Why drinking alcohol makes you fat
reprinted from naturalnews.com
by Fleur Hupston
There are many factors that affect weight loss, making the process more complicated than it may seem. The body produces different hormones in response to different types of foods and/or drinks. Losing weight is not only about calorie consumption but also about the types of foods and drinks consumed. Alcohol is one of the worst culprits when it comes to inhibiting weight loss because it disrupts the delicate balance of nutrition, fluid and hormones needed to lose fat.
Alcohol boosts cortisol, a fat-creating hormone
Drinking heavily or even occasionally increases the body's release of cortisol - the hormone that breaks down muscle and retains fat. This loss of muscle can mean a huge slowdown in one's metabolism, making it easier to gain weight. In addition, alcohol causes a drop in testosterone in men, a hormone which helps burn fat.
Alcohol also blocks the body from burning fat. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that fat metabolism can be reduced by as much as 73 percent after only two drinks of vodka and lemonade in a one-hour time period. In effect, alcohol shuts down the body's ability to access fat stores for energy. The body needs to be well-hydrated in order to build muscle and burn fat. Alcohol has the effect of dehydrating the body.
Drinking often accompanies irresponsible eating
Because drinking often puts one in a relaxed party mood, it is easier to indulge in snacks, potato chips and other unhealthy party foods -- the more one drinks the less one seems to care.
Alcohol is a powerful appetizer. An aperitif is often offered in restaurants to stimulate the appetite. Research has shown that there is a definite correlation between the amount of alcohol consumed before a meal and the amount of food eaten and that people eat more when they have beer or wine with their meal. Since alcohol causes the brain to release dopamine, the pleasure and addiction hormone, the result is an often addictive desire for more alcohol and food. This means one is hit with a double whammy when it comes to gaining weight: excess calories come from both the alcohol and the extra food that is usually consumed as a result of a stimulated appetite.
Alcohol is high in calories
Alcohol comes with very little nutritional value but is very high in calories. It is very easy to knock back a 200ml glass of wine but that is equivalent, in calories, to eating 25ml (5 teaspoons) of butter. Seldom do people stop at one glass of wine or one beer, and mixing alcohol with sugary mixers such as lemonade means even morecalories as the drink now contains sugar and alcohol.
Simply put, alcohol consumption on a regular basis and weight loss don't mix.
Sources for this article include:
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, November 1999, Article De novo lipogenesis, lipid kinetics and whole-body lipid balances in humans after acute alcohol consumption, 928-936, Scott Q Siler, Richard A Neese and Marc K Hellerstein
Physiological Behavior, March 200;81(1)51-8, article Dose-dependent effects of alcohol on appetite and food intake, Cato SJ, Ball M, et al.
About the author:
Fleur Hupston is a professional freelance writer. She is passionate about natural, healthy living and is currently studying to be a naturopath. She divides her time between studying, writing and home-schooling her children.
What Causes Muscle Cramps
The cause of muscle cramps is still not understood, but the theories and myths include:
- Electrolyte depletion
- Poor conditioning
- Muscle fatigue
- Doing a new activity
Where do these theories come from?
We lose fluid when we sweat that also contains electrolytes (salt, potassium, magnesium). This loss of fluid and electrolyte is seen as the cause of cramping because when these nutrients fall to certain levels, the incidence of muscle spasms increases. It has not been demonstrated by any research that this leads to full on cramping.
Makers of sports drinks would have us believe that this electrolyte imbalance is the definitive cause and vigorously promote this idea.
An aside: Beware of research studies funded by companies that want you to buy their stuff. Research they fund is four times more likely to turn up the results in favour of their product than independent studies
Athletes are more likely to get cramps in the preseason, near the end of (or the night after) intense or prolonged exercise, some feel that a lack of conditioning results in cramps.
According to a review of the literature conducted by Martin Schwellnus from the University of Cape Town, the evidence supporting both the "electrolyte depletion" and "dehydration" hypotheses as the cause of muscle cramps is not convincing. In his review, Schwellnus concludes that the "electrolyte depletion" and "dehydration" hypotheses do not offer plausible pathophysiological mechanisms with supporting scientific evidence that could adequately explain the clinical presentation and management of exercise-associated muscle cramping.
