How many times have you had a dream that was related to your health?
Sometimes the dream images are literal; other times they are far-fetched but make clear sense in hindsight. Our intuitive guidance system regularly uses dreams to helps us deal with issues of our mundane, emotional and spiritual lives, but they also can help us with healing our bodies. After all, our bodies and mind/emotions can hardly be separated. Prodromal dreams are dreams that predict illness, whether it be a specific illness (thyroid problems, cancer, ulcers) or general areas where we are experiencing pain, discomfort, or are vulnerable to becoming sick.
My whole mouth was sore and tender. I touched my cheek and went over to the mirror, where I saw a miniature conifer tree growing out from the root of one of my teeth.
What would you guess the meaning to be? Luckily it wasn’t a root canal waiting to be had. I had a sunflower seed shard wedged under my gums, causing some tenderness and pain.
The examples go on and on: dreams pointing to sore throats, runny noses, limbs that have gone asleep, periods coming on and eggs being released, and of course a full bladder crying to be emptied (think back to childhood). Here is a typical example, of strep throat coming on.
A man ran up to me, pulled out a match and struck it on my throat. My neck burned, and I scratched at it frantically to put the fire out.
Perhaps not so common, but documented and experienced, are dreams in which we get an image or location of a severe or incurable illness. An excerpt from Dr. Schulz, not the most inspirational bunch but still intriguing:
“In one case, a woman repeatedly dreamed of a dog tearing at her stomach. Two months later she was diagnosed with stomach cancer, and died three months after that. In another case, a man complained of dreams in which coals were burning his larynx or a medicine man was sticking hypodermic needles into his neck. Ultimately, this man developed thyroid cancer. In another, a woman with breast cancer dreamed that her head was shaven and the word “cancer” was written across the top of her head. She reported waking up from that dream certain that the cancer had spread to her brain, even though she had no symptoms indicating that this had happened. Yet soon afterward her self-diagnosis was confirmed. Another patient, with gallbladder cancer, dreamed that his entire body exploded and shattered into a thousand pieces. It was soon discovered that his cancer had spread throughout his body.”(47)
Shulz talks about another interesting study, on pregnant women dreaming of anxious or hostile dreams and how this aligned with their birth experience. The article is here if you’re curious.
“Researchers discovered that women who had dreams of anxiety and conflict during their pregnancies tended to have a short and uncomplicated labor of less than ten hours. In contrast, women who didn’t have such dreams, whose dreams were normal and peaceful, more often had a long labor lasting more than twenty hours, with complications and sometimes even serious difficulties.”(46)
This pattern seems to be the opposite of the examples above. Wouldn’t you think the women with anxious dreams would have more stressful births? Apparently, the high levels of progesterone during pregnancy can reduce a woman’s experience of her emotions. For those who are not or have not been pregnant, have you ever noticed that your fears and anxieties (be it your run-of the-mill daily fears to more serious anxiousness) are lessened during the luteal phase of your cycle? I noticed that I am a better driver during this in the second half of the cycle. I don’t randomly think about getting into an accident like I do at other times.
When we are sleeping, the frontal lobe of the brain is asleep, too. The frontal lobe is the “emotional control center and home of the personality”, which often censors things we think we shouldn’t think or feel. Thus, we can explore those suppressed emotions freely during dream time.
“The researchers theorized that the women with the troubled dreams were releasing their fears and anxieties about childbirth in their sleep, bringing them to the surface, into consciousness, and confronting them. Since [the women who didn’t experience fearful dreams] never dealt with their fears, these fears became somaticized, or physically expressed, in various dysfunctions and problems during the anxiously anticipated event of childbirth.”(46)
There are numerous pieces of research and science that refute the body-dream connection that makes prodromal dreaming possible. Again, it can be nice to have some scientific research on your side, but as if we need it to believe what our body is so clearly telling us. Just sleep, dream, remember (record them, perhaps?), listen for meanings and be empowered to tend to your bodies needs.
Schulz, Mona Lisa. Awakening Intuition.