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

From victim to self-mastery

By Kim Knight, The Art of Health, Auckland, New Zealand

‘Become your own Master’
Paramahamsa Prajnanananda, Head of the Kriya Yoga Institute

One of the things I have noticed working with chronic fatigue clients over the last 4 years are a number of across-the-board similarities. The one I’d like to talk about today is the concept of victimhood.

In every case I have met, there is to some degree or other a level of dis-empowerment – or victimhood. Now I know that being called a ‘victim’ is not particularly endearing, but the fact remains it’s true. And I include myself in these statistics, obviously, as a recoverer of chronic fatigue.

So what is this dis-empowerment issue? It seems to run very deep, and often subconsciously. Many years ago I became aware that I was what one could call a ‘covert martyr’ – as opposed to the overt type who are quite obvious in their cries for attention. The covert martyr often ‘soldiers on’ with their life, trying to get ahead but constantly being held back by a deep level of inner dis-empowerment and ‘poor me’ mentality. This weakness usually stems from childhood as a result of circumstances such as over-bearing caregivers, being bullied, physical or emotional abuse, feeling unsupported and much more.

For whatever reason (and there are countless reasons) the child grows up feeling weak and unsupported emotionally, which translates into not being able to support and stand up for them self. People with chronic fatigue often allow other’s needs to supersede their own, can’t say no, put work and other people before themselves, and generally feel ‘less than’ anyone else. The feelings of inner loss of power translate into self-defeating behaviour, spiralling down into feelings of despair, hopelessness and depression. And all the while there is still not a recognition of the intense state of victimhood inside.

So what is the solution? Well, as always, to first identify and acknowledge how things are. Recognize and accept that this is how it is. It does not make you a bad person, it just means there are dis-empowerment issues which need to be addressed. As good ol’ Dr Phil says ‘You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge’.

Then start to notice the feelings of dis-empowerment. Notice when you start behaving like a victim. And start to notice what it feels like when you act like a victim. Slowly you will start  to recognize that actually it does not feel good at all! Whereas in the past, when the initial behaviour was set up, we felt better by playing the victim, we start to notice that our body does not feel good at all when we play ‘poor me’. And when this happens, ask yourself how you can do it differently. And start doing it differently!

I’ll give you an example. A few years ago when I was on a sickness benefit with chronic fatigue, I went overseas for more than a month which meant my benefit was stopped. On returning I could have re-applied and technically was still able to. However, as I contemplated going back on the benefit, I could feel how heavy and uninspired my body felt at the thought of doing that. So I tuned in and asked myself how my body (not my head) would feel if I didn’t go back on a benefit. And it felt completely different – much lighter and happier. So I decided to listen to my body intelligence (and that’s what Mickel Therapy is all about – listening to your body not your mind) and decided to take a huge risk and not re-apply for benefit.

Was it scary? You bet! Terrifying. But was it the right thing? You bet. And here’s the thing: once we commit to a decision which is life-supporting, life will support us. There is no doubt about that. It doesn’t mean things will be easy, as we will still have to work on those old patterns and beliefs which we have lived with for so long. But slowly, slowly (and sometimes faster than that) things will change. And as we move towards self-mastery, life will get better and better, you will find yourself feeling stronger and stronger, and being a victim will become a thing of the past.

I wish you well on your journey! We are all born to become our own masters.

Does Mickel Therapy work? Well, are you working your Mickel Therapy?

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

As a therapist, it is my deep desire and goal to see clients well. There is nothing I enjoy more than hearing a client report back at a session that they no longer experience x,y,z symptom, or that that are doing activities again they haven’t done for years, or saying they have no symptoms at all and no longer need treatment.

However, I also know what is required to get to this place. Over the last 3 years I have seen certain patterns in recovery from chronic fatigue, stress, fribomyalgia etc, and it is clear that there are certain pre-requisites for clients to make progress with Mickel Therapy. So, here they are:

Rome was not built in a day

Let’s face it, we have spent years training ourselves into non-beneficial habits and patterns. It takes time, patience, persistance and understanding to change this, and we need guidance to do so. Even if you are well in only 2 sessions, which does happen for people, it’s important to at least commit mentally to a minimum number of sessions when you start Mickel Therapy.

Rome was not built in a day, and your understanding of yourself and habits are not going to change in one session. It’s time to get some perspective and see that healing is about change, evolution and transformation. In order to become proficient using the Mickel Therapy tools, of which there are several, you will need more than one session to get a good handle on them.

Regularity of sessions

I cannot overstress this. Clients who come  in 7 to 10 day intervals between sessions keep on track with using their tools and understanding what does and doesn’t work. What I find with clients who space their sessions out too far go off course, think it’s not working, and then give up. Then they say Mickel Therapy doesn’t work, which is not true. It may be more accurate to say they are not working Mickel Therapy.

Set aside scepticism and rationalization

One of the main reasons people find themselves with symptoms of stress or chronic fatigue etc is that they have been living from their head. In other words, what got you into this place in the first place was your rational thinking. And as those of you who undergo Mickel Therapy know, one of the main lessons you learn is to start working with your body wisdom and intelligence.

So at some point we have to start to conemplating the possibility that our head does not have all the answers, and that maybe we are going to have to do things differently in order to get a different result. Hence the saying ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result’. So maybe sanity is learning to do things differently, and maybe you’ll get a different result.

Commit to put the Mickel Therapy tools into practice

As Dr Mickel often says, you prove to yourself that Mickel Therapy works by implementing the tools. There is a reason for these tools, they have proven again and again that they work, so use them! So when the rational mind comes in and says ‘not today’ or ‘it won’t make any difference’, put them into practice anyway.

Give it a go. What have you got to lose? You have everything (your health, your life) to gain. I realize that sometimes this is not easy, but persistance will pay off. It’s a bit like learning to walk – would you be walking if the first day you tried and fell over you never got up again. Of course not!

Keep using the tools even when you think you no longer need them

One of the traps for people as they recover is that they think (notice the word think as opposed to feel) they no longer need to use the tools because they are feeling better.

However, it’s a bit like learning to drive a car. Yes, you may well be able to drive down the road after driving for a few weeks, but is the habit of driving really engrained by that stage? No. Normally we need lots more practice until it becomes second nature. So, keep using the tools, they can be used by anyone, anytime, ill, or well.

So, I hope this helps and encourages you to move forward with your Mickel Therapy and use of the tools. I wish you great health!

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