Food for Thought…
“In the United States and throughout the world much of the world’s inventory of arable topsoil has been lost due to erosion, overuse of inorganic nitrogen fertilizers, and other farming practices that leave the soil depleted. The depletion of soil nutrients and soil microorganisms contributes to soil erosion and the loss of arable topsoil. The Earth is losing arable topsoil at a rate of 75 to 100 GT. per year. If soil loss continues at present rates, it is estimated that there is only another 48 years of topsoil left.
In the United States soil is eroding at a rate that is ten times faster than the rate at which it is being replenished. The rate of soil erosion is much faster in other parts of the world such as Africa, India and China where erosion rates are 30 to 40 times faster than the rate of replenishment.
In areas of Africa the combination of soil depletion and soil erosion has lead to the prediction of plummeting crop yields.
Food grown in nutrient deficient soil lacks the nutrients needed to keep people healthy.
Studies reveal that the nutritional values in food have declined significantly over the past 70 years. The declines in the nutritional values in food have been attributed to mineral depletion of the soil, loss of soil microorganisms along with changes in plant varieties.
Without adequate nutrition from food, we become susceptible to disease. Simply stated … a lack of nutrients leads to malnutrition … malnutrition leads to disease. Wellness stems from eating nutrient rich, flavorful food. A critical need exists to provide assurance of the nutritional values in the food we eat.“
“New research from England suggests that fish oil may help slow the progression of osteoarthritis – the “wear and tear” version of arthritis that often is an unwelcome feature of getting older. In fact, based on their study in guinea pigs, the investigators from Britain’s University of Bristol say that fish oil may help to prevent arthritis from occurring in the first place…
My take? We’ve known for some time that eating oily fleshed, cold water fish such as salmon or sardines two to three times a week or taking fish oil supplements (two grams daily of a brand that contains both EPA and DHA) helps reduce the inflammation that damages tissues and makes osteoarthritis so painful.
Daily fish oil has also been studied for its benefits in those with high cholesterol, diabetes, symptoms of PMS, coronary artery disease, breast cancer, memory loss, depression, insulin resistance and rheumatoid arthritis.”
So having read Dr. Weil’s work for decades (back when he was in the jungle taking hallucinogens) I do also know from his writings that the quality of fish oil is very important. Sadly, fish are very vulnerable to our habits of waste and pollution. The last thing you want is to add more toxins when dealing with inflammatory or other sensitive conditions. (Really, in any case, but particularly if you are already suffering).
Vitamins and supplements are not regulated well and since health trends have caught on, there are a lot of companies (including pharmaceutical ones) trying to cash in. Sadly, inferior products that could harm are being sold to ready consumers. There are in fact, lawsuits over the sale of toxic fish oil.
Please don’t just jump on the bandwagon and get whatever is “hot” for health. And really, don’t scrimp on quality ingredients. The reason most people need supplements in this day and age is because our food is so depleted and chemically altered or coated. Don’t take vitamins that are rampantly bargain or suspect. It’s hard to find a clean fish today and really hard to process the oil and not make a toxic stew.
The alarming fact is that foods – fruits, vegetables and grains – now
being raised on millions of acres of land that no longer contains
enough of certain needed nutrients,are starving us — no
matter how much we eat of them.
U S Senate Document 264 1936
Human Health, the Nutritional Quality of Harvested Food
and Sustainable Farming Systems
by John B. Marler and Jeanne R. Wallin
Just remember, supplements are made from the same things as the foods that are depleted and polluted unless someone goes to a lot of effort and cares about quality over am quick buck. I would like to meet more of those someone’s...
It has come to my attention that some people love deep tissue for the pain of it and not necessarily the therapeutic benefits. Sometimes this causes dilemmas for me in treatment. On the one hand, deep tissue feels great at certain times because there is a genuine need for deep “kneading.” The problem comes when people want pain and there is really no therapeutic reason to inflict it. Can people become addicted to the endorphins released from painful massage techniques in a manner similar to other addictions? Or is there a “no pain, no gain” mentality at work that really runs counter to holistic practices?
