The true meaning of health vs disease

It’s only when we understand WHY we get ill in the first place that we will truly know how to maintain health.

I recently attended New Zealand’s first ever Health and Productivity Management conference in Auckland. It was a wonderful day and I met many inspiring people who are passionate about improving health in the workplace. It is definately a step in the right direction that more emphasis, and hopefully budget, will be put towards improving employee health.

This article is part one of a series demonstrating why we need to understand the reasons for illness in order to successfully improve wellness at work. This will also help understand the rising new phenomenom of ‘presenteeism’ –  employees who turn up for work who are not present, functional or productive’.

After spending the last twenty years really delving into the root causes of ill-health, including having healed without medication from a number of chronic illnesses – and helping others to do the same -these are some key truths I have discovered about health and healing:

Our natural state is good health

“Sickness is felt, but health not at all” – traditional Chinese proverb

Despite the fact that illness appears to be an epidemic today – to the point that it’s no longer considered  out of the ordinary – our natural state is to be healthy. In ancient China, you only paid your doctor if you became ill, such was the emphasis on preventative healthcare and the everyday expectation that good health was normal.

This is why when we are healthy we just feel fine. Our body is designed to feel good, and it is only if something is wrong that it will start to send signals to say so. What is also very misunderstood is that it is:

Our natural state to be calm (of mind) and relaxed (of body)

In our frantic lives, where everyone is rushing around with far too much on their plates, we have completely and utterly forgotten that our natural state is to be calm and relaxed. This is the normal state for the body to function in on a daily basis, and a pre-requisite for good health and longevity. The body also needs to be in this state for healing to occur. Which is why our body will ‘take us out’ when we need to heal (in the form of a fever which takes us to our bed, or needing bed-rest after an operation).

In Taoist philosophy, the world is a mix of yin (stillness) and yang (activity), and in theory we need equal amounts of both. But if we were to check our ratio of yin and yang, most people would probably be 95% yang, 5% yin. This is going against the natural flow of life and when this is maintained, we will quickly start to experience:

Stress – the fight-flight mode of the body

The fight-flight mode of the body is designed for emergencies. It is not meant to be a place to live from in everyday life. The problem is, most people are constantly stressed…but don’t know it. When our body is in the stress (sympathetic nervous mode) the body literally believes itself to be under threat and all body systems start working in emergency mode: for example heart rate increases, breathing speeds up, blood moves from the organs to the extremities in preparation for running, stress hormones are pumped out, digestion and elimination stop, and so on.

Now, the body can cope with this short-term, but it cannot continue to function properly long-term in this state. That sort of makes sense, doesn’t it? How can it do its job of running our body properly if the systems are compromised? It’s a bit like asking your car to run properly without good oil or a whole host of unresolved issues, in other words, it’s damaged goods.

So, the only thing the body can do is to try and get our attention, and this it will do by starting to send symptoms. The problem is, we have not been taught how to interpret the signals or understand the real reason behind symptoms. Thus most people do not understand that:

Illness is a healthy reaction to an unhealthy situation

The body is an infinitely intelligent organism, with a key role of keeping us healthy. It has, what we call in the Mickel Therapy trade, a ‘body intelligence’ – an in-built system for keeping us healthy. When we are well, we will just feel well. But if the body intelligence is not happy about something in our life, which could be anything from work to personal issues, it will start to communicate its unacknowledged needs in the form of symptoms. So one of the first steps in healing and understanding health is to really get that:

Symptoms are a cry for help and attention

Most people do not yet understand that symptoms are the body’s way of communicating to us. The body has its own communication system which does not use words. In the absence of words, it has to find ways to communicate with us. So how does it do this? There are various levels, starting with plan A, then plan B and so on:

Plan A – Body Sensations

Simple body sensations. For example, feeling hungry is the body’s way of communicating it needs food. Feeling a pressure in the bladder indicates we need to go to the toilet. Having a gut feeling is a bodily sensation from our abdominal brain telling us what is the right thing to do. It’s all very simple, if we listen, take notice and take action. However, if we miss this level of body-sensation communication our body will go to:

