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Physical Empaths: Here’s how to optimize your health

By Michal Spiegelman

The first time I had vertigo was the worst. A family friend was dying, and we had had a beautiful, vulnerable, heart-to-heart conversation. Later that day, I felt dizzy and nauseated. I didn’t connect the dots between the morning’s phone call and the spinning sensations I was experiencing. I didn’t even know it was vertigo until I called my doctor. A week later, I still couldn’t function.

Then my friend made her transition, and the vertigo stopped. A few days passed, and I finally understood what had happened to my body. I had suppressed my emotions following that conversation, and my body had reacted. Allowing myself to feel my feelings healed the vertigo.

That was fifteen years ago. I was already a healer and a teacher of Reiki. I was aware that I was sensitive to energy. But I had no idea that there was a name for my experience. That I was an emotional and physical empath.

In the years since, I have had smaller, less serious episodes. The minute my body tells me that Mr. Vertigo might come knocking on my door, I take inventory of my emotions, recognize those that I am suppressing, and investigate the thought processes that led to those feelings. In other words, I get emotionally fit. Then I use Reiki to boost my body with the energy it needs to heal. It always works.

Vertigo is not the only way I respond to the pain and emotions of others. My stomach is sensitive. I can watch the news or have a toxic conversation, and I feel it in my stomach. Since I understand the connection between my emotions and my body, I manage my sensitivity with great success. I’ve learned how to cope with the challenges and connect fully with my gifts.

Are you a physical or emotional empath?

An emotional empath feels what other people feel and takes on their energy. If you are an emotional empath, you probably feel sad or exhausted after talking with a friend who’s getting a divorce or one who just lost her job. You have so much empathy and sympathy towards the person that you take on her pain. Watch this short video by Brené Brown to understand the difference between sympathy and empathy.

A physical empath feels other people’s symptoms in her own body. If you are a physical empath, you might talk to someone who suffers from a sore throat and feel it in your own throat. Or you might feel a sensation in the pit of your stomach after talking to someone who’s very sad.

Many empaths suffer from chronic fatigue. They also suffer from symptoms for which doctors can neither find the source nor offer treatment.

One of the women I mentor kept feeling tightness in her chest. I suggested that she get it checked. The tests showed that her heart was functioning well. Her doctor suggested it was probably anxiety. Taking a holistic look at her life and the way she responds to stress brought the insight we needed to help her heal.

Is what’s going on in the world right now affecting you physically?

Over the last few months, many of my clients and students have reported strange physical symptoms. Pain showing up in different part of the body. Old conditions flaring up. In every Reiki class I teach, there are inevitably several students with physical symptoms that doctors insist are untreatable. I always make sure that they get proper medical attention, but I also help them develop a holistic plan to optimize their health.

We live in a toxic world. If you are an empath, or you’re sensitive to energy, you probably take on fear, fatigue, and heaviness from the collective power.

Here are three things you must do to optimize your health when you are a physical empath:

  1. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to your body. No matter what.If you freak out every time your body develops physical symptoms, stop. Start thanking your body for being a messenger. Talk to your body as if you were talking to a good friend. Say, “Thank you for telling me that something needs my attention. I got the message. The symptoms are no longer needed. I’m listening.” Instead of being disappointed that your body is reacting, be kind to your body. Be kind to yourself.
  2. Let go of the assumption that you’re seriously ill.When the body develops physical symptoms because of energy absorbed from others, many people will start to rehearse tragedy in their heads. They create a story that they are seriously ill, and recovery will take a long time and a lot of work. I can’t even tell you how many of my Reiki students show up to class with these assumptions in mind, only to find out later that giving themselves Reiki for a few days leads to full recovery, much faster than they anticipated.

    There are severe and chronic illnesses. But there are also situations where a physical empath develops symptoms as a reaction to external energy or emotions, and those symptoms go away quickly. Give your body the attention it needs. Get checked out by a health professional, but change the story in your head to give fast recovery a chance.

  3. Find the unhealthy emotional and thought patterns behind the physical symptoms. In her first book, Heal Your Body, my mentor Louise Hay explored the mental causes for physical illness. According to Hay, a health problem is a reflection of fear, anger, sadness, and lack of love. She taught us that these circumstances could be changed by changing our thought patterns.

    You change the thought pattern.

    You add the emotion that is missing.

    You shift back to health.

    Healing the emotions and the thought patterns behind a physical symptom is a fascinating process that I enjoy guiding women through. Once you learn “the formula,” you can start applying it in daily situations.

There are many additional ways to protect and clear your energy when you are an empath. You can read a previous blog I wrote, “How to Stop Absorbing Other People’s Negativity Like a Sponge,” to learn more.

And if you want to be part of a growing community of empaths who inspire and support each other daily, please join my free Facebook Group: The Thriving Empath Group for Women.

See you there!

Physical Empaths: Here's how to optimize your health
Meet Michal
Michal Spiegelman

Michal Spiegelman is the visionary behind Beacons of Change, a transformative platform dedicated to guiding women and healing professionals toward a soul-fueled life lived at full power.

As the founder and creator of the Soulful Healer Method for Profound Transformation, Michal empowers a diverse community of individuals to find their authentic voice and develop a distinctive identity.

Michal combines deep expertise and timeless wisdom with a comprehensive methodology enriched by a variety of traditional and holistic therapeutic tools. This powerful blend ignites transformation and growth, inspiring women and healing professionals alike to become soulful and shine brightly as beacons in their personal and professional lives.

Michal is the author of "Becoming Soulful: Six Keys for Profound Transformation in Your Therapy, Coaching, or Healing Practice," scheduled for release in the summer of 2024.

She is a certified professional life coach, Reiki master, spiritual mentor, medical intuitive, and social worker, passionate about elevating consciousness in the world, one soul at a time.

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  1. Alicia

    Thank you for this…I could deffently benefit from your blog and knowledge so thank you again, cant wait to read and learn more.

    • Michal Spiegelman

      Thank you for writing, Alicia! It’s nice to be acknowledged. I’m glad that my blogs are valuable to you.

    • Stacy McAden

      My empath abilities causes me great nausea ,how can I control it?

  2. Nancy L. Seibel

    This is really interesting, Michal. I wonder if anyone who is an emotional empath would have at least some physical signs, since mind and body are one. Before, I thought of my empath responses as primarily emotional. You’re leading me to think more deeply about this. As one example of my own physical sensitivity, there are movies and TV shows I can’t watch, and a large part of my distress response to them is physical. I’m thinking of how I’m recovering from my first flare of lymphedema in the 3 years since being diagnosed with it. Why a flare now? I am getting medical help with it, but there’s no clear answer. When my CLDM therapist asked me what I thought caused it, my answers were these guesses:

    “I don’t know – the awful heat we’ve had for weeks now? All the time I’m spending at my keyboard with the contract project I’m working on? Stress from the pandemic and things that are happening in my family?” She thought all 3 things were factors, and so do I. Having read your post I’m now thinking absorbing negative energy might have played a bigger role than I realized.

  3. Cindy Felso

    Wow! I’ve never really seen the physical side of being an empath mentioned and, honestly, put such physical feelings down to what I thought was a touch of hypochondria. (And sure felt a little ashamed of it.) Whenever I talk to anyone who is getting sick, I start to feel whatever they described in my own body.


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