The idea that it has to hurt to be effective is not really very productive, in my opinion. To inflict pain on healthy tissue seems…well, a bit weird. If there isn’t a knot, a trigger point, some anomaly or something to work with, should massage hurt? And should you ever be bruised? I’m sure there are many differing opinions but I have a gut reaction and an inner conflict when I feel someone would like pain when there is no condition requiring me to cause pain.
Deep tissue, by definition does not equal pain. It means deep and anatomically accurate work. Period.
If there is pain, then there are areas that need attention and most likely over time–not a big ripping or poking in one session. To work deeply without warming tissue and loosening fascia is an excellent way to get repeat clients because the tissue will most likely “snap back” if all the more detailed work in the surrounding areas is ignored. And yet, this is what many clients come expecting.
I will say that the marketing of “deep tissue” has something to do with it. Many spas charge more for deep tissue and people therefore feel as if it is a more valuable service that they should request (without really having any idea what their bodies need or what they are talking about). Why are they charging more? If a massage therapist has good body mechanics, it should take no more effort (and maybe less) than to do any other kind of massage. In fact, for many massage therapists the detailed movements and requisite concentration of myofascial release and neuro-muscular techniques (for example) are far more difficult to perform than a generic deep tissue massage.
But prices and marketing aside, my real concern as a holistic therapist is in feeding the beast–the beast that has to hurt and experience something extraordinary in order to feel that something worthwhile is happening. Maybe I spent too many years working with teenagers but it feels a bit “emo.” How about some controversy:
Do some adults use deep tissue massage like adolescents use cutting?
Sometimes I feel this is true. Other times it seems that at play is what used to be referred to as a “Type A” personality. There are people who want something done to them that will be noticeable immediately and that something is best signified by pain. They don’t want to relax (which really helps if your aim is to give them pain), they don’t want to change anything about what might be causing the problem–they just want to be “fixed”, with no effort on their part. In fact, I believe the pain is the sole attempt at effort. If it hurts, they have participated in their wellness and “paid their price.”
So are we really offering an endorphin rush in the form of superfluous deep tissue massages that are really just code for, “Make it hurt!”
Hurt can release endorphins which can reduce hurt in other areas: I’m guessing psychological, emotional, spiritual…
I think the gist of my discomfort with some of the requests I get for deep tissue work is that the massage desired seems to be actually in service of unhealthy defenses rather than in support of wellness. I don’t really have an answer to my dilemma. Usually it sorts itself out. I try to meet people where they are at but I will not hurt where hurt is not indicated.
Pain may be necessary when there is a physical reason to interact with bodily tension but when pain is requested as an uninformed requisite of a “good massage” or as a distraction from inner pain (or numbness), I recoil.
Healing from certain situations and conditions is not easy. Don’t let anyone say it is. But massage should be affirming, encouraging, and nourishing to body, mind and spirit. Pain for no reason has no place.
…More about the effects of massage (coming soon)
Sometimes a dream grows larger than your inhibitions. Sometimes you dare to envision a better life and then false-modesty falls off like the Emperor’s new clothes. I’m not a miracle worker. I have some skills and gifts. I have a lot of beautiful, appreciative clients. If I don’t believe in some measure of my abilities, what business do I have being in business? Really! So here I am. I do have a dream and this is it:
I want a fresh start in my spatial, environmental, and financial life. I want to move our home (but not my business) out of Hingham. I need a miracle for that or at least to speed up the curve of my business plan.
