What is healing? Is it more than just symptom relief? How can we understand and trust the self-healing process? These important questions are at the heart of the work of therapists, coaches and those on a path towards health improvement and personal growth…
What is healing and when do we heal?
In society, there seems to be a lack of clarity about what healing is and how far it extends. In some cases, healing is accepted and trusted as a natural and inevitable process. For example, with wounds and fractures, we allow healing to occur without interfering too much. Sometimes this trust in the body’s healing mechanisms is extended to other conditions, such as insect stings, skin complaints, viral or bacterial infections or back pain. We accept the healing process, allowing the body to take time to rebalance and recover.
Yet with the majority of health issues, including heart problems, endocrine imbalances, diabetes and other chronic conditions, the label we impose upon symptoms changes from one of healing to one of illness. The body is seen as malfunctioning or making a mistake. Rather than looking to support self-healing, most people seek to suppress, minimise or change the unwanted symptoms.
META-Health offers us a fresh perspective on the healing process: one that is far more integrative, accepting of our natural healing mechanisms and essentially more empowering. By providing us with an understanding of stress and regeneration, the meaning behind symptoms, why we experience healing when we do, and how this connects to the bigger picture of our personal growth, we can begin to be in allowance of our healing.
How can we allow healing to take place?
Here are five key stages on the journey:
The first step is to take ourselves out of stress…
Stress comes into our lives in so many ways – work, relationships, environments, diet and pace of life to name a few! One of the problems is that we get used to being stuck in a chronically stressed state.
To add to the problem, when we’re in stress, we have plenty of energy, get lots done and rarely get ill. So it can feel good! We don’t really realise the toll it’s taking on our bodies until it becomes too much. We eventually crash because the body has to rebalance. We experience the symptoms of this rebalancing, and have to take time out to heal. It’s easy then to blame the body for ‘letting us down’ – but the reality is that the problem is not the body’s weakness but the preceding stress we’d put ourselves under.
We can take actions to change this pattern by consciously becoming aware of what stresses us and the deeper patterns leading to this. Our article on the Top 10 Stressors covers a few common examples! Once we’re aware of our key stressors, we can address them in three ways:
- Making real-life changes to reduce our stress levels, such as delegating, building in extra time to get to places or complete tasks and interacting differently with people we struggle with
- Addressing the underlying causes – changing the thought patterns and beliefs that cause us to react to stress triggers through therapy and coaching
- Taking time to detoxify, relax and release stress. There are many therapeutic and self-help methods available for stress reduction – popular methods include meditation, yoga, breathwork, mindfulness, EFT and simply taking a rest or getting out into nature.
When we do release our stressors, the body is able to enter into the regeneration and rebalancing phase. It’s in this phase that we experience many of the symptoms that we’ve labelled as illness. Of course, this is why we often get ill on holiday! So the next step is to accept and allow symptoms to come up. This requires conscious choice, and equally important, trust…
The second step is to trust the body…
In many health systems, even those that are classified as complementary or alternative health approaches, symptoms are seen as an error of the body; a sign that something has ‘gone wrong’. META-Health reveals how the opposite is true: symptoms are actually part of a bio-logically meaningful reaction to specific stressors. Far from being random or wrong, our symptoms are highly specialised bio-logical coping mechanisms.
For example, the epidermis (the outer skin) reacts when we feel separated from loved ones, while the dermis (the deeper, inner skin) reacts when we feel attacked. This is because of the biological functions of these organs: the outer skin is a sensory organ that enables us to feel our connection with others in our environment, while the inner skin is a protective layer.
This means that the symptoms we experience are never random, but are intrinsically connected with our thoughts, feelings, behaviour and reactions to our life experiences. META-Health enables us to understand this bio-logical meaning, uncovering exactly why we have symptoms, when we have them – and this goes a long way in reducing our fear of them.
The third step is to understand the healing cycle…
META-Health also explains where specific symptoms occur within the healing cycle. Some symptoms occur in the Stress Phase, when we are under pressure and emotional strain. Many symptoms occur during the Regeneration Phase, when we have mentally and emotionally let go, as part of the body’s rebalancing process.
META-Health Practitioners and Coaches are trained to help clients determine which phase a client’s symptoms are in and why. We uncover why the symptom is there, which events led to it, and even sometimes how long it will last. Having this understanding often helps us to let go of fighting ourselves and accept the healing process!
Taking time to rest when we’re in the Regeneration Phase is especially important. Yet this is one of the things we resist the most! Many of us hold beliefs that resting is lazy or bad, or that other things are more important. Trying to keep going when all the body wants to do is rest and heal is actually counter-productive – the more we try to block it, the longer it takes to complete the healing cycle!
Along with rest, there are actions we can choose to support the healing cycle.
The fourth step is to support self-healing…
There’s a difference between healing and treatment. Whereas treatment originates from outside of oneself, healing comes from within. This means that all healing is self-healing. This perspective returns ownership, responsibility and power to the client: the ‘healee’ is also the ‘healer’, while the Practitioner’s role is to facilitate and support the self-healing response.
As META-Health Practitioners and Coaches, part of our role as facilitator is to help clients identify and choose actions and therapeutic treatments that support the self-healing process, and change the actions and situations that hinder regeneration by putting us back into stress. One of our methods for achieving this is through creating a META-Therapy Plan – you can learn how to do this is our article here.
The fifth step is to heal the whole…
If we look at the dictionary definitions of healing, they don’t centre on removing symptoms, but rather restoring or being restored to health. Healing is a journey to becoming whole again.
Becoming whole is an emotional, mental, spiritual and social journey as well as a physical one. If we can allow and support healing to take place at all these levels, not only does this help us to release issues, it also helps us to move closer to our true selves and our highest potential. We become happier, more peaceful and more accepting of ourselves.
To find out more about META-Health and the natural healing process, and begin to use this transformational awareness in your own life and to help others, we recommend joining the META-Health Foundation Weekend. If you’d like to discover the meaning behind your own symptoms or how to align more fully with your true self, we offer personal Awareness Consultations over Skype or phone.