Stop. Breathe. And read with an open mind, because what I'm about to share may shatter your illusions, your beliefs, and your very way of being: both Western and even alternative medicinal approaches aren't working. Shocking? Look around.
Overall and proportionally, more people are overweight, lethargic, depressed, and suffering from more pains and illness than ever before. It's so common that it's the expected norm. Some give up - saying their pain is a result of age. Others blame genetics (although Jack LaLanne, and healthy children of unhealthy parents, respectively, might disagree.) For those who haven't given up, their quest to feel better is sometimes an all-day or even life-long process. They're searching for answers, trying multiple options, changing this, transforming that, and no one's getting any healthier. Why is this and what can we do about it?
First, let's congratulate the modalities that have their expected moments of relative (sometimes illusionary and always temporary) success, and those that have their seemingly miraculous healings. But the reality is that none work in full - all of the time. When used with discretion, any modality can be an excellent piece of the jigsaw puzzle of health; but none are the complete picture. Let's examine the current options, the benefits and drawbacks of each, and finally put together the pieces of the Jigsaw Health Puzzle - including the (up until now) missing piece.
For acute injuries, e.g. setting a broken bone to heal, or dealing with heart attacks, and even bringing people back to life with modern machinery, there is and maybe never will be anything better than what we're currently experiencing in the West. However, for more common, chronic pains and illness, Western medicine often takes a band-aid approach - cover it up and hope it heals. They often prescribe a medication to relieve (the sensation of) pain, but that only buries the symptoms. This is like cutting the wires on a fire alarm because you don't want to hear the sounds; meanwhile, the house is burning down. Without addressing the underlying non-physical causes, this approach can never work; and by work, we mean truly heal on such a deep level so that problems do not re-emerge. Western medicine does work in that it can relieve the sensation or awareness of pain, which is what it's designed to do. This in and of itself is not a bad thing. But it is an incomplete picture.
More common alternative methods likewise have their shining moments. I've known many people that have been dramatically helped with acupuncture, chiropractic, etc., but these too have their limits. These cannot do what happens in the ER daily. And none of these or other established alternative methods address the underlying cause, even though they claim to. Because these modalities seem to alleviate pains, there's no compelling reason why people need to question them. But we'd better start questioning these modalities and everything else to begin deep, transformative shifts in healthcare.
Newer alternative methods include energy healing modalities such as Reiki and Therapeutic Touch, and what Dr Bruce Lipton calls "energy psychologies" such as EFT and Psych K. These are also temporary fixes that involve one person playing the role of healer. Their successes are mostly temporary because pain, illness, and healing are the responsibility of the individual. This does not mean that we as a practitioner and/or friend cannot be a guide, or offer a helping hand, but by definition, no person can truly heal another. The humble healers know they are a conduit of God's energy and love, which seems like pretty good hands to be in, yet I have noticed that these practitioners too don't always raise awareness of and address the underlying causes head on.
But I Feel Better; Where's the Problem?
The limitations of any of the above don't always seem clear because the symptoms tend to vanish with their application. However, as stated before about pharmaceuticals, none get to the true cause. This leaves the underlying, lesser-known causative variable in the body to fester, and like a rain cloud that's okay with some moisture, too much will cause an eventual burst.
In my experience, and it is well documented in alternative journals, the repression of emotions causes blockages of energy in a body designed to thrive as an end result of its basic building block, energy, flowing openly and with vigour. (If you just rolled your eyes, try to unroll them for few more paragraphs and take this in. You can always go back to your existent ways if this doesn't resonate with you!) In this respect, Acupuncture and other energy-based modalities have it most correct, in that they recognize the blockage and work through pressure points and more to get the energy flowing again; however, there is often too little attention paid to full emotional processing and too much focus on getting someone out of pain. That is certainly a well-meaning gesture, but ultimately it's a disempowering and unhealthy one.
A Holistic View
We tend not to look at things in a holistic, connected manner. We have specialists for every part of the body, which is good, but not great. It leaves out the interconnectedness of all the cells within us. Every system is interdependent on another. To not recognize this is not in any of our best interests.
An example would be someone who has repressed grief from an emotionally painful experience like the death of a loved one. Unless the grief is fully integrated and released, it will still be in the body wreaking havoc. What might start out as a 'cold' when buried with pharmaceuticals or other modalities can later on develop into a sinus infection. From that point over time allergies can develop, and from there lung disorders, and so on. It's all the same thing; only time and therefore physical manifestations stack up and on top of each other. Our individuated belief systems and misconceptions of time leave us unable to perceive the interconnectedness - that the symptoms follow a deep-rooted cause that could be days or decades old.
From this 'stacking' perspective, it's easy to see how the repression of grief can cause multiple problems. We have to learn, or re-learn as it were, to be okay with having and expressing emotions. Trekkies, remember when Mr. Spock went bonkers after his 7-year cycle of logic and in a brief and powerful expression of rage, killed Captain Kirk? Vulcans do not have the right idea here. Ahem.
The expression of emotions is one of the most important things we can ever do to achieve and maintain optimal health, but it's not supported in most 'civilized' societies. In fact, in many families, emotional expression can cause much deeper problems. Because your parents weren't taught that grief, anger, and fear are natural and that it's okay to express them, they have passed that rigid thinking down to you. And unless you learn a better way, you will likely continue that pattern for generations. It's up to us to heal this destructive lineage now.
No practitioner or family member can take away your grief. In fact, it's more common for friends and family to hand you a tissue or even distract you to get you out of that wonderful, emotive and very human place. Much worse, being given a pacifier when we're younger to placate the sadness teaches us that it's not okay to express emotions. And that belief is never questioned.
Who Wants to Feel Unwell?
Is the expression of emotions messy? Yes. Does it feel good? No. But who said life is tidy and always pleasant? There are many who do say that, but they're the ones who are among the least healthy. There is a commonality in much of the New Age rhetoric that says to simply change the thought that's creating the sadness, fear, anxiety, or anger. This is denial and it's obvious to an outsider, but on the inside it feels better so it attracts a lot of followers. This continuous build-up of emotional energy eventually causes very unpleasant pains and illness over time. But because of the hubris that comes with too much spirituality today, no one sees it. They believe, and I used to as well, that a higher evolved mind could forgive overnight, and that understanding overrules emotions, but experience has shown this too to be untrue. Logic, awareness, and unloading upon a listening ear are good, but deeper processing involving emotional release is better.
Is the expression of emotions easy? No. Does it feel great when done - often immediately? Yes!
Does this seem too simple? Well, my mentor said that life is complex to a complex mind and simple to a simple one. We too often over-analyze, and over-think, and over-do. This simple step of accepting and expressing our emotions can do so much, but it is very difficult for many to do. There are practices that can be done, exercises, and the like that can bring emotions up and into our awareness for integration and releasing. And with the guidance of a skilled practitioner of energetic arts, emotional release can be co-facilitated in-person or be catalyzed even over the phone. I've seen it repeatedly. It works. There are no side effects. It's far less expensive. Healing is deep and transformative, and often permanent. People feel lighter, more at peace, and happier, and like a jigsaw puzzle when done, finally complete.