It is rather freeing to have something override shame. That something is desire. I always heard that passionate desire was necessary in achieving goals but nothing really woke it up enough until now. I fed the beast and here it is. This is what it eats:
This is the fuel for the fire. Now am I jinxing things or creating an affirmation? I do happen to believe that positive thoughts and attitudes are more likely to lead to positive outcomes. I certainly have seen enough of negative self-fulfilling prophecies to believe that such are surely a factor in life’s dynamics. On the other hand…
If intention, affirmation, chanting, mantras, positivity and changing one’s attitude can create wealth, why does Deepok Chopra charge $3,500 for his seminars? Can’t he meditate it into being like we ask the poverty-stricken to do?
Surely, I digress. (And quit calling me Shirley!) So yes, I have two parts of my brain. The one that wishes and intends (and learned that easily with no fancy retreats) and the part that says I must act. So act I will.
I need to double my business ahead of schedule. I’ve been a bit lackadaisical, whimsical, and reticent. I like organic processes but even they need fuel. I’m ready to step up my game and even, *gasp* ask for help!
No, not money silly. I haven’t fallen that far. Just for the good people I already know and love to step out and find more good folks like themselves. That’s all I need. It is more than enough. I’ve been too shameful, (prideful, lazy, scared?) to outright ask for help but now I will.
Please share this if you would like to help. In my heart, I do know that some of my friends and clients would welcome an opportunity to give something valuable to me and this is it. Just spread the word so I can find more great people for whom I am grateful, not only because they allow me to have my dream job but because they enrich it with their own courage and inspiration.
P.S. We are going to see this house Saturday morning, courtesy of Connie McWade of Raveis. She is a miracle-worker and a hard-bargainer with a heart of gold. I would trust no one else with my dreams. I am grateful to her for the time she has already spent, not knowing if there will be any gain for herself. We will keep you posted…
This is a bit of the lore I found on my spider-in-residence. It has been a lengthy association we have had since there has been a spider in the same spot for three years, as our photos have shown. I didn’t think they could live so long but apparently they can overwinter occasionally. More likely, this is just a good spot and the generations have moved in. also, Irving is now Irvina. Apparently only the females weave the magical webs, so grandmother spider is in the house!
I felt I should see what gifts spiders bring since we are watching it and looking at its web everyday as we pass. So here is one interpretation that I like:
Spiders are very delicate creatures that play an important role in the myths and lore of many peoples as the teacher of balance between the past and future, the physical and spiritual.
To the Native Americans, Spider is Grandmother, the link to the past and future. In India it’s associated with Maya, the weaver of illusions.
With its gentle strength, Spider spins together the threads of life with intricate webs.
Spider knows that the past affects the future and vise versa. It calls us to make use of our creativity and weave our dreams into our destiny.
For many Native Americans, “spider woman” stories are important creation mythologies. One of the common feature of those are wisdom symbolized with spiders’ webs (for example, she taught the human how to weave). Also generally accepted are the ideas that her “thread” connects the human world and the world of spirits or the “above world” and the “below world”. Spider Woman also weaves the “relationship” of the Web of Life and all beings.
via Animal Totem Spider.
We have a new little creature at our home. Actually he* is not new but has lived here at least three years in the same spot, spinning huge oval webs each night which tend to disappear by morning. He reminds me of Penelope, weaving the shroud of Laertes by day and unraveling it each night. And he is huge!
I wanted to make sure there was no poison or deadly venom involved with our newest tenant. Not to fear–the only venomous spider in Massachusetts is the black widow (which I have seen on occasion but is clearly not this fellow.) So here is what I found on a spider-friendly website from Sutton, Massachusetts:
Furrow Orb Weaver Spider
I love orb weaver spiders. Known as Araneidae, these are the “Charlotte’s Web” type of spiders which make big, spiral shaped webs and sit in the center of them. To me they are the classic type of spider, the type that stories are written about, the ones people feel are friendly and helpful.
The Furrow group of orb weavers are in the Larinioides genus. They have tan bodies with dark brown and tan striped legs. On their backs is a lovely pattern which involves a wavy edged darker brown center and lighter tan outsides. There are black dots along this pattern. The head is a darker brown, almost burgundy, with white hairs.
