The main cause of headaches are fatigue, emotional disorders, insomnia and allergies. Most headache pains come from the lining of the brain, cranial nerves, or the nerves of the upper neck. 90 percent of headaches are tension headaches which come from muscle tension and contraction.  Tension headaches could also be caused by improper ventilation, anxiety, depression, overwork, or worry. This type of headache is usually felt in the large muscles of the neck and at the base of the shoulders and is brought on my muscle spasms in the neck and head.

Tension headaches metaphorically mirror the opposing tensions  in our own life, a time when we become more out of touch with our intuition and the ability to reason clearly. Our inner order is quickly spinning out of order, creating a high level of nervousness and confusion..which often leads to impulsive reactions. We start going in circles, unable to make up our minds if we should go with the desire of others or assert our own individuality – this confusion causes us to start arguing at everyone.

“sometimes I am strictly in mind/knowledge/intelligence and not in my heart/intuition. Or I will seek the intelligence of others instead of going within myself. Could that be the cause of my migraines?” (Maria S., former client) Yes, yes, and yes! 

Migraines and cluster headaches are known as vascular headaches, caused by the dilation of the blood vessels.  Migraines are usually accompanied by nausea; sometimes the vision is affected (fuzzy colored lights, numbness in the body, hyper-sensitivity on the skin as well as unpleasant odors. Migraine headaches usually represent some form of anger; triggers for these attacks include PMS (premenstrual syndrome) drugs, fatigue, stress, birth control pills and fasting.

Classical migraines or sometimes called, ‘the aura’ of the migraine can cause rapid changes in mood. Sometimes memory or speech may be affected and even hallucinations can result. “If I suffered an attack at night, I knew it to be the worst possible luck, as it would continue its rampage well into the morning and the rest of the day.”

Diet (certain foods) trigger headaches, especially those suffering with migraines. Foods that can trigger these attacks include: white rice, white sugar, pastries, ice-cream, cheese, chocolate, alcohol, (MSG) monosodium glutamate), caffeine, food additives and dyes, processed meats and nuts.

Cluster headaches, which often occur in males, produce severe, short pain attacks over one eye. These attacks can occur many times a day over a period of several months. These headaches usually involve an allergy symptom; for example, nasal congestion or a watery, teary eye. Refusing to see the truth or not wanting to see what’s ahead can cause migraines affecting the eyes.  This is also directly linked with not listening to the inner voice within, and fearing one’s intuition (6th chakra, 3rd eye).

People with HYPOGLYCEMIA are also prone to migraines, due to low blood sugar in their bodies.  If you eat a lot of carbohydrates or sugar, after eating, your pancreas will release too much insulin into your bloodstream; this signals the liver to turn it into fat, leaving  you with little blood sugar to supply the brain and other organs for the energy they need. The more blood sugar levels ‘bottom out’ the more this triggers headaches, weakness, shakiness, irritability and loss of motivation.

CONSTIPATION can cause headaches, especially from the overabundance of refined foods in our diets and less fiber foods. Other symptoms that can accompany constipation are, nausea and lightheadedness.

People who suffer from depression have also suffered from constipation and the meds used for depression usually worsen constipation.   And, because constipation seems to occur in people with a compulsive migraines, emotions and depression are important to look at. It is also known that when stool sits in our intestines for a long time, this becomes a toxic cocktail for the body, because the toxins in the stool are absorbed into the blood which then circulates throughout your system.

We are learning more and more that the body talks to us through physical sensations, perceptions, moods, gut feelings and intuition. These emotions are the body’s way of decoding and processing ‘energy information’.

This is why I usually ask the following questions when first conversing with a client suffering from migraines:

How long do your headaches usually last?
Are they worse before, during or after the menstrual period?
Are you constipated?
Do you have problems with indigestion?
Do you have neck or back problems or experience feelings of dizziness or blackouts?
Do you suffer from cold hands or feet.

We’ll go into this in more detail later…..


“Migraine Headaches:  Migraines are usually caused by a lack of oxygen reaching the brain.  This can be seen as the life-giving energy being withdrawn from our control centre, so we do not have to deal with the commands, but can ignore our reality and the demands made on us.  This is often caused by a frustration of unfulfilled plans, an overload of information and an inability to integrate it, leading to repressed rage.  There is also a sense of something that has to be achieved or done, that is being asked of us, and the fear or resistance connected with begin able to fulfill that demand.  A goal has to be reached, and the thought if it creates pain. What needs to be looked at here is why there is a desire to avoid demands in the first place. Is it due to a very introverted personality?  Or is it because there is a deep feeling of incompetence, a feel that has been reinforced by not being loved unconditionally?  Is it because demands are being made that we feel unable to live up to?  A migraine is also a way of take time out, and of getting extra love and attention.  This is especially so with children who may be lacking in love, or who are having the attention they need replaced with sweet foods (sugar can be a physical trigger factor for a migraine).” The BodyMind Workbook ~ Deb Shapiro

Many people I’ve worked with who suffer migraines,  doubt their own worth and power and feel that ‘all power’ is outside of their control.  This ‘fear’ causes them to back away from being hurt, dominated or even crushed by their opponent. (“I’ve actually pushed people away, at the beginning of the a relationship, so I don’t have to deal with them walking out on me later.” (Abby, a client) Feeling this way, they may not attempt many things they could otherwise do. This form of extreme ‘self-blocking’, is very hard on the physical body because many times the anger and irritability these individuals feel (but don’t express) is turned against themselves. This can shut down the body’s immune system triggering a migraine attack which is often linked with depression, unexpressed anger, frustration and letdowns.

Most migraine sufferers learned at a very tender age to ‘instinctively’ hesitate/hold back their spontaneous spirit mainly due to insecurities about themselves. In some cases, migraines have been linked to past lives as well as a reluctance to be born, causing a very difficult labor for both mother and child. The soul for some reason, had a  form of stage fright, and suddenly decided, it wasn’t ready to be born.

Migraine – Control, pressure, seriousness, perfectionism. Over-committing yourself. Great need for love and approval. Ignoring your own needs. Putting other people before yourself. Extreme worry, guilt and anxiety. Conflict with self and other people. Self-punishment. Feeling angry and annoyed with others. Saying, ‘You are giving me a headache.’” THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF YOUR BODY: The Essential Guide to Health and Wellness ~ Inna Segal

Self-inhibiting: The personalities of most migraine sufferers (I’ve seen) appear to look light, chipper and even seem to, not have a care in the world.  Most healers/psychologists can see through this superficiality  right away; what they’re doing, is trying to distract others from noticing/detecting  their lonely (unlovable) and easily hurt persona. They don’t want others to see how awkward they feel inside their skin so they try very hard to gain approval (people pleasers) from anybody and everybody. This becomes their best defence against personal attack.

These people have had to continually meet up against many forms of authoritative people – from father to boss to even their own rigid ‘inner authority’.  In their childhood years they most likely attracted at least one parent whose authority was fear-provoking causing feelings of inadequacy due to being deprived, ignored, not held or comforted enough. This can cause a person to become too sensitive to criticism, rejection, or neglect from others (this can be real or imagined). And again, they were probably affected by adult power and its abuse. At least one parents (daddy?) wielded authoritarian control, or at least a general strictness, when they were much too young in age. Whatever the scenario, they learned to become vulnerable to the coldness, indifference, or a lack of sympathy from others – especially from authority figures during their young adult years (e.g., coach, teacher, doctor, therapist,  business mentor, employer, etc..)

Is it possible they felt like ugly ducklings growing up? What if they had a lot going for them, but couldn’t get past the stigma of their appearance. Self-criticism regarding their looks can become a huge roadblock. Feeling unattractive can leave us feeling awkward and undesirable when making physical / sexual contact with others. Some of us may even downplay our physical attributes and shun direct attention from admirers. Why even praise and compliments makes them feel uneasy. Their fear of disapproval can force them to appear guarded in their appearance…they become skillful at covering up their wounds…yet on the surface they appear aloof and independent. This guise can often work well in the professional arena, where we appear to have it all together as a self-made person. But we also need to review ourselves and determine whether or not we physically give off the (mis)impression that we are cool, composed, and a tad too unfriendly to get to know well. Maybe some of us, really are this way all the time, but the rest of us can be someone quite different deep inside. It is our self-uncertainty that makes us mistrust the intentions of others. We must learn that we live in a world that is not seeking to put us down or demean us, and that there are supportive people out there who can bolster our identity in life-affirming ways.

Once people attempt to go beyond our sometimes chilly façade – which can be intimidating at first encounter – they might just discover that we have a lot of depth. We give thoughtful consideration to others, and want the same in return. However, we do seem to have a hard time allowing people to penetrate our personality. Those barricades we psychologically construct around us work against us by further increasing our sense of isolation. They will need to be broken down by the power of intimate relationships but first, they need to stop pushing people away.  In most cases, they fear being taken advantage of, and this fear causes them to lash out and react defensively against others.

The key to much of this is learning is not to become so guarded and suspicious to others and stay flexible in their attitudes and assumptions about life. They need to continuously bathe their consciousness with a sense of hope and faith, believing that it’s never too late to start new beginnings, which are well-defined, with a sense of individuality. That way they can cope with whatever life presents to them. They can have a lasting feeling of inner security and the satisfying sense that their life is truly significant.

“HEADACHES ~ The head …has a direct link with the I AM. If you have a headache (especially on the top of the head), it means that you hit yourself over the head with belittling I AM’s. You accuse yourself of not being this or that and especially of not being intelligent enough; you ask a lot of yourself. ..”

“MIGRAINES ~ Migraines can occur when  you feel guilty for daring to question those who influence you. You may not even be fully conscious of what it is you truly desire, to the point of living in someone else’s shadow. How often do you find yourself saying, “I can’t get what I want”? If you suffer from migraines, take a look at your sexual relationship. You most likely are having difficulties in that area also, because you are out of touch with your power to create your life, which is reflected in the sexual organs.” YOUR BODY IS TELLING YOU: LOVE YOURSELF ~ Lise Bourbeau


Connecting with our inner power (spirit) means that we need to ‘feel’ our sensory inputs (gut instincts). This means to be aware of the subtle feelings that warn us of those things that are not right, or are excitingly good, or that we need to pay attention to.  It’s those gut feelings (butterflies in stomach), the hairs that rise at the back of your neck, the sense of a chill in a room where an argument has taken place, the warmth of love and laughter, or mischief at work. All those things that flow through us in an instant and are so easily overlooked or second-guessed are the cues the solar plexus uses to get our attention.
The Solar plexus is also connected to the Sympathetic System, which is a network of nerve fibres, ganglia and plexus. As we have learned, the 3rd chakra is or acts as a mirror/reflection of our most delicate and secret emotions. It is also the place where everything external enters through first and then gets chanelled to the other chakras. It is known as our Power center.
In Chinese and other alternative medicines, negative and unresolved emotions are seen as the cause of a host of physical and emotional ailments. The digestive organs in the Solar Plexus region (stomach, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, and some say the kidney and spleen) are continually challenged to judge and digest all our food and emotions. In fact, the body’s health counts on this area to supply it with the proper materials to help build bones, muscles, nerves and replace and rebuild surrounding tissue.

“The GALLBLADDER is a small sac in which bile secreted by the liver is stored until needed for the process of fat digestion. Problems in this area indicate we are trying to digest things too quickly or are not digesting what we have experienced; we are not learning our lessons. Such problems as gallstones can indicate we are holding onto hard thoughts and bitter experiences rather than moving past them. We are holding onto the past and allowing it to fill our life, rather than moving forward with joy and anticipation for the future. “ THE HEALERS MANUAL ~ by Ted Andrews

The gall bladder meridian is one of the longest meridians that travels almost through the entire body. This meridian begins at the outside corner of the eye on the face, then weaves its way up into the skull covering a large area on both sides of the head. Imagine holding the sides of your head with both hands; this is similar to the pattern and area covered by this meridian. This meridian continues flowing down both sides of the body in a zigzag fashion, supporting the stomach in the front of the body and the bladder at the back.

The gallbladders role or responsibility is to help distribution Liver Chi in the abdominal area—the function of both the liver and gall bladder is breaking down fats for digestion. The *liver is also known to remove toxins from the blood. If it fails to do so, the stomach, spleen, intestines and lungs will lose power and stagnate. In Chinese medicine, the liver and gall bladder organs, along with their meridians help to clear our energy to prepare for new growth and creativity. When energy flows smoothly along these meridian lines, we are alert and able to make clear decisions. However, if they’re unable to work properly, we wind up fearing the future and staying within our comfort zone and lost in our past.

“Anger is the emotion associated with the liver and gall bladder meridians. When we become angry and either hold on to it as resentment or continually explode with anger inappropriately, we are more prone to having issues with these organs and meridians. And conversely, if you are experiencing problems with your liver or gall bladder, you may find yourself either easily angered or, the opposite, collapsing and turning the anger in on yourself, feeling inadequate and humiliated.” Elemental Moves: Simple Yoga and Qigong Practices Inspired by Nature ~ Lori Furbush

Now we begin to see that the gallbladder and surrounding organs main objective is to digest, assimilate, and analyze the constant barrage of ‘noise’ coming from our conscious and unconscious mind as well as our relation to others and the environment. But when unresolved emotions are not digested and begin accumulating, the solar plexus cannot do its work properly. It becomes and congested and bogged down. All organs in our body originate in the energy of the gallbladder, transporting impure or foreign matter. The gallbladder transports only ‘pure’ liquids.

(*The liver meridian rules the tendons and eyes and when congested or deficient, the tendons will lose their elasticity and easily tear, becoming inflamed or lose weakness in the surrounding muscles. The eyes can be affected in many ways, especially in regard to migraines (visual abnormalities, forehead and eye pain), cataracts, glaucoma, dry eye, near or far-sightedness, etc. … all reflecting or mirroring the condition of the liver in the solar plexus region)


Let’s look at the brain for a moment.  The left brain is the gas pedal of the brain. It initiates a thought, an action or a word. It gets us started where the right brain is the brake. It stops the action or thought or movement or word so we can stop and move on to other things.  The left controls the immune system and also the body’s automatic functions.
The right brain specializes in nonverbal communication, which includes reading another’s body posture, facial expression or tone of voice .. it’s also the ability to empathize with another person. Most people describe emotions as an internal feeling, a change inside their bodies. For example, the heart rate increases as does blood pressure and release certain chemicals. But these physiological changes are exactly the same for each emotion so where did we learn to process sadness, anger, excitement, happiness.  Usually around the 3rd month of our lives. This non-verbal communication was picked up by our parents, especially the mother .. we started to mimic facial and body movements by our caregiver’s tone of voice. This results in trigger changes in our stomach and intestines and to different patterns of muscular contractions. So once we are able to ready our own emotions, we start to develop the ability to read these ‘same’ emotions in other people.  We do this using a special network of cells called ‘mirror neurons’ .  Isn’t that fascinating??  Well hopefully you’ve enjoyed this little bit of information.
BUT we are all naturally driven by social acceptance .. so we are ‘reinforced’ to continue doing the right thing and avoid the wrong thing.  But which is right or wrong?
We can’t discern this by the right or left brain until we learn to look ‘inside’ (inner self) and take the time to weigh what’s good or bad for us. Throughout our lives we’ve created perceptions of ourselves based on the words and actions of others .. especially our parents.

The brain is involved with our ability to think and reason, of absorbing facts and solving complex problems. It rules our emotions, relationships, metabolism, hormones and nerves as while as maintaining bodily functions such as digestion, movement, coordination and sexuality.

When you are reacting to a stressfully critical moment, the brain quickly decides to shut down or divert energy away from digestive process. When unresolved emotions are not digested and begin accumulating, the solar plexus cannot do its work properly. It becomes and congested and bogged down.

“People who tend to have digestive tract-related issues are generally focused on getting more, more, more of everything. Excess is stimulating and we thrive on adrenaline because it makes us feel bigger than we actually are, so these people search for this rush. They work too much, party too much, and simply keep going and doing until it nearly kills them. They amass power and material wealth in an effort to fill a void in their souls. So while it may look like these folks have everything figured out, this constant hunger is born from a low sense of self-worth. They have yet to find contentment and joy in who they are. Their lives are all about appearance, and they search for bigger , better cars and houses, believing that this will make them feel bigger and better, pumping up their self-esteem.”All is Well ~ Louise L. Hay & Mona Lisa Schulz 

Under stress, there is an abnormal drop in Serotonin in the brain (as well as other hormones/neurotransmitters) which can cause the blood vessels in the skull to constrict, affecting the neck and shoulders as well. The trigeminal nerve, the largest nerve in the skull, branches out to parts of the face, creating an array of sensations felt differently from person to person.

(Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that transmit electrical signals from one nerve cell to another and ultimately controls behaviors, thoughts and feelings. Three neurotransmitters, serotonin and  norepineprhine and dopamine have been associated with headaches, migraines, insomnia,depression, bi-polar, agoraphobic, etc…)

“Imbalances in brain chemistry have a large range of effects on emotions, behavior, and brain circulation. Migraine, depression, and insomnia, all have similar neurotransmitter mechanisms of low serotonin and norepinephrine levels. Insomnia and depression are often associated with migraines. Serotonin and norepinephrine are the two main neurotransmitters needed in the brain. When the brain is low in serotonin and norepinephrine, the individual experiences depression and insomnia. When the level of serotonin is low and the level of norepinephrine is high, the individual may experience mania. Neurotransmitter levels can be diminished by allergic reactions, inflammation, poor absorption of nutrients into the brain, poor metabolism of nutrients in the brain, a lack of nutrients in the brain, chemicals reactions, stress and other factors listed. Norepinephrine levels can skyrocket from the use of stimulants and over-the-counter medications such as, pseudoephedrine. Many people, especially children have poor diets resulting from high toxin levels and low nutrient levels, which can lead to low serotonin levels in the brain. Low levels of serotonin and low levels of norepinephrine can cause depression. Consequently, they will experience depression and fatigue and pursue stimulants such as coffee and soft drinks containing high amounts of caffeine. The caffeine causes an increase in cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine levels in the brain. When there are low serotonin and high norepinephrine levels in the brain, an individual may exhibit manic behavior and when high enough, violence. This is the biochemical foundation of the bipolar syndrome.”  http://www.alternativementalhealth.com/guidebook-for-preventing-migraine-headaches-depression-insomnia-and-bipolar-syndrome/


When we sense danger, the autonomic nervous system signals the body to release the hormone adrenaline in the blood stream, providing instant energy to the heart, lungs, and muscles to adapt and adjust for the fight/flight response.

