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Emotions in the body

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Do we hold emotions in our body, how do they get there and what can we do to release them?

Neuroscientist Professor Candice B. Pert, PhD wrote about this in her book ‘Molecules of Emotion’ why we feel the way we feel. Basically, she proved that the neurotransmitters, neuropeptides and receptors responsible for laying down memory in the brain are found throughout the body.


Chinese medicine has taught for centuries that we store emotions in the body, attributing a particular emotion to a specific organ. Therapists working with the body on a deep level, even working gently recognise that ‘the issue is in the tissue’.


In her amazing  book ‘A Change of Heart’ Claire Sylvia describes her experiences after a heart and lung transplant. “She had a vivid dream about a young man she felt strongly was her donor, at the same time she  found herself fighting urges to eat fried chicken and drink beer, neither of which she had like in the past. Troubled but excited, she tracked down the family of her donor – the ‘family of her heart’ – who confirmed what she already suspected: their late son, Tim, had loved nothing better than fried chicken and beer. After talking to other transplant patients who had similar experiences, she became convinced that some form of ‘cellular memory’ exists ans that when vital organs are transferred from one body to the other, cravings and feelings, and perhaps even memories and dreams are also transferred.”


An example is when we experience the loss of a loved one, the ‘heartache’ of bereavement can be a very physical experience. Such extreme emotion is too much for us to fully process in one go, so our bodies very cleverly seem to store the emotion in the heart as a protective measure. The healthy option is to then process and release this emotion at a later date when we have more resources to cope with it. Too many stored emotions can start to take their toll and we may find we start getting pain. The heart and lungs attach to the neck and effectively ‘hang’ off  it and the heart attaches like a sling to the base of the skull, so we may start to experience neck and shoulder aches.


In my experience, particularly in working with organs (visceral osteopathy) it seems that we can store any emotion in any organ; if the ‘fear’ organ (kidney) is already full, we can store our fear in another organ or tissue where there is space. The choice of storage location may be related to surgeries, injuries, scars and body positions when an extreme emotion is felt.


Our emotions and how we deal with them is a very personal and individual experience with no two people or situations alike. In treatment, I do not go ‘looking’ for people’s emotions or how to release them unless they have specifically requested help this. With respectful and sensitive treatment, however the body will decide when it is ready to release stored emotion and surprisingly this is often not necessarily accompanied by an expression of emotion, though it may be. It is possible that a person may shed a tear or cry, though often they do not and report later that they feel better about a situation or event and may be more able to talk about it since treatment, they may express emotion later or have a dream that helps the process. In my experience, working with the organs seems to release more emotion than any other part of the body, so it seems that Chinese had something to teach us about that.


As well as Osteopathy, I have other gentle yet powerful skills to help deal with emotions. Flower remedies help to release emotions and we have probably all heard of Rescue Remedy which is a combination of Bach remedies to help in a crisis; each remedy can help in a specific way as Dr Edward Bach discovered after observing people’s response to flowers brought to them in hospital. I am fortunate to have a cupboard full of wonderful remedies from around the world. Sound therapy or Vibrational healing using tuning forks has many applications as well as helping to balance the energies and flows in the body to release stuck energy and emotion. Communication techniques from NLP and Hypnotherapy can help a person to feel relaxed and comfortable to release held emotion when they are ready. The patient is always in control of their own process and how we deal with it.

We are happy to advise you on your health matters.


Registered Osteopath & Kinesiologist & Yoga Teacher

Aether Bios Clinic


01273 309557

07710 227038


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