Did you see the movie, "Cake"?This movie stars Jennifer Aniston as a woman suffering from chronic pain due to a horrific accident. It is not an easy movie to watch due to the amount of pain she is in emotionally and physically and how she punishes the world around her as a way to cope.
As a massage therapist and someone that has "been there, done that", I thought this movie was right on in depicting the mind/body connection. In the end she is able to accept her life and how to work with the pain. If you get a chance, see it. It didn't get the best reviews because this was such a different role for Aniston, but I think she nailed the role and the script was good too.
Why am I telling you about this movie? Her thoughts are full of anger, rage, grief and frustration. Yes, she was severely injured, but the pain her body is in goes deeper than just the physical. There is emotion buried in there too. Shame, guilt, fear and internal conflict are emotions that can be conscious or unconscious feelings no one wants to acknowledge. As a result, our unconscious mind creates distraction in the form of pain to avoid the discomfort of these kinds of feelings. The body then has a physiological response; lack of blood flow to an area, accumulation of waste product which creates pain and trigger points.
So now let's talk about those thoughts in your head. Thoughts are energy, positive or negative, they create an outcome in the body. Whether you create the thoughts yourself or someone directs negative words at you, you will feel a drop in energy and might even feel a twinge of discomfort in some area of your body.
As a child I witnessed this in an older couple. The husband was upset with his wife and let her know it in front of several people and he had no problem continuing to embarrass her. Not long after his tongue lashing, she started to experience chest pain and needed to take some medication and go home to rest.
At some time maybe you have experienced a negative situation and felt your body respond. Or maybe you experienced something positive when you felt low and it made a change for the better. Either way, this is reinforcement that thoughts are energy and have an effect.
So many times when someone comes in for bodywork because of discomfort and pain it has an emotional component. I am not talking about injury. I am talking about pain that comes and goes or is always there, sometimes worse, sometimes less.
Dr. John Sarno wrote a great book, "The Mindbody Prescription" that talks about unconscious emotions and the effects on the body and how to make changes. Meditation and mindfulness have made big differences for me and are part of many chronic pain programs. Not any one thing will solve everyone's issues, so it takes some exploring to find what works for you, but I encourage you to make the effort.
Are you missing out?
Almost every day I go for a walk on the beach with my four dogs and we explore, run around and contemplate the adventure called "life". This week I had a great reminder about paying attention to what is around me instead of being locked in my own little life and dramas.
In the middle of the week, I saw a pod of dolphin off shore about 150 yards, just beyond the breaking waves. There was a good size group of them splashing, frolicking and jumping out of the water. It was really quite the show. I looked around to see if anyone else was enjoying this and saw a family of mom, dad and two kids, all with cellphones in hand and the daughter had an iPad. Not one of them was looking around. They were all too focused on their electronic devices. It was sad to see.
Today when I was enjoying our walk, the dolphins were putting on a show again, only this time I wasn't the only spectator. Several people had stopped to watch and were taking photos or video. A couple of bike riders on the highway were stopped and watching too. The experience seemed richer just by the fact that so many had taken the time to enjoy the fun and beauty of these creatures.
Are dolphins important? Maybe not, but I think that family missed out on something special.
Life moves fast and if you aren't plugged into technology in some form or another, you can feel left behind. I am not gonna lie, I am VERY plugged into my computer and phone. They are necessary for my business and a source of education and entertainment. I really work to stay balanced in my use of them and not let them take control of my attention and life.
Some things can not be replaced by the fast pace put on us by technology and the computer culture we all live in. Having a face to face conversation instead of "facetime" on the screen, a hand written note of thanks instead of a text or email. Spending time and our attention on those we care about feeds something deeper within us. We all need connection and to be seen and heard by others. I don't think that need will ever be replaced and I am determined to stay connected in real ways.
Being a bodyworker, it is important for me to pay attention and listen to what is "ujnder my hands". So much of what a person experiences is held in the body. Interesting too, that I could tell two different clients were pregnant before they knew or told me...I am always amazed by the messages of bodies!
So take a moment to really see what is around you. Look for ways to connect on a real human level. You might experience things in ways you never thought possible!
What to do when you hurt...This is a problem I hear from clients all the time and a lot of the information is confusing or not good. Depending on how the pain started will determine what is the best choice, but let's review a few basics:
Ice - stops swelling, inflammation and bruising. It is the best choice to use if you have acute pain or have been injured; sprained ankle, bumped your shin, twisted your knee or wrist. Think INJURY when it comes to ice.
Heat - relaxes muscles after inflammation is gone, soothes the body and increases circulation. This is the best choice if you have done too much weeding and strained your back, have an "achy" place.
Moist Heat - this reduces swelling, pain, and increases range of motion. This is an excellent choice for arthritis flare ups or after using ice for a couple of days an injury and to help get circulation going into the area.
I could go on and on, but I usually find someone smarter than me and I found this excellent link that is very informative about what to use and when...just click on it to check it out! Great and easy to read chart.
In the case of muscle spasm, I now have Electrical Muscle Stimulation available prior to your massage. Yesterday I used it on a client with severe back pain and she left feeling much better and reported improvement today too. ( I love what I do! )