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Finding and Releasing Emotional Causes of Disease by Sandra Hillawi

Finding and Releasing Emotional Causes of Disease by Sandra Hillawi Article by Sandra Hillawi, Master Herbalist, Colonic Therapist, Trainer in EFT & EMO: "Our emotions arise as part of our human response to life experiences. How we respond to life can also have a direct cause and effect relationship with the onset and progression of physical symptoms. Understanding how this mind-body connection works and applying new effective tools for releasing emotions can often be the key to rapid healing." This fascinating article by one of the UK's top MET trainers has also been published in magazines BNJ vol 23 number 3 2006 and Positive Health 134 April 2007.

Understanding Emotions – It’s Only Energy !!

To understand emotions, we have to understand the body’s energy system. Consider first the physical body as a biological engine processing nutrition. We take food in, digest absorb assimilate it, we rebuild our cells with it, i.e. we become more than we were before as a result of it, and we have an elimination system to release wastes and by products. So we process physical nutrition in, through and out of our physical body, being enriched in the process. This is a good model for understanding the energy system.

As we are all in constant energetic exchange with our environment, our energy body takes in these energies of life, nature, what happens to us, what people say and do to us. We process this in our energy system. A healthy response to life is to accept what happens, to become enriched by it in some way and then to let it go, releasing the energy of that event.

The problems arise when we have too much to handle at once, beyond the present processing ability of our energy system. Or, when a big life event happens, and again, we have not yet learned how to handle this kind of energy or experience. The energy being processed literally builds up in the energy system and, just like eating more than you can comfortably digest causes a physical blockage, in the same way we now have an energy blockage or disturbance, which is attached to the original thought or memory.

It is the information in the patterned into this energy disturbance which now drives the brain to produce the hormones that give rise to the emotional response and the nervous system and blood supply to give rise to the physical pressure or pain that accompanies it.

In other words, emotions are merely a feedback device of the energy system, indicating blockage. The same energy disturbance giving rise to physical symptoms that accompany emotions, e.g. tightness in the chest, knot in the stomach, pressure in the head etc. So releasing an emotion and its accompanying physical symptoms comes down to a simple principle of finding the energy disturbance and releasing the energy to restore flow in the energy system.

Restoring the energy flow, simultaneously creates a relaxed emotions state, usually with more clarity and perspective about what happened to the person and a more physically relaxed and comfortable body with communication systems and previously disrupted healing ability restored.

Asking the right questions

So identifying the cause of physical symptoms can often be as simple as asking questions such as : When did the symptoms start? and What was going on in your life at that time? and How did you feel about it? These questions can lead to the thoughts and memories that contain the energy disturbances which are causing both the emotional and physical symptoms being presented. The next step would be to use energy release techniques, such as EFT or EMO, to release these specific energy disturbances, and restore physical and emotional health. The Multiple Connective Tissue Disease MTCD and Migraines cases below are classic examples.

Accidents and Injuries

The same approach can be applied to persistent pain and restricted mobility following accidents and injuries. In traditional healing process we often ignore the trauma of the event itself and the stress of the consequences of the accident the event. Yet this energy would be stored in the energy body in the same way. Releasing this energy can create rapid healing results in chronic pain and muscle tension, as shown in the Whiplash case below.

Sabotaging Beliefs

Sometimes a chronic condition can change a person’s life in many ways so that despite the obvious disadvantages of the health problem, there may have been some upsides since developing it e.g. extra care and attention from family, friends or health workers. We call this primary gain. Conversely, developing a physical problem can mean we get to avoid certain unpleasant aspects of our previous life e.g., work, pressure, stress. We call this secondary gain. This manifests in beliefs that can also interrupt the healing process. Long standing problems can also cause beliefs such as ‘Its part of who I am’ to develop and what the Doctors say ‘It can’t be cured’, ‘you’ll always be on this medication’ can also block healing. By asking the right questions we can identify whether primary or secondary gain applies or what other limiting beliefs the client holds and apply the energy release techniques to release the beliefs, thereby facilitating the healing process.

