There are so many ‘invisible’ factors that determine the outcome of a healing. There is the support of family and/or friends, the patience with the process of moving toward health and a sense of gratitude in even the small milestones. There is the hope that healthy change will occur whatever the affliction is, and last but not least, the ability to laugh can be, at times, like the finest medicine in the world.
I recently had a patient who experienced a series of significant health traumas that began soon after being hit by a car. When I palpated points that I was thinking of needling, even a medium amount of pressure was too painful for her. I decided that acupressure, myofascial release and breath awareness would be the mode of treatment used instead of needles.
I started with her feet. One small spot was particularly tender. I decided to start there which happened to lie on a meridian (energy pathway) that runs from the fourth toe into the leg and through the hip.
“I can feel that in my hip. Does that make sense?” she asked me.
“Absolutely” I answered without an explanation. She started to articulate her frustration and feeling of being overwhelmed, incapacitated and having to deal with the numerous health issues that seemed far too many to be on her plate.
I listened as I worked.
After awhile, sensing it was a good time to speak, I offered, “You might not want to hear this now, but it really helps to know that something good will come of all this”. I am not a psychotherapist and never venture into a practice that is outside of the scope of acupuncture and oriental medicine. That said, I never hesitate to say something appropriate that I think might help.
“It is just too slow for me” she said. That is when I mentioned in a delicate and humorous way, the importance of patience. “It’s a virtue, right?” I added. She laughed in a good way—it was the first smile she cracked since the beginning of our session. It turned into an almost belly laugh. I considered that a very good sign.
Being present with where we are, no matter how painful or challenging is the first step toward deep healing. Patience with the process, hope that we will change for the better, and a healthy dose of humor all bolster a positive attitude which is proven to be beneficial in getting better.
Lao Tzu’s famous saying from the Tao Te Ching speaks volumes in so many cases: “A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step”. I felt that one of those first steps just might have been taken in our sessions together.