Health & Harmony

Bringing Reiki, life and wellbeing to Galashiels and the rest of the Scottish Borders

Reiki helps us find wellness

It seems that everything I pick up to read recently has a recurring theme – the strong link between our mind and body.  At first it just seemed an uncanny coincidence, but it has been happening at such a concentrated level recently that I couldn’t fail to get the message.

This is not a new message by any means, in fact in 2014 it will be 30 years since Louise Hay published her ground-breaking book ‘You Can Heal Your Life’.  Can you believe that?  How time flies.  The message hasn’t changed in essence since then, but the intensity has certainly stepped up to a whole new level and I, for one, am paying full attention.

You may be aware of the wonderful writings of Dr Christine Page in empowering women.  She certainly is an inspiration and so it was with pleasure that I came across an article written by her in my Reflexology journal yesterday.  The whole journal was dedicated to wellbeing , however I still was not expecting to encounter yet another article on the mind-body theme.  I found the article tremendously thought provoking, and so I have copied the whole article for you, and I hope that it inspires you too.

The Gift Of Illness
On reflection, I suspect my decision to become a doctor was based not only on a desire to help others, but also on my natural curiosity to understand, ‘Why do people become sick and what are the factors that encourage wellness?’  Despite my intensive training as a medical student, within a few months of entering general practice 1983, it was blatantly clear that the presence of health had far more to do with mental and spiritual wellbeing than the mere absence of physical symptoms.

Seeing an average of forty patients a day as a general practitioner, I began to see links emerging between certain personality traits and specific illnesses.  For instance, most of the patients complaining of back pain also complained of feeling unsupported in their lives, whether at home or at work.  However, despite their craving for help, they were also the same individuals who were resistant to receiving support, often saying, ‘I’m fine, don’t worry … I’ll do it myself.’  I found myself offering simple advice to such patients, which included, ‘Let people into your life in small doses; say ‘yes’ to assistance rather than your customary ‘no’.

As my years in practice continued, I became increasingly fascinated by the link between the mind and the body and how body wisdom never gets it wrong.  The pathological changes seen in a specific organ always seem to mirror unresolved personal issues in our inner or outer lives, begging such questions as:

● who is the pain in the neck
● who can’t you digest? (indigestion)
● what feelings of irritability or frustration are you swallowing rather than expressing? (irritable bowel disease)
● what are you refusing to hear despite the fact the bells are ringing loudly? (tinnitus)
● I know you care for everybody else, but who takes care of you? (fibroids)

In my opinion, heart disease is not primarily caused by the usual medical suspects – high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking and high blood pressure.  They are merely physiological by-products of an unhappy and stressed individual.  The commonest form of heart disease is due to narrowing of the coronary arteries that feed the muscles of the heart during its relaxation or diastolic phase.  The heart is associated with joy and creative freedom, which are most prolific when we are able to relax and, for a while, see beyond limiting thoughts that include paying the mortgage, saving for a pension or paying for our child’s education.  Since the mid-seventies, it has been know that the commonest time to experience a heart attack is between 8-9 am on a Monday morning, the beginning of the working week and the perceived loss of freedom.  When an individual feels trapped by circumstances, especially financial burdens, the joy ebbs out of life and their heart suffers.

Dr Candace Pert was a pioneer of the link between mind and body, who as a neuroscientist in the 1980s revealed that the body secretes hundreds of protein messengers known as neuropeptides, which change our physiology in response to our emotions.  These messengers act as tiny keys that fit into receptor sites or locks in our cell membrane, causing us to react in certain ways to learned or past stimuli.  Hence, when we hear a young child giggle, through the lock-and-key combination, the happiness we feel inside spreads outwards, creating a noticeable relaxation in the body.  On the other hand, when a situation reminds us of a previous insult, the link between the neuropeptides and their receptors leads to our muscles tightening and an increase in the heart rate as we prepare to defend our position.

All of this occurs in a split second, and it is now recognised that just thinking about a situation leads to the same neurophysiological response.  In other words, the mind-body doesn’t know the difference between an imaginary insult and the real thing.  Over time, most of us have become hardwired for a wide variety of emotions and reactions, some of which are healthy while others are decidedly harmful in the long term.  Another pioneer called Dr Bruce Lipton took the mind-body connection one step further by showing that a gene can be turned on or off by the presence of a specific lock or receptor site on the cell membrane.  Yet all is not lost, for he also revealed that you can change your receptor sites by changing your beliefs.  In other words, your beliefs or perceptions of life influence your biology.

Equipped with this understanding, I always ask the same question at the beginning of a consultation, ‘What was going on when you first became sick?’  Time and again, I hear a similar answer, ‘I know why I have cancer etc’.  I have been amazed by the richness of a patient’s insight into their illness.  I remember one young man who had metastases from testicular cancer.  ‘I know why I have cancer’, he boldly stated, ‘It was the only way I could get away from an insurmountable problem at work.’  I asked why he hadn’t just left his job and he answered, ‘I didn’t have the balls!’

But there is one more component that cannot be left out of the mix when studying health: the role of the individual’s soul or spirit.  Is illness just a result of misperceptions and bad choices or is there a greater plan?  Based on my thirty years of research and observation, I’m in no doubt that in over 90% of cases, illness is a wake-up call from the soul, telling the individual to stop and review life and perhaps alter their life’s course.

This was definitely the stance I took when diagnosed with breast cancer at the beginning of 2012.  I couldn’t go along with the popular belief that I was being attacked by an outside invader.  I refused to go to battle against my own body or soul.  Instead, I remembered that nothing had every happened in my life, however painful, that hadn’t changed me for the better.  I never doubted that my soul loves me and that it created the cancer for my own good.  All I needed to do was to hear its message and make the most of the possibilities it was affording me.

When I asked myself the question, ‘What was happening when the breast lump appeared?’ it felt highly relevant that I had just submitted the first draft of my latest book called The Healing Power of the Sacred Woman, which devotes a large section to the underlying causes of breast cancer.  Embraced by the love of my soul, I used the opportunities of my disease to explore my deeply held beliefs about love and nurturing.  It quickly became apparent that in my desire to please other people, I commonly ignored my own needs, with my decisions often being based on their happiness and not my own.  Now, a year later, I see the gifts of my illness as the renewal and deepening of friendships, a strengthening of self-confidence and most important of all, a profound love and appreciation of the essential me.

Dr Christine Page
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How forward thinking was Reiki founder Mikao Usui sensei when he taught this very message?  Gendai Reiki founder Hiroshi Doi sensei teaches the same message when he teaches that illness is a message from the universe, getting our attention because we have not been paying attention to the messages our body has been giving us, taking our good health for granted, or failing to realise just how little attention we are giving to the messages it is giving us about what it needs for good health.  (See more on this in the post on Healing and Curing.)

The integral message of Gendai Reiki is that we are integrated beings consisting of mind, body, emotions and spirit.  All of these parts of our beings need to be in balance for us to enjoy good health and to find joy in our lives.  Don’t wait until you become sick in one of these areas before you take stock and ask yourself some searching questions.

Make a date with yourself; go to your favourite chair or your favourite place in nature; set the scene with your favourite relaxation music; ask your family to respect your need to take a little time without interruptions; sit quietly and do a Reiki self-treatment whilst you check in with yourself on every level, really listening to the messages that you receive … without impatience, without judgement, and with love and with acceptance.  It may just save your life.

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