Monday, April 4, 2011

The Mind, Body, Spirit and Emotional Connection

I often wonder what triggered my fibromyalgia. What flipped the switch in my body to make my own Central Nervous System turn against me? Aside from childbirth, I never experienced a physical trauma. Maybe I sustained more of a emotional trauma than I realized, when my Mother passed away from cancer in 2006. Of course, the possibility exists as well that it was triggered by a virus. Perhaps, it's a culmination of all three.

The more I research Fibromyalgia causes and treatments, the more I am inclined to believe a connection exists between the mind and body. Don't misunderstand me, I'm not suggesting our pain exists in our heads. On the contrary, I read somewhere (I wish I would have bookmarked the page to reference it here) when your body experiences any kind of trauma, it stores the memories of the experience(s) in the muscles and cells in your body. It's those muscle and cell memories, along with Central Nervous System abnormalities, which cause pain throughout the body. It makes sense to me because I believe the human body is not wired to exist in separate parts – we are body, mind, emotion and spirit. Inseparable, until death.

For this reason, I tried Craniosacral therapy for the first time last week. For those of you not familiar with this type of massage therapy, it involves light touch between the cranial (head) and sacral (lower abdomen) areas of your body. In the most simplest of terms, the massage therapist gently places his/her hands above and below parts of your body, following the path of your spine, and uses energy to release tension and blockages, thereby stimulating the flow of cerebrospinal fluid. This type of massage is credited for managing many types of conditions to include migraines, neck and back pain and chronic conditions such as Fibromyalgia.

You may be wondering if it worked for me. I cannot commit to an answer either way just yet. It's very likely I will require more sessions to experience any substantial relief from symptoms. However, I can relay my experience with you.

Before starting the session, Joyce and I discussed my condition and I explained this was my first time. She assured me it would be a pain-free experience (unlike some other massage modalities) and a very relaxing one. She also warned that some clients become emotional because of the release of tension and blockages within the body or that I may feel the need to stretch my arms and/or legs. She also said she would not speak unless I had questions; she would follow my lead.

Joyce worked differently than what I expected. She started at my feet and moved to my knees. She then moved to my lower abdomen and slowly up to my head. Once she reached my head, she stood behind me and gently cupped my head in her hands. I felt immediate pain in my neck and shoulders and she could tell. She gently placed my head back down on the pillow and worked around my neck and face. Then she continued down my spine back to my abdomen. This time while she worked on my lower abdominal area, I felt the most amazing warmth come over my entire body. With my eyes closed, I saw different hues of purple. I felt a sense of indescribable calm and peace. It was the most amazing feeling and I didn't want it to ever end. Unfortunately, Joyce spoke to me and interrupted my calm. Ironically, she explained what I might start feeling and that some clients begin see colors at a certain point when blockages are released. As hard as I tried, and maybe that was my problem, I couldn't get back to that state of calm. As Joyce continued with the massage, I noticed she concentrated a lot on my right shoulder, both hips and right knee even though I never mentioned these areas as bothersome. She mentioned feeling drawn to these areas and perhaps that's why she began at my feet as well. At the end of the session, she returned to my head and cupped it again. This time I felt no pain.

I left feeling drained, exhausted of all energy, and dreading the drive across town to get home. Joyce warned me to drive carefully because my senses would be dulled as would my reaction time. When I arrived, I don't think I was home for more than 10 minutes when a surge of emotions hit me hard. My tears flowed freely as I described the session to my husband, Todd - the overwhelming sense of calm, and beautiful, vivid shades of purple. Overall, I think had it not been for the interruption, the session would have been a more satisfying holistic experience. That's not to say the massage was unsatisfying. Remember at the beginning, I felt pain in my neck and shoulders when Joyce cupped my head, but at the end I didn't. This is why more sessions may be necessary to really benefit from Craniosacral therapy or any alternative therapy really. For as we all know, there's no such thing as a quick fix.

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