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Ailments & Emotional Connections

Ailments and their Emotional Connection: making connections between physical concerns and emotional imbalances

Our bodies function best when it is in harmony – body, mind and spirit, all working together. When there are miscommunications within the body among our nerves, organs and cells, it can cause a disruption in the way our body and mind operate.  For example, for someone who works all night and sleeps all day, their circadian rhythm may get “off track”, causing physical and mental fatigue, exhaustion, poor adrenal and thyroid function as well as depression, irritability, scattered thoughts and poor concentration.

Recognizing when the body is not working in harmony is the first step followed by knowing how to correct the imbalances.  This will help you achieve better overall health and help others do the same.


Introduction: Do physical imbalances cause emotional distress? Or vice versa?

To really understand how physical ailments are connected to certain emotional imbalances, we first need to talk about how the body works and its important role with how it produces energy. As you know, we are comprised of energetic molecules that provide fuel to our organs to function optimally, to muscles so they can move & be flexible, to the brain so it can think, and to emotions so they can be expressed.

The key here is that the energy is continuously flowing.  It is experienced and utilized by our body to help us move forward on to the next task.  It is when this energy flow is disrupted or halted that physical, mental and emotional imbalance begin. Hence, we see and feel ailments or symptoms.

Emotions require this same energy flow. They are energy in motion.  We should experience various emotions and move on from them. When someone gets “stuck” in an emotion (anger for example), their energy becomes stagnant, making it harder to move through the emotional or physical concerns.  This may lead to a decrease in system functions which ultimately result in physical ailments.  Typically, stuckness is a main contributor to lymphatic congestion, lack of movement and/or poor circulation.

With the case of anger, someone may yell all of time, have a short temper, be impatient and irritable.  They may also experience heated ailments such as high blood pressure, headaches, and gallstones.

From a physical perspective, if someone was to get into a car accident, and their spine was altered causing a subluxation in some vertebrae, say in the lung region, someone might experience stagnant grief and guilt issues.

Helping one recognize this connection may help them in their healing process to achieve overall wellness.


What to do when you are stuck

  • Smell essential oils & use aromatherapy practices to help work through emotional distress & physical sluggishness
  • Herbal supplements to move lymph and enhance circulation. Decongest stuck lymph and purify toxins from the blood with herbs and spices such as capsicum, cleavers, black pepper, cinnamon, juniper berries, parthenium, prickly ash bark, red clover, and stillingia root.
  • Journal about your thoughts, feelings & emotions. Look for common themes and patterns of behaviors.
  • Move your body! Movement creates flow. it allows more oxygen to flow to and through your veins and brain.
  • Move your mind! Your brain is a muscle and needs exercise to keep it fit.

When you are move stuck fluids, like lymph, I tend to start with a small amount in water more frequently, then work up to a larger amount.  If you do too much too quickly, it can overload the system and cause a huge back up creating more congestion (think of a conveyer belt that is backed up). Smaller amounts can gently move out congestion and stagnation.  the analogy I often use is, “do you need a shovel, or a bulldozer?” and which one can your body handle?


How herbal supplements and aromatherapy help 

They too contain energy, just like the human body.  This energy can be measured in a Hz frequency, just like electrical devices.  The body typically has 62-72Hz during the day. When we are exhausted, overwhelmed or sad, energy frequency goes down causing more disharmony and imbalance. With chronic health ailments, it may decrease below 40Hz. When we are happy, healthy and joyful, energy frequency goes up, as does our body functions and overall immunity.

Because plants are comprised of amazing energy, when taken in by the body (via ingestion or smell) they can alter, shift and adjust the body’s energy. Thus, enhancing optimal functioning.

Herbs (dried and fresh) can provide 12-27Hz and helps the body work from the inside out.

Essential oils have 52-320Hz (rose provides the highest).

These are very powerful as they do not have to be processed through the digestive tract or spinal cord. The effect is immediate as it works through the olfactory system to help you work from the outside in.