Tools of Energy Psychology for Restoring Energy Flow

Finding the energy disturbance is only part of the solution. The second is releasing the energy to restore the flow in the energy system. This is what Energy Psychology and the wonderful tools we have in this field are all about. 25 years ago Roger Callahan, Hypnotherapist and Psychotherapist in California made the discovery that emotions arise from energy disturbances attached to thoughts and memories. His book Tapping the Healer Within describes how he cured a water phobic, experiencing anxiety and sick feelings in her stomach, by tapping a acupressure point under the eye, the first point on the stomach meridian. He goes on to explain his research leading to the development of TFT Thought Field Therapy.

TFT Thought Field Therapy

With Roger Callahan’s TFT we identify the emotions and release each emotion by tapping a precise combination of meridian points to release the underlying energy for that specific emotion whilst remaining tuned into it. There’s a different pattern of points for each emotion. TFT is a precision technique with rapid results still used today world wide but due to its complexity, is mostly used by practitioners.

EFT Emotional Freedom Technique

EFT Gary Craig, after learning TFT, simplified the approach and called it EFT Emotional Freedom Technique. With EFT, for any emotion we tap one point on each of the 14 major meridians, again whilst remaining focussed on or feeling that emotion. There is some redundancy built in, but its simplicity means that anyone can learn the same technique for any emotional issue. EFT has become the world wide most popular tool in this field for therapists and general public for self help. With EFT and TFT, as the energy releases, the emotional intensity for this thought or memory decreases until the person becomes both relaxed and clear about the memory.

EFT Tapping Points Diagram


Silvia Hartmann, co-founder of the GoE Association of Meridian & Energy Therapies in the UK, after many years research with EFT, developed a further simplification. Observing that the physical sensations in the body accompanying the emotion was actually the indicator of where the energy was blocked, she developed the EMO technique and philosophy, for transforming emotional energy in 2002. With EMO we notice where in the body we feel the pain or pressure accompanying an emotion, and we use intention to soften the energy. The energy that was once blocked, now begins to flow again and releases from the body and the client actually feels this happening. Once all the energy has released from the body, the problem has also gone.

Having a combination of energy release techniques to release emotional issues is a great advantage to any health practice. The following cases illustrate the principles and show the speed of the results that can be achieved with these techniques.

Fig 1 and fig 2 (beneath) show scans using Polycontrast Interference Photography (PIP) of the energy field of a person experiencing anxiety as tightness in his chest when recalling a stressful memory. The PIP scans were taken before and after using EMO to release this energy disturbance:

EMO Pip Scan (before)
Fig 1. PIP Scan taken before the session started. Note the congested areas in the centre of the chest and around the navel and different shading in the outer energy field. The client chose to work on the physical sensation in his chest using EMO technique.

EMO Pip Scan (after)

Fig 2. PIP Scan taken after an EMO session of about 10 minutes when the client said the presenting problem had been resolved, the energy having released in a downwards direction. The outer energy field is now balanced, the congestion in the chest and navel area have been relieved.


Susan came to see me for a detox. She was diagnosed with MTCD and had been suffering with aches and pains for years. Accompany this was sleeping tablets and anti-depressants. When asked when did the symptoms start and what was going on in your life at that time? She answered, 4 years ago I was going through a horrible divorce. She was reluctant to talk about it as she new she would be very tearful. With gentle questioning techniques (taught in the EFT L2/MET Practitioner Training) we established that there were 6 major events between her and her husband that were very painful. We used EFT to release the energy of each of these events. As we were releasing each one, aches and pains flared up in all the usual places. When all the emotional intensity was gone from each of these events, not only was the client very happy she was also pain free. The session lasted 1 hour. Working with her GP was able to come off all her medications.