Not only are furrow spiders quiet, but I would even call them “scared”. If you even hint at touching one, they curl up as if they’re dead. I’ve seen this happen with three different types of orb weaver spiders. I always worry that I’ve hurt them somehow! They are just playing dead so you do not bother them. I’ve also noted that the orb weavers like dusk hours. If you find them during daylight they are extremely shy and often asleep.
This spider shown hangs on a gorgeous web by our mailbox. It is part of the Larinioides cornutus species. In these photos it was sleeping in its nook under the mailbox. Later, in the evening when it’s dark, it comes out to sit in the center of its web.
*He has been named Irving, but I believe that he may be “she” since the females tend to be slightly larger in this species and I really can’t imagine a larger spider than this. On the other hand, after three years we haven’t seen any baby Irvings.
I’m blessed to have found and been found by the people I work with regularly at Energy Matters. I don’t want to spend my advertising dollars randomly but I would really love to find more people with whom I enjoy working and who, in turn, find this a very special place of their own. In that spirit, I have come up with a questionnaire that is somewhat random yet also speaks to the people and circumstances I love and appreciate in my work.
I’m sure a fancy algorithm could determine the demographics I currently serve but I can’t see a direct pattern. I work with all ages and all types of conditions for reasons ranging from the very physical to the very spiritual and every combination in between. While I rarely have any discomfort working with anyone, I find that my business truly becomes my dream job when I find just the right people. And they, in turn, look forward to their appointments so I never have to send a reminder or ask them to return.
In fact, I keep sales out of my office and limit it to the web. If it is right, you will be back. If not, no harm. You won’t be urged to rebook ever, unless you have made it clear that you wish it so. Then, I will most likely hold your slot as sacred until told otherwise.
I have been criticized for this by clients who want to be assured I can help and want me to tell them to come back after their first appointment. I still don’t do this because I really never know if I can help or not. It is a two way street. It’s best when there is a synergy. I have gotten better at saying what I would like to do in subsequent appointments if given the chance but I still will never say, “Would you like to reschedule?”
So who are my clients? Men, women, young, long-lived, healthy, chronically ill, physically fit, physically challenged, calm, twitchy, happy, depressed, mellow, anxious, post-surgery, post-triathlon, rich and famous, monetarily challenged and under-appreciated, caregivers, dependents, young in body, young at heart, and the list goes on…
So what else am I looking for? More of the same.
These questions are based on my observations and the feedback I have received from many different people with whom I have a great therapeutic relationship. They don’t represent one person but an amalgam of people so no one is likely to be all of these–then again…
Are you a character?
Are you a caretaker?
Do you want to make a positive change in your life?
Do you need support (even and especially if you can’t come out and say so)?
Are you overwhelmed?
Do you like/need to have your brain shut down?
Do you want to take more responsibility for your health and wellness?
Do you need help to manage stress?
Are you trying to make a major change in your life?
Are you looking for transformational work that incorporates more than just your body?
Do you have a sense of humor?
Do you have a sense of irony?
Do you love the way you feel about yourself after you are cared for?
Do you need help accepting yourself as you are?
Do you lean towards energy work but not want anything “too wacky”?
Is a comfortable relationship with your massage therapist important to your experience?
Are you creative?
Are you courageous?
Do you want/need an advocate for the best in you?
Do you like honesty?
Do you want to be treated as a unique human being?
Do you want to be remembered?
Do you want to be comfortable enough to say what you like and don’t like?
Are you looking for profound relaxation?
Are you ready to put your own oxygen mask on first?
Are you ready to allow care for yourself?
