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HeartMind Journey with Asthma

Stress Management Emotions

HeartMind Skills

  • Listen with whole being and effectively name what you notice
  • Explore tension – use curiosity and an experimental attitude
  • To discover the mental pattern that keeps the tension in place
  • Ask the right questions and weave between the body-mind interface
  • Make space for feelings and emotions
  • Establish inner resources by listening for and embodying inner wisdom that emerges
  • Complete and integrate
  • Around the 5 element cycle and back to Wood with new beginnings and actions

The theme of this case is self-nourishment and how I help Jane (not her real name) to learn to nourish herself. We look at unrealistic expectations she wants to re-evaluate and personal relationships she wants to embrace. Her high expectations and her struggles with intimacy influence her asthma.

Primary elemental phases involved

Metal asthma and lungs and at level of personal heartmind, Jane a young woman who has high expectations of herself. 

Fire – her relationships and relationship with intimacy is an issue 

Water – found resource of deep inner wisdom quiet strength that flowed like a river in her belly.

Wood – upper body tension and frustration Liver qi stagnation

General history

  • Asthma since childhood, medication since age 3
  • She was age 3 when her mother and father divorced
  • Good relationship with mom, not so good with dad
  • Family history mother and grandmother
  • Allergies to dust mites and mold
  • Facial acne
  • Tight diaphragm, shoulders and neck, frequent frustration
  • Soreness at Lung 1
  • Pulses: Liver wiry and tight, Lung deficient


I start to initiate mindfulness, strengthen body awareness, and create a partnership relationship with my initial palpation.

What she is curious about helps me decide what we do shape how the session will go. Because she is going to have energy and motivation for what she is interested in, and that is one of the best places to start.

Get permission

I said to Jane, “One thing we can do is use points and inner focusing to see if we can discover inner patterns that keep this in place, would you like to do that? She said, “yes”

I started with a slow and steady shiatsu type pressure along diaphragm and asked her to notice her experience.

After working w/the tension slowly and mindfully, she became aware that she tightens through her solar plexus in response to (thoughts about) internal pressure to perform well and meet expectations. She realized that emphasizing her exhale helped her let go physically and mentally.

I then placed needles in Lv14-Lu1 and Lu 9

Before she left that day, Jane decided to focus on her exhale to let go of her inner dialogue about deadlines. She would then be able to decide what activity would be most nourishing for her. I also taught her how to release the diaphragm tension herself as we had done

At the next session, Jane reported that the practice of emphasizing her exhale and working with her diaphragm tension was extremely helpful for her. It was an active reminder to reprioritize her activities. 

Her breathing improved.

Personal Wisdom in the Tension for Jane

Her diaphragm tightens to help her meet inner expectations and manage her relationships as we will see later

I tell Jane that her body is a faithful servant who follows her inner commands. The problems is we usually do not realize are the inner commands we give it. The personal wisdom in the tension is what the body is doing to help us, and how it is reflecting our inner reality

This is a helpful reframe of pain and discomfort for the client and gives a sense of empowerment and choice.

Relationships and Feelings

In session three, Jane reported that her breathing was clear and good. “I seem to be doing better and better,” she said. This is one of the best times in my life. I’m on a path in my life that I like. Teaching is good and I have a great boyfriend. I do want more women friends, though.”

On the table Jane said that in the past week as she continued to emphasize her exhale, she realized that a part of her does not want to fully inhale and exhale. “I associate it with letting people in and letting them go. It’s hard for me to let people in close, and once someone is in my heart it’s very hard to let them go. I could see that tears were close to the surface.

  • I asked her to stay with her feelings and notice where they were in her body. – chest and neck
  • I held Metal and Fire points in her neck and chest.

Inner Wisdom Emerges

As tears subsided Jane said, “There is a part of me that is bubbly, and most people see that. I also have a side that is quiet, but not many people know that part of me.” 

Embody key phrases

weave back to the body, mind-body interface

When I asked her to feel where the quiet part of her was in her body, she said, “I feel it in my low abdomen below my navel.” I knew that this was an opening to inner resource, and I wanted to support it and help Jane mindfully explore it.

Establish Inner Resources

Help her stay with it:

  • Feel into the quietness and see if there are other qualities
  • “It’s still, strong, and self-confident. It’s a quiet strength.”
  • Let body and mind savor the experience to make mind-body links
  • Weave back to the body

            Use her imagery: Flow with the quiet river of strength

  • I encouraged her to flow with the quiet river of strength for a while and really let her body and mind savor the experience and sense the inner wisdom there.

Resource in Patterns of Expansion

We often miss this opportunity at the end of a session and do not explore how relaxation can lead to the HeartMind state. When the mind and body are calm, we can hear the guidance of our intuition and spirit.

Clients may notice the spaciousness, peace, and loving presence at the core of their being – HeartMind.

Making the pathway to this inner realm more conscious develops a resource we always have with us to call upon for guidance about the next step in our journey.

Healing session becomes a creative meditation on the self in the moment. 

Make inner guidance practical

Jane said, “I want to find other people with these qualities, quiet inner strength” I asked her, how will you recognize these qualities in other people?

“It’s a light they have that shines in their eyes, and quiet strength that makes me feel calm.”

Jane decided to make it her intention to look for new friends with these qualities. She would also practice bringing her awareness and breath to her belly to ground and center herself during her daily activities. 

Completion and Integration

  • What seems most important about this session that you want to remember
  • Let them create the homework: How can you implement a piece of this in the coming week (or whatever is appropriate to the situation)
  • Ongoing link: Great we can talk about how it goes at our next session
  • Follow-up: Make notes in your chart and ask person about how it went when they implemented their inner guidance. 
  • If they did not, ask if it’s still an important focus and would they like to explore it again today.
  • Keep stitching the process together
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