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Deciding if an approach is structural or not

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by danielle, Jun 8, 2012.

  1. danielle

    danielle Peer Supporter

    Hi Steve O. and anyone else who wants to chime in,

    Steve, I am reading your book and loving it. Your having gone through so much excruciating pain and finding your way out of it is such a blessing to the rest of us! :) I'm on the part now about where you gave up physical practices to help your back and reading some gem quotes in there, such as "As long as he (the sufferer) is in any way preoccupied by what his body is doing, the pain will continue" (Sarno, HBP).

    I have been attached to a Feldenkrais-related modality called the Anat Baniel Method, even done some training in it. I need to decide already whether to let it go. Professionally it has cool applications to healing brain injuries (this aspect of it is not placebo work), but it is also widely used for treating pain issues, which is where the possible danger comes in with me.

    It is not the same as physical therapy because it does not teach "right positions" or "right alignment" but rather improving (mind-body) connections in the brain and calming down the nervous system. I feel that this second aspect gives me the most pain relief — the calming of the nervous system when even just a few minutes of this work can pull me down from a fight-or-flight state into the relaxation response. So for that reason I argue to myself that it isn't really a "structural" approach. But on the other hand, it does involve a lot of body awareness, movement sequences, noting connections between different parts, and learning new ways to move that don't cause pain (and not specifically addressing emotions), so then I argue to myself that maybe it really is too structural to do and still heal TMS. And finally, it's pretty common that I will get some good relief from it but it will only last minutes or hours or sometimes a couple days...but never has cured anything, and I've been playing with it for years. In fact the relief and bliss I sometimes get...can make the pain seem worse when it snaps back into full force. Hasn't seemed to touch the underlying TMS mechanism. But still I have this notion that it could be healthy for me.

    Also in practicing this work on others, and other types of body work that I've learned, I have an ability to make people feel reallly good. That is something sort of irresistible as a people pleaser, though it is enraging at the same time. So there are different layers going on, personally & professionally. But I wanna do what it takes to heal!!!

    So I am thinking there are still some conflicts in my approach to TMS healing that are slowing me down. (The conflict itself ties me up in knots, kind of ironic.) I thought I would expose this particular one and see what response I get. Thank you soooooo much.
    Livvygurl likes this.
  2. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Hi Danielle,

    I'm not familiar with Anat Baniel Method, but I can relate to your concerns. I'm a Reiki practitioner/teacher-- Reiki is a healing technique for relaxation and spiritual healing, but I have a lot of colleagues and clients who are body workers and who are more in the physical/structural realm of healing.

    Like you said, some of these structural healing techniques can really help people with other non-TMS issues (you mentioned people with brain injury). I just wonder if these kind of modalities are going to be too loaded for me as someone who has TMS. As I work more and more on TMS, I've cut WAY back on massage. I used to go every week for structural work on what was supposedly wrong with my upper back. Now I just go every 4 or 5 weeks for a more general/relaxation type massage. But I wonder why I am still going at all. I think it is because the massage therapist is my friend (we were friends before I became her client) and I like seeing her and the overal support of massage. I feel like I need to let go of it though and just go on an as-needed basis. I'm actually seeing her tonight and will tell her this, so your post really got me thinking about how I will talk about this concern. I've also been going for acupuncture, originally for headaches, now more for helping to release stuck emotions. I think it helps but I'm also weaning off that and moving toward just working with my therapist, doing Reiki on myself, and meditating.

    When I saw my TMS doctor in February I asked him when I should let go of physical treatments like massage. He mentioned not to do anything that reinforced there being something structurally wrong with me, but that I didn't have to give up everything all at once, I'd just probably find myself slowly letting go of these modalities as time went on. That's what has been happening--I'm slowly letting go of things that aren't serving me anymore.

    I share your concern about doing things that require a lot of precision in movement--I did yoga long before I had TMS but I find myself hesitant to go back to it, worried that it will make me focus too much on my alignment. I try to remember I did it initally to be more flexible, relaxed, and as part of my spiritual path. I think eventually I will be able to go back to yoga for all of those reasons, but for now it feels right to just do regular cardio at the gym or walking.