Chronic anxiety and worry is closely associated with migraines and is associated with perfectionism. Perfectionists are very hard on themselves and others, demanding the best at all times. They find fault in almost everything they do—they’re appearance, their homes, relationships, children, clothes, cars—they can frustrate us to no end with their constant bickering and never-ending insistence that everything has to be perfect.

Perfectionists suffer from a lack of safety, never letting their guard down because if not, all hell will break loose. Their insecurities come from believing they always have to be in charge. Many perfectionists grew up too early, playing part of an absent parent or an out-of-control one—addictions such as drug abuse, alcoholism, gambling and even sex addition showed how their world was chaotic and out of control. It’s no wonder perfectionists move out at an early age and look for a place of their own—where attention to detail and keeping everything in its place is exactly as it’s supposed to be arranged. The problem with perfectionism is, their need to control is in the power-seat instead of their spirit—when they suddenly have a life-altering decision, the controls are at the helm of their personality, which could lead them down the wrong path.

Perfectionists need to loosen their standards, leave the past and move into unfamiliar ground—they need to let go of their fear and move into the unknown. They have to stop manipulating others and their world where they feel they’re in control. They need to practice gratitude to help them relax and be happy with life as it is. Once they know what beliefs and behaviors keep them stuck, they have a greater sense of adventure, trust and enjoyment. They let go of fear and self-doubt and with motivation regain a zest for life.




Beginning to work on the Self, we need to begin to examine who we are and take responsibility for our actions. We learn to challenge our faults by exploring our feelings about our fears, our egos, our envy of what others have or can do with their gifts and abilities. We begin to recognize by setting aside these traits in our personality and developing our own skills we become the best we can be. A ‘sense of integrity’ develops and as it does our intent shifts from the “me first” to the things we can do to serve the Higher Good and the “we” becomes important. Our intent is our will in action and by doing the best we can (at whatever level we can do it) we find growth begins to take place and we are developing an impeccable work ethic along with our spiritual ethics. Our Inner Spirit will react with negative sensations when we are doing something wrong. “Warning! Warning! Warning!”, it shouts. Are you listening to that voice? If you do it becomes louder, and if you trust it once you’ll trust it again and again as the validations prove themselves.


to be continued…..


low back muscles

Picture compliments of 

“The low back is the base and root of our activity in the world. When we experience a loss of support or feel that challenges or responsibilities are too great, we simply “can’t stand it.” Rage, frustration, humiliation, or depression may be held in the low back which is neurologically and psychologically associated with our “gut” feelings and deeper, suppressed instincts. The lower back carries the most weight, and expresses the extend of burden or load we bear, or if we feel overwhelmed or hopeless.

The ability to adapt, withstand or face up to stress or perceived onslaughts is expressed in the back; e.g., being spineless, having one’s back against the wall, getting ones back up, oh my aching back.” ~ Asa Hershoff N.D., D.C.

The gut is one of the primary filtration systems of the body, when its plumbing, electrical and drainage system aren’t working quite right, the body starts absorbing toxins, clogging the system. When the gut can no longer protect us, autoimmune problems can be triggered by a network of cellular communications and through our lymph nodes. Constipation, diarrhea, bloating, poor motility, and trapped gas can all lead to obesity, high cholesterol, diverticulitis, pancreatic problems and more. Toxic buildups are stored in the fat cells of the body…if these toxins leak into the fluids of the body, which includes the blood, they can cause fatigue, body aches, thyroid, heart and brain problems, as well as depression.

Most back pains are 10 times more painful than any other muscle strain in the body.  The reason for this… the back muscles are designed to ‘protect’ and ‘defend’ the spinal column.  Also, the back muscles are closely connected to the Central Nervous System (CNS) that transmits pain messages to your brain—muscle pain is an early warning that your spine might be in trouble.  When we are tense, our back muscles can go into spasm, causing excruciating pain that can last for weeks, months, even years.

The spine is generally flexible and quite resilient and when properly aligned is able to learn from and integrate a variety of life experiences.  These experiences either stressful or ecstatic are able to flow easily through the awareness of the body/mind as long as there is no disruption, which could knock the vertebrae(s) off course. But when we experience a stressful or traumatic/shocking event, the spine’s shock-absorber’s become inflexible from the shock, causing the muscles, ligaments and tendons of your back and abdomen to work harder to keep you upright.

“It would appear that most cases of chronic back pain are actually caused not by spinal problems, but by muscle tension and spasm. This is not to be dismissed: It is extremely painful. Such muscle tension is caused by emotional tension, and the deeper the emotional tension is explored the more the story behind the pain is revealed. It may be a story of anger, fear, exhaustion, of trying to prove something to someone, of denial, of a lack of forgiveness—whatever it is, it is in the back because it is well hidden there. But it also hurts.” Your Body Speaks Your Mind: Understanding How Your Emotions and Thoughts ~ Deb Shapiro

The backside of the body reflects private and unconscious elements of your life. The back becomes the storehouse for everything you don’t want to deal with or don’t want other people to see. Hidden or unexpressed feelings become frozen in the structure of your body. That means a lot of negative emotions becomes stored along your spine and in the backs of your legs. Most of your powerful emotions such as anger and fear are stored in your back and it is these emotions that pull your body out of balance.

Trying to distance and suppress your feelings only aggravates the problem..as you are still continuing to carry the past, which continues to grow heavier and heavier.If you’ve been protecting yourself all these years and defending yourself from real or imagined dangers, you are living in a constant state of alertness.  As well, you learnt to take protective steps to feel safe….this has been known to create an unsteadiness from the lower back, hips, and right down to the feet. The pelvis represents our inner direction and our deepest feelings and thoughts…it’s about our personal movement. Our 1st (root) chakra basically connects us to the earth as well as our survival instincts. Excessive tightness in the hips and buttocks may reflect a person’s need to ‘hold on’ in order to survive.

“Sacrum – Feeling unsupported, carrying unresolved family issues, holding on to childhood anger and resentment. Experiencing a lack of confidence and belief in self. Feeling uncomfortable in your body and in your life. Carry guild resentment and shame. Physical: Hip bones, buttocks, sacro-iliac conditions, spinal curvatures.” THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF YOUR BODY ~ Inna Segel

“Although seemingly soft and spongy, the buttock or gluteal muscles are often the most clenched and tense muscles in the body, for it is here that you can hide any tension or nervousness you may be feeling by literally sitting on it.  Although that tension is hidden from view, its effect will be felt throughout the body.  Consistently tight gluteals will throw off your posture causing spinal distortion and backache and then they can affect the functioning of your bowels….

Just for a moment, right now, check your muscles in your backside. Are they relaxed? Or are they clenched tight? If so, consciously relax them and notice the difference in your attitude.

  • What are you sitting on, repressing or holding down?
  • What energy is being held in  your backside?
  • Are you sitting on feelings of insecurity?
  • Are you sitting on a need for support and comfort?”



“Sensations and feelings contribute to emotions, another aspect of the second chakra. Emotion – from the Latin e, meaning out, and movere, to move – is the moving of prana through the tissues of the body. Emotions are the result of feelings stored up in the body. For example, you may have a feeling of irritation at something, but if that feeling is repeatedly stored in your tissues, it can become the emotion of anger. I like to think of sensations as the words, feelings as the sentences, and emotions as the story that emerges.

When you repress emotion, you restrict the body’s natural movements. You become rigid, creating the opposite of the second chakra’s watery flow, inhibiting flexibility. Therefore, developing flexibility in your body may require willingness to feel old emotions that are stored in your body. ” Anodea Judith’s Chakra Yoga ~ by Anodea Judith

The lower back is associated with the 2nd chakra which is associated with the hips, sacrum, lower back, genitals, womb, bladder and kidneys. This chakra is about sensuality, sexuality, emotions, intimacy, and desire. All watery things have to do with this chakra: circulation, urination, menstruation, orgasm, tears. Water flows, moves and changes and a healthy second chakra allows us to do so.  It is also this chakra where, as a child, we were supported and reassured  from our parents.

Your aggressive nature might have caused you some anxious moments while you were growing up, when you had to confine yourself to the limits imposed by your parents. They may have considered you too big for your britches then, or simply reckless and immature. Your need to demonstrate your independence might have alienated you from them. Your subsequent development made you realize that you had to act when you felt that it was appropriate, knowing that ‘he who hesitates is lost’. Even now, you aren’t easily dissuaded by people who say that your plans won’t work, and you always manage to prove them wrong.

If we didn’t get the support we needed as a child.. it can affect the areas of the lower back and knees. See the kidney meridian runs along at the back of the knee as does the bladder, liver and spleen.  Inflammation is caused by a buildup of fluid.. the area of the skin very sensitive to be touched.  When a large amount of the 2nd chakra energy is released through exercising, it can make us sensitive to energies in the environment and from other people too.  It can also make us feel young, happy and bright!

When the 2nd chakra is balanced and healthy, we can be emotionally fluid, allowing ourselves to feel freely and without guilt. When it is excessive, we are overly emotional, have poor boundaries between ourselves and others, and are prone to obsessive attachments. When the 2nd chakra is deficient we tend toward emotional numbness, rigidity, and fear of pleasure.

PSOAS MUSCLES (major contributors to low back pain)

Buried deep within the core of your body, the psoas (pronounced “so-as”) affects every facet of your life, from your physical well-being to who you feel yourself to be and how you relate to the world. Acting as a bridge between the lower trunk and legs, the psoas is critical for keeping the spine aligned, allowing the joints to freely rotate and giving the muscles a full range of motion. The abdominal muscle, are surrounded by a complex network of nerve ganglia which lies approximately at the level of the psoas and the diaphragm. If the psoas is constricted for whatever reason, it will press on the nerves in the abdominal area. Constriction of the diaphragm may shorten the psoas, and tightness in the psoas may restrict the ability of the diaphragm to move freely. Any constriction in the the diaphragm will prevent full body breathing, a process which massages the internal organs and promotes strength and vitality.

Whether you suffer from a sore back or anxiety, from knee strain or exhaustion, there’s a good chance that a constricted psoas muscle might be contributing to your problem. When the psoas muscles go into spasm, they pull down on the shoulder and create an actual physical imbalance… you actually may feel yourself leaning over more to one-side.  Metaphysically the psoas muscles can indicate complex traumas and unresolved ‘unconscious’ issues from early childhood.  People with chronically tight psoas muscles have cut off their deeper feelings altogether, exerting rigid control over themselves as a way of defending themselves against these raw emotions. And yet there is always the sense of some imminent danger.  For some people, their whole life is built around suppressing what’s down there, and in this respect they are dominated by those very things they are trying to keep at bay. Finding the self is like Peeling an onion – layer upon layer has to be removed to reach the core. This is similar to the deep-sea diver who plunges into the depths of the personal unconscious bringing hidden complexes to light so that they can be examined worked on and hopefully transmuted.

Since the home sphere is where most people feel the most vulnerable, they may attempt to manipulate and, control those around them so that nobody slips up and detonates their inner time-bomb. Obviously, this does not lend itself to the most relaxed of home atmospheres, in which there are probably many unwritten rules about what is or isn’t allowed to be said or done.

“The kidneys are actually situated behind the psoas, while the intestines and reproductive organs lie in front of it. When the psoas is tight and constricted, the lumbar curve becomes exaggerated, causing the abdominal organs to fall forward against the abdominal muscles, which were not designed to carry this weight. …When displaced, the intestines are unable to absorb nutrients, eliminate waste, and the sexual reproductive functions could be impaired. The problem as well, is that no matter how many sit-ups you do they won’t be able to support the constricted psoas pushing the abdominal cavity forward.” Yoga Journal ~ By Donna Farhi

Healing the psoas can help to improve your overall structure,  and bring to light, old traumas and fears (physical tension) locked in the body.  In regard to the fight or flight response, the psoas have been known to curl you into a fetal ball to protect the front of the body, or prepare your back and leg muscles to spring into action. Because the psoas is so intimately involved in physical and emotional reactions, a chronically tightened psoas continually signals the body that you’re in danger, eventually exhausting the adrenal glands and depleting the immune system.

One on each side of the spine, each working independently yet harmoniously, the psoas attaches to the side and toward the front of the 12th thoracic vertebra and each lumbar vertebrae. Moving though the pelvis without attaching to the bone, the psoas inserts along with the iliacus muscle in a common tendon at the top of the femur.

The psoas’ main function is to act as a hip flexor….without it walking or running would be impossible. These muscles also contribution to the outer rotation of the hips. When the psoas is so tight, they can’t release, causing the legs to turn outward during intense back-bending, which can pinch the muscles and nerves of the lower back.

The major aorta that carries the blood from the heart run very close to the psoas muscles and it has been thought that an imbalance in the psoas may affect blood circulation throughout the upper and lower extremities. Many people feel a flush of heat down the legs and up into the chest when the psoas releases. So the deep muscles of the psoas can affect circulation, respiration, nerve impulses as well as organ function. And we still haven’t considered the effect the psoas have on the musculoskeletal system.

In addition the psoas also forms a supportive shelf for the vital organs wjithin the abdominal core. In walking, a healthy psoas moves freely and joins with a released diaphragm to continuously massage the spine as well as the organs, blood vessels, and nerves of the trunk. Working as a hydraulic pump, a freely moving psoas stimulates the flow of fluids throughout the body. And a released, flowing psoas combined with a stable weight-bearing pelvis, contributes to the sensations of feeling grounded and centered.



Have you ever wondered with the body’s amazing ability to renew itself, why we have, or seem to have the same or similar back problems throughout most of our lives?  The answer lies in the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS coordinates our consciousness with billions of neurons (individual nerve cells) that are sent to the brain to be interpreted.  Messages are then sent back to move the countless muscle fibers through the body.  This is why most of our back pain begins with problems in the muscles because they are directly connected to the nerves that transmit pain messages to your brain AND many back problems are made worse by stress or tension in the mind.

The CNS consists of the brain and spinal cord. The brain carries out most of the ‘computing’ in the nervous system and communicates with the rest of the body through the large bundle of nerves called the spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system (PNS) is the intricate network of nerves that carries information between the CNS and the rest of the body.  Thirty-one pairs of spinal nerves carry sensory and motor messages to and from the spinal cord. Together these nerves keep your entire body in communication with the brain.

“The nervous system maintains our body’s inner environment and regulates the digestion of food and the amount of carbon dioxide in our blood without our awareness…..

By acting as a conduit for the expression of Universal Consciousness (our innate wisdom), the nervous system establishes who we are and how we deal with the world. What our body feels—not necessarily what we are conscious of—actually changes the way we perceive the world. If the nervous system is stuck in one perspective, the messages it will send and receive will be stuck in that perspective as well. In other words, when the nervous system has not been able to recover from the trauma of past events—whether physical, emotional, or chemical—our emotional reality is also stuck…..The combined effect of various stress and the inability of the nervous system to deal with them produces a subluxation (interference) of the spine….This interference disrupts the nervous system’s natural ability to assemble and sort out neurological instructions.  Like a computer, if the input (messages to the system) is distorted in anyway, then the output (messages from the nervous system to each body cell) will also be distorted. Emotional trauma, accidents or breathing polluted air are challenges to a compromised nervous system.” The 12 STAGES of HEALING ~ by Donald M. Epstein D.C.

There is a deep and powerful connection between the mind and back—to begin understanding the cause of your back pain, begin the healing process.   The more rigid, tight and unyielding the mind, the more rigid, tight and unyielding the physical body (tight shoulders, neck, chest, abdomen, hips hamstrings, psoas, ankles, etc… ).


Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE) “TRE® is a simple and quick set of movements that turn on our body’s natural rebalancing process—providing an immediate experience of relaxation. By releasing everything from everyday stress to deeply held physical tension and trauma, TRE® frees us up to meet life’s challenges with greater skill and ease. Best of all, our bodies do the work; we get relief without needing to process or retell our story.” Tension Release Exercises

A client of mine (J.S) has a friend who is a trauma counsellor which was originally designed for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)… specifically for soldiers who had returned from war. “It takes you through a series of movements.. then you end up in a position that releases the psoas, which is described as being a muscle that holds emotion (hence trauma release exercises to target it).”

TRE relieves the accumulation of everyday muscle tension as well as past traumas Trauma Release video

Another video on TRE


Emotional Freedom Techniques – EFT – also known as Meridian Tapping – is a very effective healing method, that is known to eliminate past trauma and abuse, anxiety, fears, and phobias, negative emotions and beliefs, self-judgement, physical and emotional pain, bad habits, migraines, and often helps to heal physical injuries and illnesses.

“BATTLE TAP is an easy-to-learn self-help tool that is designed for armed public service professionals who are experiencing emotional or psychological distress. It’s based on Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), an emerging intervention that uses acupressure-point tapping, re-exposure, and cognitive scripts to rapidly resolve undesired emotions and memories.”  http://www.battletap.org/home.aspx

Web-page on … What is EFT Tapping

This is a great site demonstrating EFT techniques  http://eft.mercola.com/



“Muscles absorb and respond to tensions and feelings.  If they do not relax sufficiently following stress, then the tension accumulates and causes deeper, long-lasting damage. If this continues over a period of time, the muscles become set and fixed in this restricted form. This is where you “hold” issues, emotions and trauma.  Frozen anger, fear, or grief creates a kind of body armour, which further blocks and holds back feelings, locking the musculature into fixed positions…

The muscles enable all the bodily systems to function, such as circulation, digestion, breathing, and nerve impulses.  Their freedom of movement is essential for optimum health. When the muscles are restricted…your energy will be unable to flow smoothly…Stress release and emotional expression are therefore essential for muscle ease. Exercise is also vital–it not only releases muscular tension but psycho/emotional tension as well.” YOUR BODY SPEAKS YOUR MIND ~ Deb Shapiro


to be continued….


Weakness at the front of the shoulders can cause tight or tense muscles in the back.

Weakness at the front of the shoulders can cause tight or tense muscles in the back.

Metaphysical cause of Shoulder Pain

Pain or tightness in the shoulder area often reflects a person’s overall emotional and physical state. A stressful lifestyle, emotional strain, physical injuries, and fatigue can contribute to constriction and pain in the shoulders. When we experience people’s actions and behaviors toward us as aggressive or controlling, it makes us feel powerless, angry, resentful or out of control. If negative emotions are not released, they can become toxic to the entire system, leading to all sorts of complications.

