It’s time for change – it’s time for the new biology to be talked about. So let’s start the conversation.
Your health is all about your perspective…your personal view of the world and how your biology responds to what you experience.
Most of the time, we’re busy managing our symptoms (acute or chronic) – dealing with the pain, the thoughts, the emotions, the rash, the inflammation, the growth, the fill in the blank.
Even though symptoms may be reoccurring over and over, we still tend to just spend time managing them each time they arise, often never questioning the health professional, such as our GP, about what could be causing things. We just do the same thing, over and over again.
What if we looked further and explored the root cause of these symptoms? What if we started to ask questions about why our body is presenting these symptoms? What if we explored why our biology is behaving the way it is, be it acute or chronic?
What could this uncover and help us understand so that we could approach our health and wellbeing in a more empowering and sustained way?
This is the essence of Meta-Health, Meta-Consciousness. It’s about the art and science of root cause analysis of physical and mental symptoms and understanding what’s triggered the body to respond the way it is, for each individual person. It comes from New German Medicine, researched and developed by Dr Hamer.
This is the new paradigm of health and wellness which people like Bruce Lipton, Gabor Maté, Kelly Brogan, Sayer Ji and Bessel van der Kolk are talking about. It’s what I’ve been talking about for years now too. It’s the new biology and it’s what I knew was out there from my late teens when I was told I had an autoimmune disorder. What utter rubbish and the medical answer for ‘we actually don’t know what’s causing this, so we’ll label it autoimmune‘.
The fact is, the body doesn’t attack itself…rather, it’s a biological defence response, because the body is doing its best to help us stay safe and survive in what it perceives to be a threat to our survival. And this is what I’ll be sharing more of…so watch this space.
It’s taken me some time to write a post like this. I feared ridicule and judgement from people who I considered to be more of an authority in one way or another. I lacked the confidence to share what I know from my own learning experience because I don’t have a medical degree and I’m not a scientist.
However, I am a woman. I have a brain. I have intuition. And I know when I know. You just have that feeling. And nothing, nothing can deny the power of this feeling when it surges through you. I’ve also learnt a lot in my time on this planet. I’ve studied hard and continue to do so, I’ve read and continue to read a lot and I know from experience what I know now.
We all have mental health.
That chatter in my head has stopped me speaking out before now. The impostor syndrome. The lack of confidence because of past negative experiences. The lack of support from supposed loved ones who say “hi, how are you?” but behind your back chatter about what you’re doing as if you’ve gone nuts because you don’t fit into their paradigm of what is apparently normal. People who take the mickey out of what you do…making jokes about it, making fun of it like you’re some sort of clown in the circus.
I’m not a clown in a circus. I’m a human being just like you. I have feelings…I have thoughts…I have emotions and these all have an impact on my physiology and how my biology responds, in any given moment, just like they do with all of us. This mind-body response is what creates symptoms. And it’s real…even if you can’t see the symptoms.
That’s your world view
Just because I practice meditation and use tools like EFT and yoga, spend a lot of time in nature and eat what many have judged me for and said is a rabbit’s diet, doesn’t mean I’m some sort of freak. I don’t drink alcohol either and was once told I’m not a member of my own family because of this.
The thing is, and what most people are missing in this is, I live the life I lead because I started life with a whole flipping string of symptoms. And these symptoms have fuelled me on to get to the root cause of why I started life this way and why many symptoms plagued me for many years…and some still do.
What people see or choose to see in me is someone who is happy and smiles a lot…who bounces around like Tigger and is always here, there and everywhere, apparently living a carefree life without a ‘normal’ 9-5 job. What you don’t know is I’ve struggled with a low sense of self-worth for a long time. I struggled with some symptoms that left me feeling so dark, I wouldn’t go out for days and days at a time because of how I felt and looked and the fact my skin was cracked and bleeding. I’ve been in so much pain at times that I’ve been reduced to using crutches and wheelchairs. You don’t see this though because most of us hide away when challenged like this. And woe-betide if we complain about something which can’t be seen or isn’t visible like #endometriosis for example.
Endometriosis is said to be one of the most common causes of pelvic pain and infertility in women according to endometriosis.org – the global forum for news and information. In the news section of their website, they state that “Scientists are now closer to understanding pain mechanisms in endometriosis. Scientists at the University of Warwick and the University of Edinburgh in the UK have shown that immune cells called macrophages could play a key role in the generation of pain in endometriosis”.
