Letter From the Publisher - June 2017
May 25, 2017 08:10AM
Kendra & Jacqueline, Co-Publishers
My grandmother once cautioned me: “Pay attention to what hurts… pain is important; don’t ignore it.” I don’t know if she realized how strongly those words would affect me or how far they might reach. The sentiment lingered and planted the seeds of my desire to become familiar with the body’s visceral and deeply personal language, to interpret its tensions and to understand its patterns.
The discomforts of life are grand markers of opportunity. Often, they act as timely, useful messengers that interrupt our homeostasis and personal flow to bring our attention to our most tender imbalances. Whether emotional or physical, our individual experiences of pain and its effect on quality of life are purely subjective and should be freely expressed and explored, aided by transparency in understanding treatment options.
Physiologically, pain pathways are some of the most complex forces of the mind-body system. Treatment options can be equally complicated, involving a unique mix of method, modality and individual belief. The need for professional support and reassurance related to pain management is clear, especially when we start to wade through the confusing plethora of recommendations for relief and the frightening complications of opioids and addiction.
A key component to any distress is the dynamic that surfaces around it. Fear, judgment, and resistance to pain usually increase tension, while acceptance facilitates healing. Acceptance is cultivated by adopting a mindset of witnessing the pain and trusting an unfolding path, supported by a network of resources. This honest acknowledgment can be as simple as locating the tension and holding the ache. Constantly shifting like all energy, pain will turn, move and respond to sincere, receptive inquiry.
Physical touch is a subtle yet profound point of connection for grounding and being present within one’s own body. One of our most basic, primary healing instincts, touch may be the quickest, easiest way to effectively interrupt the cascade of physical constriction. Gentle forms of manipulation, such as massage, craniosacral therapy and other bodywork, allow us to slow down and witness the pain, stimulate the release of endorphins and lower both heart rate and blood pressure. Feeling safe and wholly supported yields the quality of relaxation and comfort that builds trust in the body’s natural tendency toward restoration.
We present this issue’s focus on chronic pain in the context of the current healthcare landscape and with a sincere acknowledgment of the depth and delicacy of the topic. Fortunately, practitioners are becoming increasingly versed in the realm of integrative care and are beginning to recognize the need to make space for both allopathic and natural remedies. The traumas we encounter shape us psychologically and physically, and those personal experiences contribute to the valuable sensitivity that we bring to caring for ourselves and others. Partnerships built on respect and open conversation can respond to the body’s messages and help us work toward natural, holistic strength and wellness.
Tuning into oneself first is the centering needed to begin the search for less invasive approaches that can lead toward more organic rhythms of wholeness and owning the right to explore and create a personalized, balanced plan.
~Jacqueline & Kendra