Researchers (Cape Town University) are finding more evidence that the "altered neuromuscular control" hypothesis is the principal pathophysiological mechanism that leads to exercise-associated muscle cramping (EAMC). Altered neuromuscular control is often related to muscle fatigue and results in a disruption of muscle coordination and control. The research is based on evidence from research studies in human models of muscle cramping, epidemiological studies in cramping athletes, and animal experimental data and concludes “that further evidence to support the "altered neuromuscular control" hypothesis is also required, research data are accumulating that support this as the principal pathophysiological mechanism for the aetiology of exercise-associated muscle cramping (EAMC)."
What can I do to help Muscle Cramps
Cramps usually go away on their own, without treatment, but you can help yourself with the following:
Stop the activity that caused the cramp.
Gently stretch and massage the cramping muscle.
Hold the joint in a stretched position until the cramp stops.
Preventing Muscle Cramps
Until we learn the exact cause of muscle cramps, it will be difficult to say with any confidence how to prevent them. However, these tips are most recommended by experts and athletes alike:
Improve fitness and avoid muscle fatigue
Hydrate well (at least 2 glasses of water) before and during the event whether it be digging the garden or running a couple of kilometres. (Extreme examples of hydration are American footballers taking 1.5 litres of water intravenously before a game)
Keep the carbs up during the event: eat a banana with your glass of water; the banana also helps to up the electrolyte levels)
Stretch regularly after exercise (exercise includes things like digging in the garden, painting your roof…)
Warm up before exercise
Stretch the calf muscle: In a standing lunge with both feet pointed forward, straighten the rear leg.
Stretch the hamstring muscle: Sit with one leg folded in and the other straight out, foot upright and toes and ankle relaxed. Lean forward slightly, touch foot of straightened leg. (Repeat with opposite leg.)
Stretch the quadriceps muscle: While standing, hold top of foot with opposite hand and gently pull heel toward buttocks. (Repeat with opposite leg.)
If you are getting tension headaches, then it stands to reason there must be tension in you, somewhere. It also follows that if you remove the tension, the headaches go away. The following diagrams show individual muscles of the neck and shoulder and the area of pain associated with each one.
sterno-cleido-mastoid sternal part
Headache over and around the eye and/or in the temple. Can also bring pain to the top of the head and along the base of the skull.
It functions to turn the head down and to the opposite side. If you hold your head steady in a twisted position eg mechanics, data entry, machine operator, this muscle will be affected.
Feel for the v-shaped notch at the top of the sternum. The scm attaches to the bony lumps either side. With thumb and forefinger either side of one of the bony lumps, turn your head to the opposite side. You will feel the muscle tighten under your fingers. Pinch the muscle and hold it while you turn your head back to centre. Hold for 30 seconds or until pain reduces by half.
More intense and focussed pain than from the sternal head with sharp stabbing ache over the eye. Also soreness and tightness at the base of the skull.
Elevates the shoulder and also pulls it inward. We activate this muscle every time we think of our responsibilities. ‘I’ve got the weight of the world on my shoulders’.
Tilt your head to the left (ear to shoulder) as far as you can. From there turn your chin up to the ceiling. You will feel a stretch in the right side of your neck. Hold 40 secs then repeat on other side.
Headache pain in the temples, in the neck and behind the ear.
This muscle elevates the shoulder and also pulls it inward. We activate this muscle subconsciously every time we think of our responsibilities. ‘I’ve got the weight of the world on my shoulders’.
Lift the shoulders as far up and in toward your ears as you can. Hold the tension for 5 seconds then let them drop suddenly. Allow them to fall without trying to ease them down. Repeat 4 or 5 times.
Aches along top and bottom jawlines and in the cheeks. Also pain above the eyebrow.
The massetter is activated when we are constantly ‘chewing things over’. Agonising over decisions, ‘should I, shouldn’t I’.
Do the biggest yawn you can (without anyone looking) and hold your mouth open wide for at least 10 seconds. Feel along the lower jaw for sore spots. Press your finger into the sore spot and hold until the pain reduces by half.
Most top of the head headaches are created by tension in this muscle. Also gives pain above the eye.
Every time you raise your eyebrows or wrinkle your forehead you activate this muscle. When the eyes move, it activates as the first step in turning the head to follow the eyes.
Using thumbs, find the base of the skull behind the ear. Press the thumbs into the tissue below the bone for 20 secs. Move the thumbs toward centre by a thumb width and repeat. Continue until thumbs meet at centre of back of head. This can be very tender. Only use pressure you can tolerate.