Looking at the dis-ease process of endometriosis from a meta-perspective
It’s great that research is being done at this micro-level in an attempt to get to the root cause of what’s underlying these debilitating symptoms in what is estimated to be affecting “176 million women worldwide regardless of their ethnic and social background”. However, has anyone stopped to look at, explore and research the bigger picture of what’s going on for these millions of women prior to the onset of their symptoms? For example, what stresses may have been happening for them? What emotions and thoughts may be present and on-going? How do they perceive their home, work and/or social lives? And what’s their lifestyle like, including diet, exercise and vitality?
These aspects all play a key role in understanding what is happening in anyone with the onset of symptoms, be it endometriosis or any number of other diagnoses. So let’s look at this more closely for endometriosis.
The biology – the development and function of the ovaries
As we know, the ovaries are positioned on the right and left side of the uterus, which they attach to via cord-like ligaments. During the monthly menses, an egg, formed from primordial germ cells, grows into a tiny follicle. At the time of ovulation, the follicle bursts open, so the ovum can be released and travel from an ovary through the fallopian tube to potentially meet a sperm for fertilisation. If this stage was successful, approximately six days later, the fertilised egg or blastocyst implants in the uterine cavity. The corpus luteum, a progesterone-producing cell cluster in the ovaries, facilitates pregnancy. The ovarian tissue contains interstitial cells, which produce estrogen and small quantities of testosterone. Estrogen plays a significant role in a woman’s sex drive and readiness to mate. In embryology terms, the ovaries originate from the new mesoderm and are therefore controlled from the cerebral medulla, which is part of the new brain in brain development.
Every organ and organ tissue in the body is biologically connected to one of the brain layers…and each of these brain layers has an overall biological conflict theme, as discovered by Dr Hamer, who first developed what is now known as Meta-Health (also known as Meta-Consciousness or Lifestyle Prescriptions).
The biological conflict related to the ovaries is a loss conflict which is connected to the loss of a loved one. A perceived fear of losing a loved one can also trigger the conflict. This same stress can also be related to the loss of a beloved pet. Ruminating self-blame after a relationship break-down or the death of someone close can keep the conflict active. Women also experience loss conflicts after miscarriages or the unwanted termination of a pregnancy. A loss conflict can also be set in motion because of an argument, disloyalty, or unfaithfulness of a partner or friend.
This sense of loss can also be passed down the ancestral line as well, due to cellular memory e.g. the egg which became you was inside your mother, when she was in utero. Therefore, if your grandmother experienced a loss while pregnant with your Mum, this memory can pass on into your cells too. This is what is commonly thought to be hereditary or genetic type symptoms. Only about 1% of symptoms fall under this umbrella however, as proven by cell biologist, Bruce Lipton. The rest are down to the passing on of ancestral trauma, beliefs and patterns, all of which have the potential for healing.
The stress phase of the biological process in the ovaries
When we experience something, which to us as an individual feels unexpected, dramatic, isolating and we don’t have a strategy to deal with it at that moment, we are pushed into stress…also known as the sympathetic phase in biological terms. Biologically, therefore, the ovarian organ tissue of a woman who perceives a situation as stressful and feels this sense of loss will respond by necrosis (cell loss) in the ovary. As a result, because of the reduction of estrogen-producing cells the estrogen level decreases. Furthermore, depending on how intense the conflict is felt and lasts for, (i.e. how long the woman remains in the stress phase, impacted by this trauma) can result in irregular periods, absence of menstruation altogether, or infertility until the stress is released and the conflict is resolved for the individual. If this stress is felt before menstruation has started, (e.g. in a younger girl), it can delay the start of the menstrual cycle. The felt loss of an unconceived child can also lead to long-term infertility.
The restoration phase of the biological process in the ovaries – part 1
Following the full resolution of something which we perceived as stressfulI, biologically, we move into the para-sympathetic phase of the healing process. Therefore, in the ovaries, if and when the stress has been fully resolved, the tissue loss which happened in the sympathetic phase is restored with new cells, assisted by bacteria such as streptococcus in an ideal scenario. Though counter-intuitive to our conditioned minds of what constitutes healing, symptoms experienced are pain caused by the swelling. This is usually diagnosed as inflammation or an infection of the ovaries and called adnexitis (the same term is used for inflammation in the fallopian tubes).
Again, counter-intuitive to our western conditioned medical understanding of what is normal, a special characteristic regarding the healing of the ovaries is the development of an ovarian cyst. Now, this is where it’s important to understand the biological process – provided there aren’t any relapses i.e. reminders of the original stress, which push us back into the sympathetic phase and interrupt the parasympathetic restorative healing phase, the process takes – like a pregnancy – nine months to complete. The cyst formation occurs in several steps.
