The point about holistic therapy is that we are all made up of mind, body and spirit, and all 3 elements (mind, body and spirit) work together.
It might be tempting to think of the body as a machine, and when it goes wrong it’s because of a faulty component, and the machine has let us down somehow.
There are so many ways in which our bodies are not like machines. Machines don’t grow. Machines don’t fix themselves when they get injured. Machines can’t usually adapt to the failure of one component by altering the use of another – hence how we can manage without a gall bladder, both kidneys, large sections of intestine or liver and so on. Machines don’t ‘learn’ a task such that they don’t need to be told what to do: we have muscle memory – if we repeat the same task over and over we can literally do it in our sleep.
The most amazing thing about our bodies is that they have the ability to communicate what’s going on inside. The job of a holistic therapist is to look for clues as to what’s really going on within a person, and part of this is to pick up on signals that are made clear if you know where to look.
A reflexologist can tell a certain amount about a person’s health just by looking at the feet, and more by touching the feet and exploring the reflex points. People are amazed when you ask them about a particular issue without being told about it before a session, and they say “how did you know?”. The fact is the feet convey information about what’s going on inside your body.
There are other ways of looking for clues – iridology (studying the iris), looking at the tongue, as well as observing pallor, listening to breathing and so on.
Pain of all kinds is a warning signal. If I sit in my car for an hour and then sit at a desk for 8 hours with only a short break, then sit in the car for another hour, the chances are I may develop a level of stiffness, or possibly pain, in my neck, particularly if during this time I’ve been tense or anxious. This pain is the body saying “enough, take some time out”. If I ignore it and take pain killers so I can carry on regardless, it’s like taking the bulb out of the warning light.
Most of the time we are absorbed in our thoughts, responding to the stresses and strains of life. If we can turn off the thinking brain and listen to the body then we get a different perspective, we recognise the need for a break and we take a walk, do some stretches, drink some water, eat some fruit, sleep when we need sleep.
Most of all we need to give the body time to fix itself. We need good quality down time for the brain to be calm and stop triggering adrenaline, and for all the healing processes to be left to do what they do best.
Don’t treat your body like a machine, treat it like your friend, respect it as your protector. Don’t get annoyed with it when it starts to go wrong, ask yourself whether there’s something it might be trying to tell you.