Science Linking Mind & Emotions to Physical Health
The basic tenet of EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) is that the cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system. Our bodies respond to the way we think and feel. It’s called the “mind/body connection.” EFT focuses on releasing negative emotions, paving the way for the expression of positive feelings and healing.
I just returned from a “Mastering EFT” 3-day workshop in Southern California. It involved using EFT with people who have serious issues or illnesses. This included Multiple System Atrophy, Neuropathy, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Muscular Dystrophy, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, spinal problems and other illnesses.
While EFT often produces “one minute wonders,” chronic or serious diseases are more complex, usually having several different aspects. Employing EFT to help people with serious health issues requires artistry and skill. Over the three days, Gary Craig, founder of EFT, worked with individuals. He demonstrated that mastering EFT requires persistence, flexibility, creativity and intuition to help people release and relieve emotional factors that most likely contribute to their diseases. In addition, Gary brilliantly used healthy does of humor.
Although there weren’t any complete “cures,” the participants made headway and positively benefited from using EFT. There were significant stepping stones to healing. In each case, negative emotional issues preceded getting the disease. For me, it clarified how negative beliefs and feelings, typically unconscious, impact physical health. Gary suggested that each participant work with a master EFT practitioner to make additional progress. There continues to be increasing interest from the science and medical community about the connection between the mind, body and emotions.
The cover story of the September 27, 2004 edition of Newsweek magazine was The New Science of Mind & Body. The articles included stories of how scientists are mapping the pathways that link emotions and health, how stress impacts health, and the importance of letting go of negative emotions such as anger and forgiveness as keys to good health. One of the authors was Dr. Herbert Benson, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, successful author and Founding President of The Mind/Body Medical Institute. Time magazine also covered the mind-body connection and how emotions affect physical health in their January 20, 2003 edition.
In his book Deadly Emotions, Don Colbert, M.D. talks about how anger and hostility may trigger hypertension and coronary artery disease, plus how resentment, bitterness and self-hatred link to autoimmune disorders, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus and Multiple Sclerosis. He also outlines how anxiety can result in Irritable Bowel Syndrome, panic attacks, Mitral Valve Prolapse and heart palpitations. Repressed anger contributes to tension, migraine headaches, chronic back pain, TMJ and Fibromyalgia.
Negative emotions can affect heart disease. The right diet and exercise may not be enough. A healthy heart could require releasing negative emotions such as anger, sadness and fear. This is also mentioned in an article in the May 15, 2004 of American Family Physician journal, titled Negative Emotions Increase Coronary Heart Disease Risk.
Other suggested reading includes the book–The Balance Within: The Science Connecting Health and Emotion by Esther Sternberg, M.D. Dr. Sternberg is with the National Institute of Mental Health and National Institutes of Health. Check out Candace Pert’s Molecules of Emotion. Plus, don’t miss the acclaimed book Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers by Stanford University professor of biology, Robert Sapolsky. The book is very enlightening about the links between stress and various diseases.
There also have been and continue to be conferences and symposiums focused on the mind-body connection. One of the most interesting events takes place in April each year. The HealthEmotions Research Institute at the University of Wisconsin seeks to use state-of-the-art scientific methods developed for the study of illness to study the relationship between emotions and health. The Institute sponsors a yearly symposium, disseminating the most advanced knowledge in neuroscience to increase the understanding of how the brain processes emotion and how the neurobiological substrates of emotion processing influence other physiological systems in the body. Most importantly, it offers ways to treat diseases and improve health and resilience.
If you have any doubts that there is a connection between your thinking, emotions and health, there’s a plethora of new scientific and medical information available. You owe it to yourself to put your health in your own hands and discover more.
Last but not least, be sure to visit the EFT Universe Website. It’s loaded with case stories on how people have used EFT successfully to help alleviate serious diseases and physical problems.