What’s Your Pain? Recognising and Treating It Across Body, Mind & Spirit
In western culture we tend to give much greater precedence to our physical body as the most valid aspect of our wellbeing, and often not as significantly recognising the more subtle, but yet equally as important mental, emotional and ‘spiritual’ levels of our pain and discomfort in life.
5 Elements acupuncture not only recognises and is able to treat these more subtle levels of your pain (alongside physical pain) but actually appreciates that in the spectrum of pain these more subtle levels of pain can actually have greater gravity and distress for us.
I bet you generally pay attention when your body hurts? And you know the generally well-trodden route of how to reach out for help with a visit to the local GP or health professional of your choice.
But how good are you at noticing the pain that can afflict you on the other levels of your being? And do you even know that there is help out there?
Embrace All Of Who You Are
To embrace a truly holistic, healthy, creative and abundant way of life, we must first be willing to embrace all aspects of our human-being and make a decision we only want the best for our health and wellness in all aspects of our life.
This often entails a sometimes radical rethink of how we even perceive our health.
Generally speaking, if you have grown up in a western culture, then your perception of your health will be heavily slanted towards giving greater credibility to the physical level of your health, and perhaps less so the mental, emotional and dare I say “spiritual” aspects of your being.
Just to add, for the avoidance of any confusion, I do not align a sense of ‘spiritual’ wellbeing with a relationship to any religion, rather that it”s the deepest most subtle aspect of yourself being happy with your life and feeling connected to your ‘greater purpose.’
How Your Initial Health ‘Framework’ Is Created
If you were anything like me growing up, as long as you passed your medical and everything more or less seems to be working well in your body then moving forward from that point you tend to marginalise or not really be aware the other aspects of your being.
These early experiences create a frame of precedence for your physical health which is also supported by being looked after by our parents – so life can be easier – or for all the will in the world our parents may not have been able to see inside our Hearts or Minds to any distress that is going on.
But of course, as you get older you have to also become the master and commander of the other aspects of who you are.
Coming Off Track From A Healthy And Successful Life
This lack of awareness or acknowledgement of the other levels of our health is one of the first diversions where we fall off track with living an abundant, truly healthy and successful life.
Also please note again, a successful life also doesn’t mean just having a successful job – or abundant bank account – that eats up most of your time but you think it’s great as you are considered to be ‘doing well’ in the value judgement of your peers.
A successful life is balancing and creating a robust abundance and satisfaction in all areas of your life.
As you may have noticed, when I write I have a tendency to make you double check your definitions of particular concepts such as health and success.
This is because I know how deeply we can build ideas when we are younger, such as around success, that it aligns so closely to our professional life, to the exclusion of other areas of our life which can often be teetering on the brink.
This is where Chinese Medicine really outstrips it’s western counterpart, as it gives equal weight to each of these aspects of your health.
How I Help: I See You, Even If You Don’t See Yourself
When you sit down in front of me during an acupuncture consultation, I”m looking at each of these aspects of you equally and adapting treatment as necessary.
It still amazes, and somewhat perturbs me, how often I treat people who feel they can only reach out and give themselves attention when there is a strong physical component to their health problems.
Let’s look at a typical conversation with a patient:
“So how can I help you?”
“Well, i”m here about my back, I’ve been getting lower back pain for a while now (we go on to discuss the condition in depth)…
“And is there anything else you”d like me to help you with?”
“No – not really”
“Ok, so I”m going to ask you a few questions to get a broader picture of your overall health. So tell me, how well are you sleeping at the moment?”
“Well not very good actually, I’ve been waking in the night for months ever since I broke up from my ex, and often also have a racing mind thinking about all the things I have to get done”
“And hows your diet and appetite – tell me what you eat in an average, day – breakfast lunch and dinner?”
“Well actually I often skip breakfast as I don’t feel I have time – then when I come home late, I tend to overeat and snack”
“O.K. So do you like your job, is it your passion?”
“Not really, it’s really stressing me out”
“Do you have some ideas about what you would ideally like to do, what you are passionate about?”
“Well you see, that’s the thing, I have no real idea….”
“And how’s your social life?”
“I’m too tired during the week to really go out and on the weekend I feel like I’m just recovering.”
This type of conversation I have all the time in the clinic, and looking at our broader picture of health and wellbeing we can clearly see that there is much scope for improvement!
Not only is there a very physical level of pain and distress with the back, there is also emotional pain from the relationship breakup, mental pain with the racing mind, and indeed a sense of ‘life purpose’ or ‘spiritual’ pain too with being uncertain about what they are doing with their livelihood and precious time in their life.
The Environment-Body-Mind Connection
And of course, with the environment-body-mind connection, it’s absolutely possible that these other levels of life imbalance are also of course contributing to the back pain!
Clinically, we understand emotional stress in organs tends to reflect through the physical structure of the body, but also just think about it.
Sometimes physical pain can come and go, but emotional pain can sit heavy, bearing down constantly, and as for a sense of existential pain – that you are not doing what you are meant to do in your life – well that can circle overhead and be consistently at the back of the mind, casting a long and overbearing shadow of stress that also affects your physical body.
So again, you can also see how those more subtle levels of pain can end up wracking the body.
Are The More Subtle Levels Of Pain Actually Even Worse?
As I outline above, when you have treatment with me, I observe each of these various levels of your health. But in Chinese Medicine there is also actually a notion, as explained in the video, that spins the whole perception of pain on its head, that the more subtle levels of pain are in some ways even more troubling than the physical!
So ask yourself again:
what’s your pain, and are you acknowledging it?
And ponder, again, that bearing in mind the interconnected nature of life, what knock-on effect is that pain having? I noted in the patient example above how various emotional stress factors can potentially contribute to back pain, but pain can spread its influence much further than that.
What Does Pain Impact?
Pain can afflict our relationships, social life, family time, exercise, appetite, mood, focus, work and sleep. In reality, pain affects everything. It can affect whether we even choose to say hello to people we pass in the street, to chat to colleagues at work, to take advantage of life opportunities come our way!
Help Is Available
Whatever your pain, rest assured I’m here to acknowledge and help treat it.
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