Common ailments related to each body system and corresponding emotional concerns

Traditional Chinese Medicine links emotional concerns to various organ imbalances.  It demonstrates that when there are unresolved emotional issues, this is stored in the spinal fluid (flowing throughout the body) and suppresses immunity and other organ functions depending on where the fluid gets stuck.  In order for someone to get their body to respond and move past this stagnation, they must –

  • acknowledge the unresolved issues
  • create positive thinking and affirmations
  • do daily deep breathing exercises
  • add in botanical medicine such as aromatherapy and herbals


Gastrointestinal System

  • Function: Immunity, absorb & assimilate nutrients, get waste ready for excretion, reabsorb water and electrolytes, produce and manage B-vitamins & probiotic support, and assist in serotonin uptake (happy juice to the brain). If toxins cannot pass through the gastrointestinal system, it may be dumped into the lymphatic system and try to eliminate through the respiratory system.
  • Physical issues: gas bloating, indigestion, malabsorption, IBS, hiatal hernia, acid reflux, constipation (not letting go of a situation, feeling, emotion, or burden), diarrhea (or feelings of losing control)
  • Emotional Issues: excessive worry, not able to process thoughts and feelings around a certain situation, mental chatter, thinking too much, extreme mental chatter, feeling defeated, commitment issues and being overwhelmed by responsibilities, craves warmth, has issues of abandonment, and can be overprotective of themselves and others (yarrow is a good remedy for this)
  • Beneficial herbal remedies: full-spectrum digestive enzymes, probiotics, omegas, lecithin, slipper elm, passionflower, marshmallow root
  • Essential oils: roman chamomile (calms emotions, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory), lavender (soothing, harmonizing, balancing), marjoram (to calm the nerves from excess worry and being overwhelmed), patchouli (helps one let go, especially of past issues and grudges), peppermint, thyme, lemon


Circulatory System

  • Function: Provides all living cells with oxygen and nutrients and takes away the cell’s waste. It includes the heart, arteries and veins which emotionally represent love. This system represents rhythm, balance and stillness. Continuous flow.
  • Physical Issues: cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, varicose veins, cholesterol and heart palpitations
  • Emotional Issues: rejection, can’t move past a broken heart, feeling unloved and trust issues
  • Beneficial herbal remedies: mangosteen (gets things unstuck especially in the spinal fluid), citrus bioflavonoids, black pepper, CoQ10, gingko biloba, hawthorn berries, rosemary, and turmeric
  • Essential oils: thyme, ylang ylang (lower excess heat in the body – physically and emotionally), rosemary (rejection, abandonment, helps one feel like they belong), cypress, pink grapefruit and geranium


Urinary System

  • Function: Filters body fluid concentrations and flushes waste and toxins out of blood, helps maintain proper pH balance and buffers acidity in the body.
  • Physical Issues: urinary infections, kidney concerns, low back pain, arthritis, skin issues and gout.
  • Emotional Issues: fear, shame or guilt, give power away, not stand up for oneself and have lack of will power
  • Beneficial Herbal remedies to move out toxins while strengthening the urinary linings to create a strong foundation, hence stand up for self: cornsilk, cranberry, uva ursi, chlorophyll (balance pH), bladderwrack (enhances membrane strength), dandelion leaf, parsley leaf, dong quai root, horsetail, hydrangea root, eleuthero & schizandra
  • Essential oils: frankincense (fear & connectedness), cypress, geranium, pine (supports urinary function, nourishes & diminishes weakness), lemon (purifier)


Immune System

  • Function: You can’t point to any particular organ or set of tissues and say, “here’s the immune system”.  It is made up of lymphatic fluid, lymph nodes, spleen, bone marrow and thymus gland. The immune system promotes optimal immune function by combating bacterial, viral and fungal infections, relieving stress and fatigue. When someone is sad or unresolved emotional issues, the immune system may be suppressed over 50%. Remember, 60-80% of the immune system is located in the guts so when working on immunity, you should add in the digestive component as well.
  • Physical Issues: general infections, frequent infection, taking a long time to heal, lymphatic congestion and overall fatigue
  • Emotional Issues: obsessive/compulsive issues, hypochondria, chronic abusive behavior or been abused, not living up to expectations and self-doubt
  • Beneficial Herbal remedies to support the immune system physically and emotionally are elderberry (build strength and defensive shield), vitamin D, Cleavers, stillingia root, aquasol-silver (keeps body strong against attack), arabinogalactan, colostrum, and medicinal mushrooms such as lion’s main, tremella, cordyceps, reishi, maitake, shitake, chaga, agaricus, turkey tail
  • Essential oils: All 100% pure essential oils are all antibacterial. They just vary in potency.  Specific essential oils to help combat general infection and build up a strong emotional defense are thyme, clove (feel like people are attacking them), lemon (purifier), lavender, ravintsara, cinnamon (comfort, security, self-doubt, feeling like you need to prove self), tea tree (invasion, being invaded), and red mandarin (adrenal support, Vitamin C).