“Stiffness in the area of the shoulder blades usually reveals you are going in the wrong direction in life, or you are doing something in life that isn’t serving your highest purpose. This is actually a positive and predictive pain, showing that you either need to make an adjustment in your life direction or that an important change is about to come into your life and you will have to adjust to align yourself to this new change or direction. This may involve letting go of some old ways of thinking and behaving and adapting to newer, higher ways of thinking and behaving. The change will take place when you become aligned, at which point the energy between the spleen and small intestine meridians will flow freely, removing the blockage between the two. It is the blockage of energy between the two meridians, found in the area of the shoulder blades, that causes the feeling of resistance and lack of mobility.” Emotion and Healing in the Energy Body ~ Robert Henderson

Shoulder pain is quite a complex multifaceted pain as there are six meridians moving through this area. The six *meridians are: the lung, large intestine, pericardium, triple heater, small intestine, and heart meridian. These six different types contain a mixture of emotional, mental, and behavioural energies, which manifest as different types of physical pain. These energies cause rigidness, and a sense of heaviness and stagnation in the muscles surrounding the lines of these meridians. This stagnated energy is like a wall protecting hurtful feelings, but can also force us into isolation and separation. Separation from life causes depression, anger, and the inability to forgive a painful past—this could cause hardness and tightness in the rotator cuff and surrounding muscles.

(*The meridians are pathways or networks in which the Chi and blood of the human body are circulated, nourishing skin, muscles, tendons and bones. The meridians pertain to the internal organs of the body, forming a lattice network and linking the tissues and organs into a whole. Externally the twelve meridians connect with the skin, joints, limbs and other superficial tissues of the body. Normal functioning of the various organs ensures a form of balance can be maintained.)

When we feel run down from the way we’re living, we often underestimate our ability to cope with so many responsibilities; we overburden ourselves.  This results in feeling anxious, stress and tired, taking a toll on our upper back and shoulders. Shoulder pain can also be caused by being too set in our ways, rebelling against change and resisting new possibilities and perspectives.  When we resist, we tense our upper body as a means of trying to maintain control. Wanting to control things, people, and events, often results in chronic tension of the hands, arms, and shoulders. Also, negative self-talk and berating oneself causes tightness in the body, especially the shoulders, trapezius, sides of the neck, below the rib cage and the solar plexus.

Stiffness in the shoulders can also mean we are unable to see our options clearly, we are frustrated by our personal limitations and tormented by either indecision or of making the wrong decision.  This creates a tremendous feeling of stiffness and pressure and the desire to escape from deciding.

Pain at the bottom edge of the scapula is caused by taking on, but not releasing the woes of others. In relationships it is the pain of giving yourself to someone who doesn’t love or care about you. It can symbolize emotional sadness from living a life that shouldn’t have turned out the way it did. You cringe at problems and love to complain how others are making your life difficult but rarely take personal responsibility or do anything to change it. On a spiritual level, There is a tendency to ignore the callings of your own spirit due to a lack of trust.

With frozen shoulder, you may literally feel frozen and trapped in your current circumstances. This can make you feel helpless and disempowered especially with authority figures.

“It is time to establish your limitations and personal needs and take on your shoulders only what corresponds to what you want for yourself. Take care of yourself as if you were someone you cared about. Understand that you alone put pressure on yourself; others will respect your needs when you learn to respect them yourself. Allow yourself to be flexible, embrace anyone or anything you want, and let go of your belief to the heart. The consequences will be harsh.” YOUR BODY IS TELLING YOU: LOVE YOURSELF ~ Lise Bourbeau


Your upper arm is composed of the humerus, a thick bone surrounded by dense layers of muscle that enable you to life heavy objects.  Your forearm is composed of the radius and ulna. The hands and arms are pathways for many nerves and meridian channels.

“In general, the upper arms, along with the elbows, forearms, wrists, and hands, are energetic extensions of the heart. Their condition is mirrored in the condition of the heart. If the heart is weak or closed, they will be weak or closed to. Similarly, the condition of the energy in the arms, reflects back to the heart. Thus if there are blocks in energy in the arms, elbows, forearms, wrists, and hands the heart becomes blocked too. For the heart to be free, the upper arms, elbows, forearms, wrists, and hands need to be free. Pain in the upper arms, elbows, forearms, wrists, and hands reveal a blockage in the energy flowing from the heart. This is the root of all arm pain. Arm pain indicates your heart is in pain.” Emotion and Healing in the Energy Body ~ Robert Henderson

Shoulder Meridians

SI = Small Intestine; St = Stomach; LI = Liver; GB = Gall Bladder; TH = Triple Warmer

Four meridians run through the arms and are attributed to the heart (heart, small intestine, triple heater and pericardium meridian) This is why the arms, in general, are intimately connected to our emotions and actively express our inner feelings.

Our upper arms are used to express strength, power and confidence. Powerful upper arms express strength and power; they help us to defend and block; and to protect our heart and our inner organs from being hurt.

Sometimes it is necessary to exert ourselves with assertion and aggression but many people are afraid of asserting themselves because to do so allows powerful feelings to surge through them. Thus, out of fear, many of us withdraw from letting this energy flow forward, repressing our powerful feelings. We have dissociated ourselves from ourselves and from actively reaching out and grasping hold of life. The problem with this is it causes anger at others for not seeing our needs and anger at ourselves for our inability to assert our desires.

Long-held resentments, anger, bitterness, fear, guilt, etc., all play a role in debilitating our energy in the upper arms. Instead of letting our heart energy flow forward, we withdraw and hold it back. Also, some men and women overdevelop these muscles, which metaphysically can symbolize, resistance of expressing their heartfelt energy.

Upper arm pain, metaphysically, means our personal power, and self-esteem is somehow being restricted.  These issues could involve feelings of inadequacy, lack of ‘emotional intimacy’, and difficulty expressing/releasing emotions. People with painful upper arms could suffer from passive-aggressive tendencies, indicating that whatever they try to suppress and control due to fear, shame, guilt, etc., will eventually find their way to the surface.


The 12 vertebrae of the thoracic spine curve outward, strategically placed between the two inward curves of the neck and back. Together, the upper and lower ends of the thoracic spine are subject to stress as is the center of this curving area. The thoracic spine is an intrinsic part of the rib ‘cage’ aptly named as the housing for the lungs and heart, both as protection and for deep breathing in and out.

Just above the thoracic spine is the cervical vertebrae C6 and C7.  Metaphysically these also apply to a stiff neck, shoulder pain, frozen shoulder and elbow issues….

“C6 – Feeling overwhelmed by worries, anxieties and stresses. Rather than dealing with your own issues, meddling in other people’s lives to fix their problems and take attention away from yours. Resisting life, feeling stuck, afraid to let go of old fears and change…

C7 – Feeling tired, uninspired, drained, emotionally wound up, mentally unclear. Immobilized by negativity, lack and fear of the future. Feeling numb and disconnected from your own truth and sense of power. On the physical level: thyroid problems, colds, shoulder pain…” The Secret Language of Your Body ~Inna Segal

Many occupations are known to create and reinforce shoulder tensions. Typing, working at a desk, or working at a machine or computer can cause shoulder tension. When you slump your breathing gets shallow and tensions develop. The shoulders are the repository for much of our tension and stress. Eventually the tension becomes chronic, contributing to fatigue, and this also affects other parts of the body. Chronic shoulder tension can inhibit the circulation to the arms and legs, causing cold hands and feet.

The thoracic spine is an integral part of shoulder function. This is the part of the back that stresses from spinal posture and movement and neurological tension felt in the heart and lungs. Long periods of working bent over and poor posture add even more to the problem. Besides severe shoulder and rib strains the thoracic spine tends towards rigidity, with a loss of flexibility and the development of excess forward or sideways curves (scoliosis) The upper back is a frequent area for muscular spasm and nagging pain; it often radiates to front of the body mimicking heart or lung conditions.  Ribs are attached, via cartilage to the breastbone, these attachments are subject to stiffness, soreness or inflammation (costochondritis).

“Upper back: This area is behind the heart, so expresses the back side of the heart energy: anger, resentment, resistance, to loving expression, fear or rejection of love. This can be seen in the dowager’s hump an accumulated mass of tissue that can be formed by repressed and frustrated mind states. This part of the back is also a part of the shoulders, so the energy expressed here is connected to our confusion and inability to be doing what we really want to. This is the first stage after conception, so here lies our uncertain purpose, our thwarted ambition, our unfulfilled longing to do or be something different. Pain here is to do with the load we are carrying but not acknowledging openly, the hidden load of repressed and negative feelings. Acne in this area is repressed anger or irritation trying to find release. Often this is because we have become separated from who we really are and what our deeper feelings are. Here also we will experience resentment towards someone who is a ‘pain in the back’; or we will want to turn our back on someone, thereby turning our heart away from them.” The Bodymind Workbook ~ Debbie Shapiro

The shoulders are quite resourceful in willingly moving and overcoming obstacles, even in the face of adversity. Their appearance appears ‘broad enough’ to carry the whole body confidently; it’s just when things become too overwhelming, from too many responsibilities that the shoulders hunch in defiance and start to complain. When the shoulders become defiant, the thoracic muscles contract from shouldering too much. The upper back is where memories of hurt feelings, along with those of fear, guilt, shame and emotional confusion are stored; it’s also where lost desires are deeply buried.

The more we keep our feelings and struggles to ourselves, the more tense and rigid the shoulders will become. How many of you with shoulder pain are doing what you really want to do in your lives? Are you really free to express yourself; are you coming from a space of loving and caring? Are you with someone who you’d love to hug with all your might? Do you really want to participate in life, or is fear holding you back and causing you to procrastinate? Are you afraid to be yourself, to act freely, to do what you want? Do you pull back, withdrawing or holding back personal ideas as a way of avoiding a confrontation? Are you worried about what others may think?  All this mental tension and/or guilt and fear cause inflammation to your shoulders. The muscles then change, twist and turn to accommodate these misshapen emotions. With hunched shoulders, you may feel overburdened by the weight of life’s problems, or from the guilt from past actions. Or do your shoulders immediately become rigid with fear and anxiety; made worse by uncertainty and insecurity.

Shoulders held back, pushing the chest out front tend to stiffen from determined stance. So does leaning forward, frantically trying to get a point across and even sticking ones’ neck out in another’s face. You have to stop belittling yourself and trying to control your world.  The more you do this, the more your thinking will become distorted and jumbled .. when this happens you’ll have trouble making decisions or taking action.

“From the spine across the shoulders and down to the hands is our doing centre: how we feel about what we are doing, about what is being done to us, about our capability to handle our lives. This area also represents our desire to express ourselves: through the use of our hands we can express our innermost artistic and creative energies; through our arms and hands we can share our love and giving energy from the heart; through caressing, touching and holding we can reach out, pull in or push away.

The shoulders express this on the inner levels – specifically our deeply personal feelings about what we are doing, or what is being done to us. How many of us are really doing what we want to done? And how often are we in real conflict about what we should be doing. It is here that we carry our burdens, begrudgingly doing something even if we don’t really want to, or holding on to guilt and negative emotions from the past to do something we have already done.  A ‘cold shoulder’ can be an emotional cold we are experiencing within ourselves towards someone or something, or it may be a cold shoulder being directed towards us from someone else.

The arms move this doing energy outwards, from our inner feelings and desires to their expression in the world. The elbows give flexibility and grace to this flow of energy, adding the necessary effort to ensure manifestation. The wrists move it out further. A conflict in the wrist can indicate there is something we should be or want to be doing but are not; for some reason, we are holding back from that final expression” Deb Shapiro ~The BodyMind Workbook

Pain specifically indicates the pain of not opening your heart.  We accumulate everything that has happened to us or things we have done that have prevented or blocked our hearts from opening.  For example, blaming others-usually our parents-for our own condition in life. By blaming our parents, we are not forgiving them. By not forgiving them, we are not loving them. Which means we don’t love us, which prevents our hearts from opening.

Upper arm pain is often complex, multilayered intense pain, as the energy that is causing the discomfort runs through six meridians in the upper arm. The lung, large intestine, pericardium, triple heater, small in test time, and heart meridians. The types of subtle mental energy running through these meridians can be a mixture of the emotional, mental, and behavioural energies, and could manifest as different types of physical pain emotional energies running through these meridians are usually whole energies, such as loneliness, sadness about life, or the experience of having to live in a loveless marriage. These energies cause contraction, coldness, and heaviness in the muscles surrounding the running of these meridians. Other emotional energies such as hatred for life or anger and apparent or spouse who has never loved you, cause hardness and tightness in the muscles. When the pain of life hurts you to the core of your very being, the accumulated energies can work themselves into these humorous bone itself can be quite intense. Mental and behavioural energies running through the six meridians that blocked the heart from opening the energies of on forgiving this, the need to inflict pain on someone who has hurts you, the need to build a wall of protection around yourself against an unloving parent or spouse, or blaming others for your own circumstances. These energies cause hardness and tightness in the muscles surrounding the running of these meridians. One specific behavioural energy, the one you use it in the holding on to your painful past, causes compression, pain, and weakness in the triceps, to which runs the large in test time Meridian, the energetic function of which is to let go of the past. Impression in the triceps causes the arm to weaken when you try to raise it above your head.

Opening the heart, whether through Reiki (and other forms of healing), yoga, myofascial release, therapeutic massage, etc., will help the meridians in the upper arm to open. If you felt unloved as child and struggle with love now, opening the meridians may cause intense pain at first but will then trigger a release of pain from other areas of the body. Where you’ll notice most of your pain is attached to might be: the deltoid muscles, the rotator cuff, the bottom of the scapula, between the shoulder blades, fronts of the fourth chakra, the back of the fourth chakra. If you are at stage of beginning spiritual counselling, massage or yoga practice you may find that you are not only releasing hurtful energies from your own past but also from the past of your parents.

Meridians and Heart Center

Emotionally, the heart will only open after the lung, large intestine, pericardium, triple heater, small intestine, and heart meridians have opened energetically. This process takes time, patience, understanding, and forgiveness. When the heart meridian opens, it releases an enormous amount of heat and warmth running along the inside of the upper and lower arm, through the wrist, and out through the centre of the hand. It is a wonderful energy.


When we’re stressed, our muscles contract causing the blood in our system to stop flowing properly, disconnecting our upper and lower energies of the body. The muscle responsible for connecting our upper and lower chakras is a large dome shaped muscle called the diaphragm, which is directly under the lungs. When we take a deep breath, the diaphragm stretches out to allow air into the lungs. As you exhale, the diaphragm curves inwards and upwards to help force all the unwanted air out of the lungs. The diaphragm is one of the most under-used muscles of the body, reason being, most of us breathe from the upper part of the chest, instead of letting the diaphragm do its work.

Many of us when stressed become chest breathers.  What happens when we do this, we tighten our abdominal muscles creating a mild form of hyperventilation (discharging too much carbon dioxide from the blood).  This causes the heart to work harder.

Many of the restrictions in your breath come from muscles tightened in a holding pattern.  Our old tensions and pains cause us to move our muscles less.  They become taut when we feel disappointed or disillusioned or betrayed, deflated or defeated. Diaphragmatic breathing eases the process of letting go, of releasing unnecessary emotional attachments so life can flow more easily.

If you can do 15 minutes of conscious breathing each day, in just a few weeks your breathing will shift permanently into your lower abdomen.  The deeper you breathe into the center of your body, the more you’re whole body will participate in the process, restoring balance to your whole system.   You’ll feel calm and energized as this new energy breaks up old habits and patterns and flows freely, through your body.


  • stand with your feet slightly apart and your arms at your sides.
  • breathe in and draw both shoulders back and upward toward your ears as high as you can without forcing or straining.
  • as you exhale, roll your shoulders down and forward to the starting position.
  • as you do this gentle movement slowly and smoothly, relax your shoulders, feeling the tension being released from the muscles.
  • repeat up to 10 times, 3 – 5 times a day (from the excellent book HEALING BACK PAIN NATURALLY by Art Brownstein M.D.)






The Fascial Web

The Fascial Web ~ Created by British Sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor Barcroft

“Fascia is wrapped throughout the body on “lines of pull.” It connects toes to brow in one uninterrupted sheet of fascia, and fingers to chest and neck. The heart fascia is connected at the collarbone, which connects to the arm and fingers. It coils around the bones, muscle fibers, muscle bundles, organs, arteries, veins and nerves, applying tension and compression to the body material it surrounds. http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-17936/understanding-fascia-what-it-is-why-you-should-care.html 

Fascia, the connective tissue of the muscular system

Fascia, the connective tissue of the muscular system

Fascia magnified 25X https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzy8-wQzQMY 


Resistance is an inner contraction,a hardening of the shell of ego. When you surrender, a new dimension of consciousness opens us. ~Eckhart Tolle

Even though great strides have been made to bring awareness to the fascia, it is the least most understood energy system and quite possibly the most important. The fascia or connective tissue is a continuous web-like membrane that wraps, interweaves and connects all bodily parts and processes (creating, supporting the body as an integrated ‘whole’). There is no part of the body, not one single cell that isn’t connected to this crystal-like lattice. It’s elastic and liquid-like connective tissue, delivers energy and information through its own independent nervous system. The fascia even forms the walls of the individual muscles, holding and binding our muscular network together; this web exists to help in our function and depending on our repetitive movements, creates patterns and cycles of our postures and habits. Over a long period of time these patterns and cycles can cause pain affecting our movements. One of the building blocks of  fascia is collagen which forms, thick twisted bands of densely packed fibres that support our movements and posture.

“In terms of fascia, however, collagen has a particular role, and supports our frequent movements and postures. If we were to hold a certain position for any length of time, we would experience stiffness. This stiff feeling is the beginning of collagen fibres lining up and thickening. Continued lack of movement or stiffness may eventually lead to ossification and atrophy, and is characteristic of so many stooped and painful postures we see around us. Bowen Unravelled: A Journey into the Fascia Understanding of the Bowen Therapy ~ Julian Baker

Fascia is a graphic expression of how we feel and think—it reflects our past experiences, our attitudes and our patterns of behavior.  The fascia also dictates our basic body shape, and our upbringing, physically and psychologically.  Therefore, the fascia expresses the movement within us as well as our conflicts and confusions.

Pain is caused by a lack of proper circulation or a blockage in the flow of energy—it can also impede the flow of blood throughout the body. This can result in numbness, heaviness, stiffness and swelling of the joints and muscles. Stress and tension also slows down our circulation and becomes an inflammation in certain areas of the body.

