I visited my exercise therapist today. Yes it’s a thing and if you have M.E or other forms of unexplained fatigue you get to find out what one of these can do.
It’s been a revelation. Something I initially resisted but have embraced. It sounded like it would be something akin to school gym. Jumping jacks and running on the spot. Thankfully it’s a lot more compassionate and gentle.
I think exercise therapy is a working title for something that is much more powerful, focused on the relationship we have with our body and how to improve it. In fact its something approaching a holistic approach to health and well-being. The NHS exploring the Mind-Body link.
When I look back at the messages I smile to myself and wonder how I missed the glaringly obvious. Mind. Body. Spirit. Those words have been everywhere – websites, sections of bookshops, festivals and even names of shops but until you are ready to receive the words can float by untethered. When you are ready those words have power.
They are linked, in a triangle of energy, in balance and harmony.
Far too often the body gets bottom billing in favour of the mind and its messages are shut out. I think this has been especially true for me and even in the early days of following a spiritual path I most likely made it worse.
For someone who lives in or above my head and a Piscean dreamworld its very appealing to indulge in practices that take me out to edges of the universe. Who would want to live here when you can take a journey in your head anywhere anytime? It’s like your own personal sci-feature.
But what I hadn’t appreciated is my body gets left behind and without a healthy link with both Mind and Spirit it can get neglected. And pushed. And strained. And ultimately exhausted till eventually it takes over and makes me Stop.
This has been my M.E journey. If Mind, Body and Spirit are happily connected I am at ease. If I start to become lost in the ether? Dis-ease.
So I’m very thankful to have found exercise therapy. Not only has it helped me develop a more positive relationship with my body but it’s played a essential part in setting me on my journey to opening the shop.
Not too shabby NHS. Not too shabby at all.
*NB I am going to caveat this post should anyone read this with M.E. This collection of symptoms we have affects us differently. I can only share my experience with the condition and how various techniques and tools have been useful. Unfortunately whilst in the UK we do have the blessing of a National Health Service for some people their experience has not been positive. In fact in previous relapse I also had some difficult experiences with GPs and hospitals. Some horrendous experiences.
But there are some helpful people out there who want to help us get better. And this gives me hope.
Addendum: Seven years later (August 2021)
This post makes me very uncomfortable especially as some weeks later I was much more skeptical about the whole thing which I haven’t documented here. I think in the case of my experience with GET and how useful I found it that was down to the I was character of the therapist assigned to me as she was willing to work with me as I was not how GET wanted me to be. She did push as I am sure she was instructed to do but apart from one incident where I did more than I should I stayed steady at my acceptable energy levels.
As for the Mind, Body, Spirit connection, I still very much follow that in terms of meditation, working with my body holistically in terms of complementary therapies and good nutrition but experience (and further relapses) has taught me that none of these therapies are a cure for M.E not do they effectively treat the symptoms and in many cases with people with M.E certain exercise therapies and complementary therapies, that push the patient to believe their disease is not real or can be fixed by the mind, have been proven to be dangerous.
And the NHS? I am less idealistic and more realistic now about therapies that push the onus onto patients rather than providing real treatment or bio-medical research. Complementary therapy does have a place in the provision of health and care but only as a companion to not instead of and only for relief and management of systems not as a cure.