Mind-Body (BodyMind) Connection

Have you noticed the connection between emotional stress and your physical body? That your symptoms reflect more than just the physical issue!

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has for centuries associated organ dysfunction and diseases to specific emotional disturbances. TCM practitioners will typically associate:

  • Lungs with sadness and grief
  • Liver with anger
  • Kidneys with insecurity
  • Heart with love
  • Spleen with worry

Ancient Indian medical and yoga practices also point to distinct emotional connections within disease states. Here in the west, we’re steadily coming around to the importance of adopting a more holistic health model, one that considers our ‘complete’ wellbeing. 

I have seen for myself many parallels between declines in physical health and emotional wellbeing, where suppressed emotions routinely show up in the physical body. It’s evident to me that when we suppress our emotions, they eventually show up in the form of muscle tension, restriction, hyper-stimulation, pain and other symptoms. The mind-body connection! I see physical symptoms as messages from the deep, our sub-CONSCIOUS alerting us to specific states of physical AND emotional imbalance. Acknowledging the emotional aspects of symptoms and disease can offer great insight into deep healing.

This isn’t to negate the physical causes to disease (ill health is clearly multi-faceted) more a way to re-connect to the significance of their emotional origins.

The Subconscious Mind-Body Connection

The subconscious mind is that part of ourselves which runs in the background. It quietly orchestrates our psychological programming and physical functioning, our attitudes, habits and behaviours. We can of course choose to learn more about what’s held in our subconscious – to bring more of it’s narrative into our conscious awareness. We can do so progressively by observing our core beliefs, values, habits, and tendencies. When we look closer at what’s expressed through our body and behaviours, we begin to see the hidden narrative at play. Perhaps a story from the inner child may emerge.

Psycho-emotional stress is a well known to trigger a cascade of physiological and physical changes. It can impact our adrenal output, neurological charge, effecting our muscular framework, postural alignment and beyond! The stress effect is easily seen when we’re exposed to sudden or prolonged stress. Conversely, our physical function and symptom picture can offer insight into our emotional state. How far does this really go?

There really is no separation between our various aspects of self – separation is simply an illusion! And so it’s to be expected that our emotions can and do express themselves through our physical and physiological  functiong …eventually!

Over the decades my experience and shared knowledge with numerous complementary healthcare practitioners that I’ve had the privileged to work alongside has provided huge insight into the wonderfully intricate relationship between mind-body. It’s been instrumental in ‘waking me up’ to what I now see as glaringly obvious!

The Metaphors & Symbolism

When connecting the dots between the emotional and physical body map, it’s useful to go back to the context of what was occurring (both physically and emotionally) during the lead up to the onset of your symptoms. This is key to more effectively deciphering the physical and emotional associations that preceded the symptomatic manifestation.

It’s important to also say that not every representation will present as absolute truth for everyone. They simply  provide a framework from which to begin your personal exploration of a deeper context to your truth. Each unique story will have its differences.

The onset of symptoms and disease is often complex and multifaceted. There are a variety of contributing factors to consider. The body’s metaphors and symbolism enrich our understanding of wellbeing. So, when the body talks, do you listen? Be guided by your own sense of truth and IN-tuition. Take what resonates and leave the rest.

Note: Full text for each BodyMind Gateway video can be found in each YouTube short.

The left side (feminine) is symbolic of our receptive nature and how we experience things.

The right side (masculine) is symbolic of our efforts – the actions we take in life. 

Do you feel overwhelmed by life’s challenges?

Right sided problems are symbolic of our feelings towards the effort vs outcome of the action that we take.

Our breast are a fundamental part of our physical ability to nourish and nurture – symbolic of our emotional capacity to nurture ourself and others.

Problems like breast lumps indicate that we’re putting the needs of others before our own – that we’re over nurturing, smothering or being overbearing towards someone or something in our lives.

Why might you feel the need to put the needs of others before your own?

Our throat enables us to speak and express ourselves creatively- symbolic of our sense of inadequacy in speaking up for ourselves and making our needs heard.

When throat problems present, I am drawn to paying attention to what is be being held back.

The throat (and what it would like to express in ideal conditions) sits between the heart and mind. What is causing flow at this junture to become stifled or bottle necked? What are you having difficulty expressing?

Our knees provide us with the flexibility and ease of movement necessary to physically bend and change direction.

Emotionally, our knees are symbolic of our capacity to be flexible (in the forward momentum of life) allowing us change direction with ease and grace. They represent our ability to bend – our pride. What issue are you unwilling to bend on?

Problems can manifest as tension (lack of ease) swelling (feeling stuck) and pain (belief in punishment).

The liver helps to digest beneficial nutrients and detoxifies the build up of toxins in the body – symbolic of our capacity to process emotional toxins – anger.

When we experience liver problems, we’re expressing difficulty in dealing with our anger. In Traditional Chineese Medicine, anger and depression is said to hurt the liver.

Depression can also develop when dealing with unresolved anger, esoecially over the long term.

Our muscles generate our ability to stand tall and move well.

Too much tension is symbolic of our limited in sense of ease, reflecting a lack of comfortable options.

Muscle spasm and rupture are reflect the abruptness with which disturbance can present. What are you feeling unable to move beyond?

Too little tension symbolises our sense of incapability. What is triggering your feelings of weakness?

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Search more in the series via the BodyMind Gateway YouTube channel.

Would you like to be guided through the metaphors and symbolism of your own specific symptom picture? I will help you to discover much more surrounding the root cause of your physical dysfunction, supporting you through an in depth exploration of your emotional narrative, and ways to move beyond your pain.

Book your free introductory chat or one hour Consultation by sending your enquiry to: info@bodymindgateway.net


Kelly Mckay

Bodywork and Integrative Life Coach  serving the central London area:

Upper Street Islington ▪️ Highbury ▪️ Holloway ▪️ Angel ▪️Clerkenwell ▪️Highgate ▪️Hackney ▪️Haringey ▪️Camden ▪️Online Life Coaching also available.