    A few things here...one is why you are drawn to doing healing work. I think it is normal to want to help people, but are you deriving your own self-esteem from this? I find it helpful to think of myself as the vessel through which healing comes to people rather than me doing something to them that causes healing. I don't know if that makes sense...

    I think bodywork and other healing modalities are very helpful in a lot of ways--some people have issues that are not TMS and that benefit from these modalities. And some of these modalities help with overall wellness and relaxation that are good for everyone, including people with TMS.

    I would say 90% of my Reiki clients came to Reiki for anxiety related issues but maybe 10% have some other issue like chronic pain. I'm not qualified to diagnose people but I have seen a lot of people who I bet do have TMS...I sometimes mention Dr. Sarno's books to them and I've referred a few of them to my TMS doctor, but just like you and me they are really on their own with whether and how they work on TMS. Maybe eventually you will be able to share your own TMS experiences with some of your clients if it seems appropriate and helpful for them? I personally think of TMS as a HUGE life lesson and a big part of my spiritual path (not get all woo woo ;) )

    But getting back to your question...maybe take a break from your practice of Anat Baniel for a while and see what happens? Maybe it was a tool that was serving you before and you don't need it right now?

    :) Veronica
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  3. danielle

    danielle Peer Supporter

    That's what I'm kind of confused about, it is not bodywork. It doesn't focus on the structure but on increasing awareness and differentiation of the parts and creating new neural connections to relate the structure to itself/the different parts better so things function better. But like you said, there is this precision of movement that could be 'loaded' to us TMS-ers (even though it is the slowness of the movement that for me calms down my nervous system).

    Yeah I can't really get massage...most of the time I find myself angry that the body is being worked on and not the thoughts & emotions and end up tensing up even more, basically wasting my time and money! I weaned off acupuncture recently. It is hard when we have relationships with these people too and don't want to quit like we are doing them a favor and they are counting on us or something. I'm in therapy too and meditating. Sometimes I think I want to quit absolutely everything besides those two.

    Thanks for that perspective.

    I can really relate to what you are saying here. I sometimes do yoga and have also taught it (used to do a LOT of yoga). There is a spiritual, relaxation, peaceful side for me but also that goes along with some structural stuff so it's hard to separate out. I love it but when I do it and feel better, I worry about focusing on the structure too much.

    I recently went through a big transition in my life (change of work, living, relationships, etc.) and there was a chance to start over with a new career. I had always gotten feedback that i was very good at bodywork and energy work type of stuff, and i used to study some of it in the past. So I thought why not, maybe better for me than working on a computer (which I do now). But after I got going in a couple trainings, I learned about Sarno. Then i started to wonder whether i should quit all that, but already i'd started to build a new identity around healing work (oh no!!!). Some of what I'm interested in doing has an emotional component to it (working with how emotions/stories are held in the body) so maybe that type of stuff is OK. (I know part of my problem is being a perfectionist and wanting to get everything right though, this stuff included!)

    I also know that being good at making people feel good is a draw for my low self-esteem. And that this is not a viable reason to do healing work. The reality is, whenever someone has a great experience, I don't feel like it was my responsibility but i was just helping to create the conditions. But I still want them to like me, worry what they think about me, worry about being rejected, etc. etc. It definitely brings up a lot.

    One question that comes up repeatedly for me is, can i help people in a way that helps them if it is something that isn't helping me? (like if i really need to avoid all bodywork for a while, can i be healthy and do bodywork on others?)

    Yes I'd LOVE to help people with TMS one day when I've overcome it. I agree, it is a big part of my path too, showing me so many stuck, unconscious places, and opportunities for freedom.

    I'd love to, but then I have to wait another 2 years to finish the training. I think I am all caught up in confusion about healing myself versus professional trainings. I think I set myself up in a complicated situation!!! Thanks for letting me go through this out loud.

    Thanks a lot for taking the time to respond. Sorry it took me a while to get back to you but it was really great hearing from you. Sounds like we have some things in common!

