Psychosomatics of Swelling

Swelling is the retention of fluid in the body, excessive accumulation of fluid in tissues and subcutaneous fat. This causes organs and body parts to noticeably increase in size, reducing life quality and level. Swelling can be so severe that it impedes walking and wearing shoes or clothes. In advanced cases, the skin in the swollen area becomes inflamed and cracks, leaking fluid. Without treatment, this can lead to complications, such as infection.

Causes of Tissue Swelling

Humans are approximately 2/3 (70-80%) water. An increase in this volume by even 10% leads to swelling. This is not a disease in itself, but a symptom of other diseases and psychological problems.

In swelling, the body noticeably inflates. Pressing a finger on the swollen area leaves a mark. Usually, the skin color does not change. However, sometimes there’s a cooling and pallor of the swollen area due to expanded tissues compressing vessels, reducing blood flow to the area.

Swelling can be local or generalized. In the former, a specific body part swells due to blocked vessels or veins (e.g., blockage of the femoral vein leading to leg swelling). Generalized swelling indicates a disrupted water-salt balance in the body, which can happen due to various diseases.

Diseases That Cause Swelling

Swelling develops due to alcoholism, heart, liver, and kidney diseases, allergies, as well as salt and protein imbalance, increased capillary permeability, blocked veins and vessels, high or low blood pressure. Temporary swelling might indicate excessive salt in the diet or dietary disruptions.

Characteristics of Swelling in Different Diseases:

  • Heart diseases. Swelling occurs in the ankle, calf, or lumbar-sacral area (in bedridden patients and those with a sedentary lifestyle).
  • Kidney diseases. Swelling moves from top to bottom: eyelids, face, abdomen, lower back, genitals, legs.

Interesting fact! Women swell during PMS, which is normal and caused by natural hormonal fluctuations (rise and sharp drop in progesterone).

Swelling in Psychosomatics

From a psychosomatic perspective, swelling indicates the following:

  • Feeling of danger, threat from close and significant people (those from whom love and care are expected);
  • Inability to receive and express love, subconscious belief that ‘love is dangerous’ (due to painful past, old grievances, traumas, memories);
  • Attempts to earn love, feeling guilty about the past, dwelling on mistakes, taking on too much responsibility (trying to earn love and rectify self-blame);
  • Dwelling on a painful past due to fear of change and building a new life (living with trauma is easier than letting go and changing).

Thus, psychosomatics link swelling to a habit of negative emotions. People with swelling fear positivity and love, believing that all good things will end, leading to more pain. By retaining grievances and sadness, they protect themselves from addressing and overcoming present difficulties, creating an illusion of control. Hidden emotions and character traits include anger, anxiety, self-doubt, indecisiveness, vulnerability.

Swelling of the face and legs has different psychological causes. Psychosomatics of leg swelling:

  • Legs symbolize moving forward. Swelling indicates sadness, dwelling on the past, constant sorrow.
  • Swelling of both legs indicates engagement in unloved activities.
  • Severe leg swelling shows concern about others’ opinions. Worrying about not being accepted as is.
  • Pain and swelling of the feet indicate being stuck in routine, inability to rest.

Psychosomatics of facial swelling depend on skin type:

  • Dry skin – suppressed anger and prohibition of expressing any emotions;
  • Oily skin – habit of expressing negativity in an aggressive form;
  • Normal skin – self-doubt.

Swelling of the eyes – unshed tears and sadness.

Swelling of the nose – the psyche’s response to constant humiliation, insults, criticism, suppression of individuality and self-esteem. This creates a sense of inadequacy and harbors resentment. The nose symbolizes personal dignity.

Women experience swelling during pregnancy (a sign of gestosis in the second half of pregnancy). On one hand, this can be explained by natural hormonal changes, and on the other, it may indicate internal fears, non-acceptance of the situation. Concerns may include childbirth, changes in the relationship with the husband, changes in the woman’s appearance, etc.

Allergic Swelling

Although allergy can be considered a medical cause, it also has psychosomatic underpinnings, especially Quincke’s edema due to stress. Some people are more prone to allergic swelling. Qualities making them vulnerable:

  • Anxiety;
  • Vulnerability;
  • Suspiciousness;
  • Impressionability;
  • Sensitivity to criticism;
  • Excessive self-criticism;
  • Dependence on others’ opinions;
  • Suppressed negative emotions;
  • Depressive tendencies;
  • Self-doubt;
  • Complexes;
  • Inability to refuse.

Interesting fact! Quincke’s edema does not involve skin irritation or itching. The skin reddens and inflames, and the body part significantly increases in size.

