On the regular basis, the mainstream medicine to diagnose and treat medical ailments and acute illnesses is the way to go. All the various scientific studies, quality control, rigorous standards, and widely tested effectiveness makes the conventional medicine a logical and safe choice.
However, in addition to the regular scientific ways, I am fascinated by the complementary alternative medicine and treatments as a way to enhance the self-healing power of the body. I have personally experienced the healing power of various pressure point and energetic therapies.
When recovering from my accident I utilized a lot of Shiatsu massages, acupuncture (neck, feet and knees) and Chinese medicine. I followed all that with chiropractic adjustments to put things back the right way. Many consider my speedy recovery to be a miracle.
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
Professional acupuncture promotes health and alleviates pain and suffering by achieving effective blood circulation and normalizing the flow of the life energy (“Chi”) in the body. By stimulating the body’s network of meridian lines through which Chi flows, acupuncture accelerates the self-healing capability of the body and boosts the immune system.
My skiing accident caused my Chi to be completely disrupted (I felt very weak) and my neck muscles were completely seized. I couldn’t move my head either sideways or up and down. In addition to physiotherapy, I also had acupuncture sessions (4 per week) and take-home custom-prepared Chinese Medicine (it was awful, but it worked). After each session my neck movement range was greater and my thinking speed and personal power was improving.
I also used acupuncture to heal my chronically hurting knees. After just a few sessions, I no longer felt the cold related or the severe pains in the knees, my arches were no longer hurting, and my daily lower back pains were completely gone. I could now walk around much longer distances and with my posture perfectly straight I felt overall healthier and more confident.
After about 15 sessions, all the pains were completely gone. I even noticed an improvement in the arches of my feet. They were less flat! That was an unthinkable transformation after having flat feet for years!
See for the comprehensive list of conditions that acupuncture treatments can alleviate.
One day I got up feeling like I need something, a boost, a fix, a shift, something. I took a bath, but it didn’t help. It was a beautiful and sunny today, which did help a bit. I tried just deciding to feel different, but I was too far down the joy scale. After trying a few more things I finally concluded that I needed to cleanse and detox my body. I decided a Shiatsu session would take care of that nicely, a side-benefit of a deep tissue pressure.
At the Shiatsu Clinic I go to I asked for a cleansing session. Shortly after and another hot bath (recommended after Shiatsu), I felt so much internally lighter, cleaner and smoother – like I just had an oil changed to a high-end synthetic. Posture was back, power voice was back, and strong eye contact was back. Definitively felt better and more grounded (legs felt more solid and heavier on the ground), and the crappy feeling dissolved from the inside.
Shiatsu deep tissue massage is also ideal a day after an intensive workout (power or cardio) to loosen the tight and tense muscles and prevent forming of knots. It also relaxes you, improves mood, and improves the flow of Chi in the body – the healing life force.
Benefit for women: Shiatsu helps to alleviate menstrual cramping and discomfort by calming the nervous system, relaxing muscle spasms in the uterus and promoting the smooth release of blood.
Quality varies between places and practitioners, so ask a friend for recommendation or do your own research. Some health insurance plans cover Shiatsu massage if the practitioner is registered (RMT) – check with your insurance provider.
Reiki is a Japanese healing and relaxation therapy administered through a very gentle touch. Practitioner places hands along energy centers and pathways on the head, neck, shoulders, chest, abdomen, legs and feet. Reiki balances the body’s energy on physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels, thus speeds up the self-healing processes of the body.
My first Reiki session was incredibly healing. The light, the heat, the relaxation, the peace, the calmness. When [the practitioner, my very good friend] was done I said: “so that’s what heaven feels like!” I felt so good after: stronger, more confident, more whole, very grounded and centered, posture and solid walk was back.
She told me I have 2 areas of concern: knees and throat. I gotta use the knee heaters more. For throat I need a singer’s advice how to take care of it. She also told me that I love open space and distance, and I am fascinated by fire. Yep! Plus showed me Dalai Lama’s take on self-worth. I have it and just must really realize it.
She also felt the energy that I long for a companion. Thus the message I received in meditation: “say yes to reasonable offer, say yes to love,” at least for some time.
Hatha Yoga is a relaxed, slow-paced and meditative type of yoga, yet still physical and challenging. It involves simple breathing exercises, whole body stretching, static strength poses, and above all it is very relaxing.
It is perfect after a long day at work or when you need to relax in a healthy and productive manner (as opposed to watching TV). Classes and instructors vary, so try different few and pick the one which works best for you, ie. puts you in a heavenly state.
Every time I attend Helen’s Hatha Yoga class (1-2 times per week) it does me so well. The class has the perfect pace, the perfect flow, the perfect transitions, the perfect stretch, and just the right difficulty level. It is also the perfect energy boost and provides me with a great maintenance of the body, mind and spirit.
Few random tips from personal experience:
Hot Hatha Yoga has the extra bonus of heat, which makes stretching easier and you also break some serious sweat. For me Heat Yoga is very bearable, but it’s not for everyone. Trick is not to eat heavy before the class and drink plenty of water during the class.
Slow and calm yoga is good and relaxing, but one must practice the overall balance (ying-yang) and do some energetic and explosive exercise as well (eg. circuit training or fast active sports).
When doing the tree pose, one must focus on one spot in order to stay balanced and maintain the pose. One must be fully alert and present, yet relaxed.
Consider Qi Gong (Chi Kung) or Tai Chi as alternatives to Hatha Yoga if you’re slightly older.