I truly feel that emotions can cause (and certainly exacerbate) any condition. The term “neuro-emotional complex”(NEC) was introduced to me by Scott Walker, DC, founder of Neuro Emotional Technique® (NET). Neuro Emotional Technique® is a muscle-testing and acupuncture-based system used to identify NECs (and their origin in time) and ultimately “clear” them from the nervous system. It is probably obvious to everyone that emotions cause physical and bio-chemical stress. The expressions we often use clearly indicate this: “butterflies in your stomach”; “weak at the knees”; and “pain in the neck” to name a few. We have probably all experienced one of these at some point in our life. Emotions can both cause and result in bio-chemical imbalances as can clearly be demonstrated by those who take psychotropic medications. For instance, when these drugs do not allow for the breakdown of the neurotransmitter serotonin, the result is usually a change in thoughts and mood. Also, when we have certain thoughts and/or moods that cause emotional stress, we may experience poor digestion because of changes in the nervous system; and perhaps even a loss of appetite. This concept works the other way around as well, as “positive” stress-reducing thoughts and moods can result in better bodily function.
Health problems seem to arise when these NECs get “stuck” in our nervous system. There are complex theories based on how this works and I will refer you to a book by Candice B. Pert, Ph.D. titled “Molecules of Emotion: The Science Behind Mind-Body Medicine” for further information. In this article I’ll provide some basic information on emotions and the body and some personal thoughts as well.
Let’s begin with the organ/gland-emotion correlation. First, every emotion will affect the stomach, however it gets more specific than that. Here is a list for you:
Stomach – Over sympathetic
Spleen and Pancreas – Low self-esteem
Large Intestine – Dogmatically positioned
Lung – Grief
Bladder – Paralyzed will
Kidney – Fear
Gall Bladder – Resentment
Liver – Anger
Small Intestine – Lost, Vulnerable
Heart – Frightfully overjoyed
Thyroid and Adrenals – Muddled instability
Prostate, gonads, uterus, and pituitary – Non-thinking, non-emotive
Governing Vessel (acupuncture meridian) – False pride
Conception Vessel (acupuncture meridian) – Shame
There are more emotions associated with each organ, gland, or meridian but these are the most common. Also keep in mind that symptoms or outright diseases can occur in any organ/gland from any emotion.
My personal feeling is that the “worst” emotion to harbor is fear. I say this because it often causes the most difficult roadblocks to get past. Based on my experience with patients it is extremely to difficult to attain what you want in life if there is an underlying fear behind it. Three basic examples are: fear of being alone will most certainly cause you to be in unfulfilling relationships or single; fear of not having enough money will usually deter a person from making more than they do; sometimes a patient can even fear the pain they have which can cause it to to be very difficult to resolve. Obviously other circumstances can result in the same things, these are generalities. The famous quote, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”, coined by FDR points to this concept nicely.
Another interesting point about emotions is that the same ones seem to “pop-up” continuously in a person’s life until they “clear” or “get over it”. An entire personality can often be painted through early life experiences. This can be thought of as a survival mechanism imbedded through conditioning. For example, let’s say a child who had an abusive father growing up forced him/herself to be extremely passive and obedient in order to not be physically harmed. Then when the child grows up, he/she may act in similar passive, obedient ways even in situations unrelated to physical harm or survival, and often wind up constraining their “growth”. An interesting way to see it is that the ego won’t allow for a difference in reaction/response/emotion, because the subconscious has a specific belief. Any actions or thoughts that go against the ego’s belief would render it “crazy” – and the ego does not want to be considered “crazy”. This is not my original theory, however, I do find merit in it.
Another very common conditioned response relates to our beliefs about love. The examples are endless, but here are some easy ones to understand and help you to get the basic gist. If we see our parents fighting constantly or they get divorced; we may grow up with a sub-conscious belief that “love means people fight”, or “loving relationships can’t last” – ultimately impeding relationships as an adult. These beliefs can also be related to relationships people have been in personally. And, the above examples obviously relate to a lot of intra/interpersonal situations; please don’t forget the physical symptoms or disease(s) that may result. The most common that come to mind would be pain (especially spinal, knee, and shoulder), digestive complaints (huge correlation), fibromyalgia, and multiple sclerosis. The list in certainly infinite though.
In conclusion NET is not psychotherapy, although psychotherapists do use it. As a chiropractor these emotions are released through musculoskeletal-based corrections while the patient is “connecting” to the aberrant NEC. Profound changes in all areas of a person’s life often results. I hope this article helps!
PS: A good clue that you may have not worked through an emotional complex is if the same health condition or emotion comes up in your life repeatedly. For instance, you’re always worried, angry, paranoid, fearful, resentful, frustrated, etc. (whether it be in a relationship, job, or intra-personal conflict). And bear in mind that emotional “work” is not always necessary to “clear” it – structural and nutritional treatment can often resolve emotional complexes as well. I feel aberrant emotional complexes are the most commonly overlooked aspect of a patient’s health.
Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology