How Long Will It Take?

This is a question clients often ask me. How long will it take to heal my x, y, or z?

black and white photo of clocks
Photo by Andrey Grushnikov on Pexels.com

The short answer is: it depends.

While inherently true, it’s a most unsatisfying response; so let’s dig deeper.

I find it helpful to compare life-force energy to a bank account. The equivalent question would be: how long until I am free from debt? It’s easy to see how “it depends” is the only possible answer. It depends on how indebted someone is, how much they earn, how much they spend, and what the return is on investments they’ve collected.

This same thinking can be applied to healing. While Reiki and massage can indeed be counted on as deposits to one’s energetic bank, there are numerous other factors involved. How long has energy been leaking? What other investments in health have been made, and are one’s daily habits and lifestyle contributing to or depleting the account?

If I continue to cultivate anger and resentment from an event 20 years ago, I am draining my reserves. It would be like an online shopping addiction increasing my debt. If I do the hard work of releasing that anger and resentment and choosing forgiveness, it would be like getting a part time job to boost my income.

The more I build my energy savings through mindfulness, loving-kindness, movement, breath, creativity, eating real foods, spending time in nature, resting, presence, and authenticity; the more likely I am to experience the optimal level of health and vitality available to me. The more I drag my energy down with suppressed emotions, unhealed trauma, processed food, binge watching TV, criticism, incessant complaining, gossip, and judgement; the more difficult it is to reach my peak wellness.

As I tell my clients, healing is facilitated greatly when we stop engaging in the behaviors, thoughts, and beliefs that contribute to dis-ease. In my own life, I experience low back pain when I eat half a bag of hard pretzels, sit for too long, repress anger or anxiety, wallow in feelings of unworthiness, or overdo it. Reiki and massage definitely help my back feel better; but minimizing the cause of the pain in addition to receiving treatment is infinitely more effective.

I notice that my clients who are pro-active in creating healthy lifestyles, pursuing personal or spiritual growth, and who are willing to surrender the harmful habits that contribute to their discomfort have exponential returns on their healing investments. Clients who are more passive and leave all the work to me often progress more slowly.

It’s important to acknowledge that none of them are wrong or bad or lazy. Everyone is doing the best they can with the resources they have. I enjoy working with the client whose only act of self-care is showing up at my office just as much as devoted yogis. But it’s important to note that if you’re interested in experiencing the maximum results in the minimum time, you have to save more life-force energy than you spend.

It’s really that simple.

 

“Heal”, the Movie

When I was 13, I was blessed with the onset on chronic pain.

Wait, what?

Yup. Of course I didn’t see it as a blessing till much, much later. But from that young age I was exposed to the limits of western medicine. The doctor offered me some stretches and suggested I spend this time of crisis lying on my back on the floor. While that helped to some small degree, it certainly was no remedy for the suppression of emotions and crushed first chakra energy that plagued me. There is no remedy for the spinal malformation that creates a weak link in my low back, except for perhaps surgery, which fortunately was never recommended.

The blessing lies in the shift of my life trajectory which led me to the chiropractor, yoga class, applied kinesiology and resulting dietary changes, homeopathy, massage, Reiki, meditation, affirmations, and spiritual exploration. Not only did holistic health become my path for finding comfort in my body, but eventually my career and passion. Before this pain, I was destined for a future seeking fortune and happiness outside of myself and very likely some soul-sucking job that drained my life- force and health gradually.

Over the decades I’ve learned much about healing. Some key points are that pain is a message that imbalance is present and ignoring or suppressing the message is not helpful;  pills don’t cure; my thoughts, beliefs, and emotions affect my health; and the biggie: I’m the only one responsible for my well-being. I feel blessed that I began these lessons at such a young age and have had so many opportunities to expand my understanding. Rather than waiting for everything to fall apart at 50 as I see so many of my peers doing, I’ve been perfecting my practice of self-care and well-being. I anticipate turning 50 in a few years and feeling better than ever!

I was overjoyed to find this movie online, featuring many of the healers and teachers I’ve come to admire over the years. People with the courage to step out of the mainstream way of thinking and follow their hearts and intuition to share gifts; gifts which are often beyond the comprehension of the general public. Not only have they helped so many people find health and happiness, but they helped pave the way for the likes of me. This documentary is quite comprehensive in content and heartwarming in essence.

If you’re curious about alternative medicine, dissatisfied with the results of conventional medicine, or yearn to go deeper into the metaphysical realm you might find some understanding or perhaps even inspiration here. For me it brought a sense of belonging to a bigger community of believers; a bit of healing in itself as I often find myself confused and struggling in a world that makes no sense to me.

If nothing else, it might plant a seed that healing is a way of being and relating to yourself with love and kindness. From there, miracles are possible.

Relieving Upper Back, Neck, and Shoulder Pain

Probably the top complaint I hear from clients is that of chronic and intense discomfort in their upper backs, necks, and shoulders. You’re probably familiar with the nagging sensation, usually beyond reach, often between the shoulder blades. You know, that spot that occupies way too much of your attention and won’t go away no matter how you try to work it out.

The reason that pushing on the spot that hurts (with your own fingers, a friend’s elbow, or a massage tool) doesn’t resolve the pain is that the pain is often a symptom of imbalanced posture in the upper body. Treating the symptom might feel good and bring temporary relief (hey, there’s nothing wrong with that!) but until the root cause is addressed, it won’t be very effective. It’s rather like running around putting out fires rather than taking the matches away from the toddler.

In today’s society, many conditions can cause the head to drift forward of the body.

  • The near-constant rushing and stress that has become common in our culture, and the physiological tightening of muscles that results.
  • The time spent with arms forward of the body: typing, driving, sewing, drawing, holding and nursing babies, etc
  • The long hours spent looking at screens
  • The tendency to be mentally inhabiting the next moment and the next place rather than being present here and now
  • The desire to energetically protect one’s heart
  • Feeling unsafe and wishing to hide emotionally
  • Every other scenario that induces slouching or hunching

Ideally the ears should hover over the shoulders, allowing the vertebrae to support the weight of the head. When the head is chronically positioned forward of the torso, those tired and achy muscles of the upper back are working overtime to hold the head up. Muscles on the front of the neck and shoulders become shortened over time, and those on the back become overstretched.

forward-head-posture

This image comes courtesy of Erik Dalton, a world renowned bodyworker, educator, and creator of Myoskeletal Alignment Techniques. It shows the simple physics of how the weight of a 12 pound head increases to 42 pounds when it is held 3 inches forward. Those muscles are cramped and fatigued because they’re overworked and overextended! Pummeling and poking them is not the answer.

The remedy is in returning the head to a more neutral position. The work of the massage therapist is primarily in releasing the tight anterior neck, chest, and shoulder muscles. Some therapists would argue that working on the muscles of the upper back only make the problem worse! I personally believe that this is an extreme view, and that some soothing Swedish massage of the back can help by releasing trigger points and encouraging circulation. The most important step, however, is one of awareness and continuously correcting posture throughout the day.

I’ve helped clients to overcome this chronic problem that had plagued them for decades. Through a combination of managing posture and stress, targeted stretching on a daily basis, and receiving a maintenance massage once or twice each month, they’re able to experience freedom from near-debilitating pain. Once they stopped treating the symptom and began working with the cause, the results came quickly.

If you’re frustrated that your valiant efforts are not producing desired effects, consider that you might not be treating the source of the problem. Put down the fire extinguisher and gently but firmly remove the matches from the hands of the pyromaniac toddler.

Holiday Special

We have officially entered holiday season. Here in Philadelphia, the weather has turned quite cold and people are bundling up. ‘Tis the season for stress and busy-ness, colds and the flu. More than ever it’s important to make time to rest and restore one’s balance to promote good health and mental well-being.

snow woman winter snowflakes
Photo by Kristin Vogt on Pexels.com

Getting sucked into a whirlwind of constant activity is exhausting. I encourage people to literally block out time on their calendars for self-care. Then when you’re invited to do something, you can consult your agenda and truthfully say, “I have a previous commitment at that time.” Many of us, myself included, find saying “no” difficult, but this little trick works wonders.