Why Quincke’s Edema Occurs

Can Quincke’s edema occur due to stress? Yes. It indicates attempts to protect the inner world, to shield oneself from those intruding into the soul. Simultaneously, it’s a reaction to non-acceptance of a situation or person. However, the person can’t leave the situation or part with the offender, thus suppressing negativity and defending themselves through swelling. Unloved work or education, not matching personal abilities, can also cause Quincke’s edema.

Psychosomatics of Quincke’s edema include:

  • Psychological trauma;
  • Dissatisfaction with work and/or life;
  • Oppressive circumstances and living conditions;
  • Suppression of personal needs and desires;
  • Anxiety;
  • Chronic stress;
  • Phobias and fears.

Important! With Quincke’s edema on the face, one can’t take a full breath, coughing occurs, the voice becomes hoarse, and skin color turns bluish. This is a dangerous condition requiring immediate medical attention. Only after alleviating the acute attack should one consider psychological causes.

Heart Swelling Psychosomatics

Heart swelling develops from the bottom up: ankles, thighs, abdomen, lower back, face. Physiologically, it indicates poor blood circulation by the heart, causing stagnation. Psychosomatically, it reflects a lack of love and joy in life; the person’s coldness and cruelty. Such a person is called heartless, but they might be more sensitive than many others. Due to trauma, they have closed off, believing it’s safer – better to feel nothing than to trust someone and be betrayed again.

Hereditary Swelling

There’s a specific form of Quincke’s edema – hereditary. This chronic disease, caused by immunodeficiency, affects men more often, with micro-traumas and stress as the primary triggers (general immunity suffers first in stress). Swelling often occurs in the larynx, face. Treating hereditary edema should focus more on psychotherapy than medical treatment. However, it’s also important to alleviate the attack.

Psychologists’ Opinion

Even with a medical predisposition, treatment will not be long-lasting without a change in thinking. Let’s consider the opinions and advice of popular psychologists-psychosomatists: Louise Hay, Vladimir Zhikarentsev, and Liz Burbo.

Swelling According to Louise Hay

Louise Hay interprets swelling as a reluctance to let go of something or someone. An affirmation to help healing: “I easily let go of the past. It is safe for me to do so. Now, I have complete freedom.”

Louise Hay’s disease table explains swelling as follows:

  • Swelling – obsessive and painful ideas, getting stuck in thoughts.
  • Fluid retention – fear of losing something.

Affirmations for healing: “My thoughts flow easily and freely. I navigate through various ideas with ease,” “It is pleasant and joyful for me to let go of this.”

Swelling According to V. Zhikarentsev

Vladimir Zhikarentsev sees the cause of swelling in attempts to hold onto something (someone). An affirmation that helps: “I willingly release my past. Nothing threatens me. Now I am free.”

V. Zhikarentsev’s disease table provides this explanation for swelling: painful thoughts, mental congestion, attachment in thinking. Affirmation for healing: “My thoughts flow easily and freely. I effortlessly move through my thoughts.”

Swelling According to Liz Burbo

According to Liz Burbo, swelling is a consequence of suppressing emotions. A person increases in size to protect themselves. Swelling can also be the result of an inner conflict between ‘want’ and ‘must.’ Pay attention to where the swelling occurs. For example, swelling of the leg indicates a person doesn’t allow themselves to move forward in life, even though they have already decided to.

Solving the problem: swelling will go away if a person stops restraining themselves, believes in their talents and abilities. All limitations and obstacles exist only in our minds. It’s time to resolve the internal conflict and follow the heart’s direction.

Ways to Heal from Swelling

Firstly, conduct self-analysis. Ask yourself several questions:

  1. Who or what is your main source of love and comfort? What are your relations with this person (you may lack love and acceptance from them)?
  2. Are you sure that what you blame yourself for depended on you?
  3. Which of your needs are unmet?
  4. What loss or who has caused your sadness?
  5. What are you afraid to let go of but need to?
  6. Why do you cling to the past?
  7. What or who are you protecting yourself from?

Treating swelling requires a comprehensive approach. If there is a primary illness, treatment targets that. Diuretics are used as secondary therapy to relieve symptoms. Home remedies for puffiness include salt baths and forest walks. Also, altering the diet is beneficial: reduce salt intake, consume more dairy products, vegetables, fruits, and other water-rich and diuretic foods.

Important! The true cause of swelling may be hidden in the subconscious, rooted in childhood. For a more accurate and faster solution to the problem, it’s advisable to consult a psychologist.

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