  4. Livvygurl

    Livvygurl Well known member

    I think you both covered a lot in your posts. I have been thinking about similar issues. I go to a Network Chiropractor, who does gentle energy bodywork, not hard manipulations. I feel that the bodywork fine tunes and adds to my healing journey along with my reading and posting board interactions. Network is very mind-body related, and although Dr. Sarno says, "No alternative treatments", I wonder how much he knows about the other mind-body treatments that may be complimentary to his work. I get the feeling that his research is more based on proving how the medical profession is inaccurate, and that his specialty is focusing on the psychology of getting patients to believe in his work, as that creates a nice platform for the healing climate. It seemed that he stopped using physical therapists to drive home the idea that the problem is of a psychological nature and not a physical one. And this makes sense for some clients as it may help them concretize the concept. I see myself as a long time student of mind-body concepts and believe that the marriage of appropriate healing modalities along with the teachings of Dr. Sarno are a recipe for success! Experimentation is the way to discovery ;)
    danielle, Beach-Girl and JanAtheCPA like this.
  5. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    What a GREAT discussion this is! So many things to think about.

    I spent a lot of money for almost a year, until last September, by seeing an MD who did cranio-sacral work. When I confronted him with the progress I made in just three or four weeks after discovering Dr. Sarno, he claimed that he knew all about Sarno and agreed with TMS theory, and that's what he was trying to work on with me. Huh??? Somehow without giving me any of the book titles? He's one of the many health practitioners I no longer see. Anyway - I was reminded of that in your discussion, but honestly, I don't know how it really fits in. I really like how both of you describe your work as incorporating mind-body connections, because that IS what it's all about, and Veronica, I love that you tell your clients about Dr. Sarno, because everyone is different, and we need to have access to all of the different ways to access the mind-body connection in order to find our way to health. There is no one-size-fits-all in this journey. I like what Livvygurl had to say about this, too - I think there's a lot of validity to incorporating these alternative modalities.

    As for yoga - I think everyone should be doing it! At age 61, I'm happy to say that my personal trainer is impressed by my balance and awareness of my core, and that came from practicing yoga - and not a lot of yoga, and not for all that many years, so you don't have to be hard-core, and you can start anytime. She says I have better balance than a lot of her younger clients, and I broke a hip in 2008 in a bike crash, and my worst TMS symptom a year ago was light-headedness/dizziness. Yoga. Great stuff. Keeps you flexible, which you will really appreciate when you get to my age :D

    Keep up the great work and the great talk,

    danielle likes this.
  6. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Probably, because those people might not have TMS and have the same concerns that you or I have. But is doing that kind of work triggering for you? I was working at a health fair a few weeks ago with another Reiki colleague and we were right across from a Feldenkrais practitioner who told someone, well even if you don't have pain now, you will with that posture. NOOOOO!!! So if I had to work with that guy all day I'd go nuts!

    Yes, I am the same way. I think for some people acupuncture = physical treatment = reinforcing idea there is something wrong but for me see it as being something that treats the whole person, including emotions, kind of like an adjunct to psychotherapy. Still I'm going to let it go soon, I think I get more out of doing Reiki on myself.

    Jan is right, yoga is great--and it's not just asana but breathing, meditation, philosophy of non-violence, etc.
    danielle likes this.
  7. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    Hi all:

    The way I got into TMS was by seeing a "miracle worker" acupuncturist. I mean he really is. He helped a friend back to almost full strength after a stroke in just two weeks. He's Chinese and somewhat psychic. He told me not to come back! He said "too far to drive....you have perfectly healthy back" which of course made me mad at first, but I didn't go back and found TMS instead. He's right. There's nothing structurally wrong with me.


    Don't know whether this will help or not, but I'm a professional animal communicator. My main clients are those who have animals who are readying for spirit, or in spirit. My mantra is "do no harm" as this is a tough time for the human - not the animals. I've learned and done this work professionally WHILE having TMS for almost 12 years. I think you need to follow your heart. Do what you think is going to fulfill you and if you're good? You'll have clients and can learn to separate "you" from "the work". I have. I can't let some things get to me. I must move on to the next client. I remove myself emotionally from my clients after I've worked with them so that I don't take it on. I've had some real tough cases too.

    Hope that helps a bit.

    danielle likes this.

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