Recently, I updated my bra collection and was persuaded to buy an underwire with padding. It made me feel very shapely, and gave me confidence in those strappy little tops that are all the rage. However, when I took it off I felt as if my breasts were bruised around the sides. So, I decided to look into this. I came across some very interesting facts that made me realise that if my bra didn’t fit me properly I could be doing myself some harm.
Bras, or any clothing, which are too tight can restrict lymphatic flow and cause a blockage of fluids and toxins. “The lymphatic system is situated just below the level of the skin. It helps to maintain fluid balance in tissues and absorb fats from the digestive tract. It is also part of the body’s defence system against micro organisms and other harmful substances”*. The constrictive nature of bras can also cause muscular and even skeletal problems if ignored. It is, therefore, essential for women to be fitted properly for bras, a service offered in many lingerie stores. After weight change, or pregnancy, bra sizing should be reviewed, and don’t let that bra get too tatty either, wire sticking out can be dangerous, so be proud in your undies.
There are also great benefits for going braless to allow the lymph nodes, concentrated around the breasts, to filter freely. I do this a weekends. A good bra should be functional, comfortable to wear and make a woman feel gorgeous!
By Evie Housham
* Anatomy & Physiology by Seeley, Stephens, Tate.
The strokes and the intention make the difference between them.
Relaxation Massage is just that, time-out to relax and allow stresses to melt away. The room is warm, the towels are soft, the music calm. You can talk if you wish or not. Some times the practitioner encourages you to be conscious of feel of the touch on your skin, to focuses your thoughts towards relaxing your own muscles. The strokes follow a particular ‘dance’ created by the practitioner, and the intention is to give your body an hour of complete relaxation. It’s really a meditation.
Relaxation Massage is fabulous for people who are always busy and find it hard to stop, for those who find it hard to let go of stresses. It’s a great way to maintain self after Bodywork.
Some people don’t often take notice of their bodies until they hurt. Integrative Bodywork is excellent for them; it is also designed for those with chronic pain, or for those who have over extended themselves; or those who repeat the same activity all through the day.
Integrative Bodywork targets specific muscle groups with the aim of reducing tension towards a particular area of the body. The strokes are slower and deeper than Relaxation Massage and are designed to stretch the fascia that surrounds the muscle, giving it more space to relax. Trigger points are also targeted to help contracted muscles let go.
The practitioner also encourages the client to listen and recognise what their body is telling them about their pain and help them discover ways in which they can make changes in their body habits or lifestyle for long-term pain relief.
This is not a relaxing time-out experience and it’s for people who are serious about getting rid of their pain, sometimes clients have to work through their pain to make it go away, but the results are generally long term and people always feel freer and more at ease when they get off the table.
By Evie Housham
Cholesterol is a type of fat that is found in food from animal sources such as eggs, meat, dairy products, fish and shell fish.
We have come to believe that cholesterol is a ‘baddy’, but, in fact, we need it to give our cell membranes a certain amount of stiffness, to manufacture hormones and cortisone, and create Vitamin D and the liver makes bile from cholesterol. However, we do not need to eat foods that contain cholesterol as the body is very good at making its own supply.
There are two types of blood cholesterol. Low density lipoprotien (LDL), known as the ‘bad’ cholesterol, because it contributes to heart disease by sticking to and narrowing blood vessels. High density lipoprotien (HDL) is the ‘good’ cholesterol as it keeps LDL in check.
Although your body makes cholesterol, once made, it cannot break it down, so it is very easy for an excess to occur. Cholesterol can only be removed from the body by the liver in the form of bile, which it pumps into the intestines. If there is not enough dietary fibre to carry it out of the body, then the bile, with the cholesterol, gets reabsorbed from the bowel back into the liver, not a cycle that is healthy for the body. The liver returns the cholesterol that cannot be used to the bloodstream where it can build up as fatty deposits.
So how can we tell whether high cholesterol is a problem for us?
Hard white spots around the eyes and skin flaps in the armpits may be indicators, but the only real way to check is to get a blood test done by your doctor.
Factors that contribute to high cholesterol are: poor diet; liver disfunction; blood sugar imbalance; age; and hereditary factors. Some you can do something about and others not. Here some things you can do, daily if possible:
- Increase your Omega 3 with flaxseed oil, oily deep ocean fish (do not fry), to improve cell membranes and cleanse the blood.
