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Relieve Aching Wisely

February 27, 2014 Mary S. Wallis

Turtle expresses connection to mother earth, the physical body, and reminds us it is our ally.
“There are more Americans affected by pain — whether it is from arthritis, headaches, nerve damage, or some other condition — than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined”, states “The Amazing Pain-Relieving Diet” article in Bottom Line Health volume 28 for March 2014. I reiterate, combined”! That statement amazed me! I shouldn’t be amazed since the large majority of patients I see are dealing with some form of chronic pain.

“Drug overdose death rates in the United States have more than tripled since 1990 and have never been higher. In 2008, more than 36,000 people died from drug overdoses, and most of these deaths were caused by prescription drugs(quoted from the CDC). Besides the potential for overdose and death, prescription drugs often have unwanted side affects like constipation, daytime drowsiness, and reduced respiration to name a few.

Plus, the body becomes acclimated to the drug and needs higher doses to obtain the same pain relief. Addiction may ensue even after the cause of the pain is addressed and eliminated. And many of my patients report to me that being on prescription pain management makes them feel less invested in their lives. Yet, science tells us that pain uncontrolled can cause nerve damage, depression, and other health risks. So the question arises, “what to do to control pain safely”?
Many feel that the body seems more an idiot enemy. Yet the human body has an incredible capacity to heal.
The body is really quite intelligent. Natural mechanisms exist that have been serving mankind since our dawning. Pain is a last resort communication signal that something is very out of sorts.
Prior to chronic pain’s appearance, there have been many communications along the way. Perhaps there was a twinge of sharp pain with movement. Or numbness or tingling occurred and subsided over the months or years. A sense of burning may have been felt. But “good thing that went away”. Nothing was done to remedy the offending agent. So now the body has to use tough love. Pain is its go to agent. It is difficult to ignore for long. And it has many levels upon which it can call.

“The Body Electric”, by Dr. Robert Becker, M.D. speaks of the current of injury and how pain seems to need to be present for healing to commence. He says, “pain.., the least understood of sensory functions,…without it, living things would be so poorly designed that they couldn’t survive, for they would never know what constituted danger or when to take defensive action.” And, “…before an organism could repair itself, it must know it had been injured. …the wound must hurt, and the pain must be part of an input side of the system.” So as much as we dislike being in pain, it does serve functions that we have yet to fully understand.

Now let us talk about the natural capacity that the body has to manage pain.
Neurotransmitters are the messengers that deliver information. They are manufactured and released in the brain and the gut. There are pain signal neurotransmitters. And there are pain relieving neurotransmitters. The body has this reflection of yin and yang in all of its mechanisms according to ancient oriental philosophy. So, where there is pain, the potential for relief exists and vice versa. With each deep relaxed breath, endorphins may be released. Endorphins (endogenous morphine) are endogenous opioid peptides that function as neurotransmitters. They are 500 times more potent than morphine. The bonus is that your body does not get used to them. There are many ways to stimulate the release of endorphins from spicy foods to exercise. Deep breaths, as I already mentioned, and meditation are wonderful ways to release those feel good natural drugs and retrain our parasympathetic nervous system.

The parasympathetic aspect of the autonomic nervous system is the recovery mechanism.
In our high stress world, the fight or flight aspect (sympathetic aspect of the nervous system) has become an over used facilitated pathway. What do I mean by facilitated pathway? Picture a mountain. Now picture rain falling on the mountain. Enough rain falls and gullies begin to form funneling the excess rain down the mountain. The sun returns and dries the rain. But the gullies remain. Next rain event, those gullies are the first to see the overflow of rain. Those gullies are the pathways of stimulus like pain. Stress goes away. Pain retreats. Stress returns. Pain returns in those same “facilitated” pathways first.

The parasympathetic repair system often needs to be retrained to engage. That is where Te a Te (translated as spirit to spirit) and Reiki (translated as universal life energy) can be of most benefit. These two ancient healing modalities intend to bring balance back into a chaotic system. I believe that they help to retrain the body to respond appropriately to stress. If a car is speeding toward you, the flight response is a good call. If your boss tells you to redo a project, punching them in the face is not likely to help you keep your job!

By using the Te a Te Reiki Healing Energy Blanket during meditation, you provide yourself a sanctuary where healing and pain relief are the focus. The energy infused in the cotton fibers of the blanket may cause an activation of the parasympathetic response. Thereby, separate from meditation affects, lowering heart rate, deepening breathing, quieting the mind, and relieving pain. By using this healing tool, facilitated pathways of healing are created and then engaged.

“But I don’t meditate!”
say you. “And I’m in too much pain to be responsible for anything else!” say many of my patients. I understand. Begin by using the blanket on your bed at night. Or just cuddle with it while you watch T.V.. The owners of the blanket have reported using it in this fashion and neuropathy pain, oral surgery pain, and other chronic pains have been reduced and in some cases eliminated. Is it mind over matter?
The placebo response or affect is quite powerful. As we have yet to do a clinical blind trial as to the efficacy, this question can not be answered. My personal sense, having used Reiki since 1989 and Te a Te since 2002, is that there is something very real in the use of these alternative medicines and their stimulus of the natural healing mechanisms of both humans and animals. I fully believe that the energy attached to the blanket helps people to find relief. I have seen it first hand.

Truth be told, any tool for healing that you choose, please believe in it. That belief has powerful affect. I believe in using natural assets to further my healing without doing further harm. The healing energy blanket is safe to use. I strongly believe that the blanket has pain reducing affect of its own. Believing in it will only enhance that quality.

So breathe deep, eat healthy colorful non-processed foods in moderation, take time to focus on healing, and tailor your lifestyle to embrace your passions. Let pain be the teacher it is meant to be. Learn from it. Move through it. Evolve into a better human because of it.

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