So I realize these are mostly personality traits and I guess that’s what I mean to say. What are the conditions I work with? Far less important in finding the right people but still perhaps of interest. So the things I tend to have some skill and success with are:
- stress relief
- release of fascia tension
- neck and shoulder tension
- low back pain
- mid back pain
- nerve pain
- chronic pain
- med adjustments
- post surgical treatment
- body image
- life transitions
So those were the “yes” questions. Here is what I don’t want. (Yes, I am going to say what I don’t want. Isn’t that an odd marketing technique? I hope it is successful because working with people much better suited to franchises or Craigslist isn’t my dream job.) So here goes: If you answer yes to these, please go elsewhere.
Are you looking for a miracle?
Do you want to be “fixed” but not make any changes in your own life?
Do you want the best price, regardless of service?
Do you think price determines value?
Do you want an undraped massage?
Do you want any other sexually-related service?
Do you want massage documented as part of a lawsuit?
Do you value convenience over relationship or quality?
Do you cancel your appointments with less than 24 hours notice?
Do you forget your appointments frequently?
Is it true that “No one understands you?”
Are you yet another massage or reiki therapist coming in under a false name and false pretenses?
Do you desire a spa setting?
Do you like being sold to at your massage?
Do you like a 50-minute hour?
Do I need to get out my magic wand?
A “yes” to any of these is not a good fit for Energy Matters. Please review my FAQ’s. So now back to the more positive commentary.
In conclusion, I really enjoy my work. I created my own space which I love and which has its admirers. It is homey, odd, eclectic, artsy, antique-filled, quilt-glorious, and relaxing for the right folks. I make my own hours to suit my clients as well as my own energy and schedule. I am never over-booked and I never rush. I have time to be with the people who come here. They are real and valued. If you don’t run into someone in the reception area it is because I don’t do turn-and-burn. I clear myself and the space in between each person so it and I am fresh and refreshed for every soul.
If this sounds good to you, you know where to contact me. And truly, if I can help you find another place that is right for you, I will with no qualms and no charge. I know some great folks who do things differently and very well. I believe a strong wellness community is best for all of us and I will not be insulted or remiss to guide you elsewhere. I know my special people are out there and I will find them as I journey on.
These are a few of the misconceptions regarding massage that I have encountered. I won’t get into the associations with prostitution and sexuality as that is a whole other article about which I have much more to say. These are just a few concerns that have been discussed in the course of my work and a few simple responses that hopefully clear up some common massage myths.
You have to get naked: With hundreds of types of massage available, this isn’t necessarily true. With Swedish, deep tissue and some types of stone therapy you do need to have the areas you want worked on accessible. You should always only be asked to undress to your level of comfort and be told how that will affect the work that can be done. Most licensed professionals will take care that only the part of you being worked on will be uncovered (un-draped) at any given time. You should never be exposed in an uncomfortable way. Breasts are not uncovered except in extremely specialized and rare conditions and genitals never should be un-draped without your permission and a good medical reason.
You should feel safe and secure at all times and communicate or get up and leave if you are not. That being said, know that the lower back and the hips are connected, as are the leg muscles and the gluteals. If you are experiencing certain types of tension, injury or strain, it may not be possible to adequately treat the entire muscle and its attachments without attention to some places that many folks would rather leave covered. Again, it is always up to you. You are paying, the massage is about you and anything that adds to your stress or makes you feel uncomfortable is counterproductive. (If you are specifically looking to be naked and un-draped, that will be the subject of another article.)
There are many, many forms of Bodywork and Somatic Therapies such as Reflexology, Reiki, Polarity, Acupressure, Therapeutic Touch, etc. that are effective with comfortable clothing on and do not require undressing of any kind except taking off your shoes and perhaps getting your hair mussed. Even then, you should feel in control and able to communicate what is best for you. In holistic massage therapies you are considered the expert in your own healing process and you are in charge of your own care.
