By Jenny Peterson
(For an audio version of this blog, listen to episode #42 of my podcast)
I have many people say to me, Jenny, I have de-stressed my life, I trust that my body can heal, I’ve tried it all, so why aren’t my symptoms going away?
Or why are my symptoms going away and then coming back?
In either of these cases, whether you have symptoms that don’t go away or symptoms that come and go, you are in what is called a hanging healing.
This is where your body is attempting to heal but the healing process keeps getting interrupted.
Today I’m going to go in depth about what a hanging healing is and why it is at the root of chronic symptoms.
People come to me having done all the diets, detoxes, supplements etc. And they also sometimes come to me with a general understanding that their nervous system is at the root of their chronic symptoms.
But it's not their nervous system that is the problem.
Your nervous system is actually working completely fine. It is working based on how it was programmed to operate. If you were raised in an environment that always felt emotionally unsafe, for example, then it is most likely programmed to operate in hyper-vigilance.
Whatever we had to do to survive is how it is programmed to work.
Your nervous system plays a role in your healing because your body can only heal when the parasympathetic nervous system is activated. So when someone is not healing, it's not that their parasympathetic nervous system is broken, it's because the body is not staying in this state. This is called a hanging healing.
A hanging healing is when the body activates the parasympathetic nervous system and begins the healing process.
But rather than your body completing the healing cycle, it keeps getting interrupted, never allowing complete healing. Its doing exactly what the name implies, keeping your symptoms hanging around.
Knowing this, people have asked me, why am I not healing if I am telling my body that I’m safe, that I trust it and I use meditation to de-stress?
Now you can have all the trust in the world that your body can heal, you can tell yourself that you are safe a million times a day, take cold showers and meditate for hours but those kinds of things will never get you out of a hanging healing.
Those are all surface level techniques that will make you feel better in the moment or calm you down in the moment but they don’t address what is keeping you stuck in a hanging healing.
I want to explain the process of healing to you so you understand this fully and of course I’m going to keep it simple.
The most important thing that you need to know about your brain and body is that its primary focus is survival. No matter where you are or what you are doing, your brain and body are in constant communication with each other to ensure that you stay alive.
If at any time it feels like there is a threat, your sympathetic nervous system is activated. Your brain is on high alert at this time and your body is adapting in order to deal with the threat. I like to say your body is taking the hit for what the mind is not able to let go of.
Your mind and body are a team keeping you alive.
Once the threat within the mind is gone, the body says ok, I no longer need to adapt, and then the parasympathetic nervous system is activated. Healing can only take place in this state.
This makes complete sense if you think about it.
If you are being chased by a bear, your body isn’t going to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, its too worried about the bear.
When the threat of the bear is gone, your body no longer needs to adapt. But if that bear would come back causing another threat, your sympathetic nervous system would be activated again, starting the whole process all over again.
So let's look at this outside of a bear chasing you, maybe a more common situation you can relate to.
Remember that a hanging healing is where your body is attempting to heal but the healing process keeps getting interrupted.
So let's say Mary has chronic digestive issues. She’s been diagnosed with IBS.
She’s tried all the diets, detoxes, eating well, taking probiotics and she has 100% trust that her body can heal but her symptoms just aren’t going away, she’s had them for over 6 months.
This is an example of a hanging healing.
Digestive issues are back to what is called “indigestible anger”, it means that there was something in your life that you experienced that was difficult for you to accept/digest. The conflict is experienced as anger, for instance, anger about a person, about a situation , or about accusations, insults, criticism or news that is “hard to take” or difficult to “digest”.
Now some people can identify what was going on in their life before their symptoms started and others can’t. If you can't, it doesn't mean that you can’t do this work.
Let's say before her symptoms showed up, Mary can remember that she and her mother in law got in a big fight. She couldn’t believe what her mother in law said to her. What she said bothered her for weeks. She just decided to ignore her mother in law as much as possible from that point on.
Now the entire time that she let this comment bother her, her body was adapting. Her body was getting the message that there was a big morsel that was unable to digest. So it adapted by increasing the cells within her intestines to help digest this big morsel. Again, this is all about survival. The body is adapting to the message from her mind in order to survive. It says, I need more cells in order to digest this.
Then, once Mary decided to ignore her mother in law, symptoms started showing up like diarrhea. This is happening because bacteria and fungi come in to take out the extra cells that were created when she was in conflict. Her body has gotten a message that she has moved on from this conflict, which is why it goes into the healing phase.
Now this is where it can get all out of whack.
Remember how I said a hanging healing is all about the body not being able to complete the healing process.
Well Mary doesn’t know about this.
So she gets worried about the diarrhea. This worry and fear is a message of threat to the nervous system. So the body says, hey we got another threat here, lets back off on the healing and focus on the threat instead. The sympathetic nervous system is activated now.
So Mary's symptoms may get better for a few days because its focusing on the fear instead and then once she doesn’t fear it again, it goes back into healing. Symptoms then show again.
Mary then sees her mother in law at a family gathering and it brings up all the feelings and thoughts that she had back when they had their fight. This again activates her sympathetic nervous system, causing the body to put the healing process on pause.