Stress doesn’t come from what we do, but more from how we react to what we do. We contract or tense the diaphragm to protect ourselves, the tightness in the diaphragm creates restriction in the mid back and lower ribs through its fascial connections. Indeed, stress and tension can literally tie our fascia in knots anywhere in the body. As tension in the fascia escalates, it forces our muscles to tightly grip us to a point it’s nearly impossible to disentangle ourselves from it.  If the fascia can’t return to it normal liquid state, we end up with a lot of toxins in our muscles. One surgeon was quoted as saying, “on cutting into thickened fascia, a large of amount of pus gave way”..

Metaphysically, fascia dysfunctions can leave us feeling restricted, helpless, fearful, frozen, angry, frustrated, brittle. In many cases it’s as if we’re stuck and no matter how hard we try, we can’t seem to move forward. Fascia grips and hardens wherever we have repressed an emotion. Stiff or rigid muscles indicate stiff or rigid thought patterns.

Fascia restrictions can cause an individual to struggle with a lack of personal power, self love, self-worth, competency, resources (both time and money), and lack of support. The person may feel separated from the world as if they’re outsiders watching others live happy, healthy lives. S/He may feel resentment and frustration because they can’t seem to execute and manifest their desires and dreams. When the fascia contracts, our perception of the world is becomes confused, disoriented, we retreat inside with our emotions. When fascial dysfunctions affect home, or work, we may feel trapped, either in a negative relationship or bad job, and are afraid to take the steps necessary to change. When we’re in pain we tend to pull away from our bodies and have difficulty staying grounded in reality. When that happens we easily become overwhelmed by the demands of life; and see the world hostile and people unkind. We can’t understand why everyone can’t just get along and accept each other rather than causing conflict and creating emotional pain. Rather than going with the flow, we pull back; and rather than dealing with problems, we carry them around in the fascia and the muscles.

When the first chakra is disconnected from the feminine Earth, we can feel orphaned and motherless. The masculine principle predominates, and we look for security from material things. Individuality prevails over relationship, and selfish drives triumph over family, social and global responsibility. The more separated we become from the Earth, the more hostile we become to the feminine. We disown our passion, our creativity, and our sexuality. Eventually the Earth itself becomes a baneful place. I remember being told by a medicine woman in the Amazon, “Do you know why they are really cutting down the rain forest? Because it is wet and dark and tangled and feminine. ~ Alberto Villoldo

Resistance manifests in the fascia whenever there is fear, denial, withdrawal, or separation.  We experience it in the body as hard, dry, unyielding, crystallized…

“Yet resistance is a natural and unconscious reaction to change. To free ourself from its clutches, we simply need to acknowledge it as a part of the process of growth. When we have a context for accepting change, then resistance is acceptable. Within a spiritual context we embrace our negativity. We become our own best friends and allow our feelings to be what they are.” LIFE CHANGES WITH THE ENERGY OF THE CHAKRAS ~ Amika Wauters 

Let’s backup a bit and learn more about the fascia and its importance to the cellular function and function to the body…

“Fascia plays a vital role in the following functions: Cellular respiration; Elimination; Metabolism; Fluid and Lymph flow; Repair by deposition of repair tissue; Conversion of body heat; Fat storage; Cellular health and the immune system ~ Myofascial Release ~ Ruth Duncan

Many forms of healing help to reverse the hardening effects of the stress on your muscles and fascia tissue. With hands-on healing, areas of holding begin to soften. Fresh blood begins to flow where hardened muscles previously squeezed the blood flow out. Fascia tissue begins to separate from each other, calming the nervous system and relaxing the body/mind.


It’s important we learn a bit about the fascia before exploring the many muscle groups of the body and their metaphysical meaning.  The fascia surrounds and embeds every living tissue, including all the muscles; without this 3 dimensional web, the body would quickly collapse.  There’s many web sites on the subject of the fascia if this introduction tweaks your interest…

If you’ve ever studied  the intricate web of a spider then you probably know its threads are woven from the inner vibration of the spider.  As the spider evolves, all that it has learned to survive is recorded and stored within its body.  Its web of life blends the past and present together attracting future events to come.  Without its web the spider could not survive.  It has become for the spider the visual point of the self, that continually evolves, disintegrates and then comes into being again.   A dynamic tapestry of energy, a universe within a universe never at rest but constantly sending and receiving even the most minute vibrations of its world.  It is and has become the instrument for the conscious expression of the spider.  A matrix of interlocking energies uniting the spiritual with the physical a powerful symbol of the creative spirit manifesting into form.

Just as the web is the foundation for the spider, so is the fascia system the matrix to the human body.  The purpose of fascia is to maintain our body shape and keep our organs in their proper place; It is a catalyst and one of many different sources of power to our bodies. Without it we could not survive.   It hugs our human form in a continuous web of threadlike energy which possesses 10 times more sensory nerve receptors than the muscles in our body, and has a signalling system very similar to that of the nervous system.  The fascia system is a totally integrated system in which every cell in the body is embedded in its structure .

“Research is revealing that the body is made up of unique molecular crystalline structures. These living structures can create, transmit, and receive biophotons to facilitate communication between tissues and molecules. This communication also relies upon a quantum field of biophotons. These two processes—the crystalline and the quantum—interact to spread information around the body.

This crystal matrix is critical for health, as it interconnects a person’s internal self with the environment. Light travels through the body’s crystal matrix into the DNA, which then produces “bio-holograms” that create the body. The most conductive light-matrix is the connective tissue, the largest organ in the body. The connective tissue is crystalline information;  the collagenous molecules that encase the organs are liquid crystals and the other, firmer tissues are considered solid crystals. The collagen molecules are also interesting in that they are semiconductors, able to convey electricity and information. The connective tissue can therefore process information just like the semiconductor chips in your computer.” The SUBTLE BODY: Cyndi Dale

If you can accept the concept that our bodies are like tiny microchips containing a library of  thousands of files  then you may also accept the theory that the fascia can store large amounts of information and arrange it in an infinite variety of ways—yet it isn’t that intelligent—that’s the brain’s role.  Its ability to retrieve information is quite miraculous and it can perform many complex operations in a twinkling of an eye. It is, an excellent record keeper of every injury, every memory (good and bad) that has had an emotional impact on our lives.  When we discover “balance” by learning the lesson, these events are no longer stored in the fascia where information would be pushed up for recognition.  Instead it is sent deep into our ‘energy systems’ for “reference”.

The fascia contains numerous cross energy currents, that needs to be moist to allow the free flow of energy. .It’s only been recent that we’ve begun to understand its intimate connection to the natural currents of the body. In different areas of the body, the fascia varies in thickness and strength, forming a shield of protection and location to the more delicate organs, like the spleen, liver, pancreas and gallbladder.

The fascia, also known as connective tissue is made up of three basic components: Elastin, Collagen, and a Ground Substance. Elastin, a fibrous substance, allows the fascia to be stretchy, flexible and expandable. When you think of elastin, think of an expanding and contracting elastic. Collagen another fibrous substance, allows the fascia to be strong, supportive and structural. Collagen gives fascia its strength and integrity. Blended in with, and in between, these fibrous elements is the ground substance. It is the gel or goo, so to speak, that allows the fascia great fluidity, in its normal state.

Apparently there are approximately 120 types of fascia found in every region of the body.  The abdominal area has may levels of fascia; in fact it has the greatest concentration of fascia in the body. Together the deep and superficial fascia hold our skin, muscles, bones, organs and systems together, offering them  a shield of protection and lubrication…certain areas hold stronger concentrations of energy..interconnected with all the inner workings of the body.

Habitual poor posture causes the fascia to bind down or clump together to support the pressure that’s been imposed on it. This causes the fascia to deform, creating an abnormal pull , which in turn worsens the condition. Because this imbalance occurs over a long period of time, We don’t usually realize it until the pain becomes excruciating.

“Fascia shrinks and toughens in response to any kind of stress; physical, environmental or psychological. When your posture closes for an extended period, pressure through the crystalline ground substance signals special cells within your fascia to produce more fiber. This causes overlapping fascial sheaths to adhere to one another. The knots we feel in our muscles when we are tense result when adjacent layers of fascia stick together. Chronic tension in the upper shoulders for example, causes fascia around the involved muscles to form adhesions that make it difficult to stretch out. “The New Rules of Posture: How to Sit, Stand and Move in the Modern World ~ by Mary Bond

“The long-term effects of stress on your body can be devastating. Not only are you plagued by an increase of stress hormones you also suffer from other aspects of the Fight or Flight Response. In Fight Response you hold on tightly. You tighten your muscles as if you were preparing to do battle with an enemy. If you remain frozen in this state of consciousness over time, your muscle tissue continues to shorten, harden, dry out and bond together. The fascia, or “connective tissue proper” as it is often called, forms layers around and between your muscles. When the muscles remain in a constant state of contraction, they bond together in a process called “hydrogen bonding.” Return to Nature: The Five Pillars of Healing ~ by Jon Burras

Fascia is designed to counteract stress by absorbing and distributing it along its entire network to maintain balance and to help reduce both physical and emotional trauma to the body. “Restrictions” of any nature can cause the fascia to shorten, solidify and thicken as it constantly tries to deal with stress and tension throughout its entire network. Because the fascia works as a complete network from head to toe, it effect and cause structural problems anywhere in the body.

“Over time, fascial restrictions insidiously spread like a pull in a sweater or stocking. Flexibility and spontaneity of movement are lost, setting t up the body for more trauma, pain and movement limitation. Although fascia is predominantly aligned top to toe, abnormal forces can cause it to twist and turn increasing the tensile force, pulling the body out of its three-dimensional alignment with the vertical gravitation axix. This results in biomechanical inefficiency and highly energy-consuming movement and posture (Barnes 1990). Deformation of tissues and the tensile force of the entire fascial unity can create pressure of up to 2,000 pounds per square inch on pain-sensitive structures (Katake 1961). MYOFASCIAL RELEASE ~ Ruth Duncan

It is important to know that restrictions in the fascia do not show up in any of the normal testings, such as CT scan, X-rays, myelograms, blood work etc.  This is why, for a long time, myofascial problems were misdiagnosed or completely ignored.

Imagining the fascia as liquid crystal flowing into every cell and nucleus in the body, we can sense its extreme sensitivity/receptivity to our insides and emotions. Metaphysically we know unexpressed emotions of the past can become locked in our tissues and organs; the fascia then would undoubtedly retain physical trauma, memories, scars, pain and stress. This ‘irritation’ also causes inner friction, reduced movement and restrictions in tissue growth. . All these can cause the fascia to tighten, becomes knotted, congested, sticky or brittle; not only is there restriction in the area of the injury; but also affecting other areas of the body.  This can cause layers of the fascia to become glued together restricting blood flow to joints, limiting nerve activity and muscle contractions. Movement would be more painful, putting us in a holding pattern that affects the body, mind and emotions. Because the fascia is a web, like a spider’s web, a pull in any one part will cause a reverberation through the entire system.

“Because the fascia connects to all body regions, adhesions in one place can create strain in distant areas. A stiff knee can derive from restricted fascial organization in a foot or hip, from adhesions around digestive organs, or even from imbalanced head position due to hearing loss in one ear. Any immobilized region tugs on distant strands of the holistic fabric, distorting the entire organ of posture.” The New Rules of Posture: How to Sit, Stand and Move in the Modern World ~ by Mary Bond

As well, the fascia is a web or tapestry of family threads, inborn traits and emotional memories. The emotional pain originates early in childhood when the unconditional love that the child needs is not received. The parents usually mean well but their love wasn’t freely given, because they’ve were hiding from their own emotional pain. Not only are they afraid of showing emotions, they’re also afraid of feeling them. This emotional suppression tightens the threads of fascia in a stranglehold and the individual looks like they’re sitting on a time-bomb of sadness, anger and fear, which either explodes, or trickles out in states of moodiness.

If we try to avoid or deny we’re suffering, most of the time it becomes more intense, often showing up in different areas of our bodies with increasing vengeance.

“Copper wire is a well-known conductor of electricity. If copper wire becomes twisted or crushed, it loses its ability to conduct energy properly. It is thought that the fascia may act like copper wire when it becomes restricted through trauma, inflammatory processes, or poor posture over time. Then its ability to conduct the body’s bioelectricity seems to be diminished, setting structural compensations and, ultimately, symptoms or restrictions of motion.” Treatment of Chronic Pain by Integrative Approaches: ~ by Albert L.Ray 


MYO means ‘muscle’, and fascia means ‘tissue’.  We already know the fascia or connective tissue is a continuous web-like three dimensional structure that intertwines, surrounds and supports every muscle and cell in the body.  The term myofascia, refers to both the muscle (myo) and its ‘fascia’ as a single unit.

In truth, when we move, we are mostly feeling this through the fascia layers and not so much our muscles. The fluidity of the fascia allows to the muscles to slide and glide through, next to and across one another. Even when the mind is going through all ups and downs of glory and defeat, your fascia is going through a thousand details (involuntarily) before you move a single muscle.  So even though your body hasn’t performed a task, the fascia is working hard at fighting and resisting your perceived circumstances.  In truth, it shouldn’t be fighting at all!

There are several modes of healing that aim to release tightness in muscles by stretching tight bands of fascia in the muscles and skin. Myofascial Release, Bowen Therapy, Reiki, Quantum Healing, Shiatsu, Acupuncture, Acupressure are designed to release chronically shortened muscle fibers through hands-on-healing and slow stretching.

“Shiatsu as ‘bodywork’ is distinguished by pressure, which has a specific effect on the connective tissue….body tissue which have become congested, brittle or poorly circulated can rapidly regain hydration and flexibility through the application of pressure…and a better connection in communication throughout the cells of the whole body (piezoelectricity).  SHIATSU THEORY AND PRACTICE ~ Carola Beresford-Cooke

~ to be continued….

Great Links

Excellent  article on the fascia https://chirobeans.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/fascia-havent-you-heard-everyones-talking-about-it/

This is a great site on the fascia http://www.selfcare4rsi.com/fascia.html

Fascia ~ Strolling Under the Skin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eW0lvOVKDxE

TV Documentary on the Fascia https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIFDwDdGnhQ


neck muscles front

“If you are one of the millions of people who suffer pain, stiffness, arthritis, whiplash, slipped disks, and other neck problems, you have probably tried the gamut of treatments, including surgery, chiropractic, acupuncture, traction, yoga, or medications for pain. Any or all of these may offer temporary relief but probably won’t provide a permanent cure. So what is the prescription for better and more balanced communication and lasting relief from painful neck problems……In addition to medicine and behavioral changes, you must identify and change the negative thoughts that are triggering your health problems. In Louise’s affirmation theory, the healthy neck and cervical spine represents flexibility and the ability to see both sides of the conversation. But turn this concept on its head by introducing an unbending mind-set or bullheadedness and health turns to illness and disease—in this case, a stiff or painful neck.” ALL IS WELL ~ Louise L. Hay and Mona Lisa Schulz, M.D. Ph.D.

“Tight muscles creating an armor in the upper back are often loaded with rage that was initially aimed at ourselves but then get projected outwards toward others. This can be seen in what is known as the ‘dowager’s hump’, a formation of soft tissue that builds in the upper back, most often in older women. It would appear to represent a collection of angry, and resentful thoughts that grow without the means for expression as the years pass; it manifests as we get older and as our reason or purpose for living loses impetus.” The BodyMind Workbook ~ Debbie Shapiro

“If we are having neck and shoulder problems, we need to question ourselves. Are we being too inflexible in our thoughts? Are we being too rigid? Are we afraid to see what’s on the other side of us or behind us? Are we taking too much responsibility on our shoulders? Are we taking on responsibility that is not ours. Do we refuse to see other’s point of view or perspective? Do we allow other’s refusal to see our perspective affect us. The Healer’s Manual ~ Ted Andrews

“Pain and stiffness in the neck denote inflexibility in thinking. You may be in a situation that you feel you can’t control as you wish. You may feel someone or something around you has become a pain in the neck. Perhaps you are uncomfortable with what you feel is going on behind your back. Whatever the issue you pretend it does not bother you, but in fact you feel as if stuck in an emotional roller coaster. ~ Lise Bourbeau ~ Your Body’s Telling You: Love Yourself!

The neck tilts, nods and turns and supports the heaveyweight of the head and protects the spinal cord as well. The brain’s messages and major blood vessels travel through the neck to the body, and so too, do the major meridians travel through this area.  To put it simply, the meridians are energy pathways that supply our physical and subtle bodies with vital energy—meridians are known to run under the skin; where they come close to surface is known as acupuncture/acupressure points.

“If you think of the meridians as an energy transportation system, a complex traffic network, you have a concrete model of how meridian energies interact. When a freeway becomes congested, it may be necessary to divert some of the traffic into another highway. An off-ramp may need to be cleared or widened. If a highway or meridian becomes backed up with too much energy, as occurs in the hubbub of life, a bottleneck forms. And the resources needed to support the community or the body [neck] are also blocked. It becomes difficult to provide food and remove waste products. Likewise, if a highway is damaged in an earthquake, even the critical support services that form the community’s “immune system” – like police, fire, and ambulance units – cannot function properly.” ENERGY MEDICINE ~ Donna Eden

Neck Meridians

“The 6th chakra..coordinates the harmonious cooperation of all the cells, organs and function systems of the body, as well as attuning the person’s way of living in the outer world with his or her plan in life and the constructive, harmonious interplay of the various personality aspects…..In addition, this creates a balancing effect on the stomach meridian, which runs from the area of the solar plexus over the chest, neck, and face through the eyes and shifts the activity of the brain more to the front section…Through the better functioning of the stomach meridian, problems can be processed more effectively and creative solutions for difficulties on all levels can be found and translated into reality. The resistance to stress is improved and self-perfection indirectly strengthened.  According to..Traditional Chinese Medicine, without a well-funcitoning stomach meridian, no healing reaction can be triggered.” The Spirit of Reiki ~ Walter Lubeck

At the base of the brain is a complex of nerves that impart special energy to the ears, eyes, nose, mouth and sensory nervous system.  It’s here that energy feeds your five senses, and when they don’t receive normal amounts of nerve energy the muscles can develop painful spasms which then restrict neck movements, causing strained ligaments that radiate pain to your head.

“The neck is a marvellous combination of yielding nonresistance, since it is able to turn in every direction.  In good health it is strong, flexible and bends easily… When one has health problems in the area of the neck he is fighting, resisting, rebelling against someone or some circumstance of life, and has probably become intolerant.” Catherine Ponder

Constant tension in the neck area will block the voice and breath; in a stressful or fearful situation the shoulders lift creating a hunch-back effect which exerts pressure on the back of the neck, making it impossible to breath properly.  This tension in the throat has also been associated with abdominal tightness which then produces a sensation of nausea.  At this point we complain to the doctor or therapist about being unable to swallow and unable to breathe properly.

