Living Pain Free Summit

I’ve spent the past 34 years exploring strategies to avoid pain. Over time I’ve come to recognize that the debilitating back pain I experienced for the first time in eighth grade was a blessing as it led me down the path of holistic wellness, alternative and complementary medicine, and body-mind-spirit healing. I’ve learned how to prevent discomfort in my own body and have spent 15 years helping my clients do the same. All without relying on numbing symptoms with pharmaceuticals.

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Last month I took a workshop, Positional Release for Chronic Pain, with Lee Albert. His teachings are very much aligned with my own beliefs and experiences. In fact, he didn’t tell me anything that I didn’t already know; rather he validated many vague concepts that had yet to been given shape and structure in my mind. I’m thrilled to have some new tools both for myself and for my clients.

Today I received an email that Lee is going to be participating in a NO cost online series of 20 experts in the field of holistic healing. “Isn’t it time to find out what options are available so you can get your quality of life back and start living the life you deserve?” is the invitation from his newsletter. If you want to experience something different than what you currently are experiencing, it’s necessary to DO something different. Perhaps one of these speakers will have the key that fits your lock.

The summit begins May 14. You can register here. Pain is a message that something is out of balance. Learning to decode the message and correct the imbalance is very often possible with the help of alternative, holistic therapies. I’ve found tremendous relief through yoga, meditation, prayer, contemplation, nutrition, plant medicine, Swedish massage, and Reiki. When I stick to my regime, the chronic back pain that plagued me throughout my youth is but a memory. If there’s a chance that yours could be too, wouldn’t you want to find out?

It Starts with the Spirit

As I continue to immerse myself in the realm of healing, I am noticing more and more how it all starts with the spirit. As my own personal practice deepens I am uncovering spiritual wounds, some of which are decades, even lifetimes, old. As I work on these issues, repairing the damage from the countless times I abandoned or betrayed myself to please another or gave up on my dreams because they seemed too improbable or difficult, I notice the subsequent emotional and mental distress that developed. As this pain lingered in my psyche, sometimes it settled into my body in the corresponding chakra or organ and caused physical ailments or discomfort.

For example, lately I have been feeling tightness in my neck. When I turn my head there is a crunchy sound and some limitation in the range of motion. Attempts to remedy this from the outside have achieved only temporary results. That’s because it’s a symptom of a deeper issue. Stretching or massaging the muscles feels great and of course is beneficial to the body. However, as I sit with the pain and open to the meaning it carries, I realize it is actually the result of a lifetime of being afraid to express my true self blocking energy flow in my throat chakra. This fear is perhaps justified due to previous experiences, but now it is not serving my highest good and it’s time to let it go. No amount of bodywork will cure pain that stems from spiritual misalignment. Reiki, on the other hand, uses divinely guided life force energy to heal the original wound, and reminds me of my true nature, which is fearless.

As I concentrate on this concept during my daily self-treatment and Reiki meditation, I can slowly feel the tension melting away as my muscles no longer feel the need to protect me from condemnation or restrain me from speaking my truth. I feel chronic low-level stress and anxiety that I’ve come to accept as normal begin to fade as I remember that it is safe for me to speak my truth. I am growing to realize that many people will not care to hear what I have to say, and that’s just fine. I’m not saying it for them, although if they are ready, my words might benefit their well-being. I am speaking the words I do for me, because it is my path to share the wisdom I receive from Spirit, whether it is received or not. Interestingly enough, as I freely communicate from the heart, I am discovering the path to recovery from all that ails me. Truth is medicine and as I tend to my spirit, all else is healed.

 

Speak UP!!

I can’t express strongly enough how important it is for clients to speak up during a bodywork session if they are uncomfortable for any reason or think their needs are not being met. If you are receiving a treatment, that time is for you, for your healing and benefit, and you are ultimately in control. Clients often tell me that they are nervous about their massage because the last time they were on the table, it hurt, and they were afraid to speak up. I am here to encourage you to never ever, never ever allow someone else, even a trained professional that you have hired, hurt you. And if they try to tell you to breathe through it or that pain is necessary to achieve your results, you have the power to end the session.

Over the past eleven years, I’ve had a handful of complaints from clients. The befuddling thing is, usually they don’t complain to me, but to the front desk. After the session is over. And after it is possible to rectify the situation. Someone complained once that I used too much oil, another that the lights were too bright, and one that there was too much noise in the spa. Once I passed a man I had just massaged in the waiting area, seething because his wife hadn’t come out yet. Her therapist was gifting her with extra time, and he was so angry about waiting that he complained I shorted his time, even though he was happy when we parted. These episodes were all quirky issues that I couldn’t really have done much to fix. The legitimate complaint that surfaces once or twice every year or so is that I didn’t use enough pressure.

I’m pretty tuned in to a client’s nervous system and am reading their muscles’ responses during a massage. Generally, I am using enough pressure to encourage release without triggering a defensive reaction. That means that I never want my client to feel pain while on the table; they might very well feel some discomfort if their goal is therapy for an injury or unsticking a long term stuck-ness; but not actual pain. So naturally the client who believes “if it doesn’t hurt, it’s not working” is not a good match for me. Overall, I’m pretty good at weeding this personality type out, and either educating them to my approach, or admitting that I can’t meet their needs. Sometimes, though, they slip through the cracks, and end up feeling frustrated on my table.

The reason I encourage people to speak up, is not to demand that I do what they want, but to at least make it possible. If someone is wanting more pressure than I am willing to deliver, if they ask, I can explain my reasons. If theydisagree, and the session is just beginning, we can stop, and they can go on their way without paying, and find a more suitable match. A few weeks ago, I was working on a woman who had run a marathon the day before. Essentially, her muscles were traumatized. She asked for more pressure, and I slightly increased to the maximum I felt appropriate, and she commented “yeah, that’s good.” She answered “good” to my check-in during her turn-over, and again at the end. But she told the front desk that she kept waiting for more pressure. If she had repeated her request, or been truthful during the check-ins, I would have explained that I was worried about impeding circulation in muscles that desperately needed fresh oxygen delivered and toxins to be carried away, that her fight or flight response was already right on the edge, and that I was supporting her desired goal of relaxation and circulation by using a medium-firm pressure. If she disagreed with my technique, I would have offered to stop then and there. We were only 15 minutes into a 60 minute session, so I wouldn’t have charged her and she could have booked with a more aggressive therapist.

It is really important that clients learn to stand up for themselves. Don’t be afraid to speak up, especially if the bodywork is hurting and you haven’t requested an intense session. Don’t ever let your therapist bully you, or believe that they know more than you do about your own body. If your temperature or position is uncomfortable, let us know- we can help you! We don’t want you to be shivering or wish your head was half an inch higher. It is our job to make you comfortable. It is your job to tell us if you are not. If you have special needs, it’s best to discuss them ahead of time so the therapist can decline or be prepared as they see fit. If you’re wanting something and you’re not getting it- ASK! Don’t wait until it’s over and too late. You might not receive exactly what you’re wanting, but at least you won’t have to pay for something you don’t.