Image by robswatski via Flickr
“You can fix a car or a bookcase, you can repair a television set or a computer, but you don’t heal them. And they don’t heal themselves. Only living systems heal; they don’t get fixed or repaired or anything like that….Healing is an act of self-recreation…..Living systems self-organize, self-create, self-maintain, and in many ways, direct their own revolution”
~ Ron Kurtz, Body-Centered Psychotherapy
Last Thursday, I hurt my right calf muscle. Although I haven’t seen my massage therapist, the wonderful Heather Stewart, we spoke on the phone just after it happened. She said it sounded like I had a spasm, and that I should massage my leg, apply heat and stretch. In addition to that, I’ve been using Traumeel and making sure to hydrate, and get enough Magnesium, Calcium and Vitamin D. I am self healing.
(My inner geek took hold and so I began “researching” (on the internet, if you can call it that), and it seems I’ve upset my flexor digitorum longus in some way)
You might be thinking, “instead of researching the name of the muscle and writing a blog post about this, Jenn, how about you go ahead and visit your massage therapist or someone else who can help you?”
Well, the thing is I can help myself.
I can heal myself.
I actually started healing the moment the injury happened.
How? Well my body is designed to return to homeostasis. (And so is yours!)
1. Self-Healing comes from self-awareness
If I pay attention, I become more aware.
In order to pay attention, I need to slow down and stay connected to myself long enough to sense, recognize and acknowledge what is going on.
When I am more aware I begin to notice the little twitches, aches, and flickers that may be telling me those parts need a little more attention than normal. Just by paying attention, I have jump started the healing process. From my Reiki training I know that energy is needed for healing… you know, “energy flows where attention goes”.
The alternative is ignoring those little signals and not doing anything about it.
Case in point, on Thursday morning, I noticed my right calf was a little tight. I was rushing around and didn’t respond. And then…well, injury.
2. Sensation is the vehicle for self-healing
The sensation of pain tells me there’s something wrong. Period. It is then up to me to respond to that and find another way to move, a better way.
3. Awareness, then action
Once I become aware, then I can guide myself consciously into making choices about movement.
Through Nia, I’ve learned that self-healing can part of everything I do during the day, every day. It’s not something different or apart from my day.
Moment by moment I can do lots of thing to help with my body’s repair through movement. Not by avoiding movement, but keeping the energy flowing to the parts that need healing.
My calf muscle was tight…so how could I integrate the healing into my daily routine?
Applying heat to my calf while working at the Second Cup!
Looking back, I now know how that muscle became tight. It’s because I’ve been focusing A LOT on strengthening my ankles by stepping into and balancing on the balls of my feet. This movement contracts the
calf muscles. But that is not The Body’s Way (the way my body was designed to move). The body demands balance – what I had been doing was not balancing this movement by also concentrating on my heel lead (which lengthens the calf muscles).
So, heel lead. All it took was for me to slow down and walk with a more deliberate heel lead. Heel-ball-toe, heel-ball-toe, heel-ball-toe. That’s it – by doing that I am simply making a small change in the way I approached my mobility to help me re-establish homeostasis.
At the same time, Nia has encouraged me to stimulate healing through relaxation that again, is not separate from my daily activities. Consciously relaxing and heating and massaging is possible throughout my day (even while working at the Second Cup!)
And I was even able to heal while teaching classes by taking time to listen to my body’s sensations and ease off when necessary. Movement is a big part of my self-healing too!
So stimulation and self-healing don’t need to take me away from my life – instead, they draw me deeper into it by making me aware!
4. Moving joints: my bodies own built-in damns!!
So I’ve been moving my body to create healing sensations – I believe that what I’m also doing is moving stagnated energy.
This is a popular eastern medicine philosophy, and, because of my Reiki training, I get that!
Isn’t true that there is constant movement within my body? If my body is made up of, what is it, something like 90% water, and water usually flows in a living system, and if water carries energy with it (description of that here), then, well, I have energy in my body
I have learned from Nia that my joints are the dams in my body – they open and close and rotate and spiral and let things flow through them. As I stimulate them with movement, the dams open up and wash through my body, carrying that energy where it needs to go. Not opening them can lead to stagnation, blocks, injury, and dis-ease.
When I have an injury, I need even more energy flowing through my body. If I stiffen up my joints to protect the injured area, I’m prolonging the healing process. I need to pump as much energy as I can to the injured area.
So part of my self healing has been to pay attention to my joints – moving my knee and ankle (the joints above and below the area I need to heal) has moved healing energy to my calf.
I believe in the power of the imagination. It’s been said that the brain doesn’t know the difference between real and imagined experiences and so we can help ourselves immensely through our imaginations in all kinds of situations.
For past few days, I’ve been using imagery to build awareness and to promote self healing. I’ve been imagining blood and healing energy circulating in and through my calf muscle. I attached the warmth of the colour orange to this to provide even more healing goodness. I even gave my calf muscle a persona, apologized to it, and listened to it tell me how upset it was before assuring it I got the message and would now be more attentive.
So that’s my been my self healing journey this past week.
I’m thankful I’ve learned so much about self-care through Nia.
You can read about other self-healing techniques and Nia here.