- Take vitamin C and Bioflavanoid powder to increase capillary strength;
- Sprinkle Lecithin on everything as it breaks up LDL;
- Increase your fibre with psyllium husk (1 tblsp morning and night), oat bran, oats, raw nuts and seeds and cooked legumes (peas, beans);
- Buy a good liver tonic, see your Naturopath;
- Increase bitter foods into your diet as they simulate the digestive juices – endive, artichoke, green bitter salads;
- Increase your exercise and drink plenty of water.
Material sourced from Karina Francois, Naturopath, and ‘The Liver Cleansing Diet’ by Sandra Cabot.
Like the fence around our property, the skin and connected soft tissues are the boundary between us and the outside world. It may be a hard fence - bricks and mortar with well protected entrance points - the ‘hard one’, bristly, always on guard; or ramshackle and run down easy to get in and out - chaotic and scatty, never on time, all smiles, constantly chatting, not letting a word (or feeling) in edgewise. Sometimes no fence at all at the back, but heavily protected at the front - the big chested body builder, ‘don’t mess with me, mate!’ or no fence at the boundary but in close the doors are double locked, the windows are barred and there is a security system.
We all build and maintain our own unique boundary in response to hurts we encounter as we grow: If a burglar gets in and steals the TV and video, I install stronger locks on the doors and an alarm system and invite the burglars to ‘steal that ya b@*#s’ … If a person gets in and steals a bit of my heart, I ‘harden my heart’ and say ‘I’m not going to let that happen again’ ‘I won’t be such a fool next time’.
The expressions; thick skinned, hard hearted, flighty; big softie, bark’s worse than his bite, edgy, describe some of the physical protections we build in the body. If I’m edgy, I only present an ‘edge’ to the world and the bad stuff from out there can’t land on me; or if I am flighty the bad stuff can’t catch up with me; thick skinned it can’t penetrate the armour.
Softening the tissues during a bodywork or massage session can allow some of the feelings that were present when the boundary was created, to emerge. This can result in tears, or feelings of anger, and resistance. Paul’s boundary (see page 3) ‘I can’t have’ presented as pain when he was reaching out for something he wanted. It was protecting him from the hurt of his belief ‘I am not worthy’. Pushing the boundary with deep massage strokes and PI exercises brought the belief to Paul’s conscious awareness thereby allowing him to acknowledge the belief (and the fact that he had created it), and then let go of it.
We encourage you to explore any feeling which may arise during a session and identify for yourself any deep seated emotion/ belief that may surround and support it. You may no longer need it, and by identifying the source of your pain you can come to terms with it, then determining if it is still useful to you, you have the choice to keep it or let it go.
By letting go of a feeling your armour will no longer be necessary. This does not mean that you will no longer have difficulties or feel tension. There is a continuing need for us to express our anxieties and frustrations, but we can now more quickly recognize, confront, and let go of them.
The full Postural Integration (PI) program is ten sessions of up to two hours over a 20-week period. It includes release of over 140 muscles, postural realignment, journal keeping, self-expression, and bio-energetic release exercises.
By Ross Housham
I have recently completed a therapeutic course in Postural Integration (PI) with Ross at Sea Change. I had heard a lot about this series of 10 sessions designed to improve my body and mind connection. Already being a bodywork practitioner, I had an existing awareness of how our bodies’ ‘store’ emotions and how these often surface in our daily lives. The postural integration techniques used by Ross were instrumental in reinforcing and expanding my body mind awareness.
The concept of emotions registering in our physical bodies is obviously not a new one. It is expressed by the medical intuitive Caroline Myss in her phrase “your biography becomes your biology”. It is a succinct phrase indicating that over time our beliefs (resourceful and un-resourceful ones) become crystallised in our bodies. A flexible body generally denotes a flexible mind.
This is why if you have ever had a good massage/ bodywork session you can sometimes activate old or repressed memories at the most unexpected touch of a part of the body. I have consolidated my thoughts in the last few years that our bodies and emotions are the messengers of our beliefs. Let me explain.
In about the seventh session I mentioned to Ross that I had had this very acute and painful condition in my right arm for the last month. I could find no physical cause for a muscle strain or the like. I noticed that applying massage and pressure on certain muscle points alleviated the condition for a short time only. It is exceptionally easy and expedient for me in my busy life to put this occurrence down to the fact that I must have ‘slept on it the wrong way’. Or that I am are under some ‘stress’ at the moment and I need to move on. Trouble is, my/our body doesn’t move on. It remembers ... and the body doesn’t lie.