Massage hurts: It can, but only if you need certain work done. Deep tissue, trigger point and even reflexology can involve pain when knots, tension and trigger points are worked with. Again, you should feel in control of the pain level and NEVER let it be excruciating. Having a good relationship with your therapist in which you can speak freely is essential. There is no benefit to just being hurt! Which leads me to:
It has to hurt to work—No pain, No gain: At the risk of making some folks mad, I am going to say that this is a really common misconception that I feel is particularly detrimental to the very folks who are its biggest proponents. As I said, there can be pain involved in areas of chronic tension and releasing that tension through massage can hurt but the amount of pain should always be controlled by you.
Endorphins are released when we experience pain and that can get some folks “addicted” to a form of massage that may not be productive in the long run. There are knots that can be “melted” with gentle forms of bodywork and even energy healing, and if that works, shouldn’t it be tried first? Massage and touch alone can release endorphins. Too often, the “no pain, no gain” mentality that is at work in this myth is a TYPE A, striving, stressful, even punishing attitude that is counterproductive to removing the cause of stress. Short-term, relief is felt but the underlying dynamics are not addressed and may even be fed.
Massage is a luxury: I’d like to challenge that. Infants deprived of touch not only fail to thrive, they can die! Although the necessity of touch to adults, adolescents, and children has not been adequately studied, the infants make a pretty profound statement. Therapeutic touch is not easy to give to oneself and even in relationships, touch may not be healing or address our whole being. In cases of illness, injury, mental distress, disability, dementia, isolation, life transitions, etc. touch is such a part of being human and being validated that when it is absent, we can lose ourselves. Many times, the people who need touch most are the most neglected.
Many of us spend money on far more luxurious things than our health and well-being. And yet, massage can be costly. If you are truly in need of services and can’t afford to pay full price, talk to different practitioners and see what can be worked out. While we all have to pay our bills, (massage therapists included) many practitioners will be willing to work out a deal for someone truly in need and committed to their own healing process.
I need to be in better shape (smell good, feel better, lose weight, etc.) before I get a massage: This is a very common feeling and attitude however most massage therapists tend to love and respect the human body in all its states, sizes, and conditions. In fact, massage can help improve self-esteem, increase body awareness, and can improve body image as well. All of these things are, in my opinion, helpers (if not prerequisites) to accelerating the changes we desire to make.
It has been said that you have to accept yourself as you are in order to change. It is a paradox but one that I have observed to hold great truth. If we are in a negative relationship with our bodies, it is that much harder to take care of them in they way we need to and to honor their needs. Massage is a way to honor our bodies just as they are, which can be a catalyst to then making changes or to accepting conditions that cannot be changed.
As to smelling good: You should be clean for a massage but refrain from using harsh scents, perfumes, and over deodorizing. All this focus on removing every scent from our bodies is like saying something is wrong with our natural state. It is only a marketing technique but one that may make us feel even more self-conscious and negative about our physical presentation. Massage therapists are perfectly comfortable with the natural scents of a clean body.
Lastly, you do not need to be happy, peppy, in the mood for conversation, etc. Many people are dealing with chronic illness, progressive disease, painful conditions, and the stress and distress of life circumstances. While not all massage therapists work with mind/body issues, all should be accepting of whatever you bring to the table and be capable and willing to accept you as you are.
Massage is for women: Many men just get massages on vacations when they are talked into it or when something really starts to hurt. Regular massage for regular men is still not part of mainstream culture and yet, professional athletes get massages all the time to address injuries and also to enhance performance when there is no injury. Many massage therapists specialize in Sports Massage which is (as the name implies) specifically for sports injury and to maximize the ability of muscles to work well under frequent or constant use. Sports massage is obviously for both men and women but tends to be more popular with men (perhaps because of this myth) and because not all massage settings are places where men feel comfortable. But men get stressed too and wellness, prevention of stress-related disorders, and places to let go of the striving, competition, and care-taking roles that may be outdated are becoming increasingly popular and valued.
Conclusion: There are many great ways we can take care of ourselves: massage is just one option and isn’t right for everyone. Hopefully this answered a few questions and can help you make up your own mind about the benefits and types of services available from massage therapists and whether massage is something worth investigating further.
