There is no denying the marvel of modern medicine. From the early 19th century, when Sir Humphry Davy proposed the use of nitrous oxide for surgical procedures, on to the discovery of penicillin in 1928 by Alexander Fleming, and now with the ability to do transplants of major organs including the heart, we are truly blessed with technology.
But, have you, or someone you know, ever experienced an unexplainable pain in the physical body? An unexpected back pain, a chronic ache in the knee or elbow, or perhaps severe and crippling headaches that remain undiagnosed, in spite of repeated trips to the doctor? Frequently, when a diagnosis is hard to pinpoint, medical professionals are all too quick to prescribe chemicals or suggest invasive procedures such as exploratory surgery. The conditions are being treated, but no healing is taking place. Treatment is about dealing with the symptoms, working with the physical signs of disease or dysfunction. Healing is about restoring the body to its healthy state.
Treatment certainly has its place, and is critical in the case of extreme pain or injury. Treating illnesses with antibiotics has saved millions of lives, and previous life threatening conditions such as a ruptured appendix are now easily repaired with routine surgery. Unquestionably, we are incredibly fortunate to have these medical miracles. But treatment doesn’t always mean a cure. And some treatments can actually inhibit the healing process by masking the pain, while the underlying condition continues to exist.
Healing addresses the whole body – mental, emotional, spiritual and physical. We know that there is a body mind connection when it comes to health. Stress can induce a multitude of painful conditions that are difficult to diagnose, and therefore treat effectively. Considering the whole body, including the emotional and mental conditions, is the only way to mend and restore the body to its healthy state. The body is a self-healing machine. Even the femur, the largest bone in the body, will be well on its way to healing within a few weeks. But when the source of the pain or discomfort cannot be found, the condition is originating in the mind in the form of repressed emotions, and manifesting in the body.
There are many ways of healing emotional wounds. The most important thing is to be aware of how repressed emotions or stress can impact our physical health, and have the willingness to minister to our emotional health by using holistic practices. Meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises are excellent self-healing techniques. Energy medicine such as Reiki, Qi Gong, or Healing Touch are also fantastic ways to practice whole body health.
The best way to achieve optimal health and well-being is a combination of medical science and holistic healing techniques. Visit the doctor when necessary, but make sure to attend to the whole body when deciding upon a course of action. It is critical that we begin to understand and work with the mind body connection.
The mind body connection is fascinating. But it is also very simple. The mind body connection is simple because it is familiar to each one of us. When we are embarrassed, we blush. When we are frightened, our heart beats faster. When we are nervous, our stomach hurts. We have each experienced these physical reactions to these specific emotions. We also know that stress can cause many ailments including tension headaches, ulcers, or neck and shoulder pain.
Alternately, our physical bodies respond to joyful feelings. When we feel peaceful, our heart slows. The love that we feel when we gaze at our sleeping child sends a rush of energy through our body. And when we see sublime beauty, it “takes our breath away”. The mind/body connection is the link between the thoughts or feelings that we have and the physical reactions that occur because of those thoughts and feelings.
We are all painfully aware of the physical reactions that sudden negative emotions can produce – immediately and absolutely. The memory of these physical reactions usually result in beliefs about ourselves and our environment that are damaging and undeserved. For example, in the sixth-grade I was bullied by a classmate. I vividly remember the feeling of panic that I experienced each morning when I entered the school yard. My stomach hurt, and sometimes my limbs felt like they had pins and needles going through them the closer I got to the school. And the memory is painful enough, even several years later, to influence how I react when I feel threatened. The same sick stomach and heavy feeling in my arms and legs. Those physical reactions are so intense and consuming for the moment, that they in turn reinforce my feelings of being powerless, small. Yikes……
The science behind these physical reactions lies in the magic of neuropeptides. Neuropeptides are chemical messengers that use the body fluids to carry information from the mind to the body, and back again. Every cell in the body holds thousands of receptor cells, and each receptor cell has a specific pattern that locks into specific neuropeptides. The neuropeptides then transmit information through the receptor cell to the cell itself, influencing the behavior of that cell. In other words, all your thoughts, feelings and beliefs get translated into chemicals that fire off throughout your body, altering the chemical composition and behavior of your cells.
In our human experience, we repress painful feelings. The events that triggered the feelings are still stored in our memories, ready to charge to surface and influence our lives with unexplained and unpleasant reactions to current circumstances. However, just as there is a powerful tendency to repress emotions, there is an equally strong drive to bring them to consciousness. When these two impulses collide, they will manifest as physical symptoms of injury or illness.
Because Reiki is a technique of stress reduction and deep relaxation, it works on the emotional level of healing. Healing of the mind – thoughts, feelings and beliefs – will lead to healing of the body because it promotes conditions from which the body can begin to heal itself.
Love & Light to All –
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