In the first half of the parasympathetic phase, a fluid-filled capsule or cyst forms at the site of the original cell-loss (necrosis). Coupled with water retention, (which can be exacerbated by a separate, yet related stress conflict associated with feelings such as isolation, abandonment and existence and activates in the kidney collecting tubules), an ovarian cyst can become quite sizable because the water retention is especially stored in the healing area. Large cyst(s) cause considerable pain, particularly during menstruation, and heavy menstrual bleeding. What is termed polycystic ovaries (PCO) actually relates to multiple loss conflicts resulting in many cysts forming over time.
With regards the continued parasympathetic phase of the biological process with the now-formed cyst, (provided this process isn’t interrupted by retriggers into stress again), in order to restore the cell loss that occurred during the stress/sympathetic phase, ovarian cells start to increase rapidly in number inside the cyst. During this stage, the cyst attaches itself to neighboring tissue for blood supply. NB: attaching to tissue nearby also stabilizes the cyst. Detected during this period, the growth can be diagnosed, in modern medical terms, as an invasive or infiltrating ovarian cancer and wrongly assumed to metastasize to nearby organs. Based on the basic laws of biology however, the new ovarian cells cannot be regarded as cancer cells because the cell increase is actually in truth, a restorative, rebuilding process.
Restoration phase – part 2
At the mid-point of this restorative parasympathetic phase, we reach what is called a healing peak, which temporairly pushes the body back into a state of stress, which may include symtoms such as restlessness, nausea, heightened blood pressure, raised pulse, cold sweats, shivers. The biological purpose of this temporary sympathetic surge is to quickly eliminate the edema which developed both on the organ and in the correlating brain relay in the first part of the restorative phase. After this healing peak, we experience a urinary phase, where the body expels the excess fluid. NB: The excess fluid cannot be completly expelled if there is still an active stress conflict related to feeling isolated/abandoned OR if there are still retriggers (often unconscious) of the loss conflict. This remaining water retention will stay present until all conflicts have been fully resolved.
Following the hopefully successful release of most fluid from the cyst, in part two of the restorative phase, the cyst then becomes hard, separates from the tissue it had attached to and, supplied with blood vessels, integrates itself completely into the hormone-producing function of the ovaries. This is completly natural and part of the biological process and purpose. To explain further, the boost of estrogen provided by the cyst makes the woman who’s felt this loss more attractive again, while at the same time, enhancing her readiness to mate, which biologically, elevates her into an ideal position to make up for the loss and become pregnant again. It’s the nature-nurture process.
Interruptions to the biological process
Sometimes the internal pressure, if a cyst is rather liquid, can become too intense, causing the cyst to burst. There could be a few causes for this to happen, such as the extra water retention due to the other active conflict related to feelings of isolation; a punch to the stomach; an accident; an investigative puncture, or premature surgery can cause the cyst to burst.
Following the burst, the fluid moves into the abdominal cavity, and the now loose ovarian cells attach themselves to the abdominal wall or an organ such as the bladder or rectum (in these circumstances, the cyst development takes place outside the ovary). This is what is termed endometriosis. According to modern medicine, endometriosis is a growth of endometrial tissue outside of the uterus.
However, through the scienific research which was carried out by Dr. Hamer, who examined brain CT scans of women with these symptoms, every scan highlighted that each woman with endometriosis showed the moment of conflict stress wasn’t in the brainstem layer of the brain, which controls the endometrium (the inner lining of the uterus) but instead it was in the cerebral medulla, i.e. the area of the brain which controls the ovaries. Furthermore, this also clarifies why endometriosis increases a woman’s estrogen level – an aspect which has apparently been unexplainable before now.
So to conclude, without going into further biological explainations and rabbit holes, this post is not about blaming or shaming anyone into anything. It’s to explain a simple natural biological process, which women go through when we experience what to us feels like a loss – it’s stressful, feels unexpected, dramatic, isolating and we don’t have a strategy to deal with the shock in that moment.
It’s to explain the side of endometriosis which may not have been explained to you before now. It’s to give you some sense of power and strength that something can be done to support you to complete your natural healing cycle in all aspects of your life related to your endo-experience and find an end to your debilitating symtoms. It’s to offer you a sense of understanding that your body is not working against you for one second – on the contrary, in any given moment your magnificent body is always working to keep you safe and survive, constantly adapting to the changing environment it finds itself in and adjusting to this, to support you to keep going.
We have been fed this inaccurate paradigm in modern medicine that pain, swelling, inflammation etc equals something going wrong in our body…whereas it’s often present in an attempt to help protect us from something which has been stressful for us…and the symptoms women experience in endometriosis are actually a natural part of a biological healing cycle…which is doing its best to complete.
If you have any questions about this related to your own endo-journey and how a meta-health analysis could suport you, do get in touch, where I will do my best to support you.
