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  • Writer's pictureSimone Grove

How healing and processing emotions supports physical health and cancer recovery

Updated: May 7

Gut feelings. Heart sinking. A ‘pain in the neck’. For a long time, we’ve known that our emotional health and physical health are closely linked – and now scientific research into the mind-body connection is revealing even more about the way our thoughts and beliefs impact upon our wellbeing. As more and more research is conducted into how our emotional health impacts upon the physical, we’re getting a clearer impression of the link between what we think, how we feel and our overall health which is showing promising results, particularly for people living with cancer.


As an integrative clinical practitioner, I’m fascinated by the similarities and synchronicities that are starting to show up between conventional treatments and the therapies which have long been thought of as ‘alternative’ options. For many years I’ve witnessed remarkable transformations which would previously be put down to the placebo effect or dismissed as ‘anecdotal evidence’. And now these therapies are slowly but surely being recognised and integrated within routine medical treatment pathways.  


Today I’m sharing something relatively new which is incredibly exciting and offers promising insights for people living with cancer. There’s a clear link between stress, processing emotion and cancer – and new studies are beginning to address this. I’m especially focused on expanding awareness of new schools of thought in cancer care right now because many are being picked up overseas and are not well-known or widely promoted here in the UK. What I love the most about these approaches is how empowering they are – they help you to feel more in control of your health and your condition, which coincidentally is one of the first steps to improved emotional wellbeing.


Emotion = energy in motion


Ancient medical scriptures have long maintained that there is an invisible flow of energy through the body which is closely linked with our physiological circulatory systems - and modern science is catching up and is now starting to confirm what anecdotal evidence has indicated for millennia. Despite advancements in modern medicine, many chronic illnesses and autoimmune diseases such as lupus, MS and fibromyalgia are on the rise, as are cancer diagnoses. Experts are starting to believe that emotional stress, trauma and mental illness all have a role to play in their development, contributing to the rising cases we are witnessing.


When we are able to process and deal with our emotions in a healthy way, they can move through the body freely and we can eventually let go of them. But when we stuff down, ignore or deny our feelings, especially negative ones, they can become stuck in the body where they contribute to disease.


In the UK especially I believe we have an issue with freely expressing emotion. It’s the classic ‘stiff upper lip’ syndrome – smile to hide the pain, say ‘I’m okay’ when you feel anything but. Many of the clients and patients I meet often feel uncomfortable outwardly expressing emotion…they may feel ashamed, or embarrassed, or simply don’t know how to deal with what they’re holding onto and want to ignore it as that helps them to feel temporarily in control.


The problem with this approach is that emotions, and the physical issues they create when they become stuck, just become bigger and more difficult to deal with. It may feel as though the difficult stuff goes away when we distract ourselves from it – and it doesn’t. Unprocessed emotions don’t just disappear because we fail to acknowledge them – in fact, the longer we continue to ignore them or pretend that they aren’t there, the more significant the effects can become.


Reviewing and healing your emotional terrain


One of the areas I focus on first with my clients and patients is their emotional wellbeing. How are they feeling now? What areas of their lives are causing them stress or anxiety? Has anything happened in their past which caused unresolved trauma or emotional issues? If you’re dealing with a cancer diagnosis, there are likely a lot of fresh emotions emerging too, like fear, grief, sadness and anxiety. My role as an integrative therapist and cancer wellbeing specialist is to help you to acknowledge how you are feeling and notice the impact it is having, helping you to manage and process your emotions in a safe and healthy way.


Addressing lifestyle stressors


Modern lives are stressful and busy. Although we live in an age of convenience more is expected of us at home and at work than ever before, and many people live in a constant state of overwhelm, burnout and stress.  It doesn’t have to be this way though.


One of the very first steps to take on your healing journey is to assess your current lifestyle for stressors which could be impacting upon your health. Do you struggle to find time to rest? Are you exposed to toxic relationships? Does your diet and fitness regime need work? Through addressing tangible, physical aspects of your life we can begin to support real and lasting change.


Where to begin


There are many different tools, techniques and therapies you can try to help you better manage and process emotional pain and discomfort. We are all different, so different methods work for different people at varying stages in their journey.


Usually a combination of several approaches works best depending on a person’s unique situation and their current needs. Therapies to help with past and present emotional difficulties and/or trauma include:  


Inner child healing



Talking therapies such as CBT



Trauma therapy (such as EMDR)

Tapping (or EFT technique)



The process of beginning to identify and address emotional difficulties can be challenging and overwhelming, especially if you’ve been dealing with them for a long time. That’s where dedicated, expert support can be invaluable, as it provides an empathetic safe space for you to explore and process your emotions and begin to implement new ways of dealing with difficult thoughts and feelings.


Find out more: Visit my website PhysioCare Holistics



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