I was speaking with a friend the other day about an ailment she had been suffering from recently. – a back issue had ‘sprung’ up and although she was under the excellent care of both a back specialist as well as was working through a physiotherapist, they were both challenged by her ‘inconsistency’ in her pain experience. Apparently, she wasn’t supposed to be able to do some of the exercises she was able to do – without experiencing major pain.
Why would she find herself chatting to me about this conundrum? Because she had had a situation in the distant past where her body reacted negatively when she was going through a tough emotional issue, and it seemed to clear totally after the issue was resolved. All in her head?
1. Reassessing Placebo
In the past, many people have been ‘accused’ of making up their illnesses – often calling them merely psychosomatic, or mind affecting the body. In my work, it makes perfect sense. Many of us have experienced this on a certain level in a tension headache, or maybe when our heart races, or our face flushes when we get nervous or uncertain. The mind tends to be where the action is, and the body is where the reaction is. That’s because the mind can’t tell the difference between imagination and reality, Notice the tendency for our mouths to water when we look at a ‘mouth-watering’ picture of food – it’s not really there available to eat, but our body prepares for digestion in any case.
Our minds have an incredible power to enhance the processes of our bodies – whether to hurt or to heal. I’d imagine that one of the most frustrating aspects of pharmaceutical testing is the ‘placebo effect’ – when an inert, sugar pill is given to a comparison group (for a new drug) and the effects end up being the same. It is our body’s natural affinity to support healing when we believe we are being healed.
2. Emotions in Hiding
In Dr. John Sarno’s “Healing Back Pain”, he suggests that some of the aches and maladies that people feel which debilitate and wear, stem not from the body, but from mental and emotional dis-ease. It seems that while we don’t really want the body to be uncomfortable, “it’s better the devil we know”. Because the body-based allopathic or western medical model is so well understood, the less understood aspects of ourselves; negative thoughts and ‘bad’ feelings or misperceptions gets ‘hidden’ within the body.
When I suggested to my friend that she just ‘easily’ take on the idea that there might be a possibility of aspects other than pure physical ones involved, she was receptive. It was then that she realised we had been sitting in the same place for a few hours (something that had been difficult for her over the preceding months) without discomfort…
3. Moving Pain – Coming Back?
The next day, after I had suggested that she gently ‘speak’ to her aching back to see what else might be contributing to this condition, she mentioned that the pain was much reduced, but mentioned, “now my leg seems to have a problem with me – it seems to have shifted”. This is something that seems unexplainable but tends to happen when an issue stems from the mind – it moves to keep hiding. We have an inherent protective nature within us – so protecting us from the possible trauma of emotional or mental pain is a high priority for our beings, which sometimes may result in its shifting to a physical discomfort that ‘makes sense’ (“my parents both had problems with their back”; “I know a grandmother used to have sensitive digestion”; “it’s probably that fall from two years ago”…)
4. Linguistic Hitches
“What a pain in the neck she is!” – “This whole situation is making me sick!” – “My heart isn’t in my work.” – “I can’t stomach that!” – “I can’t see where I’m going with this!” – “I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders with all these responsibilities!”… And the list goes on…
There’s a saying that goes something like this – be careful what you wish for, it might come true. With the phrases that speckle our language associated with the body, these are wise words.
Remember, we hypnotise ourselves every day with our thoughts and words. A simple phrase like “I’m sick and tired of the situation” can have serious consequences based on the literal way the mind takes in words. One way to help yourself (especially if you have been unconsciously making detrimental comments to your health) is to watch your words and phrases for ‘crazy’ talk and shift it immediately (“well, I’m not really going to die if I don’t get that skirt”) or ask a friend to watch your words.
5. The Mind – One more shot at gold
While some of what I’m saying might seem ‘non-traditional’, the way I look at it is that helping yourself through the mind is just one more option in the stable of helping yourself. ‘If’ an organic issue didn’t start that way – possibly based on emotional or mental misperceptions in the past – wouldn’t it be great to find the actual root and heal from there, rather than constantly cover or treat symptoms of the problem alone? When we start working with all the ‘big guns’, we stop being victims and start directing ourselves to better health – physically, mentally and emotionally. As a Hypnotherapeutic company we work WITH the medical and health community – just giving one more option to greater person physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
In the continuing saga of my friend, a quick call confirmed that while she wasn’t ‘out of the woods’, there was a shift. How wonderful to start taking back control of parts of our health we forgot was under our control!
Thanks to all who voted for me for the Spirit of Enterprise Award 2006 – I am deeply honoured by the consideration. There are so many great entrepreneurs out there – congrats to all honourees.
To your health, healing and happiness in October.