The Link Between Psycho-Spiritual Wounds and Physical Illness
As part of my research for Sacred Medicine, I’m traveling the globe to work with shamans in Peru, Qigong masters from China, Hawaiian kahunas, Yogi Swamis, and other kinds of traditional healers, and they all know that psycho-spiritual trauma rides shotgun with physical illness. It’s only Westerners, in our Cartesian arrogance, who have split body, mind, and spirit/soul. Yet we are waking up again and remembering what traditional healers have known all along, that body, mind, and spirit/soul cannot be separated. If we treat the body without also treating the root cause of what predisposed the body to illness, the patient will likely get another illness, or the cancer will recur, or the disease will fail to respond to even the most aggressive treatment.
If You’ve Experienced Trauma, What Can You Do to Heal It?
If you’re looking to optimize your physical health by getting help for any unresolved traumas, there are a number of ways to get help. Start by checking in with yourself. What modality resonates with your intuition? Is it AIT? EFT? EMDR? Somatic Experiencing? Shamanic healing? Faith healing? A Native American Medicine Man?
I recommend doing your homework and tuning into your intuition before you choose a practitioner. If your practitioner is a licensed health care provider, like a medical doctor or psychotherapist, they are beholden to their respective medical board with regard to ethics, education, mastery, and continuing medical education. But the minute you go outside the system into the realm of traditional healers and energy medicine practitioners who don’t also have licensed degrees, you open yourself to two kinds of risks. Some practitioners have mastery but no ethic, while others have ethic but no mastery. In other words, you may bump into some highly gifted healers, but they may not follow even the most basic medical ethics, such as confidentiality, informed consent, and restraint from having sexual relations with clients. Even more common are the people who are kind, well-intentioned people trying to be of service, people who are basically ethical and mean well, but they’re simply not good at what they do and cannot reproduce trustworthy results. In my research into Sacred Medicine, I have concluded that just because someone has spiritual power doesn’t mean they have spiritual ethic. And just because someone has spiritual ethic doesn’t mean they have spiritual power. (I talked about this for 3 ½ hours in The Shadow Of Spirituality Uncensored class I taught. You can listen to the class hereto dive deeper into the topic of spiritual discernment).
I don’t say this to scare you or cause you to hesitate to get help if you’ve been traumatized. I’m just advising that you activate your discernment, ask for referrals, and be ready to sniff out those who are trying to hook you with big claims they can’t follow through on or those who might be full on black magicians dressed up in white angel robes.
If you feel drawn to modalities like AIT, EFT, EMDR, or Somatic Experiencing, there are resources online to guide you to psychotherapists who have been trained to practice these techniques.
Imagine If Doctors Were Trained to Treat Trauma Alongside Disease
Doctors and other health care providers have been exploring exactly these kinds of issues in the Whole Health Medicine Institute that I founded. Those who have been certified to facilitate the 6 Steps to Healing Yourself as outlined in Mind Over Medicine have gone through the 6 Steps themselves and have been trained to help facilitate patients who are exploring these kind of psycho-spiritual root causes of illness. (You can find a list of graduates here). But we’ve never overtly included into the training how to treat trauma directly. Asha and I are putting our noodles together to feel into whether there’s a potential for collaboration so that the doctors in my network might be trained to not only have awareness of these new treatments for trauma so that they can refer out to licensed practitioners. Perhaps they might also get certified to treat trauma directly. This bypasses the issue of “practicing medicine without a license” and opens up the potential for a whole new approach to disease treatment and prevention within our medical systems. Of course, there are other obstacles to this potential merging of worlds, including how little time doctors have to spend with patients. But as Tosha Silver would say, “It’s impossible that doctors could be trained to help treat unhealed trauma in sick people . . . without God.”
If You’ve Been Traumatized, Please Get Help
Let me just close by saying that if you’ve experienced trauma in your life and you sense that it might be predisposing you to illness or interfering with medical treatment, please know that you are not alone and that there is no shame in having experienced trauma. Most of us have trauma in our bodies, minds, and spirit/souls. We are not alone in our traumas, and we need not hide our pain or resist treating it. Trauma can be cured, and you can have your radiant, vital life back, if only you have the courage to enter the trauma capsule — along with expert guidance — and begin to let the trauma dissolve its grip on your life and your body.
Everyone is entitled to their own journey, so it’s also OK if you’re not ready yet. As my mentor Rachel Naomi Remen, MD says, “You can’t force a rosebud to blossom by beating it with a hammer.” Maybe all you can handle today is admitting, “I have trauma.” That is enough for now. Be kind to yourself. As Karen Drucker sings in her song Gentle With Myself, “I will only go as fast as the slowest part of me is free to go.” But perhaps by gently loving the slowest part, some day you will be ready to heal. Maybe that day begins right now.