So what was the message that my body (through acute pain) was trying to tell me? Symbolically, the emotion generated was one of restriction in that I could not reach out and grasp things in front of me without excruciating pain. Ross agreed with me that I was restricting my needs in some way through a belief that was not serving me. Neither of us were sure of the exact nature of the belief(s) at this juncture.
Through the use of a powerful PI technique Ross brought me to my emotional centre - the heart. I was flooded with an intense emotion of not being worthy and then relief to know that this was ultimately not true. It was an amazing breakthrough to find that for all these years I did not think I deserved a wonderful intimate relationship!
In the lead up to these sessions and coinciding with the pain in the arm I had been dating a woman who I thought could become my life partner. At the time this outcome was far from certain and my body was telling me to attend to and heal this belief so that I could positively move on.
So you see, it took a bit of work on my part and Ross’s to discover the message - but in the end our bodies never lie, and oh … in case you are wondering, I got the girl!
Got some pains you can’t figure out? I’d highly recommend you go see Ross for a program of postural integration.
by PB. originally published in our BodyLanguage newsletter 2004
This wonderful story came to me over the internet.
A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “yes”.
The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.
“Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognise that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things – God, family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favourite passions - things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter, like your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else - the small stuff.
“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there would be no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.
“Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.
“Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.”
Now, here’s a concept! A Japanese researcher, Dr Masaru Emoto, has set out to “prove that subtle energy (thoughts, intentions) can alter states of matter”.
Dr Emoto’s experiments have primarily taken on the form of exposing samples of water to the spoken word, written labels, and projected thoughts, and then freezing it to observe the crystals. As the frozen water melted under the microscope he took photographs of the crystals to see the different shapes that these subtle vibrations formed. His observations have shown that water “has the ability to register and store vibrations”. Even more interesting are the shapes that the crystals take on as a result of these vibrations.
For example, water that was played Mozart’s ‘Air on a G string’ produced “beautiful crystalline shapes”, whereas heavy metal produced ugly forms and colours. A ‘Thank you’ label on the container, produced symmetrical crystals, while ‘you fool’ again produced a fragmented mass.
On a larger scale, water was taken from Fujiwara Dam before and after a prayer was directed at it, the resulting crystals were quite extraordinary in contrast.
Dr Emoto has written the following books on the subject: “Prelude to the Hado Era”, “Studies of the Human through Hado” and “Messages from Water”.
All very fascinating you say, well, let’s put another slant on it. Our bodies are made up of approximately 70% water, and so is the planet. If we constantly project negative energy towards ourselves, to other people and the world, in what we think, feel, say or do, then the water inside us and outside us will reflect that energy. Just how powerful is that concept.
This sort of research is a big plus for all energetic healing practices – Reiki, Homeopathy and affirmation type therapy that Louise Hay writes about, for example.
It can only do us good to be more positive about ourselves and our surroundings. So here’s a challenge: find a sticky label, put something positive on it about yourself and stick it on the inside of your shirt (outside for the brave). Then observe how you feel through the day, it can’t do you any harm and it might actually do you good. Give it a go!
Hado* creates words. Words are vibrations of nature. Therefore, beautiful words create beautiful nature.
Ugly words create ugly nature. This is the root of the universe.
* Hado means vibration
Material taken from article in Living Now, July 2005, written by Dr Hazel Wardha, and internet site www.hado.com. Copyright 2005 to Dr Masaru Emoto.
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is based on the ancient principles of acupuncture and energy meridians. Symptoms are relieved by gently tapping on these acupressure/ acupuncture points which allows the brain to release negative emotions and so realigns the body’s energy systems.
EFT incorporates an emotional element to the healing process, addressing unresolved emotional issues as a likely cause of physical disorders, psychological dysfunction, and personal performance limitations. Negative emotional experiences disrupt the energy meridians that run through our bodies. The physical changes we feel from those disruptions, like nausea or anxiety, become attached to the memory of that experience and affect the way we see the world, until we heal that disruption.
During your session you are shown the technique of tapping which is easy to learn and ideal for self-help.
Note: Whilst EFT has achieved excellent results with many physical conditions the technique should not be seen as a substitute for appropriate medical care and should always be used in conjunction with medical consultation and intervention for such conditions.