Many of us haven’t heard of epigenetics…the science-based study of genes from non-traditional or commonly understood gene expression.
Bruce Lipton, whom I’ve mentioned in my posts before, is a pioneering cell biologist, who’s proved scientifically that literally, thoughts become things if we give them enough energy and power…and these thoughts can and do get passed down across and through the generations.
Another school of thought, which recognises patterns of behaviour which can and do get passed down through the generations is morphic resonance. This theory, developed by biologist Rupert Sheldrake, suggests that it ‘is a process whereby self-organising systems inherit a memory from previous similar systems. In its most general formulation, morphic resonance means that the so-called laws of nature are more like habits.”
So that said, do you realise you inherit emotional/mental DNA too? e.g. beliefs, vows and conditioning passed down through your ancestral line.
Now, consider this…when your Mum was in utero, the egg which became you was forming in your Mum while she was growing inside her Mother.
Therefore, some of the deep-held beliefs, thought patterns and emotions your Grandmother may have had, can and do get passed down through epigenetic gene patterning. PLUS your grandmother may have picked these up from her grandmother and so on and so forth.
So you can now begin to understand how and why we see behaviour and symptoms in our children’s children’s children, which were like and experienced by our great-great-grandparents and beyond.
Our DNA contains blueprints for everything about us both physically, emotionally, mentally and intellectually.
The most exciting thing is, a high percentage of this blueprint can be changed through Meta-Health analysis and Matrix Reimprinting using EFT because we’ve now learnt how to more easily find the root cause of inherited emotions, behaviours and beliefs. Therefore, using these tools, we can release the unwanted stuff and reprogramme the subconscious mind with more empowering and positive beliefs, vows and patterns.
What then occurs is a change in the way your biology and physiology responds, due to the change in your emotions and beliefs. We then begin to see individuals completing a healing cycle, which was originally considered chronic for life.
On one side of my family heart issues have been prevalent…on the other side, arthritis and other such muscular-skeletal issues. And ‘that runs in the family’ or ‘it’s hereditary’ has been thrown around like it’s something we’re all destined to experience like it’s a ball we have no choice but to catch and endure.
I can tell you from personal experience however, that there is something which can be done about these supposed hereditary symptoms from a mind-body-social perspective, which can and does change your DNA and thus help you and generations to come to live vastly different and more fulfilling lives.
I’ve personally experienced two occasions, where I was told my symptoms are hereditary…this is what is going to happen to you, because of your genes…and each time, I have defied the general consensus of modern medicine and overcome what was given to me as a medical life sentence. I basically said to myself each time, “That may be true for some people, but it is not true for me” and I went about healing myself so that what I was given as a long-term prognosis was not going to be my reality.
So…is your baggage actually all yours…?
And if it isn’t, when would now be a good time to start letting that excess baggage go…?
Day one? Or one day?
Book an appointment with me now, to find out how I can support you on your healing journey to achieve your health and wellness aspirations.
It’s not new news that aspects such as the air we breathe and water we drink, or relationships that bring us down or even the way we see ourselves in the socioeconomic climate all have an influence on our health and wellness and how we fair fundamentally when it comes to thriving or just surviving.
Just this week, during a discovery consultation with a client, it was clear that social aspects of her life would dictate how she would proceed forward in being able to continue further work with me. She felt unable due to her socio-economic status and it was a stark reminder to me that basic needs are sometimes not even closely met by some people, as a consequence of their social standing, which has such a huge knock-on effect with the manifestation of symptoms in the mind and body.
Poor living conditions in the home and environment, surviving on low incomes, unsupportive relationships and low standards of education can all be contributing factors to our health, vitality and wellness, from mental health issues such as paranoia to heart disease, respiratory ailments and skin complaints.
Though our world has positively developed enormously even in the last 50 to 100 years, we have also seen a massive decline in the way our societies and communities operate and are structured, such as the decline in family units, which used to be such a massive support to each member, to help them thrive and achieve well.
As a result, we’ve seen an increase in those who feel lonely, isolated, depressed, outcast and forgotten in our societies and communities…and from this, we’ve seen a greater number of physical and mental symptoms, which reflect these changes.
Meta-Health approaches the health paradigm to include how these social aspects can and do influence our degree of vitality and wellbeing in its analytical process to find the root cause of symptoms so that a plan can be created for the individual, which supports and helps a rebalancing for them in their overall wellness aspirations.
Research by Dr. Dean Ornish also proves that our ability to connect with ourselves and others and truly love ourselves and others does have a primary impact on our health and wellbeing, dictating how healthy we are or not, what makes us happy or down and out, or what helps us thrive, be healthy and vital or unwell.