“If the spine is in its correction position, up and flexible in its support, then shoulders should hang down and slight back without tension. Habits that infiltrate the should are a result of holding, placing bracing or lifting against a force trying naturally to find its ease. In other words, we consistently go against the shoulders’ natural drift downwards by hunching them in a different direction. Even as you sit there reading, becoming more and more engrossed in the activity and engaged with the words and thought, stop and notice how much tension has started to overtake your shoulders and upper chest. This is the slow drifting tide of tension we have to fight against. In order to keep this area free of contraction continual release and monitoring are necessary. Even the slightest unease in thought or gesture can make the tightness return so we must put ourselves on constant reminder to release here throughout the day. The Right to Speak: Working with the Voice ~ Patsy Rodenburg


The neck actually consists of seven loosely joined cervical vertebrae at the top of the spine. The spine is near the center of the neck, not at the back as many of us imagine. This neck section of the spinal column is wrapped in dozens of muscles that contract and relax every time you move your head or alter the alignment of your spine or skull. These muscles have a tricky job on balancing what looks like a wobbling pumpkin on a broom stick.

“The head should naturally balance on top of the spine, its weight economically distributed. If you balance or juggle a heavy object on top of a pole you will instantly see how even the smallest shift will topple the object. Our head don’t drop off but a series of muscles in the neck and shoulders have to work overtime to compensate for any misalignment we are suffering.” The Right to Speak: Working with the Voice ~ Patsy Rodenburg

Neck Muscles Back

The most vulnerable neck muscle is the trapezius. It runs from the base of the skull down the back of the neck, where it fans out to the shoulder blades and spine. The head can weigh up to 20 lbs and carrying your head too far forward strains this muscle, which most of us do working at a desk, typing and looking at the computer screen.

Wearing high heels also strains the trapezius as the heels tilt a woman’s legs forward, thrusting her buttocks back. To compensate, the chest neck and head are forced to tilt forward.  And this also means the trapezius must strain to hold the head in place.

The other major neck muscle is the sternomastoid. To find it, turn your head toward your shoulder and run  your hand along the protruding muscle that extends from the base of the skull just below the ear down the front of the neck to your collarbone. The sternomastoid supports the neck to the side and front, whereas the trapezius controls front and back. If you brace your shoulder against a heavy shoulder bag, strain while lugging a suite case of scrunch up to hold your cell phone, you’re tensing both the trapezius and sternomastoid.

Are you short-sighted, as this can push the head forward straining the trapezius–and an aggressive attitude towards the world can push the head forward too.

Mental stress can create or compound neck pain. If you are depressed or angry, your muscles may tense without you even knowing. The longer the tension holds, the more likely the muscle will harden into a painful knot.

The key to breaking the spasm-pain cycle is to relax the muscle and increase circulation.  Breathing exercises, a hot bath or heating pain might help as well as gentle massage and simple exercises.


Metaphorically, of the many people I’ve treated for neck tension, 60% of the problem had to do with low self-esteem.  Deep down inside they didn’t feel worthy of love and struggled with feelings of unworthiness. For many people, this low self-esteem had been caused from childhood fears of feeling unwanted, ignored,  rejected or even problems going through the birth canal. (The neck represents the in-taking, the beginning of life. It is here that we swallow the reality that forms the essence of our life).  Unknowingly, this affects a person both physically and emotionally, causing a fear of never quite measuring up. Many with neck problems, have a tendency to process information more deeply and become overwhelmed by criticisms, rejections, losses, betrayals and deaths.  Unfortunately this makes them even more vulnerable to attack and control from the outside and much of their life is spend in devising ways of protecting themselves so that what’s deep inside their core isn’t discovered; they struggle with an inner feeling of shame.

Many people with afflictions to their neck love to look after others.  Their ambition is to help others and often do this to their own detriment. The parents, you see, had invested all their energy in making their child dependent (which encourages sickness and weaknesses of all kinds) so the child would enjoy it when his or her pet is sick because s/he could look after it.

When in very early life, our creative self-expression is repressed and we are not encouraged to make our own choices, we find ourselves living someone else’s dreams, ideas or expectations.  Unaware of an alternative, we experience frustration, tension and even depression;  we feel restless, anxious or even guilty because we’re unable to get ourselves to do what we really want to do. When this happens we find ways to reduce our stress by eating sweets and pastries or opening a pint of ice-cream or a quart of beer and kill hours surfing the internet or watching TV. What we’ve done is repressed our feelings and diverted them into some form of ‘habitual pattern’. The longer this tension holds, the more likely the muscle(s) will spasm or harden into a painful knot.  The more we suppress our hopes and desires the more we wither on the inside; we also become dependent on others to tell us what  we want and where we wish to go.  If we fail to speak out for ourselves, our suppressions can actually cripple us.

It is true that anxiety, jealousy, anger, creates stress that tends to strike the muscles in the upper back and neck.   Stiffness in the neck can cause the cervical bones to go out of alignment by restricting the circulation and nerve energy, which may eventually result in rheumatism and/or cervical problems. The neck is one of our most vulnerable areas and when stressed could indicate an inability to express what we’re feeling, blocking off our communication. The neck is considered by many spiritual disciplines as the gateway or bridge to the spiritual world through which the breath must pass.

Anger can also come from a habit of reacting angrily instead of listening with patience and compassion.  And these fiery outbursts of energy create a lot of acid in the body. The constant release of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol can sear the body in a way that is similar to acid searing metal. Even hours after the output of these chemicals, they still remain high in the body, elevating blood sugar levels, causing damage to the muscular system, decalcifying our bones and thinning our skin. This is when toxic emotions become deadly emotions.

When we are under stress, the thyroid gland has to work harder, pumping out more of its hormones.  The thyroid controls our ‘basic’ metabolism, cardiac rhythm, and manages our ability to adapt. If stress continues, the thyroid won’t be able to continue its increased level of production and may begin to fail.  When this happens, the immune system becomes confused and starts producing antibodies against the thyroid.  As the thyroid falters, metabolism slows, causing mood swings, emotional outbursts,  irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, aches and pains in joints and muscles, and muscle weakness and coordination problems.

If you’d like to more about the metaphysics of the thyroid, EMOTIONALLY, PSYCHOLOGICALLY AND SPIRITUALLY DECODING THE THYROID

Problems in the neck area can also be caused by restrictive breathing.  The muscles that lift the rib when we breathe deeply into the abdomen are the sternocleidomastoid muscles and the upper trapezius muscles on the back of the neck – shallow breathing can result in neck strain and chronic neck tension – and – the most common cause of headaches is neck tension, especially the excessive pull on the base of the skull where the upper trapezius attaches.

If you have any structural problems with your back, spine, neck or overall posture, this will restrict the nerve supply to your organs and digestive system; the result of this is poor digestion which can lead to toxic buildup of food materials in your intestines.  From this, you might develop food sensitivities as the healthy food becomes toxic.


“Expressing our feelings is the function of the Throat Chakra. People who are not prepared to deal with emotional energy often have problems with their throat, mouth, teeth, and ears. When we limit the flow of energy by blocking our expression, there is insufficient energy to feed these areas of the body, and energy has a difficult time reaching the higher centers of the mind. If there are energy leaks in the Throat Chakra because of suppression, negative energy will stay bound in the body and form the musculature and character style of the person. Energy will never rise up to the higher mind, to be expressed as thoughts, opinions or insights. This can produce engorgement of the tissues, rigidity of the bones and other congestive problems. The more we feel free to express ourselves, the more internal regulation we have for our mental and emotional functions. Energy wants to be able to flow in and through us”  LIFE CHANGES With the Energy of the Chakras ~ Amika Wauters

When Alyssa came to visit me and other practitioners in the clinic, she was suffering from a condition known as cervical spondlyosis.

(Cervical spondylosis, also known as cervical osteoarthritis, is a disorder where the bones in the neck and the discs start degenerating. Anatomically, degeneration in the bones and discs of the neck are usually the result of wear and tear as we grow older.  What happens, is, the discs lose  their elasticity causing them to become more brittle. Along with the degeneration of disks, bony outgrowths may also form on the vertebrae which are called osteophytes. All these degenerative changes in the cervical spine cause compression and pressure on the spinal nerves that come out of the spinal cord producing symptoms of Cervical Spondylosis. The symptoms of cervical spondylosis are:  – pain and stiffness in the neck which is usually progressive in nature; pain and numbness that radiates to the hands and fingers;  headache that starts from the neck and extend to the back of head; loss of balance and vertigo (sensation of spinning or whirling with loss of balance).

No matter the temperature outside, Alyssa always, always wore turtle-neck tops or scarves right up to her chin.  She spoke in whispers as if afraid to speak out and  found myself leaning in more to hear what she was saying. The fifth chakra is associated with our ability to communicate and express ourselves. When the fifth chakra is balanced, we feel we have the right to speak and be heard; we communicate clearly and can express ourselves creatively. When the fifth chakra energy is deficient, there is a tendency to protect our throat, to be silent and to fear self-expression.

“Most people are not prepared to express the depth of their feelings. They chose safety rather than honesty. Their Throat Chakras then become congested with energy that eventually becomes stagnant..” LIFE CHANGES With the Energy of the Chakras ~ Ambika Wauters

At the base of the brain is the Medulla Oblongata. This area at the back of the neck feeds nerve energy to our five senses. When we have no desire, no will, our nerve energy becomes depleted, it never reaches our ears, eyes, throat or mouth. Our five senses are literally starved and react by creating a physical problem. When we are drained of energy, of power, our body steals it from our eyes, ears, nose, throat and mouth.

(Solar Plexus 3rd Chakra)

During Alyssa’s Reiki treatment, her mind/body spoke of her being intensely self-critical and, very much  like a harping parent trying to redo herself over and over again (Solar Plexus 3rd chakra). This not only creates a crises and personally overhauls the personality; it also creates changes in friends and our surrounding environment. Alyssa said, she had no idea how to stop picking on herself. This self-destruct, self-punishment cycling was creating her bones to landslide, down to the pits, the bottom…in a devastating momentum. Alyssa hadn’t realized how big her self-criticism was.  After the treatment she also realized all the struggles with losing jobs, her home, lifestyle, everything was her continually trying to start over and over again .. ‘trying’ to be ‘totally’ someone else.  This tendency to ‘change’ also made Alyssa vulnerable, giving her power to others and leaving her insecure and bewildered.

The 3rd chakra is the center of self-esteem or the lack there-of; it’s the chakra of how we’ feel about ourselves;  it registers every memory you have of being criticized and what you define as being attractive.  Everybody’s approval you need is in this part of the body and how you react to people and situation in regard to your sense of self. For example, if you picture being attractive, anorexic, and permanently looking 24, or any other component of being attractive, your spirit will leave your solar plexus and temporarily plug into images surrounding the social mind that says, unless I accomplish that image, I’m not attractive.  This is similar to what Alyssa’s energy was plugged into.  In the past, she so desperately needed someone’s approval she started remodelling  everything about her ‘self’.  This may seem a little thing but it’s really a Huge thing because you’re saying to that person, “I agree with you, I’m not good enough the way I am, so I’ll let you remodel me.” So little by little you begin to negotiate your sense of self to please the other person.

When we are disempowered or held back by a dominating figure, we usually hold in our feelings of pain and humiliation.  As said before, holding in negative emotions short circuits our nervous system, depleting our energy, circulation and digestive system. The energies of the solar plexus center affect the digestive system, the pancreas, the liver and gall bladder, the diaphragm, and the middle back.  The diaphragm is also very important in the role of speaking. It allows us to express our deepest feelings inside.  It helps us to connect to our power, our sexuality, our passion, our creativity and higher spiritual values. It begins at our 2nd chakra, the seat of our emotions.  This area records all our repressed as well as passionate feelings.

The diaphragm is a muscle shaped like an inverted bowl that separates the chest casvity from the abdomen.  As you breathe in this muscle stretches out to allow air into the lungs.  As you breathe out, the diaphragm curves inwards and upwards to help force all the stale air out. The human body is designed to exhale 70 percent of its toxins through breathing. Only a small percentage of toxins are released through sweat, and the elimination of waste products from the body.

The scalene muscles attach to the sides of the neck vertebrae as well as the top two ribs. The scalene help stabilize, flex and rotate the neck; their main job is to raise the upper two ribs on each side when you inhale. The scalene muscles work extremely hard when your breathing is stressed or if your coughing and sneezing.

In upper chest breathing, the diaphragm is unable to expand and contract as it should, this overtaxes and shortens the scalene muscles and the trapezius in the neck.  Shortened muscles in the neck causes undue stress on the


Why you make the choices you make stem from your core beliefs and feelings about your inner power or lack thereof. Second chakra imbalances affect your mental and emotional perceptions and  your motivations for making life decisions. This chakra keeps energetic messages of your development as a child. So in truth, this is where the inner child originates from.  If the inner child is misplaced, due to trauma, it is usually found either in the base or solar plexus area.

Parts of the body controlled by the 2nd chakra are the sexual organs, large intestine, lower vertebrae, pelvis, appendix, bladder and hip area.

The base chakra gives us stability, the 2nd or sacral chakra gives us movement.  Without water, the earth would be infertile.  Picture a beautiful waterfall flowing majestically down a mountain.  Look closely at the rock formation and see how the water has gently carved, molded and smoothed the face of the stone.  Together earth and water create a potent connection.  This helps us to see that the sacral chakra also has to do with our bodily fluids, blood circulation, hydration and elimination.  It is also linked to the lympathic system which takes us to the 5th or throat chakra.

When the Root (1st chakra) and sacral chakra are balanced there’s a harmony between the body/mind. If the 2nd chakra is blocked or never properly developed, our mental health can be affected.  We may lack common-sense and be immature about personal relationships. We may exhibit an urge to control other people and react childishly, like having a temper tantrum to get our own way.

It is not unusual for people with traumatic childhood’s to have blockages in their first 3 chakras. Problems with their health may show in the muscles and nervous system, eczema, ulcers, kidney and structural (bone) problems.  These 3 energy centers are the basis for the framework of the body.


I’ve written of the Three A’s before which are so vital in the process of healing, have added them again.


Awareness, Acceptance, Adjustment

“The formula is simple.  Take your greatest victory as your ceiling and your worst defeat becomes the place where your foundation will be built.  Once that’s in place you’ve got a frame which you will fill with joy and sorrow.  From your center will come the creative force of your being, your truth and your instincts.  It is from this place that everything else evolves.” Linda Joyce

AWARENESS – To make changes to our world, we first need to know where we are before we can decide how to get where we want to go.  If you got lost driving to my house, you’d call and ask for directions.  To help you get here, my first question to you would be “Where are you now.”  Awareness is about asking yourself….”Where am I now”; it always determines your next move.

ACCEPTANCE – Awareness and acceptance are intertwined.  By learning to accept freely and uncritically where we are at this moment, we begin to allow our unconscious to release more knowledge about ourselves.  The process of acceptance is one of acknowledging to ourselves that we are in fact perfect—it is where we are supposed to be right now.

Mentally fighting our current situation with judgements such as “I should be better” drains our energy and self-esteem.  Without acceptance of where we are, there is no possibility of moving in a direction of our choice or of every enjoying ourselves fully.

For example, until some acknowledges and accept a current situation of being overweight, he or she cannot choose the goal of thinness and enjoy the process of moving toward it.

ADJUSTMENT – Once we are aware and accept where we are, can we go on to make the changes in our habits that we’d like to make and bring us to a greater state of health.

The keys to the stage of Adjustment are patience and moderation.  Often we go too fast and become discouraged when we can’t change everything overnight, or else we think that the changes needed are so great that we’ll never be able to make them and discourage ourselves before we start.

Giving a voice to your independent point of view, will attract appreciation and love for the person you truly are. If you surround yourself with people of who you really resonate with, you experience the joy of knowing that you are valued for being there in the present moment with them. When you trust your own perceptions and act on them to create an inner equilibrium, you add the peacefulness of your presence to the situation.

When you go to your deep self and then express the balance and stability that is there, you silently invite others to go to that place within themselves. The power of your harmony impels others to go to their depths also if they wish to relate to you; in this way, through claiming your centre, you create harmony.


We can only build truly satisfying connections by first developing a secure relationship with ourselves; we need to accept and validate our feelings and needs and be willing to assert ourselves, even it breaks the peace as this actually creates a deeper and more authentic contact. We also need to apply this to our own bodies when we notice pain or discord.  We need to go within and listen and discover how we’re using our personal energy and power…which also involves our sense of self-esteem and self-expression. It’s also learning about the cause and effects of our choices and how we wield our own power.

As you learn to consciously observe the transformation process, you will watch yourself repeating a lot of old patterns long after you seemingly know better.  Spiritually and intellectually, you realize there is another way, but emotionally you are still clinging to the old habits.  This is a difficult time.  Try to be patient and compassionate with yourself.  When you recognize the futility of an old pattern so clearly, it’s about to change!  A short time later, you will suddenly begin to respond differently, in a more positive way.


This is a simple but significant assignment I gave to Alyssa and have shared with most of my clients;… for the next few days pay attention to your feelings and write a description in a journal or notebook just for this exercise.  You’re going to find out what makes you feel good and what makes you feel sad, what irritates you, what frightens you, what makes you nervous, and what you avoid. All you have to do is write what happened immediately after the feelings … “I stepped out in the rain and felt happy … or .. walked into a room and felt uneasy”

This is not a feeling’s journey, it’s like a log without editorializing…

You see we all have the habit of trying to hide our feelings from ourselves. We automatically deny uncomfortable feelings and try to turn them into comfortable ones … it’s not easy to catch yourself doing that.

And if the event that triggered the feelings seems too small to have mattered, your active brain is going to go looking for something fancier and overlook the right event, so this project will be a bit difficult at first  .. very similar to another meditation on this blog.. Counting Your Thoughts Visualization

Actually logging your feelings is making you accept yourself, and respect yourself, a whole lot more than a hundred affirmations saying “My feelings are all right” or “I’m a good person” The very act of noting something means you accept it.

What if you only really want good feelings .. “I just want to be happy and find my passion” .. well we know that doesn’t work.

We can all remember a time when we felt good, positive, bold, but we also remember times we felt rotten, for weeks and just couldn’t get rolling.  There is a way to get through the bad feelings fast but squashing them won’t do it.