Plan B – Emotions

Emotions. Feelings are our body’s way of communicating to us and with us. This is the most misunderstood form of communication. People do not realize that emotions are a form of communication from the body intelligence telling us how it feels about what is going on in our life. They are an internal guidance system, keeping us on track in order to stay happy and healthy. We ignore them at our peril because missed emotions will build up to become:

Plan C – Mental symptoms

Mental symptoms, which actually are also physiological phenomena, (just separated here for clarity), include symptoms such as anxiety, depression, irritabiltiy and overwhelm. Anxiety is an overload of unidentified emotions and depression is de-pressing unidentified emotions. Unresolved emotions, which are emotional energy, will build up and manifest themselves physiologically as mental symptoms. Left unresolved, we then start to experience:

Plan D – Physical symptoms

It’s at this point that we start to experience physical pain and discomfort. This is the body really trying to tell us something and get our attention to take some corrective action. However, because of the disconnection between the head and body, often symptoms at this level are not understood. This includes symptoms such as insomnia, irritable bowel, allergies, asthma, food intolerances, low fatigue, hayfever, hives, rashes, high blood pressure and so on. These tend to be symptoms which currently are not really considered a major problem and the common solution is some form of medication. Unfortunately this kills the messenger, and the body then has to find other ways to get its message through. Eventually, because the body intelligence is simply programmed to do its job (thank goodness) it will keep pumping the (as yet un-decoded) messages out which will get louder and louder to become:

Plan E – Chronic Illness

Chronic illness sets in after the previous symptoms have been pumped out for a while but the underlying reasons have not been identified or addressed. Chronic symptoms may be things such as cysts, fibroids, cancer, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, heart attacks, diabetes and any serious illness. By this time our life will have become seriously disrupted, to the point that we can no longer function normally. At this point we will find ourselves having to take time off work or leave altogether. This is the ‘wake-up call’ stage. The final stage of the body’s attempt to get our attention. So here’s the good news:

The body is a self-healing mechanism

If we can identify the real cause of the illness, and take the corrective action, our body has the innate ability to heal itself. Actually, we already know this: for most people, if we cut ourselves, we know that the cut will heal very quickly by itself. Do we have to do anything to help this? Well, we may put a plaster on to prevent dirt or water getting in, and we may avoid using that finger for a few days, which is giving it the assistance and opportunity to heal, but essentially the healing is coming from the body intelligence without any cognitive input from ourselves. It is the body’s automatic job to heal, just like the heart beats and we breathe without having to think about it. So if this is the case, in order to understand how to heal bigger issues such as anxiety, depression or chronic fatigue, what do we have to do?

Understand the laws of health

“The key to healing is awareness: becoming aware of what you were previously unaware of, and then making new choices”.

In order to stay healthy we must start to understand what it is we need to do in order to prevent illness in the first place. We have to understand how to live in accordance with the laws of health and laws of life. This is the major missing piece in our society. We have become so out of touch with our own nature, so trapped in our heads and disconnected from our bodies, that we simply do not feel or see what is going on inside us emotionally, mentally or physically. We have to recognize what it is that the body is not happy about – which it is sending emotions and then symptoms about – in an attempt to get our attention so that we will take appropriate action. I will be going into detail about these laws of health in the sequel to this blog, but here is the first key concept:

The necessity of putting ourselves first and looking after our needs

This may sound very selfish to some, but it’s actually not. We have to learn to tune into our own needs and listen to them. If we are to stay healthy we have to do what ‘feels right’ for us. And our body will tell us, because it’s programmed to do so. These are the sensations that come from the gut. And here’s a tip to how to understand what your body is telling you:

  • if you feel good, relaxed, calm and relieved over a choice of action, it will probably be the right thing for you.
  • And if you feel tense, stressed, uncomfortable and worried, it is probably not the right decision.

The question is, are you going to take notice and trust your body intelligence, or are you going to ignore it (again)? The choice is yours.

