What Is That Pain Telling You?
Health and illness are at the forefront of many people’s minds at the present time: understanding the mind-body connection can be helpful if we want to understand why we become ill, and to take control of our health. In our everyday language there are many examples of how our bodies react to emotional stimuli, such as ‘I was sick with worry’, ‘my legs turned to jelly’, or ‘my heart missed a beat’. Our body sometimes seems to speak to us symbolically: a bad shoulder can mean that we feel overburdened, IBS could mean that we are feeling knotted up inside, or a sore throat may develop after we have not been able to express ourselves fully. However, we often ignore what our bodies are telling us, other than perhaps acknowledging that our physical symptoms may be a sign of stress. We usually feel frustrated and powerless when things go wrong with our body.
Modern medicine is very good at dealing with acute problems, but despite increasingly sophisticated tests and drugs, it is sometimes less good at treating chronic conditions. We may need to take increasingly strong medication to keep symptoms under control, often with unwanted side-effects. Complementary and Alternative medicines, such as acupuncture, cranio-sacral therapy and homeopathy, understand that the body’s natural state is one of balance with the ability to heal itself, given the right conditions. These therapies view symptoms as a sign that something is out of balance in our lives, like a warning light flashing on a car’s dashboard. They therefore focus less on specific symptoms and more on addressing underlying imbalances in our system as a whole, which includes body, mind and spirit. This can be very effective in treating long-term conditions and can be used alongside conventional treatments to support healing and recovery.
It can be challenging to acknowledge that physical ailments are a message from our body telling us that something needs to change. For example, if we wake up with a headache every Monday morning we can take painkillers, but would a better long-term solution not be to address why we feel ill when we face the week ahead? It can be empowering if we take ownership of our health, and use ‘dis-ease’ as an opportunity to address what is out of balance, and create more ‘ease’ in our lives.