To work with feelings, you must use feelings.

If you’re feeling hurt, you probably need to cry. If you’re scared you might need to run for safety. If you’re angry then you need to speak out about the injustices done.  And though we were trained to control our feelings in public and to think before we act .. it doesn’t mean we should make this a habit in our personal lives.

If you’re not alone with your feelings, don’t swallow them ,, just postpone them for a moment and go somewhere private to express them. Cry, tremble, shake your fists, curse the injustices.  Do whatever the feeling seems to want you to do. Go ahead and groan or heave heartbreaking sighs in the bathroom. Snarl and punch your palm in the coat closet. Shiver and admit you were scared to death. I know it’s hard because we’ve learnt to keep all those feelings in but just a few minutes of expressing your feelings will radically lower their intensity and give them a chance to transform themselves the natural way .. just like a thundershower clears away dark clouds.

Unexpressed feelings are toxic. That’s why nature gave us the tools of expression–to discharge the toxins that have built up inside. Expressing our feelings is the only natural way to turn a bad feeling into a good one. When you’re alone, drop the facade we’ve been conditioned to wear and let the fear and hurt and anger burst out or you’ll carry them around with you for days, until they leak into scenes of your life where they don’t belong and wreak havoc.

Trying to pretend to feel better doesn’t work, same as the same affirmation said over and over again… the mind is so creative it eventually resents the dullness of the repetition. Whenever I try to repeat an affirmation over and over my subconscious rebels because there is a defiant child in all of us that doesn’t always want to do the right thing lol!

This exercise isn’t about silencing or arguing with our thoughts; it’s about listening and acknowledging them so we can begin making gradual changes to our internal critical self-talk

Do you feel tense, , To rectify this, learn to stop yourself  for a moment and notice where your thoughts are.  Are they in the present, past or future or directed towards a person or thing?


When Alyssa returned a week later, she couldn’t believe the many voices and images inside her head that put her down or said horrible things about her. It made her aware of how negatively she talked to herself and that this needed to change in order to feel differently.  I also told Alyssa, our thoughts are part of where we scatter our attention, our power; they are made of old beliefs, experiences, feelings, fears and hopes all collected in a jumbling pattern; in a way they are alive and conscious, depending on how much power we give them.

Images we hold in regard to our past (childhood) as well as present time, influences not only unhealthy situations but can arise in the form of unhappy experiences as well as mental or physical illness.

For her 2nd Reiki treatment, I asked Alyssa to again listen to the critiques inside her head but this time, try and identify from whom these inner voices came (mother, father, siblings, colleague, teacher, partner, etc.) and if she could locate where she felt them resonating in her body.  As the healing began, I asked Alyssa to illuminate and bring into focus the buried images/feelings she’d written down. With the hand placements of Reiki  we worked together to bring the hurtful images/feelings out of hiding. Rather than zapping them out of existence, we surrounded and immersed them in light, where they began to lose their strength and destructive power. This would need to be reinforced again, and again, but each time, the critiques-within would lose more of their power.

I recommended Alyssa talk to the dietician in the clinic and consider other healing tools, such as Yoga, Tai Chi, EFT and massage. I also gave her meditations to help with her self-esteem.

The most important element to self healing is the ability to be present with your Self.  You cannot begin if you are preoccupied with the past or living in the expectations of future times.  All these do is scatter your ability to focus and  leave you powerless.

Being in the present  will begin the process of releasing powerful emotions that have been masked or blocked.  It means courageously looking back and inward on a pain originally based on a fear…..an often painful process  we all try desperately to avoid.  AND  when we avoid pain, we experience frustration, anger and exhaustion…..our bodies only get sicker.

Taking care of yourself requires discipline and focus……it takes a lot of courage to nourish and respectfully pay attention to YOU.


MEDITATION ~ FREEING YOUR BODY  The Self-Esteem Companion  ~  Matthew McKay Ph.D., Patrick Fanning, Carole Honeychurch, Catherine Sutker

People experience emotions in their bodies as well as their minds.  Do you ever get “gut feelings” about things? Have you every been very angry and felt your stomach clenching? Or Experienced sadness as a heaviness in the chest?

Even chronic feelings of low self-esteem can manifest in your body. You may feel the hollowness of failure in your stomach, the pressure of self-blame on your heart, or the pain of shame in your throat. You have a painful hunch of shoulders from a fear of rejection.

The following exercise can help free your body of feelings connected to low self-esteem. You may want to voice-record the exercises for repeated use.

The first step is to relax your body and mind. Sit or lie down in a quiet place, close your eyes and begin to breathe slowly and deeply. Mentally check in with your body, scanning your muscles for signs of tension. If you find any tense areas, take a belly-breath and release the tightness as you exhale. Remember to scan your whole body—your face, chest, back, arms, stomach, pelvis, and legs.

When you feel physically relaxed, try to quiet your mind. Clear out the random thoughts that dart in and out, and concentrate on a sense of stillness. If thoughts intrude, simplet let them come and watch them go, always returning your focus to the quietness of your mind. Now you’re ready to begin the visualization to clear your body of emotion-based pain.

Visualize the negative feelings that lie in your body. Give them a shape and a color. Make them as ugly and weird as you want. They could look like an anvil, a sword, a sack of potatoes, or an empty cave. Take some deep breaths. With each breath, see those feelings move out of your body and away from you. Watch the anvil leave your stomach or the choking fingers let go of your throat. You are floating past the bad feelings now. They are out of your body, and you are drifting away from them. They get farther and farther away from you. Keep fcuisng on your brahting as the negative feelings move farther away, first becoming a distant speck, the finally disappearing altogether.

Say to yourself: “These are feelings from the past. They come up whenever a situation arises that challenges me. I will survive them, floating past until until my body is free from all of the pain.”

In your imagination, step outside of yourself. Now you can see how bad you’ve felt. You can see how  you struggle with these negative feelings in your torso and limbs. See your face, the position of your body.  Imagine the location of any remaining negative feelings as a red glow in your body. It will fade in a while. Take deep breaths as you watch the red glow diminish. Imagine the bad feelings passing as the glow gradually fades away. If you wish, you can turn the red light into a neutral or relaxing color–pale blue or another gentle pastel. When you are ready, go back inside yourself.

Finally, envision a mental picture of yourself days or even years from now when these bad feelings are long gone. See yourself standing straight and tall, head up, confident, and relaxed. As you bring your awareness back to a more relaxed present moment, remember that you can do this exercise whenever your body is experiencing tension or pain from emotional stress.


Breathing is the most natural thing in the world. It is at the very center of our physical lives. It is instinctive and involuntary and yet how often do we let it work naturally? Most people most of the time are unconsciously hindering the full extent of their breath. Look at the breathing of a young child, and you will see the whole system working effortlessly. All the movement is centred in the middle of the body. This is because that child has not had time to learn any bad habits that can interfere with the natural process.

Now take a moment to observe yourself. Is your head freely balanced on the top of the spine, or is it held tightly in position? Is your jaw or throat tense? Are your shoulders braced up toward your ears or slumped forward? Is the upper chest caving in or being pulled up? Is your stomach relaxed? How free are your knees and feet?

All these little details, habits born from experience, can affect your breathing, making it inefficient. If your posture is bad, for example, the muscles that create the changes in the body that lead to the intake and outflow of breath are restricted in their natural movement, and the lungs cannot expand to their full potential. This can result in breathing only in our upper ribs, a habit we get used to and accept as normal.

Also, the breath and emotions are interrelated. When you are angry, you might hold your breath, or, if you are particularly nervous or stressed, your breathing might become very short and shallow. Most people only use their lungs to their maximum potential when they laugh or cry deeply –laughter and crying both leave behind a feeling of relaxation, a release of emotional tension. Think of how tired and cleansed you feel after a bout of wholehearted laughter, or relief you feel after a deep sigh. If you have ever had a massage, you will have noticed that as your muscles relax, your breathing deepens and slows.

Try is little exercise, it will allow you to feel how deeply you can breathe.

Stand upright with your feet apart. Cross your arms in front of you, and rest the palms of your hands on your shoulders. It should look as if you were giving yourself a hug.

In this position, relax your arms and shoulders. There should be no unnecessary tension in the upper body. Drop your head forward, bending from the waist. Breathe all the way out, and then slowly, naturally allow a big breath in. You will be aware of your ribs opening in your back, and it should feel like the breath will be moving right down your spine.

Repeat a few times. Drop your arms, and then return to an upright position, slowly–if you stand up too quickly you may become dizzy.

Great Links

Trapezius muscle release (youtube)

Easy trapezius stretch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jiq1WbdfkE










“The object of anxiety is within ourselves. When we fail to consciously recognize our Natural and Sacred Anxiety they reappear wearing bizarre disguises and we fight these phantoms, monsters of our own creation. Yet we usually have no idea that we have done this; our habits of suppression have become so automatic that we are no longer aware of them. Thus we have the strange sensation that we are fighting ourselves, and when we are feeling from our self, there is no-where to run and nowhere to hide” Finding Serenity in the Age of Anxiety ~ Robert Gerzon

Your  body is a graphic expression of everything it has ever experienced; every event, every emotion and every stress and pain is locked within its bodily system.  Alternative healers and therapists have learned through years of experience to interpret the body’s visual clues that reveal a person’s pattern of feeling, thinking and acting; using this knowledge helps to  release tensions embedded as ‘residue of symptoms’ in our cells.

Most people don’t realize that within our bodies is a freely circulating giant plumbing system (lymphatic system) that continuously flows up to 10-15 litres of essential fluids at any one time. In healthy undamaged tissue, food is brought into muscles and waste is taken out through this process. In damaged tightened tissue however, contracted areas literally can’t release their waste, almost like a constipation effect, which blocks the exit of waste products.  As these waste products accumulate, nerves that are located in the muscle become irritated. These nerves then send pain signals to the brain, causing both physical and emotional discomfort. Overtime, the tightening of muscle fibres and accumulation of wastes form little ‘balls’ which you can actually feel when you press on tight muscles.

A build up of waste products is not all that happens when muscles tighten. Your body’s main information highway, the Center Nervous System (CNS – which is comprised of your brain and spinal chord), is also negatively affected. When muscles tighten, irritated nerve fibres feed back into the CNS continuously, signaling to it that something is wrong—causing a ‘white noise type of effect.

If you’ve ever tried to listen to a song on the radio through bad static you know how frustrating background noise can be. Your nervous system goes through the same thing as it tries to transmit information over a background of irritated nerve signals that distort its messages.

“It seems that the muscles and organs also have the capacity to trigger memories of our emotional reactions to specific events. Consequently, if we find ourselves experiencing something that’s similar and has a familiar emotional charge to it, we’ll sense it in specific parts of the body. For example, we might experience right shoulder tension every time we find ourselves feeling responsible for carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders, or we might have jaw discomfort every time we’re in a verbally contentious situation.

The body and knows and tells us through the muscles. They’ll freeze up, contract, and spasm as if altering the brain that something is up. And while anatomists can’t prove these sensory impulses to the brain via the nerves are actually emotions, they can show that what they evoke is the source of how experience emotions. To support their findings, they use the examples of how strong negative emotions are gut-wrenching, how they can freeze us in our tracks if we’re about to put ourselves in harm’s way, how anger changes the functioning of the heart, and how love makes the knees weak and the palms sweaty. “ Healing Happens With Your Help ~ Carol Ritberger

Muscles enable us to move, and contribute to our shape, as well as helping us to breathe, digest food, circulate blood, and perform many other bodily functions. There are two main types: the skeletal muscles that you can move voluntarily, and the involuntary muscles, like those of the heart, which move automatically.  Each end of a skeletal muscle is attached to a bone on either side of joint.

Complexes, traumas and unresolved issues from our early childhood often  seethe below the level of our consciousness. Almost all unresolved negative patterns and attitudes have a tendency to be pushed to the ‘back’ of the body; it’s the dumping ground, the place where all feelings and experiences that have caused us pain or confusion are buried.  For some of us, our whole life is built around suppressing what is back there—the longer issues of our past aren’t acknowledged—the more damage and wear-and tear they have on the skeletal and muscular part of the body.

In the upcoming articles on this bog, we’re going to explore the many metaphysical causes of back pain and muscle tension and several healing tools and techniques of healing them.  It is only a beginning point to give you your own direction. It has to be up to you to understand and become aware of gathering your own data, understanding it and applying it to your life.


In Part One of Metaphysically Understanding Back Pain, we’re going to begin this series with the neck, ‘the point of connection’ between the head and trunk.

Tight muscles creating an armor in the upper back are often loaded with rage that was initially aimed at ourselves but then get projected outwards toward others. This can be seen in what is known as the ‘dowager’s hump’, a formation of soft tissue that builds in the upper back, most often in older women. It would appear to represent a collection of angry, and resentful thoughts that grow without the means for expression as the years pass; it manifests as we get older and as our reason or purpose for living loses impetus.” The BodyMind Workbook ~ Debbie Shapiro

Following Part One, we’ll discuss the fascia, which your muscles and organs are enfolded in—combined the fascia and muscle tissue (myofascia) define the contour of the body—together they form the structure and movement in the body. When your stressed or ‘uptight’, gastric juices increase, blood vessels go into spasm, particularly the coronary vessels of the heart. Muscles clench and contract, especially the back muscles, your fascia twists, turns, tightens and thickens causing muscular pain.  The muscles in fact appear to be held in a grip of fear.

The bones of your back speak metaphorically too, and there is a very close relationship between back pain and the nerves in and around your spine.  The brain’s electrical system is all about nerves and a cable system that conveys messages around the body.  The spine’s electrical system includes  the myelin sheaths.  These insulated nerve fibres protect messages as they pass to and from the brain without getting jumbled, weakened or lost. It also helps maintain healthy connections between different parts of the brain, which is vital to process information in a multi-faceted way.

We’ll journey through the 33 vertebrae in the five sections or regions of the spine. You have seven vertebrae in your neck or cervical region; twelve in the mid-back, known as the thoracic or dorsal region; (these are the vertebrae attached to your ribs) and five vertebrae (largest of all) in the low back or lumbar region—two other ‘immobile’ sections are the sacrum and the coccyx. The entire package amounts to a mechanism that can bend and twist, turn and squirm, shake and wiggle and do just about anything else within the range of human motion. But just as easily it can stiffen up, resist, hold itself rigid, causing  nerve irritation, muscle tightness, fatigue, muddled thinking, anxiety disorders, chronic stress, insomnia, etc..

The mind/body connection is about turning inward and preparing yourself for reflecting or mirroring on the story of your life. Hopefully this metaphysical series on understanding back pain will act as catalyst to move you into deeper levels of inner awareness. The metaphysical explanations and various techniques and imageries may help you to see real connections between the physical and spiritual world and discover deeper meanings of our emotions and their connection to illness and pain.

Be patient with your healing and respect the fact that true healing takes time. If you’ve been in pain for a while, it will probably take you 25% of that time, to work on all aspects of your problem to generate significant lasting healing change.

“Much of what creates a great athlete, as well as a great meditator, is the ability to become acutely conscious of the simple actions that most people perform unconsciously. In Medical Meditation, these actions include not just breathing, but also postures and movement. Advanced meditators are just as conscious of their movements and postures as they are of their breathing and their state of mind.” The Healing Elements of Medical Meditation ~ Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D. and Cameron Stauth

to be continued…..


You know what it’s like. You go to bed, tired and yet you lie there for hour upon hour, tossing and turning, trying desperately to go to sleep. The more you try to go to sleep the more sleep evades. When you finally drop off, it seems like only minutes before the alarm clock wakens you to face another day. Many of us are trapped on this merry-go-round of lack of sleep and mind/body exhaustion. The harder we try the more anxious we become. 

OR…maybe falling asleep when you go to bed isn’t the problem. The problem is, you’re always waking up like clockwork between 1:00 am and 3:00 am every morning. We may not realize it, but our bodies have many duties to perform while we are sleeping—between 1:00 and 3:00 am is when the liver rejuvenates itself—to do so, it needs glycogen. Glycogen is stored within the muscles and liver as a form of glucose; its role is to increase blood sugar levels in the body when they drop. Therefore, it’s possible waking up at 3:00 am every morning is an indicator of low blood sugar, which causes our cortisol levels to spike.

 (As blood sugar drops it’s the liver’s job to make glucagon, a substance that triggers the breakdown of ‘complex carbohydrates’ glycogen into glucose or blood sugar.   The glucose then streams out into the blood, raising the sugar level again. If a person’s blood sugar is unstable, leading towards hypoglycemia then psychologically there’s a problem with the liver, such as a loss of stamina fatigue and quick to anger. Frustration, anger, resentment, emotional turmoil and repressed emotions can all lead to the stagnation of chi or life-force energy, when this happens our blood circulation is affected and can cause us to suddenly wake-up from a deep sleep.) More on the liver later in the article…

“Have you just lost your job? Has your rent increased unexpectedly? Have you lost a loved one. Has your reputation been tarnished? Did you think you’d be further along in life by now? If so you are probably blaming yourself for not being more in control! Any and all of these so-called setbacks teach us that we cannot control the change in our lives, we can only control how we handle that change.” When Life Changes Or You Wish It Would ~ Carol Adrienne

How well you sleep affects how you feel both physically and mentally—sleep affects how you behave, how well you handle the ordinary stress of life, how well you can get along with other people, and how happy and productive you are. If you are waking up feeling deprived of sleep and drag through the day in an irritable fog, then you have a sleep problem—regardless of the number of hours you spend in bed with your eyes closed.


Major life changes can cause insomnia, such as the loss of a job, financial setback, serious illness, divorce or the death of someone dear.   All these come at a time when we must face certain pain or self-concepts we’ve pushed down into our subconscious.   When we have suffered defeat, setbacks and other losses we are called to deal with painful unresolved personal issues. We are forced to confront our fears about ourselves—fears that have been ignored and rejected. Shame or fear has so much power our former self has little value at the moment.

“Insomnia (long-term)—Inability to relax. Feeling unsafe and unable to let go. Worrying, playing things over in your mind, dissecting situations. Feeling scattered, fearful, anxious, on guard. Harboring feelings of guilt and resentment.” The Secret Language of Physical Ailments ~ Inna Segal

Most people who suffer from sleeplessness have tremendous energy but they frit it all away in a hyperactive kind of way. When tensions accumulate, chronic insomniacs work harder to repress their growing emotional pain and anxiety. In a sense they’re trying to distract themselves so their attention stays occupied—the problem is they pump out more and more energy, becoming more anxious—in a frustrating way.   Most insomniacs are gifted and intelligent but they do not stay with something long enough as they get bored easily and move on to something new. Without much sleep, concentration and focus become increasingly difficult for them and all those great ideas they’ve thought of aren’t always followed through.