On that social level, it’s important we remind ourselves regularly that we are all living energetic beings in an energetic living environment. Everything is intricately connected and impacted by the next thing. None of us are excluded from the fact that everything is energy, as Einstein taught us…everything, absolutely everything is connected. We cannot separate ourselves from it and so it’s important we learn to understand and move within it, to best support our health and wellbeing, so that we can all live our happiest and healthiest lives.
We view the world, not as it is, but as we are…so it’s vital that we realise that what we think about, we bring about…what we perceive we achieve, whether we want it or not.
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”.
~ Dr. Wayne Dyer
How it’s all connected.
As discussed in previous posts about how our emotions and beliefs are also deeply connected to our organs and tissues and the symptoms they manifest, our social influences also play a part in our overall health and wellbeing. For example…
Upper Oesophagus Mucosa: You want to support your husband in his new business partnership, but instinctively know there is something fundamentally out of alignment with his chosen business partner…however, you have to live with your husband’s decision and choice anyway…but you just can’t swallow the idea and reality of it all and develop symptoms in your oesophagus.
Bladder Mucosa: Your new neighbour has built a wall, which is clearly inside your property and boundaries and you feel as though your territory and boundaries have been overstepped, invaded, disrespected…and your bladder reacts with symptoms.
Periosteum Innervation (nerves): You feel the pain and need of separation from a loved one, who has deceived you, so you want to kick them away…and you develop symptoms in your feet around the periosteum nerves.
Vagina Mucosa: You discover that your wife or husband has been having an affair and feel the rejection sexually…and develop symptoms in your vagina.
The power and influence of what goes on around us in our social environment cannot be underestimated and we need to start talking about this more openly and honestly, with ourselves and our health professionals.
Do you live in a home where there are regular arguments, which make you feel inadequate or worthless? If so, is it worth exploring how to heal the relationships within this environment or move out?
Is there a colleague who is constantly nipping at you, digging at you, making fun of you and putting you down? Is so, do you grow a thicker skin and buckle down with positive affirmations all around you, or change your workplace?
Do you live in a community where you feel threatened, unsafe and like you always have to watch your back? If so, can you see if changing your view of this community will help or do you move to a new town, city or country?
When we change, remove and create real-life solutions and soul-utions, we begin to see and experience powerful change within and around us as well. Anything is possible when we change the way we look at things.
So what can we do?
I for one can be a great procrastinator. I am the best cleaner, washer-upper and tidier when I want to avoid something which desperately needs and is calling for my attention. Like so many of us, I play games with myself, pretending and almost believing that things will get better if I don’t look at the problem…and as a result, my desire to engage with it grows more and more distant. The truth is, the issue is still there though and likely getting worse, the longer we ignore and dance around it, as if it’s some bonkers game of reverse hide-and-seek.
I can fully put my hand up and admit that I have been and still am afraid to step outside of my comfort zone to deal with and look at some of my symptoms. It can be daunting. Eventually though, I realise that I need to help myself and the best way to do that is to seek help from another, who can support and guide me.
This is what Meta-Health is all about…in the analysis process, together, we explore which specific social situation(s) is/are affecting your symptoms and then create a plan specific to you, to focus in on building real-life solutions and soul-utions.
For example, what could be the social stressor triggering your knee pain?
Is it your fear of moving forwards?
Is it the stress you feel about being supported financially, when at this age, you feel you should be supporting yourself?
Or, do you feel as though you are just not good enough?
A client I have worked with in the past found his biggest light-bulb moment, in the entire healing of his symptoms, when he realised what his body was doing for him to help, protect and support him, even when his symptoms weren’t pleasant and how these symptoms were fundamentally connected to what was going on around him on a daily basis.
Our body has an innate ability to regain homeostasis, balance, health and wellness, when we become aware of what is impacting us and we then create specific, individual plans to achieve our health and wellness goals.
It’s time we acknowledged that a one-size-fits-all approach to health and wellbeing does not work when we are all so innately different. No two people come to have the same illness or disease via the same stress triggers, so it makes sense that we all have individual plans to regain our health again as well. This is the backbone of Meta-health ~ it works with you as an individual, exploring what has triggered your symptoms, based on your life and its path, not a general paradigm or template, which hopefully will fit what’s going on for you.
So where to from here?
Raising your awareness is key. When we understand just how sponge-like we actually are in our social environments, absorbing what’s going on around us, we can then take positive actionable steps to change things for the better.
Improving the support, help and positive connections around you will create changes you didn’t realise were possible, as will increasing your self-love and the love you allow yourself to receive from others.
Ask yourself these questions too and begin to positively shift things accordingly:
How do your daily relationships at home, at work at play impact you?