Stay tuned for the next blog which will talk in depth about what it is we need to do to unravel the mystery behind symptoms

CORE REASONS FOR CHRONIC FATIGUE, ADRENAL FATIGUE, FIBROMYALGIA

Whilst each person is unique, there definately seem to be some common denominators in people with these conditions. Here are a few core reasons – see what rings true for you:

  1. Traumatic events from the past that were not dealt with properly at an emotional level and are still lurking in the psyche
  2. The body is in a constant state of stress, or ‘fight-flight’, which is an unnatural state to live in, and creates huge pressure on all systems
  3. An inability to communicate emotions honestly for fear of hurting other people’s feelings or fear of rejection
  4. An inability to put oneself first and meet one’s own needs – always putting others’ needs first
  5. An inability to stop and rest, and a habit of doing, doing, doing
  6. Living up to other’s expectations and not following our own dreams or passions
  7. Driving oneself to achieve, achieve, achieve as a result of never really, ever, feeling good enough for whom one is
  8. Allowing oneself to be walked over or abused mentally, emotionally or physically, resulting in a huge build-up of repressed emotions (anger, resentment)
  9. A truck load of repressed and unexpressed emotions in the body
  10. An inability to feel emotions fully due to past fears of being rejected, punished, shamed, ridiculed or criticized
  11. A deep feeling of disempowerment which manifests itself as ‘victim’ consciousness, either overtly or covertly
  12. In the case of fibromyalgia, a truck load of resentment and frustration

Why being stuck in a perspective keeps us, well, stuck, unhappy…and even sick

“Out beyond all ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing there is a field – I’ll meet you there”
Rumi, Sufi mystic and poet

One of the lessons I have been learning recently is how being attached to a particular outlook or perspective can prevent us from getting well. These perspectives are indicative of underlying beliefs and paradigms about life, which become so transparent we do not even see them. However, not seeing them does not mean they are not there or are not affecting our overall health.

So why do I say that being stuck in a perspective can prevent us from getting well, ie, keep us unhappy or ill? Because underneath the perspective / belief / paradigm will usually be some FEELINGS which we are usually subconsciously avoiding by staying stuck in our perspective. It is these deeply repressed feelings which are blocking our cells and keeping us less than well – infact literally internally divided – which we need to get in touch with.

The interesting thing is, these perspectives usually play out as ‘the need to be right at all costs’. And at some point, we come to realize that if we wish to make progress, we are going to have to go beyond ideas of right and wrong. This is a huge ask for many people, as it requires humility, courage and vulnerability, plus the ability to feel old unwanted feelings.

Here’s an example which will help understand what I am talking about:

Last year I agreed with a friend to work on a project. We decided which tasks each of us would do, and due to his tasks needing to be completed first, I waited until he had completed his before beginning. The next thing I knew, a week later, I received an email to say he had completed both sets of tasks. My feathers were immediately ruffled as I had been looking forward to my part of the project.

I immediately put my Mickel Therapy tools into place by saying ‘How I felt’ about what had happened (key 2) and what I would have liked (key 3). This was all well and good and my body felt better for speaking my truth.

However, he then rejected what I said, (in other words, he had ‘another perspective’), and it was apparent that ‘never the twain shall meet’. I was deeply hurt and shocked that he did not see ‘my point of view’ as our agreement over tasks had been (I thought) quite clear.

At that point, I realized that the only person that could do anything about this situation was me. I started to ask myself, OK, what’s this situation REALLY trying to teach me? And more to the point, how do I actually FEEL?

I realized that huge feelings of betrayal and injustice were rising up inside. And I sensed that I had come to that critical point where I had to ‘let go of the story’ (whatever that story was, and whether I felt I was ‘right’), and give myself permission to feel those feelings. And very importantly to allow myself to feel the feelings without any attachment to the story my mind was attaching itself to.

So I very consciously chose ‘yes, I choose to feel what I am feeling right now’, without being attached to the story.

And so the healing commenced.

It was excruciatingly emotionally painful.

As I tapped into the pain  that had been stored in my heart for years, which I was avoiding by staying in wanting to be right, I felt like it had been sliced open with a knife, allowing a pool of venomous past hurts to come pouring out.

There was nothing logical to this event. And there was nothing I could do to lessen the pain by thinking about it or rationalizing it away. I simply had to feel it.

These were feelings that had been ‘festering’ inside of me for years, and I had been avoiding feeling by protecting and surrounding the heart with critical thinking and judgement.

It was time to let it go. I fell into bed, and sobbed uncontrollably.

