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Acupuncure Blog

How the emotions affect pain managment

Lately I've been thinking about holding patterns in the body.  The way that our emotions effect different parts of the body.  My teacher, Mark Seem, used to call this holding patterns, because once you release them, not only is the patient in significantly less pain, they are also allowing themselves to let go of the stuck emotions.  The easiest way to think of this is when you see really tight upper backs and someone is hunching their shoulders, and they tell you its where they hold all their stress.  They mean it too - it will look like the weight of the world is on them, sitting on top of their shoulders, because they are carrying that feeling of the weight of the world being on them all day.  And it hurts.

Because I saw this so much, I started adding in calming points to every treatment.  Sometimes, just those points was enough to dramatically improve the pain.  Sometimes, they would calm the person enough that they could begin to work through the holding patterns.

I notice this in myself as well.  For example, my shoulders keep collapsing forward in a hunchback position because I am working through issues in my personal life.  The hunched shoulders reflects a profound need to protect the heart.  Which is valid. But opening the heart is very important - connecting with those around you, opening yourself to experiences, letting go of the fear of being hurt..those are all important parts of being alive.  On the other hand, you want to protect and nurture your heart, and not allow negative people and situations into life.  Become open and fearless but not naïve.   You want to allow yourself to empathize with the people you meet, even if it means being vulnerable.  This is a work in progress for me, and the more I open, the more I feel short of breath and panicky, more asthmatic.  That's something I'm working on all the time with needling myself, and with the practitioners I go to, and in my yoga practice.  I want to live fearlessly, with a heart open and loving to the people around me and the people in my life, and so I have to work on not hunching my shoulders, because that is closing myself off.  So not only is there emotional work to be done, but I am doing a lot of yoga and pushups to push the shoulders back.

Why am I sharing this? 

Because everyone has this. 

Pain is always showing up in the body, reflected in holding patterns that are both emotional and physical.  Part of healing is owning up to it and allowing yourself to heal whatever gunk you've got going on.  Sometimes that also involves getting a therapist, or hitting a yoga class to work it out as well...there's a lot of practitioners that I refer to for working this out in addition to acupuncture.  But if you want to heal, this is the work you've got to do.  Just know that I'm here to help you with it.  You're not alone, and you can heal.



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