Respiratory System

  • Function: Takes in oxygen to the bloodstream and removes the CO2 waste. The lungs filter air and help the body’s natural elimination process by providing the energy for cells to utilize nutrients and eliminate the wastes.
  • Physical Issues: bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia (usually deep-seated emotions from past – see if there is a cycle or pattern to re-occurrence), coughs and chest congestion; those who can’t take in a full breath or they hold their breath in times of crisis.
  • Emotional Issues: grief, guilt, trouble adjusting to change and feelings of being suffocated are connected to respiratory distress
  • Beneficial Herbal remedies: mullein, yerba santa, anise, ginger, holy basil (adjusting to change, long-term grief and guilt), licorice root
  • Essential oils: eucalyptus (claustrophobia, inability to let go, not adjusting to change), frankincense (deep breathing, connectedness, guilt), tea tree (needs open air, adjust to change), sandalwood (trees are tall to help one take in the big picture and breathe; claustrophobia), rosemary, niaouli


Nervous System

  • Function: Internal communication system. It relays signals with short electrical impulses so messages get sent to organs, systems and muscles.  It controls every function of the body such as heartbeat, hormone secretions and allowing us to pick up pencil. The nervous system is made up of the brain, spinal cord and nerves and works directly with the glandular system. I find this system to be out of balance with about 80% of the people I work with.
  • Physical Issues: calms nerves, relaxes the body so we can get a restful sleep, helps with memory loss and poor concentration as well as stress, depression, anxiety (possible ink to low blood sugar), nervousness, insomnia, sciatica and neuropathy
  • Emotional Issues: not being nourished, constant giving without replenishment or receiving and coldness
  • Beneficial Herbal remedies: lecithin (hold onto nutrients so they don’t feel depleted and exhausted), GABA (protect nerves and helps people set boundaries); Replenishing herbs, vitamins & minerals such as Vitamins B & C, bioflavonoids, schisandra, passionflower & hops fruit extract. Chinese herbal staples like oyster shell, silk tree bark, haliotis shell, hoelen sclerotium, Asian ginseng root, polygala root, turmeric root, cassia twig, Chinese licorice root and ginger rhizome.
  • Essential oils: bergamot (uplifting), lavender (balance and harmony), neroli (helps one feel nourished), red mandarin (adrenal support), Roman chamomile (caretaker), clary sage (calms nerves, euphoric), helichrysum (deep scars – physical and emotional)


Glandular System

  • Function: Balances hormones such as PMS, menopause and mood swings), helps with emotional distress and is responsible for growth spurts, sexual identity, body temperature, reproductive troubles and blood sugar irregularities. It regulates these many functions through the secretion of hormones and works with the nervous system to maintain the body’s balance or homeostasis. This is why when we are stressed, our hormones fluctuate at a greater rate. This system is made up of the pituitary, thyroid, thymus, adrenals, pancreas and reproductive organs. You can also remember this as TARP (thyroid, adrenal, reproductive and pancreas).
  • Thyroid – thyroid issues, laryngitis
    • Emotions: not speaking up for yourself or saying what you want, self-expression
    • Herbs: thyroid supporters such as kelp, spirulina, Vitamin B6, zinc, l-tyrosine, and nettle leaves
    • Essential oils: lemon, thyme, myrrh, geranium, sandalwood
  • Adrenal: adrenal fatigue and exhaustion
    • Emotions: give without receiving, no boundaries
    • Herbs: adrenal supporters like Vitamins B & C, magnesium, zinc, schisandra fruit, borage seed oil, licorice root, mangosteen, lecithin, Asian ginseng root, turmeric root, yarrow (keep you from absorbing negative energy), maca, adaptogens
    • Essential oils: blue tansy, chamomile, orange, peppermint, pine, vetiver
  • Reproductive – hormone imbalances (PMS, menopause), mood swings, weep
    • Emotions: bitterness, resentment, judgmental, low self-esteem, trouble dealing with past or current abuse
    • Herbs: maca, dong quai, damiana, cupuacu, spirulina & chlorella (nourishes the entire glandular system), cleavers, prickly ash bark, red clover, stillingia root
    • Essential oils: bergamot, clary sage, geranium, jasmine, lemon, rose, rosemary
  • Pancreas – blood sugar imbalance and digestion
    • Emotions: loss joy/sweetness in life, chronic giving to others without receiving
    • Herbs: cinnamon thyme, D3, fenugreek, gymnema, Andrographis paniculata, turmeric
    • Essential oils: citrus, neroli (bitter orange tree), peppermint, myrrh, cinnamon