Excess touches every area of their lives, including measures to protect their health, which is very important to them. The problem is, they will try everything in their pursuit to happiness—unfortunately this throws the pendulum the other way—they become unhappier—which causes more anxiety. The more anxious they become, the more they lose energy; the lower their energy the more they experience fear and the cycle starts all over again. Anxiety and tension is a downward spiral fueled by fear and lacks conscious understanding.

“Insomnia is defined as chronic sleeplessness, or sleep deficient in either quantity or quality. Psychological studies have proven that insomniacs are generally emotional and anxiety-ridden. If you suffer from frequent insomnia, your sleeplessness probably reflects restlessness in your waking life. You are trying to stay awake so that you will resolve the issues that are preoccupying you. Once you understand that sleep brings comfort and solutions, you will find you are determined to settle the unrest in your life.” Your Body’s Telling You: Love Yourself ~ Lise Bourbeau

We all have our little quirks of habits and behaviors that we know we’d be better off without. We all wish we had more self-control, but when thoughts spin out of control, and become so intense, they take over, against our will. When logic can’t get a grip on something, we go into a tizzy and when this happens our intuitive side is unable to grab the attention of our conscious or unconscious minds.

I’ve noticed many insomniacs become deeply upset over people’s lack of awareness and consideration. They become disturbed by actions that dishonor or destroy life: actions that cause harm to animals, people, and the planet. According to many insomniacs, there should not be war, violence, poverty or starvation on the planet. People should not be hurting or killing one another and some feel the world is dark and hostile. For this reason, they become reclusive, while others become angry, frustrated or turn to drugs or alcohol which causes them to become even more lost, confused, depressed and sleepless.

 “Insomnia is associated with feelings of fear and guilt and not trusting the process of life. If you have trouble with insomnia coupled with anxiety, you can calm your nerves and sleep better with the affirmation “I lovingly release the day and slip into peaceful sleep, knowing tomorrow will take of itself.” All is Well, Heal Your Body with Medicine, Affirmations, and Intuition ~ Louise Hay, Mona Lisa Schulz

Some insomniacs tend to be quiet and shy on the outside while a great deal of inner processing is mentally going on inside. They’re afraid to open up to others and enjoy their privacy (doing intellectual pursuits such as reading, studying, learning) and withdraw from crowds and social settings. But they know on a deep level, they need to mingle with people. They just don’t know how.


When suffering chronic insomnia, what else could be going on that we aren’t aware of? Of course if we’ve been so stressed out for most of the day, it’s natural if we’ve found no other outlet to get rid of this excess energy it will still be there when we try to fall asleep. And of course anxiety so extreme will make us more tense and angry about not getting sleep. Anxiety appears in 100’s of disguises and the more tense and angry we get, the more cortisol our body will produce.

If the body is tired, the energy we get from food will not be absorbed or circulated in the tissues properly. Although it is true that the nervous systems relies upon the breakdown of glucose for energy, its ability to function properly will also affected by the kinds of foods (fuel) being utilized in other tissues of the body. Hormones, like the rest of our bodies are created from the food we eat. In order to create all the hormones we need, we have to get enough of the nutrients they’re actually composed, and to make the necessary enzymes to affect the production, metabolism and functioning of our hormones. We can’t do that as well if we’re sleep deprived.

The hormones we’re concerned about in regard to insomnia, is stress hormones that cause too much of an inflammatory response to the body—increasing heart rate, constricting blood vessels and diverting blood blow from the stomach and digestive tract. These stress hormones, in particular cortisol, are secreted from the adrenal glands when we are frightened or in pain but can also occur when we’ve been highly stimulated by ‘too much of a good thing”. Too much stress can cause disease but it can also be caused by disease which means stress is not just psychologically based.

When we are under an enormous amount of stress it also weakens our mental processes. When we are under stress, cortisol levels rise and testosterone levels decrease in both men and women. DHEA, a hormone critical for brain and immune function is also suppressed under great stress. You can have your DHEA levels tested and if low, you can supplement with DHEA, as well as 5HTP and this should improve your sleep quality and protect the brain from excess cortisol, mental clarity and energy returned.

Hypothyroidism and hormonal changes that come with PMS and menopause are strong factors that induce brain fog in women. Children and adults who have experienced injuries to the head and neck can also experience symptoms of brain fog. Poor diet, hypoglycemia, metabolic deficiencies and infections also have a significant role in brain fog.

Calcium is essential for the relaxation of nerve tissue, whereas magnesium is very important in the normal function of the brain, spinal cord, and all the nerves. Our average daily intake of magnesium appears to be only half the adult requirement. Many don’t know that alcohol causes a high loss of magnesium, nervousness resulting from this is a common symptom among social drinkers. Magnesium deficiencies are also produced by meals made of ‘enriched’ white bread, macaroni, spaghetti, noodles, tapioca, sugar, honey and hydrogenated fats…this can cause insomnia as these foods cause a cortisol overload making us feel high strung and unable to sleep.

“The idea that stress is completely psychological is not scientifically accurate and it ignores the significant role of internal inflammation as a cause of imbalance in our stress-hormone levels. You see, the hormone that our body secretes in times of stress is the same hormone it uses to resolve inflammation. This hormone, called cortisol, is secreted by our adrenal glands. The irony in this is that taking anti-inflammatory medications – your average everyday painkillers – causes intestinal-tract inflammation by inhibiting the enzymes necessary for the intestinal tract to replenish and repair itself, and eventually can lead to chronic inflammation. The overuse of antibiotics can also cause intestinal-tract damage, and the average, imbalanced American diet of processed foods, fast foods, caffeine, and alcohol also contributes to intestinal-tract inflammation as well as systemic inflammation in our bodies.” THE STRESS EFFECT ~ Richard Weinstein, D.C.

Since every aspect of our lifestyle can affect every aspect of our lives’ for instance the food we eat, the stresses and chemical pollutants that get in our bodies, we need to look at any unusual mental and emotional reactions in regard to a person’s health:

  • 1) Food intolerances can strongly affect our emotions
  • 2) Airborne chemicals can affect the body’s tissues, such as: pollutants, drugs, allergies or infections;
  • 3) Stress creates a erratic nervous system or brain;
  • 4) Lack of sufficient sleep will deprive us of the body’s ability to repair tissue, necessary to restore the cells’ normal ability to create energy.

 “The connective tissue of the body undergoes a daily repair process that occurs while we are sleeping. A consistent pattern of insomnia inhibits the ability of these tissues to heal, and the likelihood of achieving joint stability is greatly reduced. And not only is it the connective tissue of joints that are of concern, but…also the intestinal-tract lining and other tissues of the body that are not repaired if we are not sleeping.” THE STRESS EFFECT ~ Richard Weinstein, D.C.


Whenever we feel trapped in a situation, we may either lie awake night at night, churning with anger or anxiety or sleep 12 hours a day without ever feeling rest. Do you feel pressured, impatient, waiting for things to get better? Or are you bursting with ideas and wanting to do everything yesterday.   When you lie down does it feel like your body is rushing out of control? Do you suffer from weather/time changes, depression or anxiety, external noises, extremes in temperature, emotional or physical pain? Then chances are, you may suffer from a restless sleep or wake in the early hours and can’t get back to sleep.

I don’t think there is a human on this planet that hasn’t suffered from insomnia in one way or another. It could be those nights when you had to sleep alone, or the neighbors dog keeps barking; too many dreams or nightmares created a restless sleep and of course jet lag and problems sleeping in a different bed.

Approximately one out of three people will report having some problem falling asleep, and because most of us have insomnia in times of stress, sleeplessness is usually known to be “in the mind.” When your conscious mind is full of fear, worry, and anxiety, negative emotions that lay repressed are released in your subconscious mind. They flood the conscious mind with a sense of panic, foreboding and despair—their purpose—to instill fear.

“Fear is anxiety, nervousness, a sense of inadequacy, fidgeting, experiencing terror. You have fears that you can prop up with logic, like fear of losing your job, losing your property, embarrassing yourself in front of others, or fear of harm coming to the people, animals, landscape, and things you love. You can provide reasons why these fears are valid and people understand. Yet sometimes your fear doesn’t have any reason. It comes out of nowhere. It just hits you.

 The function of fear is to frighten you. That’s its job. When it does its job, you lose your strength. You lose a sense of humor and playfulness. There is no lightness or joy in your system anymore. Your inner posture crumbles. You feel you don’t have the resources you need and you can’t improvise.” Awake Mind, Open Heart ~ Cynthia Kneen


Some of us get tense when we try to relax. Just the thought of letting go makes us restless, uptight or upset to the point of crying. Are you so intent on maintaining control that you can’t relax?

 “Sleep is a natural process, and “trying” will have no positive effect. Trying will probably aggravate the insomnia, because the harder you try and the less successful you are, the more frustrating the whole enterprise becomes.

 There’s a very profound reason for this: Trying is not the way nature functions. The Earth doesn’t try to go around the sun, nor does the seed try to sprout into a sapling. Nature functions with effortless ease, invariably taking the path of least resistance. This is the principle of least action and maximum efficiency, and it’s the one to use when we want to fall asleep.

 There, the attitude you should adopt once you’ve gotten into bed is that which I call “not minding.” The key to achieving this frame of mind is a total lack of self-consciousness. In other words, don’t watch yourself, don’t monitor yourself, don’t become a commentator on your dilemma, and above all, don’t keep looking at the clock.

 Instead, just rest comfortably, not minding, and use this attitude as a way of placing yourself in nature’s hands. Simply lie in bed with your eyes closed, not mind whether you’re awake or asleep. The mere act of remaining motionless with your eyes closed, even if you’re feeling anxious or restless, actually provides the body with significant benefits.” Restful Sleep: The complete Mind/Body Program for Overcoming Insomnia


Most people with an autoimmune disease have hyperactive rather than low immune function. This would explain why many have stuffy noses, multiple allergies and unpredictable reactions to prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs, and symptoms that change rapidly over time.

Other culprits include, caffeine, alcohol, and medications as well as erratic hours—a fast paced social life or frequent job-shift changes. A few insomniacs are simply five or six hour sleepers, but constant stress and worrying can easily raise it to eight hours a night.

Insomnia can be caused from physical ailments such as allergies, anemia, apnea, body pain (e.g., chronic fatigue, diabetes, arthritis, spinal stenosis, fibromyalgia, lupus, etc.), bruxism (grinding teeth) headaches, IBS, hypoglycemia, hyper/hypothyroidism, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, menstrual pain, etc…. Taking sleeping pills may actually aggravate some of these disorders, particularly sleep apnea a potentially life-threatening interruption in sleeping.

Of the many sleep-disturbing problems, there is a condition known as “Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) If you sleep alone or with someone who sleeps soundly, you may not know that you have it, and may need to have a session in a sleep lab to determine if you have OSA or not.

When we sleep not only do our muscles relax but so do those of the throat. As the throat muscles relax, the air passages narrow. If they narrow enough so that the walls touch, air passing through will cause the walls to vibrate. Snoring usually results but in some people the narrowing is so extensive that the airway walls collapse completely. No air can get through, so the sleep returns to a higher level of sleep; muscle tone increases, the airway opens, and the sleeper, draws a breath. But for some this is a scary experience as they feel a choking sensation and try to inhale but their throat is closed up.

People with OSA breath intermittently when they sleep and that is why they sleep so lightly and hardly ever experience deeper sleep. As a result, they suffer from sleep deprivation and are exhausted during the day. If you think you have it, you should contact your doctor as OSA is very treatable.

Sometimes autoimmune diseases, are hyperactive rather than a low immune function. This would explain why these people can’t sleep as many suffer from stuffy noses, multiple allergies and unpredictable reactions to prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs, and symptoms that change rapidly over time.


 “There is a daily cyclical rise and fall of cortisol levels that govern our wakefulness throughout the day and night. Cortisol is excitatory; it arouses us and wakes us up. Blood levels of cortisol have been shown to increase between 50 and 160 percent within thirty minutes of waking; that produces the powerful jolt of arousal needed to wake us up and get us moving in the morning. Then cortisol levels decline as the day wears on and reach their lowest point in the evening, allowing us to rest, relax and sleep.”The Insomnia Solution: The Natural, Drug-Free Way to a Good Night’s Sleep ~ Michael Krugman

Whenever our blood sugars drop below normal, (hypoglycemia) the body reacts by sending the stress alarm off. When this happens, the hypothalamus, in the brain, signals the nervous system to send you sugar—fast! Your sympathetic nervous system goes into high gear. Cortisol, is secreted by the adrenal glands which are located atop the kidneys. When cortisol peaks, it brings you to a higher state of awareness and when it does that, while you’re sleeping, it’s going to wake you up!

Is insomnia emotionally based or could there be other chemical or physical problems within the body causing your sleeplessness. Cortisol imbalances have been linked to obesity, diabetes, depression, heart disease, insomnia, autoimmune diseases like chronic fatigue syndrome, thyroid disorders, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome and even osteoporosis. Cortisol also causes an array of symptoms such as dizziness, weakness, fatigue, mental confusion, irritability, nervousness, poor concentration, muscle aches, heart palpitations, sweating, and a whole lot more.

The body is governed by a highly complex network of endocrine glands and energy fields; these energy fields working together as one unique powerful system affecting us spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically.   So in truth the potential for breakdown is limitless. Everything that affects the body affects the mind and everything that affects the mind, affects the body.

Many health ailments that crop up later in our lives usually have to do with painful memory patterns programmed in our cells that make our bodies tense and in an up-tight survival mode—unable to stay in the present our minds jump back and forth between the past and the future, forcing adrenaline to start racing through our bodies. Under this intense stress, our bodies release ten times the amount of norepinephrine (cortisol) and epinephrine (adrenaline). These two stress hormones deeply affect our sleep quality; causing our minds, like virtual hurricanes, to spin out of control. For some insomniacs the culprit could be a compromised immune system (autoimmune disease) or other factors such as a car accident or some kind of emotional trauma that’s upset the body clock.


Cortisol does have a huge impact on the liver, which has an important role in regulating blood sugars and removing toxic substances from your bloodstream. If the liver can’t function at its best, it gets weary and tired. Not only is it the breeding ground for negative thoughts and feelings, it physically affects the blood, the immune system and your ability to fight infections.

“The functioning of the liver is very involved in addiction behavior, whether the addiction be to food, alcohol or drugs, as it is the liver that removes toxins from the blood and deals with th excess fat and sugar intake.   The emotional tension that gives rise to the need for release through an addiction is felt here, as this tension may be based on anger and resent (towards the world, or towards specific individuals). Often the toxins are ingested through the addiction as a way of hiding from those toxins already in our system: hate, frustration, rage, incompetence, self-dislike, hurt, greed and a need for power. By taking in external toxins we do not have to admit to, or face up to, what is already inside us.

 The liver is closely connected to the third chakra, that which focuses on power and self identity. By transforming these qualities we are able to rise above them to the highest levels.   But it can be just as easy to become a victim of these energies as it can be difficult to transform them. The liver then reflects the anger and confusion experienced in trying to find ourselves and our purpose.” Deb Shapiro The BodyMind Workbook

The liver, the largest organ in the body, is responsible for up to 500 different vital functions. Not only does it govern the secretion of bile, the formation of blood, and the production of heat, it provides muscle fuel (glycogen), processes dietary fats and manufactures vitamin A. The liver also creates and stores amino acids, proteins, fats and cholesterol, which are used in the creation of hormones. It also

deals with detoxification; so important is this process that if caffeine or certain drugs were injected into ‘exit’ vessels leading to the heart, we would be dead within minutes. Inject them into the ‘entrance’ vessels of the liver, and the ‘sting’ is extracted within six to ten seconds—the time it takes for the blood to pass through the organ. The liver is the only organ that has the ability to regenerate itself, so it is appropriate that it’s known as the organ of Spring, which is all about rebirth and new life.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) The liver meridian starts at the big toe and travels up the leg, circles the sexual organs and enters the lower abdomen…it then connects with the liver and gallbladder, moves up the lungs, curves around the mouth and then branches out to each eye. “If you consistently wake up between 1:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m., this may indicate liver toxicity or a congested liver, as these are the hours when the liver is most active”. FAT LOSS REVOLUTION ~ Paula Owens … also many woman wake up sweating during this time due to menopausal symptoms.

The liver represents our deeper self and emotions. It’s involved with family affairs; our health and it takes part in every battle, especially excessive ones. When it is affected, our whole body becomes congested and sensitive. Do you suffer shoulder pain?   The liver is linked, especially to the right shoulder via the nervous system…it’s also linked to the elbow. This is one of the ways it communicates to us through the body.

The liver is known as the receptor of family guilt and the concerns of our deeper self. Depending on our genes and poor eating habits the liver will set off specific attitudes and emotional reactions. It houses all our memories, emotions, pitfalls, death of loved ones, illnesses, etc.,   It can cause doubt and uncertainty about our life and lean us more to the past then to the future. It affects our self esteem and the ground we stand on.

The gallbladder meridian starts at the outer corner of the eye, goes to the ear, runs back and forth over the scalp and then down the length of the body where it zig-zags at the hip, continues down the outside of the leg and ends between the fourth and fifth toes. The gallbladder meridian time is between 11:00 pm and 1:00 A.M., if balanced, we sleep soundly and undisturbed; unbalanced, we may suffer indigestion, migraines, tinnitus, hip, back or joint pain.

The gallbladder meridian is geared towards action. It gives to the body, flexibility, coordination and balance (see how it zig zags at the hip).   This meridian runs down the sides of the body so that whenever we lift one foot of the ground in walking and running, it supports the other side so we aren’t off balance. It also keeps the hips level, strengthens the shoulders and supports the sideways bending of the neck. The gallbladder meridian is one of the most powerful meridians in the body. .

I’ve included pictures of the gallbladder and liver meridians to help you see and understand how they both move within the body. Both of these meridians run down the sides of the body and the two sides reflect our ability to choose which way to turn. The liver energy gives us our ability to choose the direction we want to go and then to plan our action. Once the choice has been made, gallbladder energy gives us the capacity to carry it through. When the liver and gallbladder are in harmony, plans are made and followed through without much drama or fuss. But when the liver is unbalanced there may be lots of talk about plans without any action ever taken. Or we are so linear in our approach , there’s no room to be spontaneous or to think or plan ahead.