My mission is to support and cheer others on as they uncover the wholeness, worthiness, and wellness at the center of their being. In the hopes of making this easier during what can be a challenging time, I’m offering a special on packages of five sessions.

These packages are each valid for one person for one year from date of purchase. It’s possible to mix and match treatments, so there’s no need to decide up front if you desire Reiki and/or massage. This special is available till the end of 2018. Convenient PayPal payments are an option, as are cash, check, or card if you prefer to stop by my office. 

Five sessions for the price of four. That’s a 20% savings!

Five 60 minute sessions = $320 ($80 savings!)

Five 75 minute sessions = $400 ($100 savings!)

Five 90 minute sessions = $480 ($120 savings!)

Five long-distance Reiki sessions = $220 ($55 savings!)

If you’re feeling inspired to spread the peace and joy, you could even use the savings to purchase a gift card for a friend.

Contact me for details or to arrange payment. Or schedule an appointment in the month of December, and we’ll get you set up then.

 

 

 

Reiki for Root Canal, Part 3

Tomorrow I’m scheduled for a root canal. I’ve been preparing for weeks. (See part 1 and part 2 of this dental journey if you wish.) My motivation is two-fold: for the procedure to go as smoothly as possible, and to avoid having to go through this ever again. I’m enlisting all the holistic tools at my disposal to make this a reality.

I continue to use Reiki daily, both for my teeth and jaws, as well as sending it to the procedure itself. Given what I know about trauma, the body’s fight-flight-freeze mechanism, and its physiological responses; my strategy is to promote calmness. Reiki, breathing practices, and yoga are the techniques that come to mind.

I’m also interested in minimizing inflammation, for which I’m using diet, herbs, and aromatherapy. I have propolis and arnica tablets standing by for after the procedure and ibuprofen as a last resort. Rescue Remedy, a Bach flower essence for stress and trauma, will no doubt be a huge help as well.

I was delighted to discover askthedentist.com during my research of holistic support for a root canal. This sight is devoted to functional dentistry. I didn’t even know such a thing existed! There’s tons of information about how to maximize oral health that extends way beyond brushing, flushing, and trips to the dentist. Nutrition is a prime focus as a preventative measure. I ordered a new electric toothbrush and natural toothpaste based on the thorough product research provided.

I’m feeling quite well prepared. My doctor comes with the highest recommendations and I’m doing everything possible on my end to ensure a positive outcome. Naturally massage, plenty of rest, green smoothies and other soft foods, and several book and video distractions will all have a place in my recovery. Taking an active role in my wellness plan (which now thoroughly includes preventing future invasive dental interventions!) has been an empowering process.

I’m ready for my first and last root canal. Bring it on Dr. Lim!

 

Time Does Not Heal All Wounds

The more I learn about trauma and its devastating effects, the more I realize that the adage “time heals all wounds” is completely wrong. Not matter how long ago one experienced a traumatic event, if the energy generated at that time has not been released and integrated, it remains in the body. It might hibernate or seem dormant, but it lurks beneath the surface, often creating pain or influencing behavior and emotions from the shadows.

“If you are experiencing strange symptoms that no one seems to be able to explain, they could be arising from a traumatic reaction to a past event that you may not even remember. You are not alone. You are not crazy. There is a rational explanation for what is happening to you. You have not been irreversibly damaged, and it is possible to diminish or even eliminate your symptoms.” Peter Levine, Waking the Tiger

I find this quote from one of the world’s leading experts on trauma to be so helpful. Many of my clients suffer from mysterious symptoms that their doctors are unable to explain. Just because western medicine doesn’t have an answer does not automatically mean that there is none; they just haven’t fully understood the affects of trauma or the awesome power of the body-mind-spirit connection.