Mary came to see me for colonic irrigation, thinking it would help her IBS. She was experiencing low threshold to stress at work, pains on eating, knot in her stomach, alternating constipation and diarrhoea. When asked when did the symptoms start and what was going on in her life then, and how did she feel about it. She answered, 8 years ago I had my second child, we nearly lost him in the hospital. There was negligence and I was so angry with the Doctors and nurses. I was stressed about my husband and also worried about my older son being neglected at this time and terrified about the baby. At this point she had the familiar knot in her stomach and was feeling the anxiety again. We used EFT and EMO to release all the different emotions about all the different aspects of this trauma and when we finished, she was able to relate the experience again completely relaxed both emotionally and physically. I also asked were there another factors that triggered her IBS symptoms? She said, yes, I have a stressful job. We then used EFT to release the emotional energy about the aspects of work she found difficult. At the end of this one session, she was completely comfortable and had no more IBS symptoms after this.

Chronic Headaches and Migraines

Mike was suffering from headaches and migraines for years, managing them with 8 Solpadine a day. When asked what was going on when they started, he said nothing really. I asked, what stresses do you have in your life, he answered work. We used EFT to release his current headache in a few minutes but then instructed him to apply EFT to all the aspects about work that he felt were difficult. After this 5 minute lesson in EFT and 1 week of applying it, he was off his medication and his headaches stopped.


Julie was suffering from neck and shoulder pains, and restricted movement over a year after a road traffic accident. He had been going for physiotherapy every week since, with little improvement. I asked her to tell me what happened in the accident and afterwards and how she felt at the time and about the consequences. There was still shock and a lot of anger and resentment about the driver in the car behind and about the accident because of the effects it had on her family Christmas. The damaged boot of the car had all the kids Christmas presents, and because of the pain she was in, the whole family had a rotten Christmas. There was also frustration about having the pain and tension for a whole year afterwards. We used EFT to release the specific memories which still had intensity about the accident, plus all the anger, resentment and frustration she was carrying since. When it was all released, her shoulders relaxed completely for the first time since the accident and she was pain free. She called a week later to say she was still free of pain and tension and interestingly, she said she no longer felt the need to talk about the accident, which had been her preoccupation for the last 12 months.

Complex Cases

In these cases you will also find a whole history of stressful events and periods in this person’s life. Other times a client may have had a problem since early childhood and have no conscious memory of events at that time. Life threatening illness also brings many mixed emotions about just having the condition, fear, anger, conflict, guilt etc in addition to the stresses leading up to developing the condition.

Past trauma, present stress and limiting beliefs are all blocked energy which can impede the healing process. Releasing unresolved emotional issues, current stress and limiting beliefs can greatly accelerate the healing process and can often facilitate healing in clients resistant to other healing methods. Although the energy release techniques such as EFT and EMO are easy to apply, the skill and lasting success comes from understanding these concepts well, mastering questioning techniques, developing skills in identifying where core the issues are from the client’s story, developing treatment plans for complex cases histories, persistence and thoroughness in release all aspects of an emotional problem, plus knowing how to approach and release deep trauma and anxiety in a safe comfortable way for the client. Practitioner training is therefore recommended.

Further Information and Training

More information about the techniques can be found on the following websites :

www.PassionForHealth.com Training courses and workshops with the author, Sandra Hillawi
www.TheAMT.com The Association of Meridian and Energy Therapies
www.EmoFree.com Gary Craig’s website, orginator of EFT
www.EmoTrance.com Silvia Hartmann’s website, orginator of EMO


Silvia Hartmann, Adventures in EFT, Dragon Rising, Eastbourne, ISBN: 1873483635, 2002
Silvia Hartmann, Oceans of Energy, Dragon Rising, Eastbourne, ISBN: 1873483732, 2003
Roger J. Callahan and Richard Trubo. Tapping the Healer Within, ISBN 0809298805 2002

About The Author

Sandra Hillawi has been working in Natural Healing for seven years, following a first career in Physics and IT then re-training as a Master Herbalist and Colonic Therapist. She later trained as an EFT and EMO practitioner and is now an international trainer in these techniques running self-help workshop and professional training courses. Sandra has a clinical practice near Portsmouth and runs De-tox and De-stress healing retreats at Chateau Bellenau in France and in Hurghada, Red Sea Egypt and is a co-director of the AMT.

For further information, or to contact Sandra Hillawi please visit her AMT Members Page
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