Holistic Healing; What does that even mean?

Recently I wrote about my choice to heal a knee injury holistically. It prompted some questions about what holistic healing actually means.

First, a disclaimer.

I’m not a doctor and have no intention of providing any medical advice. I’m just sharing my story. I’ve been in training for the past 30 years, learning to listen to the wisdom of my body, my intuition, and divine guidance. This makes me particularly well equipped to go on such adventures.

I feel qualified to give this a go without medical intervention. I am able to walk freely, use the stairs, and put on my own socks. There is only mild inflammation in the joint, and no swelling or edema elsewhere. No discoloration or zingy nerve pain, tingling, burning, or numbness. Having treated hundreds of clients with injuries over the years, I feel confident that I’m within the realm of what I can handle.

Should I one day get a nudge to see a doctor and get X-rays or whatever, I will grumble for a few moments and release the attachment I have to doing it my way. I’m not too proud or too stubborn to get the help that I need.

Disclaimer complete.

To me, “holistic” means looking at the entire being, correcting any imbalances, and addressing ALL obstacles to wellness. This includes physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, energetic and circumstantial.

Rather than looking at the one joint that is complaining, I’m looking at every possible factor that affects this joint.

That means investigating the stability, strength, and flexibility (or lack thereof) of the feet and ankles. ALL the muscles that attach near or cross the knee (on both legs, they work as a team), particularly the quads and hamstrings, glutes, adductors, abductors, lateral rotators, and my frenemy, the psoas.

It means getting quality sleep, developing better body mechanics when I’m working, providing the nutrients that my body requires to repair tissue and heal. And flooding my entire system with Reiki frequently.

I’m also looking at my internal chatter and directly addressing the feelings and thoughts of irritation, annoyance, and impatience that arise around the situation. I’m not suppressing any of these, but I am actively engaging in cultivating acceptance and compassion as my default zone.

I’m seeing this event as an opportunity to do some internal inquiry and have found a deposit of old resentment that may not be related, but is definitely doing me no good. I’m letting myself feel the underlying hurt and disappointment while letting the energy move and release so that it will no longer impede the flow of life-force.

I’m also looking at the yin-yang (im)balance in my life. Am I overly focused on doing at the expense of being, am I relying on thinking more than feeling, or giving out of proportion to receiving? Do I need to slow down even more, stop and smell the roses, sit my butt down and be still?

A trusted friend has recommended barefoot shoes. I think that’s what they’re called. Shoes with a minimal sole. He makes a good argument and his story is compelling. I found myself utterly resistant as last year I bought FIVE new pairs of shoes. (I realize that might not be a lot for some people, but for me it really was.) Apparently, at age 50, my feet had grown (what?!) and I needed to replace a lot of my footwear. I went with cushy soles on all of them.

Then I caught myself- am I resisting a potential remedy simply because I’m highly invested in something else, something that might be less than helpful, and potentially harmful to me? Sheesh. That would be a YES. It’s so strange catching myself doing something so very human, yet so utterly ridiculous!

Which highlights the practice of examining attachment to the way things are and resistance to change. That is a pattern that can really inhibit mobility, particularly in the joints. Can I change my mind about something despite having spent a lot of money on it? Am I committed to continuing on my current path just because I don’t want to admit I might be going the wrong way?

These are the areas I’m exploring on this healing journey. I’m playing detective and investigating anything that could be contributing to the imbalance that causes this pain. Should I decide medical intervention in the form of a shot or pills would be helpful, I’d continue my sleuthing to get to the root of the problem, knowing that suppressing the symptoms is a temporary fix at best, and can sometimes mask deeper issues.

It’s been over a week since I started writing this article. I got sidetracked and am finally returning to put the finishing touches on the words I wrote many days ago. In that time, discomfort has decreased drastically and I’m able to move more freely. There are some movements that are still unmanageable, but there is definitely progress.

Whatever treatment you pursue for whatever ailments you may experience, I hope you’ll also make the effort to look at the bigger picture as well. These things tend to recur if the underlying conditions aren’t resolved. I hope I’ve managed to demonstrate that “underlying conditions” can mean any sort of imbalance- physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, energetic, or circumstantial.

At the very least, it will give you something to ponder while you’re resting and waiting for the body to heal.

If you’d like to learn how to use Reiki to support endeavors like this, it’s last call for my Reiki for Self-Care and Empowerment online training. We begin on March 23. Having access to healing powers at my very fingertips is what makes all this possible.

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