The Nature of Treatment – It’s More Than Physical

I was treating my soon-to-be husband for his back problem, when he said to me "you think that you are just mobilizing my back but you are doing a lot more than that. You are working on an energetic level." He was an acupuncturist and clinical psychologist. He was used to working in the realms of the acupuncture meridians of energy and in the emotional domain. I listened to what he had to say attentively, but I was more interested in the fact that he had an old disc injury that would occasionally flare up, back joints that lacked normal mobility, and on top of that, a new car accident injury. This new injury caused significant back pain and a nerve irritation that caused right thigh and leg pain. At that time he was unable to sit for more that a few minutes before the thigh pain became so intense that he had to get up.

He is the person who got me interested in this bridging and combining of eastern, western and wholistic/complementary medicine. We had a dream of setting up a clinic together. We thought it would be a great combination to help people with the physical/mechanical, energetic, and emotional/spiritual aspects of their problems. He passed away not long after we were married. His passing on has made me explore the nature of the universe and become aware, in a personal way, of different dimensions.

Since that time, I have studied some of the systems of touch therapy and found that the concept of working on an energetic level is not as esoteric as I thought. My husband had pointed out that many of the world's esoteric teachings are now in print. You no longer have to study with a master for 40 years and maybe "get it." You can pick up a book or surf the Internet and find all kinds of information on the esoteric. Barbara Ann Brennan has done some amazing work at an energetic level with people. This is published in her two books Hands of Light and Light Emerging. Geoffery Maitland (an Australian Physiotherapist) has made a great contribution to manual and manipulative Physical Therapy with his books on vertebral and peripheral manipulative therapy, joint mobilization and clinical decision making. As all this information coalesces, we can become comfortable in a world that has an expanded view of the universe.

When I work with people, I now try to incorporate a variety of dimensions into what I do. For a person with back pain, I explain to them what I have found going on in their back and what I am doing as I treat them. For example, when somebody has a lumbar joint and disc problem with a nerve irritation, I explain the interaction of the joints of the back, the discs and the nerves. By pushing in a particular manner on the joint that is involved in the problem, I am causing the joint surfaces to slide, glide or roll over each other. These are called accessory motions of the joint and are necessary for normal mechanical movement of the joints. With an injury, these normal motions are lost. We have muscles that allow us to bend forward and backward but our muscles will not slide and glide over joint surfaces.

With treatment, I am loosening up the joints with the use of these accessory motions to allow the person to bend forward or backward further and with less pain. This in turn affects the dynamics of the disc and joints and can alleviate the nerve irritation. I also work with the mobility of the nervous system itself. When a nerve is irritated, the chemicals produced from surrounding tissue damage can perpetuate the pain and cause fibrotic tissue changes around and within the nerve. In conjunction with the manual therapy, I teach people exercises, body mechanics and ergonomic principles to help them stay healthy and prevent future problems as much as possible.

The part that I find more difficult to explain and that I do on a more sub-conscious level is to try to incorporate humor, compassion and drawing on the energy of the universe to help them with the healing process. I work with each individual at the level at which they are willing to work. Some people want to work only on the physical mechanical level. Some people are willing to explore how stress or their emotional concerns are affecting their physical health. Some people are willing to look at the life lessons that they can learn from this problem. Occasionally, someone will view it as a spiritual event and start exploring deeper their spiritual self and the nature of the universe.

As I mobilize joints, stretch and strengthen muscles, and help people with neuromuscular re- education, I reflect upon the many levels that are available to me as I interact with the person. As I reflect, I am reminded that the most important of these is love. If I do nothing else but love the person unconditionally, I believe I have helped. Hopefully we will all gain a greater appreciation for the importance of creating and imparting universal love in all that we do.

Written by Krista J. Clark


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