During my time in the Maldives I have been fortunate enough to work with some of the best therapists and doctors from across the globe, each bringing a unique approach to healing. A few of the treatments I have experienced include Reiki, Ayurvedic Consultations with Pulse Diagnosis, Chakra Healing and Auricular Acupuncture. I’ve had time to explore traditional eastern medicine rituals, and experienced first hand the potential therapists have to heal the body and mind on a deeper level.
In England perhaps we talk about mental health in a rather clinical way, and discuss the connection between the mind and body in a scientific manner. The ‘stress’ and ‘tension’ seems to melt away when willingly give our bodies to the practitioner and allow the treatment to manipulate and relax the tissues. In London patients are usually busy and visit me in-between work and various appointments, however during consultations they will switch off their mobile phone, relax, and trust me to carry out any manual treatment required and listen to the management advice I give. What is the difference between treatment in London and treatment in the Maldives? Why are the treatment outcomes better? Why do patients experience deeper healing of the mind, body and soul?
When we have time our mind and body slows down, we get more sleep so we are able to concentrate more during treatment. This allows patients to focus their mind on the area of the body being treated – to release manifestations of pain and tension within the tissues. I suppose it can be compared to a form of guided meditation, following the therapist around the body and really taking the time to connect with our body and how it feels. Many times I will press in to a patients muscles, and they feel pain in places they never knew hurt! This is because we have such busy schedules that we put off the warning signs, and only pay attention when it becomes too much to bear. A simple way to give your body more time and release tension locked in the tissues is to do a body scan meditation at night. As you lay comfortably start in your feet and work up through the legs, torso, arms to the head & neck noticing areas of tension or discomfort, and actively release and relax the muscle in to the bed. Holding muscles under a constant state of contraction increases the risk of injury and reduces their ability to function, making us feel tired and achey. Rest them! You can also treat them to an epsom salt bath, magnesium spray, lots of water, plenty of sleep, daily stretching, massage and DIY hydrotherapy.
In order to participate in this way you must be ‘present’ during treatment, and not allow your mind to wonder. In fact any form of relaxation will be more effective if you can switch off all distractions and get the most from your meditative practice. Clearly this is very beneficial if you have a busy lifestyle and don’t have much time to spare for relaxation.
To build a strong autonomic nervous system (stress-relaxation response) we must practice under pressure. For example, people often know exactly what to do during an anxiety attack (breathe deeply, change your thoughts, wait calmly, count etc) but when it comes to it nothing seems to work, and everything you learned goes out the window. This is because we have to practice, as with anything in life! You can train your stress response by regularly practicing breathing exercises, and even stimulating the stress response by thinking of stressful scenarios and practicing relaxation afterwards – almost like a rehearsal for the real thing, but in a safe environment. Running freezing cold water after you have a warm shower also tones the nervous system, lymphatic system and cardiovascular system. Finally, exercise is the best form of stress-relief. Let your mind switch off and your body function as it craves to do. Movement is the key to life; our chest up and down, our heart beating, our nerves transmitting, our muscles contracting, our lymph flowing. Any form of movement that feels good for your body and you enjoy is exercise.
Get the most from your holistic treatments and make time to explore your pain. There is very often emotional and physical trauma associated with chronic pain. Find the time and strength to reflect and process – sometimes talking therapy can help us to let go of chronic physical pain.