As I post in social media about my online mindbody pain reduction program, there is an equal number of responses sounding like, “Wow, this looks great!” to those sounding like “Not another company selling false hope about pain reduction!” It’s understandable though, that the latter is occurring. People in chronic pain have been inundated with various “miracle cures”, pills and potions, and many to no avail, leaving the person let-down, with fewer dollars in the wallet, and less hopeful. It’s no wonder, when a person already is in pain, is exhausted, has been told numerous times there’s no cure for chronic illness, and often has very little financial resources, that there is a great deal of skepticism.
I’ve learned to embrace the skepticism, however. For one, it’s a good idea that consumers take precautions. After all, it’s the consumer’s body, mind, and money that are at stake. Secondly, although fear isn’t generally an emotion aligned with healing, the self-protection that stems from it is still a form of self-love, and that’s a very important emotion for anyone, but especially for someone who has been chronically ill.
For those who have at least dipped a toe into the world of mindbody healing, there was almost inevitably a tipping point that needed to be reached internally that prompted a person to say, “Well, I’ve tried everything…what else is there to lose?” And, I understand the feeling. When I was in undergraduate college, I “doctor-shopped” for a whole year, trying to find someone to give me a lupus or chronic fatigue diagnosis…because something was wrong! I didn’t feel good, and no one could help me. They wouldn’t run tests. They said it was "all in my head", but I knew there was a real problem. I was 20 years old, and I wasn’t supposed to be feeling like that. I was supposed to be vibrant and full of zest! I woke up on the last day of my junior year of college completely exhausted. My dad and brother were coming to pick me up at my dorm to take me home for the summer, and I couldn’t even get out of bed to pack my belongings.
At that point, I began listening to my mom who we all thought had gone bonkers in the holistic realm as her natural supplements cabinet rivaled the shelves of any well-stocked natural health food store! I started learning more and more about holistic healing because I had nothing else to turn to. Amidst desperation, we humans often are finally willing to try something new. And, you know what? If that’s what it takes, that’s okay. Sometimes the predictability of the suffering that we know is less scary than the unknown, that is, until the suffering gets to great. The butterfly instinctually knows when it’s time to come out of the chrysalis, but that process cannot be rushed.
Although my physical ailments are thankfully a thing of the past, I tried almost every possible pathway, conventional, integrative, and alternative, until I figured it out. Ultimately, although there a lot of modalities that support healing, in my experience, when the mindbody components are not understood and addressed, the pain or illness often persists even if the other methods help to “take the edge off”.
In my view, the science that best explains, with proof, how the mind and emotions are connected to the body is German New Medicine (GNM). The mindbody approach I've found to be most effective in clearing out the emotional pain that is connected to the experience of real, not "all-in-your-head”, physical pain, is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), or “tapping”, a.k.a., “emotional acupressure” or “acupressure desensitization”. When it is done properly and thoroughly by a well-trained practitioner doing clinical level EFT, positive results abound. Then we begin to see real transformations in a person’s life because getting rid of the pain and other physical symptoms is only one part of the recovery. When a person really begins to heal deep emotional wounds, the other areas of a person’s life such as career, relationships, and finances, for example, begin to change positively as well.
It is so very rewarding to see such outcomes in my line of work. So, for every person reading this article who may be considering a mindbody approach to feeling better, it’s often easier to begin this type of healing sooner than later, but, later is better than never. Trust yourself and your instincts. You may want to put the “What path shall I take?” question in your head before you sleep, and notice if the answer is with you when you awake or when you take your morning shower.
In the meanwhile, I wish you healing on whatever path and timeline is best for you.
Written by Lauren Sonnenberg, LMHC, D.PSc, MCAP, psychotherapist, wellness consultant and founder of LifeCore, a private practice in Miami, FL, specializing in the treatment of the emotional aspects of chronic pain and serious illness. 305-396-6360 * www.LifeCoreOnline.com * LifeCore, Inc., is not a physician’s office and Lauren Sonnenberg, LMHC, D.PSc, CAP, is not a medical doctor (MD) and therefore cannot make medical diagnoses, treat medical conditions, or prescribe medications. Any information presented here is strictly educational and is not a replacement for medical advice.