What could you change or let go from the above question?
How can you shift your living, working and play environment so that it supports you more on every level?
Who or what can you remove now from your life, who is simply not a positive influence at all?
What other conscious action steps could you take, which would help improve your social environment for the better?
If you would like further guidance, insights and personal coaching on how to improve your health, wellness and vitality, learning what has triggered your symptoms, please get in touch. Where this is a will, there is always a way.
I offer a free discovery call, to explore how I can support you and your challenges, as well as session bundles for those ready to commit to change in their health and wellness journey.
I also appreciate that it is a new and sometimes challenging concept for us to invest time and money on ourselves. I didn’t for years…until I found I wasn’t getting any better or enjoying life and how I was feeling…and then I changed my priorities about what was important to me…fashion and phones or health and wellness?
It was a no-brainer for me because ultimately, I could have the former, when the latter was in balance and I felt like I had the energy and vitality to go out and be the best version of myself in what I do. I now love my life what I do on a daily basis and have enabled myself to make choices and decisions I wasn’t able to make when I wasn’t at my best in my health.
In this fourth post about the main contributing factors to our health and wellness, I’d like to talk about stress and how it works in our body and mind.
We all experience stress to a greater or lesser degree. No one is immune to it throughout life. The main difference in how stress impacts and affects us as individuals, is how we respond and ultimately process stress, which we experience in our everyday lives.
A certain amount of stress is actually beneficial to our overall health and wellbeing at times, giving us a boost or surge of energy, motivation and inspiration, to help us get through something like a deadline at work or a test. However, prolonged chronic stress can create more serious health challenges, including having an impact on the cardiovascular, immune, neuroendocrine and central nervous systems.
Further to this, as you may recall from my previous post about how emotions impact our health…prolonged stress can impact these emotional responses as well, bringing about a debilitating sense of self in both physical and psychological ways. While we can all generally manage some simple stress triggers, by tapping into our bodies natural ability to cope, prolonged chronic stress can and does have serious implications upon our overall wellbeing in the long term, if left unchecked.
Stress is our natural inbuilt response to an experience, which to us as an individual, felt threatening or challenging in that moment, either physically and/or psychologically. Our hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and autonomic nervous system are the major aspects of our body, which react to stress, which we, as individuals, feel is threatening, by activating the fight-flight-freeze-fawn response via our sympathetic nervous system – the part of our body, which pushes our entire system into stress, in an effort to keep us safe and survive the threat, be it real or perceived.
The body and some of its major systems may remain in this state of sympathetic activity for some time if we do not or cannot switch off the stress trigger. This is when we see chronic symptoms begin to manifest. However, when we are able to reduce or eliminate the root cause which triggered our stress response in the first place, the parasympathetic nervous system then takes over, moving, calling, guiding our body into a recovery phase, which may include feeling more tired, hot and hungry than what is considered normal. This is simply a natural response and symptomatic of the body regenerating itself, in an attempt to return to a state of homeostasis…i.e. balanced health and wellness again.
How does stress work in the body though…?
It isn’t new knowledge that traditional, long-standing, ancient paradigms of health and healing all acknowledge the mind-body-social-spiritual connection and the way in which different types of emotion and mental imbalances take root in different parts of the body. Indian Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese medicine are two of the more well-known disciplines, which explore these connections, as well as other ethnic-based traditions found in Africa, Asia, and the Americas.
The foundational beliefs of these traditional disciplines (which have been successfully used for over 2500 years) are that every organ and tissue in our body correlates with the same vibration or energy of specific emotions, which we may feel at any given time. Therefore, it stands to reason, that every symptom, be it physical or mental, which creates an imbalance in our body, putting it into a state of dis-ease, develops from an emotional stress trigger, which is connected with a specific organ or tissue, creating a block or disruption in the normal flow, for optimal functioning to happen.
A domino-type effect can then begin to occur if symptoms are not dealt with in the immediate moments, days and weeks following a stress trigger. This is when we see symptoms changing from being acute (short-term) to chronic (long-term). This can potentially add further stress to the mental and emotional psyche of the individual, thus multiplying the overall stress on the mind-body…and a whole myriad of other symptoms can begin to grow and emerge, feeling like it’s spiralling out of our control.
Big ‘T’ traumas such as earthquakes, major accidents, fires, floods and divorce can all cause incredible stress and left unchecked, can contribute to existing symptoms, as well as manifest new ones. Small ‘t’ traumas can equally contribute to existing symptoms and because they’re small, we often ignore the significance of them. However, like a slow dripping tap, over time, they too can contribute to chronic symptoms.
