Illness vs WEllness

The capitalization in the title of this blog post is not a mistake!  My thoughts today are about illness and wellness– which I invite you to think about as the difference between “I” and “We.”

Have you ever had the experience of being prevented from doing something that you want to do or enjoying something that you want to enjoy due to physical pain?  Let’s say you’ve been planning a trip to visit friends and family, and when you go on the trip you find that your neck/back/shoulder/whatever it is was bothering you the entire time.

How do we typically react?  We start treating that area of pain as though it were the annoying relative we had planned to avoid the entire trip.  We avoid it, we deny it, we try to cover it up (with pain medications, alcohol, over-eating, shopping, etc).  And what happens?  Not only does the unwanted guest not go away, but our feelings surrounding the entire situation escalate.  We may feel anxiousness, anger, resentment, shame.  You may find yourself asking, “why do I always have to deal with this?”  It may feel like no one else in the world has their plans ruined by pain the way you do.

The unwanted relative is analogous to that part of your body that is suddenly (or so it seems) acting up.  In reality it was there all along, but to get your attention, it had to make itself known by doing something that really bothers you and gets to you– such as interfering with your plans.  But in the end, it’s not just the pain.  As Dr. Donny Epstein, the creator of Network Spinal Analysis has said, it’s not how you feel that’s the issue; it’s how you feel about how your feel.  For most of us, the feeling of pain brings forth emotions and other issues and meanings in our lives.  It might make you feel like you’re stuck and not making progress in your life.  But most of all, it can make us feel very alone, and very separate.

What’s the solution?  In short, we need to welcome that area of pain into our experience if we want true healing to occur.  When we allow the painful neck/shoulder/back to really become part of our experience, we are able to experience that in-born reassurance that we feel when we are part of a community.  Humans were born to be part of a group that nurtures them and supports their survival.  When we focus intensely on wanting pain to disappear or we ignore it, we deny our bodies that feeling.

There are different modalities that are great for helping us with this process.  In particular, Network Spinal Analysis and Somato Respiratory Integration, Dr. Donny Epstein’s healing technologies, focus on using breath, energy, and movement in the body to harmonize the structures of the body to the same rhythm.  NSA and SRI increase our awareness of all the different sensations in our body, including pain and feelings of ease and peace.  Through this process of becoming aware of what is happening in our bodies and as our bodies become better at directing breath, energy, and motion we experience  harmonization or “entrainment.”  Through entrainment, the cells and parts of the body act and feel like a true community.

Check out our previous post: ““Can chiropractic help with _______?” YES!

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