In the ordinary Western mindset, a doctor takes care of the body and others tend to the psyche and spirit. But you can’t split a person into parts that way.
The doctor as spiritual guide
Stress plays a significant role in our health. It may be environmental stress such as in being hungry or tired, too hot or too cold or having just run a marathon. It can also be emotional stress such as moving, divorce or having to care for an ill family member. And importantly, there may be old stress from a traumatic childhood event or repeated events. Sometimes we can address this stress at the time it occurs and it resolves, but many times the stress goes untreated and it continues to influence us.
One way to cope with stress is to tighten our muscles resulting in tension while concurrently restricting our breath. These holding patterns, which are a way of binding emotions or anxiety become chronic and over time not only limits our capacity to feel resulting in psychological and/or behavioral symptoms, but can also result in pain, illness or disease. This state of being becomes habitual and continues to remain unconscious. Once these patterns are brought to the surface and the long held feelings are worked through, acknowledged, expressed and understood, the defense weakens or disappears. We can then find other, healthier ways of coping that no longer limit us but instead allows us to experience and be in our truth.
Another consequence of chronic holding is decreased circulation and over time and we are less able to absorb and benefit from our nutrients, our health is compromised and we do not feel well. Our condition can become worse and lead to depression, anxiety, disease and pain. By working therapeutically with the whole person, by working directly with the body through touch, movement and expression, by allowing the release of feelings, by supporting the body with proper nutrients when appropriate, and by working to change the character patterns that keep us from getting well, it is possible to heal in deep ways that allow us to live more fully, with more energy, aliveness and with a sense of well-being.