the body with new information — not just reach the person's intellect with "insight."
This might involve regressing to the body's essential state of awareness, which often sits deeper and more central than a person's intellect or persona (the word personality, by the way, comes from the Greek word, persona, meaning "mask").
Hurts that happen when we're three years old don't just go away because we get older. And when they come out into awareness organically, it's bound to look and sound like a three-year-old. Fetal pain comes out with no words at all. Inner integration is real and gutsy, and can look messy. It takes real courage to heal.
The word healing shares its root with the Greek word holos, which means wholeness. To heal is to make whole. To make whole involves getting in touch with and releasing stored pain. For one thing, it takes ongoing energy to keep pain tucked away in the body, and that same energy gushes forth in abundance with each emotionally integrative experience, and thus becomes available for healing.