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  • Writer's pictureIngrida Danytė

Pathways of Love in the Body

Love is a feeling that has been talked about thousands of times. We yearn for it, search for it, and once found, we question whether it is the one. Today, we embark on a journey to uncover the secrets of love and once again attempt to answer the question of what happens to us when we love.


Pathways of Love in the Body

Imagine a small child raising both arms, reaching for the embrace of their mother - a desire with all their heart, saying, 'All of me wants it,' without any conditions. Similar images may come to mind, such as a prophet calling out to their god in the wilderness, a farmer welcoming rain, or the meeting of two beloved people. The open hands and chest area allow us to experience unconditional love that envelops the entire body.


In somatic psychology, the energy of organs (lungs, heart) and endocrine glands located in the chest area is associated with compassion and egolessness. Have you noticed that words describing kindness, such as 'kind-hearted,' inherently contain the word 'heart'? Love, felt like air - sensed within ourselves and all around us - unconsciously connects with our lungs.


Three endocrine structures in the chest area – the thoraco body, heart bodies, and thymus gland - also contribute to love being accepted and expressed. The thoraco body, next to the diaphragm, serves as gates connecting lower and upper body centers, allowing us to transition from self- to group-consciousness and care for others.


A bit higher, we find the heart bodies, located behind the sternum on either side. Energetically, these support openness, embrace with hands, and the expression of feelings by extending hands. Like the heart, they are associated with giving and receiving, unconditional love, acceptance, and connection with others. When the energy of the heart is unexpressed or suppressed, it may manifest in strong emotional states, such as depression, sorrow, or anger through the solar plexus center.


The thymus gland, located directly above the heart, in connection with the adrenal glands, underlies the expression of courage based on love, beyond instinct or duty.


It is important to mention oxytocin, associated with the feeling of love and warmth in the chest, as sung by Billie Eilish. S. Porges in the book 'Our Polyvagal World' writes that oxytocin is not only related to the formation of social relationships and love but also plays a crucial role in the body's ability to heal. Oxytocin influences the development of heart cells. When undifferentiated stem cells are influenced by oxytocin, they merge and become tiny heart cells. It is believed that this process heals heart diseases. In other words, love can indeed heal a broken heart.


Why do we lose the connection to love?

Have you noticed that as we grow up, we raise our hands less and less fully. It becomes challenging for us to open up emotionally and be vulnerable, especially when it comes to the possibility of experiencing disappointment or pain. Why did this happen?


In the early years of life, when we eagerly raised our hands, our primary goal was seeking safety, connection, and co-regulation with others. If our attempts to establish connections were rejected, shamed, or met with indifference, our natural inclination to create connections with the help of the autonomic nervous system could turn into a mechanism of self-protection. Physical sensations of chest constriction, tension, and a sense of weight may signal activation of the sympathetic nervous system, transitioning from a state of social engagement to a "fight or flight" state. Protective mechanisms that served us well in childhood now hinder our ability to love freely and maintain intimacy.


How to recognize that we have lost the connection with love for ourselves and others?

  • Anxiety or tension in the chest area.

  • Physical discomfort in the shoulders and chest.

  • High or low blood pressure and other heart and lung issues.

  • Difficulty expressing love or feeling love for others.

  • Feelings of loneliness and a tendency to isolate oneself excessively.

  • Anger towards people we love.

  • Fear of intimacy.

  • Difficulty trusting others.


How to rediscover the connection?

  • Focus on What You Love: Perhaps you feel unconditional love for your beloved pet! Love is love; there's no better or worse form.

  • Start Loving Yourself: Maybe this can be your first and greatest love. Love yourself with good food, enriching activities, sports and movement, and relationships that value you.

  • Feel Gratitude: Write down three things you feel grateful for.

  • Help Others: Expressing kindness increases oxytocin release.


Want to learn more?

Reach out to Ingrida Danyte at ingridadanyte@gmail.com, a dedicated Somatic Movement Therapist, and start embracing your path to healing today.

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