Stress, be it a big ‘T’ or little ‘t’, is something, which to the individual, felt unexpected, dramatic and isolating and you had no strategy at that moment to deal with and handle what was happening. We call this a UDIN. It’s a very subjective experience…therefore no two people respond the same way and thus, no two people came to have their symptoms from the same stress trigger.
These events or stress triggers can begin when we’re children and become conditioned responses, such as a comment or look we received from a parent, teacher or bullying in the playground and they can also happen as adults, with major events such as those described above.
Whatever the original trigger for the UDIN moment, because we’re all subjective individuals, with our own conditioning and background, the pattern and process our own biological programming will follow through it’s sympathetic and parasympathetic phases will depend on how we’ve perceived the UDIN. For example, a child who’s told she can’t play football because she’s a girl may take this personally and feel devalued, thus impacting her muscular-skeletal system. Whereas another child given the same comment may feel like their territory is being invaded, thus impacting their bladder.
The key point to remember is that stress does not come from just one source, such as a major event like an earthquake. It can be cumulative over time as well, such as that condemning comment from a parent or teacher…which is then reignited by a boss or spouse later in life and so it goes on and on and on, thus reopening the old unhealed wound again and again and again and keeping the body in a fight-flight-freeze cycle of stress, whenever that button is pushed.
These conditioned responses form beliefs and over time, we become entwined in an unconscious cycle of stress, whereby specific organs will react with the corresponding brain relay and related emotions are all retriggered. This on-going cycle ultimately forms symptoms, which can and do become chronic. Knowing the root cause of these life-long response patterns, as well as the big T events, can help us detect where symptoms have stemmed from and inform us in a more specific and individual way to create a plan for changing patterns, behaviours and emotions. This ultimately allows the body to complete its own natural process of healing, through this deeper understanding and empowerment of us as individuals.
There is a lot we can do on our own to take back our power and reduce stress in our lives. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Learn to meditate to quieten your mind. InsightTimer is a fantastic free app with loads of guided meditations to get you started. I would advise beginning with guided meditations until you know you feel 100% comfortable with a silent practice. Seek out a certified teacher for more specific guidance and disciplines. After many years of exploring and trying out different styles and approaches, I now personally practice Transcendental Meditation (TM), which has been a life-changing addition to my daily self-care routine, since I began practicing it several years ago.
Spend time in nature. Research now shows us that time in nature is very healing for our overall wellbeing. The Japanese practice of Shinrin-yoku, which loosely translates as forest bathing, has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine. The beach is also a very powerful space to de-stress from those daily grinds. Simply kicking leaves in the park or getting outside can be all it takes though, to change your state of being. So get outside and breath in some of those positive vibes.
Move your body. Whatever your ability, movement will help. Find what works for you and commit to it. The best movement activity for you is the one you do regularly…so experiment and try some things out. There is so much to choose from these days, from high-energy HIIT classes to slow motion yoga and everything in-between. So find the one which gives you that high and go for it. You’ve nothing to lose except the stress you don’t want anyway.
Journalling. For those who like words…writing things down can help. I’ve been a journaler for many years and when I am consistent, it helps heaps. One resource which I found helpful was the simple morning pages practice described in The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.
Find your tribe. Community and a sense of belonging are so important to us as humans, in order for us to thrive. With the age of technology, many of us find that we’re a lot more isolated however, even with the social media platforms of our day. So I’d encourage you to seek out your face-to-face tribe so that you have people who are on the same page as you, who cheer you on when you need that extra support, motivation and inspiration. We don’t always get this from our biological family…so I like to see these groups of people who form our community as our soul family…they get you and accept you for who you are, no matter what.
Where possible, eliminate the stress triggers, which you can control yourself. And set boundaries, which support you to maintain a stress-free space for yourself.
Breathe. So often when we are in stress, we actually forget to breathe normally. So take the time to sit and take some slow deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, while placing your hands on your heart. You will soon notice yourself calming down and feeling a sense of peace again. The Heart Math Institute continues to do extensive research on how some simple breathing with your hands on your heart can help with more balanced heart coherence. See their website for some free resources.
And if all this seems a bit too much to manage on your own, then you can also book a discovery call to see how working with me can help and support you on your journey towards balanced health and wellness again.
“It is not that stress kills us, it is our reaction to it”
I’ve needed to take some time out from being so active in my writing in recent months. The sudden loss of loved ones does funny things to your attention, priorities and focus…and so I’ve honoured this diversion, following its gentle guidance to nurture that which needed my self-care and caress…and it’s brought me all the way into February.
I’m here now though, grateful and excited to embrace this new space and energy, which I’ve been introduced to in recent months, as a bittersweet bonus to the grief I’ve felt, as well as that freshness, which comes with a new year.