Hepatic System

  • Function: Made up of the liver and gall bladder, conducts over 120 processes for the body including the detoxification of toxins which allows nutrients to enter and nourish the body.  When the liver is overburdened or overwhelmed, it can’t function optimally and may slow down every other process in the body. The gallbladder plays an important role in this system as it produces bile to neutralize acidity and emulsify fat.
  • Physical Issues:
    • liver: high blood pressure, headaches, hot flashes and cholesterol imbalances
    • gallbladder: trouble digesting fats and proteins
  • Emotional Issues:
    • liver: heated emotions such as irritability, impatience, anger and rage
    • gallbladder: someone may not have the gall to do something or is strongly affected by people who step on their toes or lack compassion
  • Beneficial Herbal remedies: full-spectrum digestive enzymes, dandelion, chickweed, lecithin, red beet root, yellow dock, black cohosh, blessed thistle, chamomile, ginger, Oregon grape, manjistha root
  • Essential oils: lemon (purifier, pH), rose (liver), helichrysum (liver, especially long-term damage, release buried emotions), peppermint (cooling), roman chamomile (calms heat)


Structural System

  • Function: Provides support and structure for the body to protects vital organs (notably brain, spinal cord, heart and lungs), it assists in movement and helps produce blood cells.  It is made up of the skin, bones, muscles, membranes, connective tissue, hair and nails. This system creates a strong, stable framework in which everything can function, like the shell of a car to protect the engine.
  • Physical Issues: arthritis (links to liver and pancreas), joint pain, osteoporosis, muscle cramps, poor posture, alopecia, scar tissue buildup and skin irritations
  • Emotional Issues: anger that one has not been or is not being supported in life, no support system
  • Beneficial Herbal remedies: calcium, magnesium, plantain, horsetail, MSM (for deep seated, long-term issues)
  • Essential oils: helichrysum (scarring), roman chamomile (cams irritation from situation), frankincense (diminishes fear of doing something about the situation), ginger (help deal with the pain).



Well, this was a lot of information so how do you put it all together and apply it to your current situation?

You start with one thing at a time.  Determine which of the items we’ve discussed today are most imbalanced and start with those.  To obtain optimum results in your wellness program, integrate a single essential oil or a combination of oils in a blend with some herbal supplements that best matches your health goals. Create an aromatherapy spray, bath salt, massage oil or roll-on and smell several times a day to help you work through the emotional connections to your health concerns.


Thank you very much for this opportunity to share some common health ailments and their possible emotional connections.  I hope this information will help you on your health journey and has empowered you to take action and make a difference in your life.  If you need a coach to help you on your continued health &wellness journey and implement a customize plan of action specific to your needs, check out my coaching program. I take on a couple new clients each month, and you can be one of them.


Blog Disclaimer: This content is an excerpt written and presented by me at a November 16, 2009 conference to a group of herbalist & clinical practitioners.



The Body Electric, Dr. Robert O. Becker, MD.

JennScents Aromaversity Clinical Aromatherapy Certification Program Courses,

JennScents Holistic Aromatherapy Comprehensive Guide

Various Tree of Light Classes,

Various educational classes from Dr. Kimberly Balas


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