IS HEALING AN INSIDE JOB?
Releasing Suppressed Emotions
By: Dr Kelly Turner. PhD.
From the book: RADICAL REMISSION
“This chapter is about the emotions we hold on to from our past and their connection to our physical health. To explore this subject fully, we will first look at why supressed emotions, particularly stress and fear, are bad for our health. From there, we will discuss the optional way to process emotions “
RELEASING SUPPRESSED EMOTIONS
Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. -Mark Twain – Surprisingly, only two of the nine most frequent factors of Radical Remission in this book are physical (diet change and herbs/supplements); the rest are emotional or spiritual in nature. When I first started this research, I fully expected the most common things people would report doing for their healing to be physical in nature, such as changing their diets, taking supplements, exercising, having coffee enemas. Therefore, no one was more surprised than I was when I kept hearing, in interview after interview, so much discussion about mental, emotional, and spiritual healing factors. This chapter is about the emotions we hold on to from our past and their connection to our physical health. To explore this subject fully, we will first look at why suppressed emotions, particularly stress and fear, are bad for our health. From there, we will discuss the optional way to process emotions, followed by the healing story of one Radical Remission survivor who released suppressed emotions in order to help heal his lung cancer. Finally, you will find a list of simple action steps at the end of this chapter that can help you get started with the process of unloading your own emotional baggage.
ILLNESS EQUALS BLOCKAGE
In addition to finding out what people do to heal their cancer, I also study why Radical Remission survivors do these things. I call these motivating principles underlying beliefs’” and one of the most common underlying beliefs that comes up, over and over in my research is the belief that illness is a blockage on either the physical, emotional, or spiritual level of our beings. Survivors as well as alternative cancer healers believe that health is achieved when we have a state of unrestricted movement on all three of these levels. This concept gives us a new way to think about cancer, as well as a new way to think about treating it.
Let me give you an analogy to help you better understand how cancer forms in the body. A well-functioning body is a lot like a city, especially when it comes to a city’s garbage collection system. Just as you have things that you throw out every day – for example, food that has spoiled – your cells also have things they throw out every day, such as toxins, bacteria, or old cell parts. And just as the garbage truck comes to your house each week to pick up your trash, your immune system stops by your cells each day to pick up their waste. In a city, garbage trucks take the trash to a local waste treatment centre, where it is sorted and either recycled or discarded. Similarly, waste from your cells is taken by your immune system to organs, such as your kidney and liver, where it is then either recycled or expelled from your body. Just as there would be serious problems if the garbage trucks in your city did not collect trash for weeks on end, serious problems arise in your body when things build up and are not processed through your waste disposal system – and that appears to be what happens with cancer. We all have cancer cells in our bodies every day; they are simply” bad copies” of cells, and that copying process can go wrong for a variety of reasons. Regardless of the reason, your immune system usually notices these bad copies and promptly removes them from your body, without any problem or cause for alarm.
Sometimes, though, either because your immune system is weakened or because cancer cells are especially good at hiding behind chemical “masks”, cancer cells may not always get removed from your body as they should. When this happens over an extended period of time, the cancer cells eventually build up enough to form a tumour. From the point of view of the people I research, not only does this “blockage” of a tumour need to be removed, but also the cause of the blockage needs to be addressed, so things do not build up again.
Due to this belief, the Radical Remission survivors I study are very focused on clearing out anything that is “stuck” in their being, whether on the physical level, the emotional level, or the spiritual level. In their opinion, one person may have more of a physical blockage, while another person may have more of an emotional or spiritual blockage. Regardless of which level the blockage is on, however, the overarching goal is still the same: identify the blockage, figure out where it came from, and release it fully. One of the survivors I studied who believed that his cancer was caused by a blockage on the emotional level was a man named “” Adam”. Adam was diagnosed with a grade 3 oligodendroglioma, an advanced type of brain tumour that has a median survival rate of only three and a half years.
After two gruelling surgeries that removed most of his infiltrating brain tumour, Adam turned down the recommended chemotherapy and radiation because they provided such slim chances for survival and came with terrible side effects. His doctors warned him that, by refusing their advice, his cancer would likely be back within a year. Nevertheless, he decided to try other healing methods instead. So, in addition to changing his diet and taking many supplements to help clear out any physical blockages in his body, he focused on releasing emotional blockages from his past:
When you watch the mind pattern, or watch the thought form that created the disease to begin with, if you can find out what that is and fix that, then there’s no way for the physical aspect of the disease to exist…..Wherever the cancer is, it represents a kind of resentment you’re holding ……So, I did what I call “”release work.” Imagine…..your father. You can probably think about all the things that your dad has done for you, both positive and negative….But the reality is that, at a certain point, you have to release that stuff……If you release that moment up into the experience of whatever this universe is, it no longer has to exist. And it doesn’t have to exist inside of you anymore either. So, I did a lot of release work.
WHAT ARE SUPPRESSED EMOTIONS”?