And so I’d like to continue the discussion I began towards the end of last year, by sharing with you my third principal and domain to tune into for balanced health & wellness: our organs and organ tissue. It’s a pertinent place to continue this discussion, given that I’ve experienced grief recently, because we often feel the loss of loved ones very physically, such as in our heart or stomach. Which exact part of the organ is reacting, is the key question, however.
It goes without saying, that if we have uncomfortable physical symptoms, it’s wise to seek medical attention and diagnosis from our doctor as soon as possible. When we delay this action, we run the risk of symptoms becoming a lot worse and chronically debilitating…and no one naturally chooses this for themselves.
That said, it’s the root cause of these symptoms which I’d like to explore further…because, what many of us are not aware of is that not all symptoms are sympathetic in nature (i.e. when the body system as a whole is in a state of stress) as we’ve been conditioned to think and see illness and disease. Many symptoms are actually parasympathetic in their nature i.e. they are the body’s message to us that it is now doing its best to rebalance and regain homeostasis, after a phase of stress and would, therefore, like you to listen to it and oblige by resting and allowing it to do its job effectively, with appropriate support. Inflammation is a good example of this.
In the western health paradigm many of us live in, obvious stressors such as age, diet, exercise, accidents and injuries are explored and made accountable for many maladies which present themselves in the GP surgery or A&E wards. And when it comes to emergency medicine, the western approach is second to none in its life-saving treatments and procedures.
However, we’re seeing a growing number of symptoms showing up in patients and clients within this same medical system, which are given the autoimmune label or even cause unknown as the long term prognosis. Yet how can this be accurate? How can a whole body system, which is so sophisticated in its entirety, all of a sudden begin to turn on itself (such as in the case of autoimmune symptoms) or manifest symptoms, out of the blue, where a cause is not known? As briefly mentioned in some of my own background, I refused to believe this notion as a young person, when given such a prognosis with vitiligo in my 20s. And as a result, I have since found out that it is possible to find the root cause of these symptoms, and so much more, when we understand that the body’s organs and tissues are not separate from the rest of the body’s biology, chemistry and physiology. Our brain, organs and tissues are all intricately connected…!
As much as it is helpful to have specialists in oncology, gastroenterology, cardiology, endocrinology and all the other -ologies in medicine, it’s time we recognised that none of the symptoms, which show up under any of these disciplines are operating as separate systems within the body. We have cells, which become tissues, which become organs, which become organ systems, which are part of the greater whole, that is the human body. And they have all evolved, according to the embryology of three germ layers within our body.
Each of these germ layers (endoderm – inner layer; mesoderm – middle layer; and ectoderm – outer layer) is connected to a part of the brain e.g. the brain stem, which is the first part of the brain to develop is connected to the endoderm layer. Thus, organs and tissue, which also develop in this germ layer will also be connected to the brain stem.
Knowing this gives us valuable clues when it comes to symptoms because each germ layer responds differently when in sympathetic or parasympathetic phases. Our emotions, beliefs and how we respond to subjective stress also impacts organs and tissue differently.
When I work with clients, I work integratively with a medical diagnosis, because it’s vital to know the exact origin of the symptoms I am exploring with my client. When I have this information about which organs or tissues are reacting, it informs me about the biological function of that part of the body…which in turn gives me vital insights into the thoughts and emotions likely being experienced to trigger this organ or tissue reaction. The more specific the diagnosis, the more accurate my analysis is i.e. it’s better to know it’s the epidermis layer of the skin with the symptoms, rather than just the skin because each tissue within an organ plays a specific role in its function within the body as a whole.
So think for a moment about the biological reason why we have the organs and tissues which function in our body as a whole…each part plays a vital and very specific role. It’s the logic of biology – it’s bio logical.
When we take the time to explore and understand our body’s biology and how our organs and tissues are reacting and responding in sympathetic and parasympathetic phases, we gain a very clear insight into the why of presenting symptoms. With this knowledge, we’re then able to determine specific stress themes, which are correlated with that organ tissue, its biological function in evolutionary and embryology terms, as well as the brain layer involved.
With this fundamental detail about the root cause of symptoms, we can then approach options for rebalancing the body system in a more informed and holistic way…as in truly rebalancing the whole person, in mind, body, spirit and social aspects. Without this whole-person approach, we’re missing the point of health and wellness in medicine, where it’s meant to be about supporting people to feel empowered and whole again.
So next time you have some sort of physical symptom, don’t just brush it off. Your body is talking to you…the question is, how well are you listening?
For more information about my work and how I can help you with your symptoms, get in touch now to begin taking back your power over your health and wellness journey.