I did not introduce more holistic, mind/body practices here: I will save that for another day but be aware that there is a whole gamut of services available that delve more deeply into the emotional, psychological and spiritual aspects of healing and are particularly suited to improving our relationships with our bodies, helping manage our attitudes towards chronic illness and pain, working with death and dying, grieving, loss, making or accepting life changes and integrating many of the previously distinct treatments for our whole selves.
Our bodies really aren’t separate entities from our minds, thoughts and spirits. Our thoughts, memories, worries, etc. all affect our physical state (as shown with stress) just as our physical condition can directly affect our minds (injury, illness, medications, hormones, etc.). It only makes sense to treat our whole selves in a holistic manner and to awaken and strengthen the innate healing powers of our own minds and bodies as we seek balance, restoration, relief and wellness.
Psychological outcome research has shown that half of the therapists make us better and the other half makes us worse.
This means we need to choose wisely. You do not need to continue to pay someone if you are not making dynamic progress toward your goals. If the roofer does not fix your roof you do not continue to pay him money.
Psychological research shows that the technique does not matter, the therapist is the important factor. If he or she is open, loving, caring then he or she can help you feel better. If they are uptight and nervous, they will make you uptight and nervous. I would think that this applies to all holistic practitioners and not just psychologists.
As sensitive people we definitely need to feel safe and secure with any person we are working with. We have a responsibility and right to check therapists, physicians, massage therapists, acupuncturists, body workers and energy workers out very carefully before we put ourselves in their office.
It is our responsibility as clients and consumers to pick and choose based on our own needs and desires.
Even if you get a good recommendation about a person, check them out by calling them up and interviewing them.
Healer Interview Checklist
What does his or her voice sound like? It is inviting, warm, loving?
How accepting are they toward you? Are they open or judgmental?
Do they relate equally to you? If not, keep checking around until you find someone that respects you and acknowledges your strengths.
How do you feel after talking with them on the phone? Do you feel comfortable? Do you feel hopeful? Did they rush you? If so, then they are anxious, forget them.
If they pass the phone test. Then set up an appointment and continue to check for the above things in person. If they pass the first psychology session test then it is up to you to be open and trust them enough to let them help you.
Therapists and practitioners are not perfect, they make mistakes, just like everyone else. The best ones don’t pretend to be perfect, they know they are human.
What To Look for During Your Healing Sessions
How present are they? Do they really listen to you and receive you?
How relaxed are they are in their body? Are they breathing?
How secure do they seem to be when you get scared, frightened or anxious? If you scare them, they cannot help you.
Do they had the information and knowledge to help you calm down your nervous system or improve your health?
Do they know what they are doing?
Do you usually feel better and more hopeful after each session?
Do they let you express your deepest desires and fears without questioning you?
Remember, it is up to you, the client, to pick and choose someone who is capable and loving.
Are the positive results many people claim from alternative therapies really just because of the placebo effect? I doubt it but even if it were, wouldn’t that be great? No list of horrifying side effects, drug precautions, interactions, etc. If we have the power within us, through our beliefs, to heal some things, accept others, and generally feel better and less stressed, why not use it?
If the energy of stress can manifest into disease, then what is the opposite of the energy of stress? The answer should point to a “cure” or at least a preventative measure. Might it not be that faith and a positive attitude could be an antidote to our habits of creating stress with our thoughts–worrying, ruminating, and creating negative self-fulfilling prophecies? Maybe faith is just the other half of the stress coin.
Unfortunately, once stress has “hardened” into a disease or disorder, it can be more difficult to treat. Undoing the effect of the energy of stress once it has manifested in physical form is much more difficult than prevention. (This is true no matter what type of medicine you believe to be effective.) Insurance companies are no mystics but utter pragmatists. Many of them are now paying for preventative care; health clubs, massages, and alternative/holistic treatments. This is because prevention of disease is possible and greatly increases their profits.