Liver Meridian Gallbladder meridian


The adrenal system and the thyroid gland are dominated by the sympathetic nervous system, which is part of the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system controls our basic bodily functions like heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, hormonal balance and metabolism. The sympathetic nervous system is associated with stimulating hormones such as adrenaline (epinephrine) and cortisol (norepinephrine).   When this nervous system becomes active, the heart rate elevates, the heart rate increases as well as our circulation, oxygen supply, metabolism and energy. The sympathetic nervous system goes into overdrive when we feel threatened or feel we are really in danger, such as being confronted by a mugger on a dark street.

Many people with adrenal fatigue try to keep their energy levels up by eating junk food and refined sugars to give them a jolt. Others try to boost their energy by exercising to give them a temporary energy surge which helps to release endorphins. But what goes up must come down and this energy roller coaster just makes adrenal imbalance worse. Cortisol and insulin levels are intertwined—when cortisol rises, so does insulin and leptin and a whole cascade of hormones we’re just beginning to understand. The excessive stimulation of the HPA axis and cortisol production can artificially keep insulin levels high, causing weight gain and insulin resistance. Once cells are conditioned to be insulin or leptin resistant, it takes a big shift to restore metabolic balance.

The increase in cortisol released from the adrenal glands causes food cravings, especially for high-fat, high-sugar, high-carbohydrate foods such as cookies, candy, chips, and ice cream. Even though these foods act as a temporary mood “boost,” they in turn feed a vicious cycle, causing additional blood sugar problems, leading to swings in energy and blood sugar, which fuels the stress-cortisol release cycle. Eventually by stimulating excess insulin release, the body is driven to become more insulin resistant, and with more insulin resistance, more fat is stored than the body needs.

The parasympathetic nervous system is part of the autonomic nervous system too and is associated with the body’s basic needs for, sleeping, relaxing, food absorption, sex and body repair. As we get older the parasympathetic nervous system weakens, leaving it harder for us to relax and get a good night’s sleep. One reason for this is the aggressive defense system of the hypothalamus located in the limbic brain. Known as the ‘seat of emotions’ the hypothalamus reads your emotional reactions to everything, real or imagined as an emotional war zone, especially when it believes your survival is being threatened. It communicates through thousands of nerve fibers to the master gland of the endocrine system, the pituitary. The pituitary reacts by telling the sympathetic nervous system to be on high alert. Your nerves on edge, you’re ready to respond to the fight/flight reflex.

When we wake up in the morning our sympathetic nervous system sends just enough cortisol to waken us and keep us awake. Most of us rush around like crazy to zoom out the door to get to work. If we could take a little time to be more loving to ourselves, e.g., showering longer, washing, shaving longer, lovingly combing our hair, meditating, walking in nature, etc. this stimulates a positive relaxing mood by activating the hormone’s dopamine and oxytocin in the brain. Release of oxytocin has a feedback effect…the more we take in and enjoy what’s around us, the more we’ll have enough ‘happy’ oxytocin in our blood for the whole day.   The more intense the emotional output of oxytocin in our blood, the longer and deeper it lasts, helping us to cope with the stresses of the day.

“Insomnia is the chronic inability to fall asleep or remain asleep for an adequate length of time (Dorland, 2003) There are three types of insomnia, conditioned insomnia, insomnia associated with clinical disorders, and circadian insomnia (Schenck, 2003). Conditioned insomnia is psychophysiological and arises from an episode of acute situational insomnia triggered by pain, illness, medication, stress, travel, or bereavement. The individual with conditioned insomnia associated the bed with not sleeping and becomes hyperaroused at night at a time when he/she would ordinarily feel relaxed and sleepy. Insomnia associated with clinical disorders is very common in psychiatric, particularly mood and anxiety disorders. Medical disorders and treatment most commonly associated with insomnia include asthma, chronic obstructive pulomary disease, congestive heart disease, gastroesophageal reflux, rheumatologic or other pain-related disorders, hyperthyroidism, renal disease, and neurodegenerative disorders (Schenck, 2003). Circadian rhythm sleep disorders result from a mismatch between the edogenous sleep and alertness rhythm and the desired (or required) time for sleep and wake (Schenck 2003).


The pineal gland, within the brain is pea-sized, shaped like a pine cone and located in the center of the skull, between the ears and between the eyebrows. This endocrine gland secretes two important hormones, (melatonin and serotonin) through the body via the autonomic nervous system; it affects our metabolism, emotions, and moods of elation or depression. Serotonin and melatonin, govern our energy levels, mental activity, sleep patterns, hallucinations and dreams.

Some Autonomic Nervous System Disturbances

  • – breathing problems
  • – poor circulation
  • – palpitations
  • – bladder symptoms
  • – intestinal symptoms
  • – dizziness
  • – nausea
  • – vertigo (balance problems
  • – low blood pressure
  • – rapid heartbeat

The pineal gland is a biological clock and is highly sensitive to the phases of the Moon and even sunspot activity. The body operates on a 24 hour clock regulated by the sun controlling the release of and as darkness approaches the release of melatonin to make us feel drowsy, calm and sleepy. The release of melatonin is essential to keep our immune system strong; hence the healing process through sleep, whereas a lack of melatonin weakens the immune system and leads to deficiencies.

If we are deprived of light for a length of time, it can cause our biorhythms to change to a 25 hour cycle and coincide with the cycles of the moon instead of the sun. When a person is subjected to a permanently light environment their serotonin secretions will intensify to the point where they may become hyperactive, overly stressed and emotionally overwrought. The pineal gland naturally secretes serotonin when we’re eating and if we are tired or depressed, we can easily and readily consume 500 or more calories a day.   Hyperactivity and depression can also affect other endocrine glands and the whole immune system. Other releases of seratonin that can affect our sleep is the contraction of the intestinal muscles, over-excitement – butterflies in the stomach or the ‘gut’ reaction we often feel when scared or overwhelmed.

In periods of daylight the pineal gland’s release of serotonin and cortisol boosts our energy levels, intensifies emotions and induces a feeling of vitality. (We produce more cortisol in the summer than in winter months). During the autumn and winter periods we are more likely to feel ill, depressed or easily catch colds or the flu because of a lack of sunlight. People who live in darker countries far away from the equator are more prone to depressive illnesses and suicide. Between 6 and 10 percent of the North American population suffer season affective disorder (SAD)…..most SAD patients will respond to light treatment, however, a person subjected to extremely long periods of either lightness or darkness can become disoriented and manic.

“When Seasonal Affective Disorder (often called S.A.D.) occurs, the Soul needs adjustment since the Body is not storing enough light (energy). Food represents trapped sunlight and nourishes the Body as oxygen is delivered. Removing both emotional and physical toxins, strengthening cells with Essential Fatty Acids as well as getting the proper nutrients can resolve this issue. Light supports vision, and without vision it supports old habits plus closed off beliefs. Positive affirmations are a great way to dispel habits and beliefs.” Symptoms: the Language of the Soul: A Gift of Transformation ~ Susan Marion MacDonald

The brain is in charge of the endocrine glands and too much light or dark can affect our biological rhythms, our mood swings, stress levels, and reproductive cycles.


There is no hard or fast rule concerning the amount of sleep one should have – provided that sleep, when it comes, is deep and undisturbed. You won’t be able to relax if you lie there watching the hands of the clock and worry there’s only a few hours left before it’s time to get up.

Getting quality sleep in a dark environment allows your body to release the hormone melatonin that once secreted, lowers body temperature by 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit. This cooling allows the body to release its greatest concentration of growth hormone known as HGH, which helps to strengthen our bodies and repairs damaged tissue. HGH is only secreted during deep sleep—deep sleep activates the parasympathetic system (our ability to rest and digest) which helps to rebalance our system. giving the parasympathetic system—our ability to ‘rest and digest’ a chance to increase until it peaks which governs our ability to ‘rest and digest’ a chance to assert itself. In this way sleep moderates the effects of stress and switches the body into self-healing mode.

Sleep also prepares the brain to release endorphins and neuropetides to all the nerves, blood vessels, the heart, the lungs, the gastrointestinal tract, and all the other organs. HGH also instructs the body to burn stored fat but if we don’t get enough of this hormone, the body produces high levels of cortisol which is linked to more weight around the belly as well as a decreased metabolism.

What happens when we go to sleep? After about fifteen to thirty minutes we reach a stage of semi-consciousness (hypnagogic) which occurs between sleep and waking. Most of us think we’re still awake because we can think and hear noises but we are actually in a state of early sleep. Some people in the semi-conscious state have described seeing images of light flashes, sparks, geometric forms, faces, and even whole scenes. The experiences are vivid enough to seem real but most people reporting to have them, know the images came to them internally.

After a few more minutes from the semi-conscious state, we shift to a deeper sleep, our brain waves get slower and slower until after about 90 minutes, dreaming becomes possible. Then our bodies jerk mildly and our eyelids flutter.

The transformation that sleep brings to the body are quite obvious. We breathe more slowly, our eyeballs turn up and out, our fingers grow cold and our toes warm. Blood pressure falls rapidly and is lowest about three hours after the onset of sleep. Believe it or not, we actually change positions from 20 to 60 times during the night without even knowing it and every 90 minutes or so we may return to a semi conscious state for a brief while. Then slowly (unless something like an alarm clock disturbs the process) our sleep becomes lighter, Consciousness, flickers, fails again, flickers….and then we are awake.

Awakening, we’ll stretch and most likely yawn to inhale extra oxygen to lower the carbon dioxide in the body—this is usually because in sleep   we haven’t used our muscles. We might still feel tired, especially if our adrenalin is low;


There are two types of sleep: REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-dreaming sleep). Most dreams occur during REM sleep in the dreamtime stage, in which the cerebral cortex is active, muscle activity is inhibited, breathing and heartbeat are irregular and body temperature is less controlled.   During NREM sleep, the cerebral cortex is less active, muscles can move and fewer dreams are reported.

Our eyes move when we dream, as though we were looking around. As mentioned, our muscles move during REM sleep, make us almost paralyzed. If we move at all our movements look more like twitches rather than actual motions. Most of us have seen this behavior in our pets, whose dream states are very much like our own.

REM and NREM sleep alternate in cycles. Normally REM sleep occurs about every 90 minutes. Dream cycles are shorter during the night and longer toward dawn. You probably dream every night, but you don’t remember a dream unless you wake up from it. If you go right on sleeping, your dreams are forgotten. REM or dreaming sleep is the deepest stage and is important for the consolidation of memory and learning, as well as for sorting and storing information in the brain. It is generally thought that we need about 25 percent of our sleep to be in REM and the remainder in NREM. The lighter NREM sleep is important because it is only after a certain amount of nondreaming that we pass into REM sleep.   Without NREM sleep dreaming can’t occur.

“Since light, NREM Sleep is so important and since we can often think we are awake when in fact semiconscious, it is important not to force ourselves into full wakefulness during these periods of nondreaming sleep. Many people get out of bed, go to the bathroom, eat a snack, or watch TV–thinking they can’t sleep–when they were actually in a light sleep. But getting up usually brings them to a state of of real wakefulness. If instead they would just lie still and relax, realizing they were experiencing an important part of the sleep cycle, they would soon go back into a deep sleep again…

…If, out of frustration, we force ourselves to true wakefulness during these times, sleep will almost certainly be gone for the rest of the night. Our adrenalin arousal will see to that!” The Hidden Link Between Adrenalin and Stress ~ Dr. Archibald D. Hart


Close your eyes. Starting with your toes and moving up your body, ask yourself “Where am I tense?” Whenever you discover a tense area, exaggerate it slightly so you can become even more aware of it. Be aware of the muscles in your body that are tense. Then, for example, say to yourself “I am tensing my neck muscles .. I am hurting myself.. I am creating tension in my body.” Note that all muscular tension is self-produced. At this pint, be aware of any life situation that may be causing the tension in your body and think what you could do to change that.” The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook ~ Martha David, Ph.D., Elisabeth Robbins Eshelman, MSW, Matthew McKay, Ph.D


Many of us don’t need 8 hours sleep and yet some of us need more.  When we’re wanting to develop good sleep habits, the first thing you need to know is just how much you sleep you really need.  After 6 or 7 hours of sleep can you function through the day?  Are your energy levels still good in the afternoon or are you gravitating towards a coffee or sugar to keep yourself awake. Try to notice how much sleep makes you feel alive and with the ability to function at your best.

To help improve your sleep, try to go to bed and get up at the same every day.  Building a regular sleep routine will become automatic and a good habit to instil your own body’s inner clock.

Turning down the lights earlier in the evening, helps the brain to produce a very important hormone for sleep, called melatonin. Dimming of the lights messages the body that darkness is approaching and makes us sleepy, preparing us for sleep; this also helps to lower adrenaline levels. As mentioned earlier, The release of melatonin is essential to keep our immune system healthy, hence the healing process through sleep, whereas a lack of melatonin weakens the immune system and leads to deficiencies.

Create a comfortable, quiet, uncluttered dark room for sleeping.  Anything in your energy field affects the quality of your sleep, so resist the temptation to stash junk under your bed. Also stale energy hands around dirty laundry, so never keep a laundry basket in the bedroom and be sure to change the bedsheets at least once a week to keep your energy vital and fresh.

If you have a computer in your bedroom there are downloadable programs that tunes out the screen of your computer/tablet at night so their light aren’t in the range that tells the brain it’s wake up time.

Eating a bit of protein as a snack may help you sleep through the night. Bananas may be your choice as they are starchy and rich in melatonin.

“One of food’s best sleeping pills is something sweet or starchy…if falling asleep or staying asleep is a problem, try eating an ounce of so of sweet (pure honey) or starchy stuff (bananas, oatmeal) a half an hour before going to bed. ~Jean Carper ~ Food Your Miracle Medicine

Avoid drinking alcohol, caffeine, or eating spicy or greasy foods before going to sleep.  All these make us more tense and adrenally aroused, interfering with our normal sleep patterns.

Do not force yourself to sleep.  Falling asleep is a natural process and forcing sleep only frustrates you further and causes more adrenalin to be pumped into your body.

You should have a quiet place for sleep.  If you live in a noisy environment, like in the down-town core, you may want to invest in a set of earplugs.  They’re easy to use and effectively shut out the noise. You’ll also sleep deeper and more peaceful if your brain doesn’t have to block out background noises.

Exercise regularly, just not before going to bed.  Exercise helps to release a surplus of adrenaline, release muscular tension, ventilate the lungs and helps to slow down the body that helps us to sleep.

Create a relaxing bedtime routine. Make your bedroom sleep friendly. Keep the noise down. Keep your room cool. Make sure your bed is comfortable. Create relaxing bedtime rituals like reading a book, taking a warm bath, listening to soft music or make simple preparations for the next day.

Use relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or visualizing a peaceful restful place.  Practice mind-control relaxation by listening to a soothing CD playing in the background to help you relax.

Find ways to get back to sleep. Stay out of your head. Focus on the feelings and sensations in your body. Make relaxation your goal, not sleep. Do quiet, non-stimulating activities such as reading a book, but keep the lights dim. Don’t let your mind worry or start brainstorming about tomorrow.  If something pops in your mind, keep a small note-pad by your bed and make a brief note of it to get it off your mind.


5-HTP (Tryptophan) is an essential amino acid able to ‘manufacture serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps to lift depression and is very useful for people who have a difficult time staying asleep through the night.  Bananas are a good source L-tryptophan and simple carbohydrates. L-tryptophan is an amino acid, and it gets converted to 5HTP in the brain, which again gets converted to serotonin (a calming neurotransmitter) which again gets converted to melatonin (which is the natural controller of hormonal rythms in the body, especially sleep). A night-time dose to help you sleep through the night is between 50 to 200 mg. 5-HTP has been found to be safe up to 300 mg.

Tryptophan converts to niacin before finally becoming serotonin.  If your body is deficient in niacin, it can cause nervous disorders, such as: depression, mental dullness, confusion, forgetfulness, disorientation, hallucination, insomnia, and nausea.

Taurine is another calming amino acid that helps to suppress the release of excitatory neurotransmitters like norepinephrine. Taurine acts like a light tranquillizer throughout the whole body.  It is found in large amounts in the central nervous system and the heart.  Taurine is vital to the proper utilization of sodium, magnesium, potassium, and calcium, and has a protective effect upon the brain.

When we are under an enormous amount of stress it also weakens our mental processes.  When we are under stress, cortisol levels rise and testosterone levels decrease in both men and women. DHEA, a hormone critical for brain and immune function is also suppressed under great stress.  You can have your DHEA levels tested and if low, you can supplement with DHEA, as well as 5HTP and this should improve your sleep quality and protect the brain from excess cortisol, mental clarity and energy returned.

insomnia can be caused by a lack of thiamine which works with the nervous system.  When there is a lack of thiamine, it can indicate mental attitudes and inflexible attitudes as well has worrying, nervousness, tension and the inability to relax.  A thiamine deficiency may also lower the amount of hydrochloric acid in the stomach—when this happens food is only semi-digested so that when bile is poured into the duodenum it cannot properly break down the fats.

Chamomile – a member of the daisy family, tea made from this herb has a mild sedative affect.

Kava Kava – relieves anxiety and stress ~ should not be taken long-term as it may cause allergic reactions, visual disturbance and liver toxicity.

St. John’s Wort – treats mild to moderate depression. Side effects include weight gain and sensitivity to light.  This herb increases serotonin levels in the brain and should not be taken with SSRIs (Selective Seratonin Reuptake Inhibitors such as Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, etc.)

Valerian – an effective stress reducer and sedative

Hops – this herb is a distant relative to marijuana and is a good remedy for anxiety and insomnia.  Some companies combine hops with valerian root as the two herbs synergistically work together.

Passion Flower – is known to reduce anxiety, insomnia and high blood pressure.








Spring cleaning (Liver and Gallbladder)  http://www.treatrootcause.com/spring-clean-your-acupuncture-meridians/

Nourishing the liver  http://nourishedmagazine.com.au/blog/articles/nourishing-the-liver

Herbs and natural remedies for insomnia http://www.christopherhobbs.com/library/articles-on-herbs-and-health/herbs-and-natural-remedies-for-insomnia/

Treat insomnia with Herbs http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/08/23/is-this-one-of-natures-simple-answer-to-sleepless-nights.aspx

Natural Cures by Dr. Weil http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART02037/sleep-aid

14 Naturally Remedies for Insomnia http://altmedicine.about.com/cs/conditionsitoq/a/Insomnia.htm

To be continued….