It went on for 3 days; I went through despair and heart-felt pain like I had never experienced before.

Even so, I knew that a great healing was taking place, and that this was a gift.

And for the first time I understood the saying by the wonderful mystic Rumi:

“Out beyond all ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing there is a field – I’ll meet you there”.

So, next time you find yourself caught in a “I’m right, you’re wrong” scenario, and you want to move beyond it to find the jewel in the treasure chest of the situation, ask yourself one of two questions:

  1. What feelings am I avoiding feeling by staying in the right-wrong story in my head?
  2. What do I feel if I cut off the story that is going in inside my head that is associated with me being right, and I just allow myself to feel the pure energy of this emotion?

And then give yourself permission to FEEL whatever it is that is wanting to be felt, let go of and healed.

When we learn to let go of our perspective and transcend right and wrong, (even if we know we were so-called ‘right’), we take ourselves to a bigger perspective where we see that everything that happens is there to help us evolve into a better and bigger person.

From a health perspective, the pain that had been inside my heart, blocking my cells, was gone forever, freeing up my ability to be more compassionate and loving towards both myself and others. Even though it was emotionally excruciatingly painful at the time, I am eternally grateful for the lesson. (Thanks V, you know who you are!).

Kim Knight – The Art of Health

It’s an art to keep yourself healthy!

For more information see www.kimknighthealth.com

Why symptoms and pain may be a good thing

By Kim Knight, Director of the Art of Health, Auckland, New Zealand

While most people would agree it’s not pleasant, and sometimes even excruciating, to experience mental, emotional or physical pain, the fact is that the symptoms often serve a purpose. This is most definitely the case for sufferers of conditions such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, insomnia, anxiety, irritable bowel and stress.

So, really, symptoms may be a good thing? That will sound like a crazy thing to hear for some people, because it does require a radical shift of perspective. You know that symptoms of chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia are uncomfortable and inconvenient, often to the point of completely disrupting your life. However, the truth is symptoms are your body’s way of communicating to you. In other words, they are trying to tell you something.

The question is, do you know what they are trying to tell you? For most people with these conditions, the answer is usually no. They don’t have a clue. And if they did know, their body would not be needing to send them symptoms in the first place. Catch 22.

So this begs the question, how do you become aware of what it is that is going on inside your body so that you can actually understand the meaning of the exhaustion or pain? In other words, how do you become aware of what it is you are not aware of? Hmm…tricky..We know we need to become aware of something, but we’re not aware of what it is we’re not aware of.

So, to start with you begin to see symptoms in a different light. Instead of seeing them as ‘baddies’ that have to be ‘gotten rid of  or eradicated’ as quickly as possible, you can say to yourself, ‘Oh, I have a symptom again – that means my body is trying to tell me something”. The first step in healing is ALWAYS to acknowledge how things actually are, rather than try to make them different. You cannot get from Auckland to Wellington if you don’t know you’re in Auckland when looking at a map of New Zealand.

As you begin to increase your awareness of what is going on between your mind and body, you start to ask yourself what is it your body has been trying to communicate to you about how it feels about what is going on in your life. In other words, you start to notice how you feel rather than what you think.

Unfortunately in our society, years of training go into developing our intellect, and whilst there is nothing wrong with this, it is not the only intelligence in your body. You also have other intelligences, such as gut feelings, intuition, practical intelligence and more. So what is being required for you if you have developed symptoms of chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, anxiety, stress etc is to start developing your emotional intelligence. Yes, you are going to have to start feeling.

As you start to investigate yourself and become more aware at a mind-body level, what will be revealed are the behaviours and habits you have set up during your life which it turns out are not particularly beneficial. These include things like putting everyone else first, ignoring your feelings, being a perfectionist, working too hard, driving yourself into the ground, seeking approval, putting yourself down and more.

What is important at this stage of becoming aware of your habits, is not to start judging yourself as bad or wrong. There were very good reasons for these behaviours being set in place, and at the time you were only doing your best. So, let yourself off the hook and give yourself a break. It’s OK! YOU are OK.