Suppressed emotions are any emotions you are hanging on to from your past, whether positive, negative, conscious, or unconscious. The most common emotions we hold on to are negative ones, such as stress, fear, trauma, regret, anger, or sadness, but we may also hold on to positive emotions, such as happiness. Most people would assume that holding on to happiness is a good thing; however, when happiness is tied to your past, it quickly turns into nostalgia, which keeps us focused on a memory of past happiness, as opposed to the possibility of actual happiness in the present. In addition to being positive or negative, suppressed emotions may be conscious or unconscious, meaning you may not be able to remember them fully or at all. That’s because traumatic memories, such as accidents or incidents of physical or sexual abuse, are often blocked from one’s conscious memory. You will find suggestions for how to release such unconscious, buried memories in the “” Action Steps” section at the end of this chapter, but for now, it is important to note that any emotion you are holding on to from your past is a suppressed emotion that may, over time, lead to an unhealthy blockage in your body-mind-spirit system. “Ëmily” is a Radical Remission survivor who focused on releasing emotions from her past in order to help heal her cancer. She was diagnosed with stage 4 cervical cancer and agreed to have surgery, but when her doctor insisted on following up with chemotherapy and radiation in order to treat her metastases, she hesitated. Her intuition told her that her already weak body would not be able to handle such intense treatments, and more important, her training in energy medicine led her to believe that suppressed emotions from her recent divorce might be keeping her immune system from working as well as it could:
I asked my doctor to give me a couple of weeks to solve this problem. I explained to him about my brutal, unexpected divorce and how, energetically speaking, that is the second chakra [an energy centre, in yoga theory, located near the cervix]. Therefore, as an energy medicine therapist, I had a few tools that I was able to apply. My doctor gave me the opportunity to do that but told me to come back after those two weeks and have a CAT scan and other tests to be sure the cancer was gone. So, I agreed. For a couple of weeks, I did Reiki, yoga, Healing Touch, prayed, cried, laughed, forgave, and – one day at a time – started clearing and dealing with grief using different energy medicine modalities. The process was truly healing on many levels.
When Emily went back for a follow-up scan just two weeks later, her doctor was shocked to see that her metastases were gone and she had no detectable cancer left in her body. Six years later (and counting), Emily is feeling happier and healthier than ever, especially now that she has released the grief of her divorce.
STRESS AND CANCER
One of the ways that stress weakens the immune system is by changing which neuropeptides our cells release. Neuropeptides are chemicals released by certain cells in your body that then latch on to other cells in your body and create an effect. Neuropeptides that have a healthy effect on your immune system include serotonin, dopamine, and relaxing; these are released whenever you feel relaxed and happy. Neuropeptides that have a weakening effect on your immune system, especially over an extended period of time, include cortisol, epinephrine, and adrenaline; these are known as the stress hormones. What makes stress – or any emotion, for that matter – so powerful is that almost every cell in our bodies has the ability to both produce and receive these neuropeptides. In other words, the antiquated idea that the mind and body are separate is no longer scientifically accurate; instead, the mind – in the form of emotion -driven neuropeptides – s present in every cell, which means an emotion such as stress can negatively affect every cell in your body, not just your immune cells. One of the healers I met during my research trip studies precisely this topic: how stress and the overall suppression of emotions can negatively affect any cell. Dr Tsuneo Kobayashi, an integrative oncologist in Tokyo, believes cancer cells are merely healthy cells whose mitochondria have become damaged.
Dr Kobayashi believes suppressing emotions is one of the key things that can damage the mitochondria. As we learned in chapter 1, mitochondria are in charge of converting the oxygen we breathe into the energy our cells need. They are also in charge of telling our cells when it is time to die and be replaced by new cells; this is known as “programmed cell death” or “apoptosis.” When someone has cancer, two things are happening: the cancerous cells are no longer getting their energy from oxygen but instead from sugar (i.e., glucose), and they are no longer dying when they should but instead replicating and living forever. Both of these functions – creating energy via oxygen and dying on time – are jobs of the mitochondria. Therefore, Dr Warburg’s and Dr. Kobayashi’s theory that cancer cells are simply healthy cells whose mitochondria have been damaged makes a lot of sense – and, in fact, many other researchers today agree with them.
Taking this idea even further, though Dr Kobayashi hypothesizes that a wide variety of things can damage a cell’s mitochondria, even suppressing one’s emotions:
[Cancer] is not made by cancer cells but by human beings….with their bad circulation and low [core body] temperature……..My understanding is that cancer cells are not malignant cells but sacrificed or delinquent cells……adapted to the wrong circumstances…….In our body, cancer cells never arise in the heart or small intestine, because the heart and small intestine are warm, with high blood circulation and high oxygen content…..Cancer is the end result of alexithymia – or not expressing feelings or emotions. Most cancer patients, before suffering from cancer, are suffering from alexithymia. Alexithymia [causes] blood pressure to go down and [core body] temperature to lower….and this destroys the function of the mitochondria. Because Dr Kobayashi sees mitochondrial damage as the main cause of cancer, his treatments therefore focus on trying to repair mitochondria.
He attempts to do this in a variety of ways, using both physical treatments-such as raising one’s core body temperature – and emotional treatments – such as having his patients do emotional release work. If you are feeling stressed by what you just read about stress, I have some good news: stress management works. Studies have shown that releasing feelings of stress, anger or fear can strengthen your immune system – and quiet quickly, at that.
The marvellous richness of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were no limitations to overcome The hilltop hour would not be so wonderful, if there were no dark valleys to traverse’ – Helen Keller