EFT can help you with:
e.g. abundance • weight loss • career goals • procrastination
e.g. negative behaviour • relationships • depression • poor self-esteem • anxiety • phobias • grief • insomnia • anger management
e.g. headaches • allergies • tension pain • eczema • stress • fibromyalgia
by Marlee Read • EFT & Hypnotherapy • Beaconsfield
Resolution time. Every year it comes around - I will be better, slimmer, stronger, fitter, nicer, richer ... ! The resolutions are always a good idea, and we always start off with the best intentions but never seem to make the change permanent.
How come? Very bluntly, we do things because we get a payoff – I go to work, I get paid (I feel valued); I build a house, I get shelter (I feel warm and safe); I do a good deed, I get praise (I feel good), and so on. Each time we are satisfying a feeling and the feelings drive our behaviour. When I eat chocolate I get several instant payoffs - I feel sweetness inside me (sugar hit), I feel special (good people are rewarded with sweets in our culture), I feel valued (I can have that expensive treat). You will probably have noticed that people eat more chocolate (and other comfort foods) when things aren’t going well for them.
It’s really hard to swap an instant payoff for some obscure goal that may or may not be achieved in the future (for instance ‘I am going be 10kg lighter in 4 months’).
So, in order to make your resolution(s) stick, first (this is the hard bit because you have to be totally honest) when you find yourself heading for the chocolate counter (or the fridge, or the drinks cabinet) bring to mind that you are doing it for a payoff. Identify what you are really getting out of it, you need to look beyond ‘It tastes good’ or ‘I’m thirsty’, (we all know that water is far more thirst quenching than any other drink).
When you have identified these feelings, then craft your resolution so that the feelings are taken care of with the new behaviour. The modified resolution might then read: 'When I feel the need for sweetness I eat some luscious strawberries' or 'When I need to feel love I think of my beautiful grandchildren'.
You will notice that the new resolution acknowledges the need and is written in the present tense with no negatives (not, won't, lose). Also, try saying the resolution out loud to yourself every morning.
If you take time crafting your resolutions in this way you may find you have better success.
Happy New Year from Ross
Ross is a practitioner of Postural Integration – a method of bringing the body and mind back into balance by addressing feelings that drive behaviour.
by Ross Housham
The body deals with physical pain.
We see its awesome capacity every weekend. When AFL guys take a big mark and drop on their backs from ten feet in the air, make no mistake, it hurts, but the body disperses the impact of the fall around the entire connective tissue system. They get up after getting their breath back, without a bruise and kick a goal. Amazing. They have a reason for pain (a big fall) but have none (unless they miss the goal!).
If I stand next to the fire, my body picks up and distributes the heat. I start to feel warmed. If I am too close, the amount of heat arriving is more than the body can distribute - it warns me 'this is getting hot'. If I continue to ignore the warning, the body says 'hey stupid, move' with the strongest signal it can send - PAIN. The pain is a signal telling me to act to protect myself and I usually do or get burned.
The body deals with emotional pain.
Emotions are also a call to action. The emotional part of the brain is the most primitive or lizard brain. It was developed to help us survive. Emotions tell the body to get out of here, to shout, to cry or strike out, protect yourself. These are the fight or flight responses. You will have felt the energy arriving at the tissues - balling the fists in anger, hackles rising, rapid intake of breath, shouting at the driver who has just cut you off. It is instantaneous and subconscious.
When we feel a cause to act but then it is suppressed by the logical brain, ie you hold yourself back, the body must disperse the energy that was sent in that first instant, into the surrounding tissues.
When we recall a painful event; being overlooked for promotion; loss of a love; the guilt/shame/sadness... the primitive brain, not knowing the difference between a real crisis and a remembered one, sends the signal again: protect yourself. The energy must again be absorbed by the tissues while the front brain goes 'I should have done this... seen it coming... We reach the point, like standing in front of the fire, at which the body can’t absorb any more of the energy of the emotion. We get pain without an obvious physical cause. The feelings are literally ‘embodied’. Our language reflects this - he’s a pain in the neck, he’s broken hearted, she’s all bitter and twisted, I wish you would all get off my back, I just can’t let go, shoulder the burden, biting back the words, swallowing her pride ...
If you have pain that doesn’t go away or respond to conventional treatment, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there is ‘something wrong’ with the body part. It may be that the body warning you that there is something in your life (present or past) that is hurting you.
Bodywork and Postural Integration are good for helping to release the emotional energy that has been stored in the tissues. If you wish to chat about it feel free to call and ask any questions you have.
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep and cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like stars at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
By W.H. Davies (1871-1940)