It will become apparent that how you live your life has an impact at a physical level, ie, it does affect what goes on inside your body at a physiological level. In other words, everything that happens in your life has an impact at a cellular level, and since your body (organism) is just a group of cells, organs and tissues, this will affect the functioning of every body system. Whether it be digestion, elimination, breathing, heart function, nerves, immunity, how you live your life is written in your body. Hence, these patterns and behaviours will, if continued long enough, lead to a state of ‘dis-ease’ in the body, which then means your body will start to send you symptoms.

Once you start listening to your body and what it is trying to tell you via your symptoms, your body will no longer need to manifest those symptoms. Once you truly see this, you wonder how you could ever have missed it. It’s not rocket-science – it’s just about awareness. It’s actually very simple, although not always easy at first, and will require training and practice. The good news is, it will work! Go well.

Kim Knight – The Art of Health

It’s an art to keep yourself healthy!

+64 9 833 6553 /   +64 21 410 633

For more information see www.taohealth.co.nz and www.mickeltherapy.co.nz

More articles and tips on how to heal from Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Anxiety, Stress, Insomnia, Irritable Bowel and Depression

Healing – are you using the right tools for the job?

By Kim Knight, Director of the Art of Health, Auckland, New Zealand

If you want your body to stop sending symptoms, then make sure you have the right toolbox of techniques!

Yesterday I decided to take my wooden bedframe apart. The side and centre bars were secured to the bed head and -end with a nut and bolt system. Fishing around in my toolbox, I found an adjustable spanner and started to loosen the first bolt.

Frustration soon set in as it quickly became obvious that the bedmakers had left the bolting of it together to an after-thought. There simply was not enough room to get the spanner into the groove of wood. No matter how hard I tried, the spanner would not fit around the bolt.

The frustration and annoyance continued to build in my body as I realized that I was never going to undo the bolt with that particular spanner. As I sat there on my bedroom floor, the emotion turned to anger and then hopelessness, finally materializing into a mini-tantrum and “why does this always happen to me when there’s no-one around to help?”. Once the tears had subsided, I sat back to consider my options.

A thought popped into my head to see if there were any other spanners in my toolbox. Srummaging around I discovered a slimmer spanner which I then remembered had actually come with the bed, and I returned to the bedroom to give it a try. Voila! No Problem. The new spanner fitted perfectly inside the wooden grooves and within half an hour the job was done.

As this process had been occurring, I had also recognized the parallel this incident had in terms of finding the right tools for healing. If you are looking for ways to get well, you just have to have the right tools. No matter how hard you try or how strong your intention is, if you don’t have the right tools, you’re just not going to get the job done. And that leaves you feeling like you’re hitting your head against a brick wall, which of course is not a pleasant experience.

So how does that translate into finding the right tools to heal the chronic conditions of chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, stress and more – conditions that you may have been experiencing on for years?Because most people do not understand the underlying cause of these problems, they cannot find the right tool to deal with them. If you don’t know that the reason for your lights not working is because a fuse has blown, replacing the light bulb is not going to work.

Hence, sleeping more is not going to solve chronic fatigue, because it is not a lack of sleep that is causing the tiredness.

Telling yourself you will feel better and not to worry will not resolve uncomfortable emotions because feelings are not rational and can never be thought away.

Having weekly relaxation massages whilst maintaining workaholic habits will not reduce stress, because every time you go against your body’s innate needs, it aggrivates the state of stress inside your body.

The key then also understanding that it’s not the symptoms that are the problem. It’s what you are  doing which creates symptoms which is the problem. And until you work that out, the symptoms will keep coming, because they are just doing their job – they are telling you something is wrong and something needs to be done.

So I’m glad to say that Mickel Therapy provides a set of tools to get you well from chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, stress, anxiety and more. And not just one tool, but a whole complete toolset, all nicely packaged like one of those fancy sets you buy at the hardware store. Whether you are needing a screwdriver, hammer, drill or spanner, you will be given the perfect mix of tools to do the job. Enjoy your house maintenance!

More articles and tips on how to heal from Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Anxiety, Stress, Insomnia, Irritable Bowel and Depression

Kim Knight – The Art of Health

It’s an art to keep yourself healthy!

+64 9 833 6553 /   +64 21 410 633

For more information see www.taohealth.co.nz and www.mickeltherapy.co.nz