Originally written May 15, 2018

One of my first experiences of shedding persistent physical symptoms as a result of an emotional release came three years ago.

I’d been undergoing treatment already for Lyme disease by way of ozone and laser IVs, herbal tinctures, and low-dose immunotherapy (LDI). I was at my worst in the eight or 10 months before that, unsure some days if I’d wake up from my sleeps or not. It wasn’t scary but it was personal.

By the time I’d done a few months of aggressive treatment, I felt I was on my way to recovery and was preparing to leave the country to go back to work, and I decided to go for a massage to a practitioner that was recommended to me. Her name was Hilda.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash


Hilda does massage in her own way.

She does not use the cookie-cutter approach like many massage therapists do, and she uses her intuition to connect with you and your body’s messages.

Upon beginning the massage, I told Hilda my health history. She asked when I contracted Lyme disease.

“I can’t be absolutely sure,” I said, “but I think it was around 2003 or 2004. That’s when many of my symptoms started.”

“What happened in 2003, 2004? Did you see a tick on you?”

“No, but I was always outside. I could have missed it.” I did not tell her the other thing that popped to mind…

Hilda continued her massage on me, moving from limb to back to limb. We got talking about something else in my life, the exact topic I don’t recall now, and she asked the same question, When did it start? And my answer was the same, around 2003/2004.

“Hmm,” Hilda. “I wonder what it was about 2003/2004.”

“Well, I’ll tell you. That was a time when I was in a rough relationship emotionally. He was controlling and I was very vulnerable and controllable. I had nightmares about him for years afterwards.”

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

“Ah, there it is.” We were silent for a while. She worked her way over to my left arm, my hand, and my fingers as I watched her with my head turned towards her, and tears began to fall from my left eye.

“Am I hurting you?” Hilda asks, then I realize she is referring to the tears, just silent tears running down my face, wetting the pillow somewhat.


“Is it him?”


“Have you forgiven him?”

Hesitation… “I don’t know.”

“No, you haven’t. Why don’t we look at that.” She continued up my left arm and to the shoulder. “And while we’re at it, damn him! Damn him for doing that to you!”

I cried more as I laughed at her because she spoke the thoughts I’d held inside me for so long. Damn him indeed!


I told her about the dreams, something I’d never told a soul before that day. Five years of them; at first I was fighting him, struggling against him, screaming, hitting, punching, throwing anything I could find as a weapon. That went on for at least three years. Slowly, the dreams got less intense – instead of fighting him, I was still scared but I was able to fight him off and then run. Then, I could dodge him and run. Eventually, I could hide from him, and maybe he’d see me and maybe he wouldn’t, but then I’d sneak away when he wasn’t looking.

One day, after five years of fighting and running in my dreams, I came face to face with him – and I felt nothing at all. No fear, not hate, no resentment. Just emptiness. I walked away.

That was the last dream, until…

“When did you last dream about him?” Hilda.

“About a week ago – the first time in seven years!”

“Oh well! This was ready to come out then! Let’s do some forgiveness therapy.”

Hilda finished the massage and then went to my head. She worked on my jaw while I growled and howled the energy out.

Fruit on Plate
Photo by Kawin Harasai on Unsplash

Now, about two weeks before the massage, I went shopping for new clothes. I’d lost so much weight that many of my clothes didn’t fit well anymore; pants were too baggy, shirts fell off my shoulders. I bought three new pairs of jeans.

At the same time, one of my symptoms was excessive hunger. I could eat big meals and could not go more than two and a half hours without having to eat again or else risk a blood sugar drop. I was also angry; edgy, short-fused, constantly depressed, and just angry at the circumstances around me, no matter how big or small.


One week after the massage, I realized my excessive hunger was gone. I was feeling at peace and my anger had abated. And, I no longer fit into all my new jeans. I’d gained some weight, weight that I kept on for nearly two years.

What happened during that massage? I didn’t take any medicine or injections, no vitamins, no gadgets to zap me into feeling better. Instead, I’d shed emotional baggage, trauma I’d held for 12 years… and it gave me room to repair myself.

So, does emotion tie into the physical body? Absolutely. It is as real as a tumor that can be seen with a scan or a scope and potentially just as damaging. Perhaps it is what causes tumours in some people, to use tumors as an example. Unfortunately, modern western society has a hard time accepting that an emotional experience plays such an important role in our health. This is changing though, I believe.

I am thankful for practitioners like Hilda who can see (not with the eyes but with the other senses) these emotional blocks and help clients to release them.


Now, I can see that there was a lesson to be learned in my relationship with that guy (not that it’s right for someone to experience pain to such a magnitude), a lesson in emotions and their effects. Too bad it was such a hard lesson, but hard lessons are usually profound. I punished myself in those years of dreams for allowing someone to treat me in the way that he did. Of course I punished him too, but I punished myself more. Those dreams may have been me tormenting me, rather than him tormenting me.

Have I forgiven him? I believe so. Have I forgiven myself? Definitely.

Hilda Peill 1958 – 2018

Hilda Peill passed away on August 4, 2018 only a few months after I spoke to her about publishing this piece. She played a short but instrumental part in my life, one of a teacher and mentor, as well as my massage therapist.


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