I was horrified to hear that a neurologist told a woman experiencing hand tremors that she should see a psychologist because there was nothing physically wrong with her. I have nothing against psychological treatment, but this doctor was implying that she suffered from a mental illness because he was unable to find a diagnosis. I wonder if he would have treated a male patient the same way, but that is a topic for another day.

“Traumatic symptoms are not caused by the “triggering” event itself. They stem from the frozen residue of energy that has not been resolved and discharged; this residue remains trapped in the nervous system where it can wreak havoc on our bodies and spirits. The long-term alarming, debilitating, and often bizarre symptoms of PTSD develop when we cannot complete the process of moving in, through and out of the “immobility” or “freezing” state. However, we can thaw by initiating and encouraging our innate drive to return to a state of dynamic equilibrium.” Again from Waking the Tiger

Clearly I am enamored with this book! I believe it offers valuable wisdom in a form accessible to the layperson. Somatic Experiencing is the therapy that has evolved from Levine’s work. While I am not a practitioner of this modality, I have absorbed and integrated much of its philosophy into my therapeutic massage and Reiki practice. Acknowledging the whole person, compassionate listening, nurturing touch, allowing an organic unwinding of tension patterns, and supporting the process of body-mind-spirit integration is the approach that has benefited so many of my clients.

While I have much to learn about healing, for my own journey and to support my clients, what really stands out to me is that trauma requires some form of intervention to be released. This appears to be a physiological fact, according to Levine. It does not simply go away over time. There is no shame in reaching out for help healing a wound, no matter how old, how seemingly insignificant, or how much we might believe it shouldn’t be affecting us anymore.

Please know that whatever terrible experiences you may have endured, you are not broken. Your spirit remains perfect, whole, and complete. Your body and mind can be healed and the residue of any trauma is treatable. There is hope.

Here’s a link to a directory of Somatic Experiencing practitioners.

If you’re interested in exploring if long-distance Reiki, or in person Reiki or Swedish massage for stress and pain relief through body-mind-spirit integration might be right for you, please do contact me to schedule a complementary 15 minute phone consultation.

 

Reiki for Sexual Trauma

Like many Americans, the evidence and aftermath of sexual assault has been on my mind lately. It seems that this type of trauma has touched the lives of most people I know. I’m saddened by the daily #metoo reports I find on social media, and the secrets that have been held for decades that are rising to the surface. Yet, I know that this is how healing begins. I’m finding hope for the future, and intrigued by the power of Reiki to support the process.

sunset hands love woman
Photo by Stokpic on Pexels.com

Being saturated with spiritually-guided life-force energy is an amazing strategy to encourage body-mind-spirit balance, to prevent trauma from becoming internalized or a point of self-identification, and to tap into inner resources of intuition and resilience. Reiki can help keep emotions and energy flowing, expressing, releasing, and integrating. It can connect us with our wholeness, beauty, and perfection; which are eternal and rightfully our own despite any experiences which might suggest otherwise.

Compassion and non-judgment are part of the foundation of this practice. As Reiki is given as a gift from the divine, it is never tarnished with blame, or opinions and interpretations of society or the practitioner. It is pure, healing energy that is available to be used as each individual’s higher self deems it is needed.

In addition to being such a beneficial treatment for trauma, Reiki can be administered without any touch. It can be offered from across the room, and received while fully clothed and seated upright if lying down feels too vulnerable. Reiki can even be received from the comfort of one’s own home if this feels more secure, comfortable, or convenient. One of the sacred symbols is a tool for bridging time and space, and allows level 2 practitioners to share healing energy with people who are elsewhere.

If you’re in need of support for healing of sexual trauma, I  encourage you to explore distance Reiki as a viable option. If you’re a Reiki practitioner, I encourage you to join me in offering Reiki to the collective feminine, to be received by those who are suffering and open to accepting energetic healing. If you’re eager to be an agent of support for those of us who are struggling in these difficult times, I encourage you to seek a Reiki teacher for training. I don’t know of any other modality that is completely natural, holistic, can do no harm, complimentary to all other therapies, and so easy to learn.

The only way out is through; let’s help each other along the way.