Are Disease and Stuck Emotions Connected?

woman-with-dogsBy Rita Hickman, LMT, BS, MA

In the 1980’s I remember watching Grease and listening to Madonna. To me, they were both about breaking free from the past and living life on your own terms.

Who didn’t want to be Sandy? And Madonna, well, she was a secret fantasy of how life could be if you didn’t have rules. They were pretty cool rolemodels.

That’s when I started looking at breaking free too. Learning how to be whole.

Fast forward 30 some years and I’m having a conversation with a pretty cool psychologist. Her brother had died from brain cancer almost overnight and the family was still in shock. We started talking about how scary it is, “what if I’m next?” and how something like this could happen.

I mean, what could my body be hiding that might kill me tomorrow? It’s a tough thought.

We talked about how everyone’s body has cancer in it and the difference is whether our body fights it off or not. So whether we live today or die tomorrow depends on how strong our body is. Yikes. Time to stop eating simple carbs, right?

But there is a piece that not many people talk about. And that’s what WE talked about today. See, her nephew (his son) died almost to the day, two years earlier. And he wasn’t the same since then. Could his grief have made his body so weak that the brain cancer won?

Emotions are pretty cool. They aren’t just a passing thought. They are 3-D and cause all sorts of interesting things in the body. And if we think it’s bad to feel sad or angry or hurt, then our bodies protect us by cutting off circulation to the part that hurts. Our heart. Or our head. Or our stomach. Wherever we feel the emotion most.

I’ve had a few neat experiences where I could “feel” every thought in my head. I could pinpoint exactly where that thought hung out. Or the different places it hung out. And I realized that thoughts create feelings. And feelings are sensations we feel in the body. And if we don’t want to feel, our bodies cut off the part of us that hurts. Until it’s so weak, it can’t fight off the cancer. Or disease.

So what’s the answer? Feeling. This happiness movement is making us sick. Because we all know we are tired and cranky. But we have to pretend we don’t feel that way.

Convince ourselves we’re happy. Get along. Be a good person. But underneath, we are still tired and sad and angry and hurt and frustrated and irritated. But good women should be nice or people will criticize them. What a nasty cycle.

I’d like to suggest that we start giving ourselves permission to be women. In all of our glorious humanity. And if we start being honest with each other, then maybe we can start to heal what’s broken. Learn how to take good care of ourselves. Stop hiding. If we keep pretending nothing is wrong, like the cancer, it grows until you have a real problem to deal with. Compassion. For ourselves and each other so we can actually fix what’s wrong. The idea that we aren’t important enough to be good to ourselves.

If you’d like more information on Candace Pert’s Work on the psychoneuroimmunology of emotions, please visit,

Rita54Res300Size5x7Rita Hickman is a body/mind massage therapist in McHenry, IL that helps women grow their healing practice, manage their relationships and get rid of their pain. She offers programs like Tools For Transformation, Marketing Programs for Women, Women’s Meetups and combines Shiatsu Massage with Life and Business Coaching .