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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Anderson

Case Study: Emotions and their impact on the physical body

When Susan* first came to see me, she hobbled to the door of my home office struggling with each step, with a rounded back and obviously in a lot of pain. She explained that she had been dealing with significant pain in her hip and I could see that it was creating a compensation pattern in her walk.


After taking a health history and some further observations and assessments, I had Susan lie on the table in a prone position so that I could perform some further assessments that showed she had a short-left leg with none of the normal indicators that would provide insight into where the problem was.


I performed the BRM’s (Bowen relaxation moves) and as I observed and palpated her body, I noticed that the sacrum and coccyx was quite predominate as she lay prone, and I asked her if she’d ever injured that area of her body.


As I continued to work on her, she responded to my question telling me about a fall she’d had as a small child where she had impaled her buttock and been taken to hospital, stitched up and that was it, which, given Susan’s age, was typical of society at the time - children should be seen, not heard. And so, the accident was not mentioned again and Susan was expected to just get on with being a child.


As Susan told me of the story, she became teary and I encouraged her not to hold back the tears, but to let them flow. I continued to work, finding symmetry in her body after a few more procedures.


When she sat up, Susan continued to tell me of another horrific story involving her pelvic region which resulted in multiple surgeries. This revelation of her body’s trauma led to more tears and talking, but by the end of the session, she felt better and left with a booking for the following week.


At the next appointment, I didn’t recognise the woman almost running up the path, but the smile on her face said it all. Susan couldn’t believe how great she was feeling and was happy to inform me she was in fact able to not only walk normally, but she could run.


After a quick assessment and procedures to bring about symmetry, Susan was off to enjoy her life again, with a booking for two weeks’ time to check on progress and she now comes to the clinic every four weeks for maintenance.


Whilst this case was certainly a rarity due to the rapid improvement (depending on the injury/issue, it can take anywhere from 3-12 appointments to resolve an issue), but sometimes, and especially when the pain in the body is caused by trauma stored in the body, that resolution can happen much quicker.


If you are interested in emotion and the impact they have on the physical body, there are some great books out on the subject including:

·      When the Body Says No by Gabor Mate

·      The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk M.D.

·      The Wisdom of your Body by Hillary L McBride PhD.


Most importantly, if you have a persistent pain that is not clearing through other treatments, consider what emotions and trauma you might have trapped away and look into other treatments that can help including Bowen Therapy or somatic yoga to name a few.

*Clients name was changed for privacy

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