What does health mean to you?
Updated: Sep 18, 2019
There is so much information on the internet, social media and in magazines about health and well-being it is sometimes difficult to work out how best to look after your health. We are told one day that a glass of wine is good for you, only to be told soon after that no alcohol is good for you. At least that is what I read today!
What would you do if you are feeling tired, have developed aches and pains and are lacking energy, feeling a bit down and unmotivated to begin working on your health and not know where to start?
Do you begin self-treating with all the information you can gather from media, only to find you are not making any improvements? Perhaps it is time to see your doctor who may request some blood test after taking your blood pressure. Once blood tests come back normal, what is next?
My back pain solution
Some 30 years ago I injured my back and was prescribed a high dosage of pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs, which caused side effects of constipation and tiredness and headaches. This injury resulted in episodes of extreme back pain which laid me up for weeks. In those days bed rest was recommended which probably exacerbated the problem.
I sought a number of alternative sources but eventually I had to have an operation on my spine. Prior to my operation I suffered nerve damage to my sciatic nerve, which until recently caused me some discomfort in my leg, knee and hip.
Though I continued to exercise after my operation I found it harder and harder to feel the benefits of exercise as this just seemed to aggravate pain in other parts of my body.
Tui na massage
So, what did I do? Nothing for a very long time. Eventually a change of circumstances some 12 years ago took me on a journey that changed my health. I was introduced to Traditional Chinese Medicine through a course I attended on Tui na Massage and it was then I decided to change career and began my training, not only to help others, but also for myself. For 10 consecutive days I had massage and acupuncture. I felt amazing.
I then completed my training in Traditional Chinese Acupuncture and Tui na Massage and started my own business. Now going forward I once again began to feel very tired, sore and unmotivated to keep going. So what was going on?
I know how to look after my body and my health. I am ageing, and though this may be a contributing factor, I do not believe it is the main cause. Then I had an insight into my own behaviour. This was something I noticed in many of my clients which is why I looked at the service I was providing.
I was helping clients feel better after a few sessions but found that they kept coming back with the same issues weeks later.
OK, they have jobs and lifestyles that caused some of their problems, which were difficult to change, but I was frustrated that the therapies only had short term benefits. It wasn’t that the treatments did not work but something was missing that I could not put my finger on.
I had all the tools I needed to ensure success – diagnostics, a number of therapies I could use but there was still something missing. The treatments individually were not sustained and that is when I realised what was missing: intensive intervention.
That is when I started the clinic programme designed around 4 modalities of care, Neuro-psychosensory (Havening Techniques), Biosensory (Tui na massage and Emmett Techniques), Acupuncture and Qigong (exercise). The programme runs for 10 sessions initially in which the client is taken through consultation, diagnostics, therapy and follow-up. Depending on whether the client is in an acute or chronic stage will determine the frequency of the sessions – once, twice or 3 times a week initially for the first 6 sessions, then spread weekly thereafter. Once the first 10 sessions are completed the programme is then re-offered, adapting to the client’s needs and this is spread out until the client feels they can manage their own programme. Finally, success!
So how does this programme work?
You will have heard of the word ‘disease’. Well, ‘disease’ does not exist at least not in the beginning. Symptoms exist. These symptoms may only affect one part of the body, but over time, if ignored, will begin to affect other parts of the body. Nothing works in isolation within the body, so for example, that pain in your back may lead to digestion problems, and/or breathing difficulties. Our bodies are made up of systems; the digestive system; the cardiovascular system; the skeletal system; the respiratory system etc, which, if we are well, will be working in harmony with each other. If we ignore the original problem and allow ourselves to become more and more unwell, the accumulation of symptoms will eventually make us chronically ill.
Medication isn’t the answer!
I am not about to decry on our NHS, but doctors don’t have much time to spend investigating the root cause of your problem and may often treat the symptoms you present with. It may take a while for the medication to take effect, but after a while, you begin to feel better. However, soon other symptoms may develop. Your diet is going ‘to pot’ and you begin to feel unwell again. You wonder if it is the medication, as weight gain can be a side effect, so you decide you want to stop taking the pills. However, the cause of the initial problem is still with you as this has not been addressed, so the cycle begins again.
Over time other symptoms may develop which may cause nausea and headaches, which may lead to migraines. This pattern can go on for some time until you finally go back to your GP who then recommends blood tests and finally you may be diagnosed with, yes, “a disease” – perhaps Depression and/or Diabetes type 2 - two very preventable diseases. But really ‘disease’ is just an accumulation of all the symptoms. What started out as Stress can lead to Depression. What starts out as a pain in the back can lead to Stress and Depression. These in turn can lead to more serious problems not because of the original symptoms but because your body systems are struggling to maintain balance and work in harmony.
Back pain is preventable
Back pain can start with a niggle in your neck which in time can lead to lower back pain then possible leg and knee pain which can eventually lead to more chronic back problems as the spine, joints muscles and ligaments adjust to the changes in posture. Overtime, the back muscles may go into spasm, causing acute bouts of pain, which leads to an inability to move and more stress on the spine leads to further changes in posture. If this cycle continues it may result in a person having to take time off work. Their ability to keep active reduces. They put on weight and a viscous cycle begins, leading to ill health, stress and anxiety. Then they are diagnosed with another Disease - perhaps Chronic back pain and Obesity. What starts out as a pain in the back can also lead to Stress and Depression. All very preventable!
What is the answer?
Intervention at the early stages can reduce the need for medication, reducing the risk of the build-up of stress and depression. Education would be a starting point to stop the progression into illness. Experiencing the release from the original symptoms through a programme of Neuro-psychosensory Techniques (Havening Techniques), then the experience of releasing tight muscles and ligaments (Emmett Techniques and Qigong) enables the client to feel the change immediately. This leads to deeper breathing, being able to stand without effort and the ability to move effortlessly, but best of all, to feel relief from tension both physically and mentally. But be warned. This is not a quick fix. What has taken years to build up can take weeks and months to change back. It is like peeling back the layers of an onion to get the core – to the route of the problem then building back up again with more resilience, stamina and flexibility. Seeing the programme to its end will reap huge benefits on health, well into old age, but remember advice given is also part of the programme so that, I, as a clinician, don’t ever have to see you again, unless it’s for a social event!
When we suffer from pain or injury our body compensates not only physically but also mentally. Adjustments occur to the body deep into our cells causing changes to how we move, rest and think. Patterns of behaviour and physical memory are laid down in our cells and the body readjusts to the new patterns. If we seek help to enable the body to unwind back to the original state, then health and wellbeing are the benefits, but it is important to complete the programme.
This blog was written by Barbara Ellis, Senior Practitioner at WelBeeing. Barbara offers a free 30 minute consultation. Book your appointment today and find out how she can help you.