Prevention is primary But what if (like many of us) something has already gone wrong? Traditional medicine has some amazing tools and interventions. These should be used as needed. But know that even with the most cutting edge medicine available, we can help or impede the healing process with our minds and thoughts, diets, lifestyle, etc.
There is an optimal state for healing to occur and that is–you guessed it–relaxed and with a positive attitude. If you find a place or therapy that makes you feel calmer, more optimistic about the outcome of the issue at hand, offers support, makes you feel less alone, and looks at the big picture of how the treatment may be affecting other aspects of your life, then by all means stick with it as all of these things are correlated with healing and positive outcomes from surgery and disease.
Furthermore, a holistic practitioner may be able to help with some of the secondary effects of treatments that might be necessary but create other problems for your system. An example would be to work with the side effects of antibiotics, chemotherapy, surgery, etc. as well as how the illness, injury or disease affects your life, self-image, relationships, diet, ability to exercise, and overall health.
We don’t know really know all that much about the body and how it heals itself. We do know that healing comes from within. Doctors can’t make a wound seal itself. They can help keep infection out and create the best sanitary circumstances but at some point, your own immune system, blood, tissue, etc. must take over. We have a huge relationship to our own healing process and this has to do with attitude, energy, belief, diet, lifestyle, mood, emotions, faith, etc.
Faith is a factor in any form of treatment. It’s why doctors wear lab coats or at least dress up instead adorning themselves like rock stars. It’s why they tend to have rather impersonal offices with their degrees on the wall. There is an image that gives credibility to their practice and that image is important to faith in the doctor and the prescribed treatment. (It may also be why so many physicians adopt a superior attitude that belittles the patient, but that’s another topic.)
Image matters. Faith matters. What you believe will help has a greater power to help–even if that thing is a sugar pill. Pharmacies have to spend billions of dollars isolating the placebo effect from their studies. It occurs consistently with medications, even for the most serious medical conditions. That is one aspect of the placebo effect but the other is illustrated by those same pharmaceutical companies, after isolating the placebo effect from their studies, using it in their advertising.
If medicine is really about a doctor prescribing the best course of treatment for a particular ailment, what place do pharmaceutical advertisements directed at the general public have? If the ad is not a placebo, what is the idea of showing happy, frolicking, clear-skinned, relaxed, recovered, recuperated, healthy, horny, well-medicated people. Ask your doctor about… pharmaceutical advertising!
“That depressed person is happy now. I’ll have what she’s having.” If these ads are not a placebo, I don’t know what is. Your image of the happy, healthy people gets associated with the drug, prompting you to request it (in essence, prescribe it for yourself) and while you take it, you have in the back of your mind the faith that you will be one of those happy, healthy people.
So which is working, the drug or your idea of the drug gleaned from a very costly advertisement? No one will ever know but look around at the billions spent in drug advertising and you will see that these companies are placing far more money into getting you to request their drugs based on images of hope than on research into their efficacy. Why not advertise statistics of success in treatment rather than images of hope?
In traditional medicine, there really may be one best option for treatment but anyone who has ever had a major medical decision to make and looked for second or third opinions probably found a variety of options. The surgeon most likely prescribed surgery, the chemotherapy specialist; chemotherapy, the radiologist: radiation, etc. And how does one choose? Hopefully with good information and taking into account how various treatments (all other things being equal) will affect your own lifestyle, attitude, outcome, ability to recuperate and tolerate the treatment. But often it is the advice of the most certain and persuasive physician that is taken. Because we have faith in their certainty or the form of treatment they offer.
I really could go on but will stop here for the day. Suffice it to say, I believe all types of medicine are endowed with our faith and that this is not necessarily a problem but something which we can use knowingly and wisely. Faith has a role in all types of healing and treatment and is related to positive outcome. So why not use this faith and the placebo effect to our benefit?