Mary doesn’t know that her fear and her mother in law are a trigger to her digestive issues and because the symptoms never get better, she goes to get a medication to stop the diarrhea.
Now Mary has 3 things interrupting her healing, her fear, the trigger of her mother in law and the medication.
This is a classic example of a hanging healing. The body knows exactly how to heal but simply can’t complete the process due to interruption of it.
I like to compare it to a cut. Your body knows exactly how to heal the cut but if you keep hitting it everyday, or apply peroxide on it, you are interrupting the healing process.
If your symptoms are not healing, it is because there are unresolved subconscious patterns connected to them. These will be very specific to you.
You can try all the things in the world to force your body into the parasympathetic nervous system, like meditation or CBD oil, but without resolving the subconscious patterns, the healing process will continue being interrupted. These are the root causes to chronic conditions.
The subconscious doesn’t just let go of these old patterns on its own. Remember that it's all about survival. So if those patterns and connections to the patterns are a threat in any way to your survival you can bet that they are being remembered subconsciously.
When you have chronic symptoms that don’t go away, you have to find the root cause within the subconscious.
Ignoring a chronic symptom will not resolve it.
Having complete trust in your body won’t resolve it, its helpful while in the healing process, but it won’t resolve it. It is chronic because you haven’t addressed the subconscious pattern that is connected to it.
Without making those connections it is very unlikely that you will just resolve a symptom by doing nothing because this subconscious pattern is not something you are consciously aware of.
Things that activate the sympathetic nervous system are going to be contributors to a hanging healing. Fear, triggers, past events that haven’t been resolved, medications, supplements, etc can all do that.
This is why people will say, they have symptoms for a while, then they go away, and then they come back again. Every time there is an interruption of the healing phase, the symptoms stop. Then once the threat or interruption goes away, the symptoms come back again because the body is trying to heal.
So if you're wondering why none of your chronic symptoms are going away, despite all the positive talk that you have or what you have done to de-stress your life, its all back to the hanging healing.
It has nothing to do with your body not being able to heal. It is trying. It is desperately trying.
Yes, I talk about trusting your body. But that doesn’t mean do nothing because doing nothing isn’t changing old patterns that are keeping the sympathetic nervous system in conflict.
Trusting your body is only a piece of the puzzle. Trusting your body is important at all times but the times in which only trust is needed is in acute situations, not chronic. Acute is a cut, a broken bone, a few days of diarrhea, a few days of the flu, a few days of pain or inflammation.
Chronic is diarrhea all the time, pain all the time, rashes that don’t go away, etc. This means that we are past the just trusting part, we now have to work on the patterns connected to what is keeping this from healing AND trust at the same time.
Now I know you want to know how to find those subconscious patterns connected to your symptoms. As much as I wish I could tell you that, I can’t. This work is very specific to you. What is keeping you in a hanging healing is going to be different from a person that has the same symptoms as you.
I teach the MBR method to find the subconscious connections to symptoms in MBR. But that doesn’t mean you can’t start working on other areas that are interrupting the healing process.
Start with small steps because you can’t do it all at once anyway.
My recommendation is to start with letting go of the fear of your symptoms. Fear is going to be one of the strongest things that interrupts your healing.
It is a threat to your nervous system, no matter if it is made up or not. Every time you feel fear, which for many with chronic symptoms, that’s all day, you are interrupting your healing.
Understand that this is all about survival. Your body is KEEPING you alive right now. When I realized this, I told myself, well if I haven’t died yet, then my body has done a dang good job.
Every time I experienced a symptom, I said, this is nothing new, I’ve been through this 100 times, I’ll be fine, maybe a little uncomfortable for a little while, but I’ll be fine. Realizing that my body was actually on my side was a huge shift in my healing.
Letting go of the fear of your symptoms is one of the best places to start to assist your body with completing the healing process. Fear of your symptoms is an old pattern that you have used to essentially stay alive. But it is all based on not understanding why your body is doing what it is doing. When you understand this, you have the power to shift that old pattern. It’s no longer part of your survival .
Hopefully its becoming more clear to you as to why your chronic symptoms aren’t going away and what a hanging healing is.
Your body knows how to heal, if it's not healing, something is interrupting that process. And it is not mold, food, bacteria or viruses, its subconscious patterns. These come in the form of beliefs, perceptions, thoughts, and fears that are all programmed from your experiences.
These patterns are connected to your survival and your body is doing exactly what it is designed to do in order to stay alive. It's up to you to identify those patterns and change them so your body gets permission to heal and completes the healing cycle.
If you're ready to identify and resolve the unconscious patterns connected to your symptoms so you can finally heal for good, fill out an MBR application to see if you're a good fit for MBR.
You can also Download my free healing guide, “Why Can’t I Heal” where you will learn the 5 reasons that you haven't healed despite everything you've tried. These are the missing pieces to your healing and the key to resolving your symptoms for good.
Jenny Peterson is the founder and CEO of Mind Body Rewire (MBR). She teaches those with chronic symptoms how to stop fearing their body, identify the root cause to their symptoms and how to be their own healer. Learn more about MBR here.