Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Healer Within (Part 2)

The four methods for healing that Dr. Roger Jahnke writes about in his book, The Healer Within, are: movement, massage, meditation, and breathing. It's not possible to describe each here, but if you check out The Healer Within website, you should find all the information you need.

Yesterday, Marja asked whether Dr. Jahnke talks about helping others, and he certainly does. In fact he talks about a weekly community-wide healing session where people share their personal practices with others.

He writes: "If each person were to embrace the simple ideals and tools we have explored her, our world would be a dramatically different place. When each person does the small job of taking care of him or herself, the big job of taking care of everyone is automatically complete.

"Some of you will become so enthusiastic about these possibilities for personal and community healing that your activities will overflow into service. As Albert Schweitzer said, 'To work for the common good is the greatest creed.'"

I find Dr. Jahnke's thesis to be a sound one. He provides a lot of very simple exercises that have been proven to be effective for healing. He gives examples of how you can integrate them into your days--by making small changes in your life. For example, you can take a deep breathe when you are sitting at a stoplight. You can massage your scalp vigorously when you shampoo your hair. You can take a daily walk and do the "in-out breathing."

His recommendations are easy to do, and they have been shown to be very effective. Dr. Jahnke believes that each ones of us needs to be responsible for our own health. He thinks it's a disservice to believe that our doctors can heal us without our participation. If we believe we can heal ourselves, and we use the power of our bodies and minds to make it happen, it truly will happen.

That is the path I have already taken, and it is working for me. While it was impossible for me to believe I could heal myself when I was so sick, now that I'm well I know it's true. While my methods and Dr. Jahnke's are slightly different, there are many similarities. For months now, I have been involved with breathing, movement, and meditation (my own variety). Today, I added self-massage to the mix.

Like Dr. Jahnke, I believe it's important to "activate the healer within" many times during the day. For years, I developed wellness activities, but I didn't truly believe that they could make me well. I was always looking for the next drug that might help me or trying to find a doctor who could heal me.

When I finally realized that I needed to depend upon myself, my depressions began to diminish.
When I realized that all my adjunctive wellness activities were the basis for a wellness program, I began feeling well.

What do you do to heal yourself? What are your daily wellness activities? If you're well, to what do you attribute your wellness?


Gianna said...

I was taking private Qi Gong classes for a while during the time I was extremely ill. I couldn't do the movement most of the time because I couldn't even stand up.

My teacher taught me self-massage instead in a seated or laying down position, which she learned as part of the entire Qi Gong system while she lived in China for 3 years.

Self-massage, she told me, is one-third of Qi Gong, but they don't usually teach it here in the US.

For those who don't know what Qi Gong is, it's an ancient Chinese "internal martial art"---it's not intended for fighting---it's very slow meditative healing movement...

anyway I loved doing the self-massage...did lots of stuff with my face and feet. I always felt better when I left there. I will have to start doing what I learned again.

katie said...

After reading your Part 1 of Dr. Jahnke's books I felt it was definately one I needed to read, it reinforces those activities that I'm doing now and will introduce some new ones. Simple things that I can do for myself are exactly what I'm incorporating into my life. Unfortunately my library didn't have it (I always try to borrow a copy instead of buying if possible) but I did purchase a copy. And I plan on taking my copy in to my library and making a request for one there so others can borrow it. I haven't checked out The Healer Within website yet, but I will today.

Some of my daily wellness activities: taking a couple deep breaths periodically, walking meditation outside in nature, painting or doing some other creative activity, massaging my calves and feet (and sometimes soaking them in warm water and epsom salts infused with natural fragrance, making a mental list of any and all things I am grateful for (once I start this process, it feels endless and I immediately feel better), writing a note, making a call, or sending off a gift to a friend, savoring an afternoon cup of green tea, stretching out for a 10-15 minute rest mid-afternoon, sitting on the porch in the evening - listening to the birds sing their last song of the day.

Thanks for another wonderful post, Susan. Reading it, and then writing down all the things I practice helps reinforce how I want to live out this day.

Wellness Writer said...

Thanks for your explanation of Qi Gong, and for letting us know your experience. Yes, I, too , find that there are exercises, which make me feel better, although I sometimes forget to do them.

Dr. Jahnke suggests that we do our primary wellness routine at the same time each day so that we begin incorporating it into our lives.

He recommends that we do elements of it--breathing at a stop signal, massaging our ears when we on the telephone--continuously throughout the day to activate the "healer within."


Gianna said...

ahhh yes the ears...magical to massage!!

I couldn't believe how relaxing it was...

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Katie,
Thanks so much for letting us know all you do during your day to achieve wellness.

Sometimes, I think we also feel better when we learn about what others are doing. While I live in Los Angeles and can't hear the birds' last song of the evening, I can still sit outside on my porch and think about the fact that you, Annie, Gianna, Jazz, Danielle, and possibly others as well can hear the birds in different parts of the country.

Dr. Jahnke says that doing things in a community contributes to our wellness. I believe that even applies to a "virtual community" where we use our imagination to think about the wellness activities the people we know are doing.

P.S. That's very nice that you've bought the book and are recommending that your library carry it.

Wellness Writer said...

Magical ears...hmm! Guess I'll have to try it.


Gianna said...

massaging the whole ear, then pulling gently on the earlobes...


ha! people probably think I'm nuts...

but you got me thinking I'm definitely going to start up again...

thanks so much for the reminder!!

art and beautiful junk said...

I have been sick for over a year now and nothing can be found to cure. After huge bills for nothing, I ran across your site and now this. I will be getting the book and I am making a commitment to heal myself now.
I used to do this stuff all the time but my life changed and I forgot about me.Then I fell apart. Thank you for your site. I originally clicked it to help my daughter but like so much in life it was me who needed it.
Thank you

Jazz said...

Great post! I need to hunt down this book. I feel a bookstore trip coming on...

My wellness activities include yoga and meditation, exercise (dancing is my thing at the moment!), journaling, creative work (quilting, drawing, making music, whatever takes my fancy), eating healthy most of the time, and making sure I get enough sleep.

I attribute my current state of wellness to the fact that I followed my gut feeling that the bipolar meds were doing me more harm than good, and took my health into my own hands.

I love listening to the birds, too! The nights when it's cool and dry enough to have the windows open, I am awakened by the Dawn Chorus! It's a lovely sound to wake up to.

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Nancye,
I'm glad you found my site as well. In the past, I've needed a stimulant to end the depression, and I must admit that I've never gotten out of one by just using my wellness methods.

However, all the studies show that exercise can resolve depressive episodes in the same eight weeks it takes antidepressants to kick in.

And I do know that I can stave off a depressive episode using these techniques. All my best.


Wellness Writer said...

I'll have to try your ear massaging techniques! Sounds good.


Canopy Above said...

Hi there.
I recently wrote a book on all the simple little things I do to support me through a depressed phase. It was based on soothing the senses. Little things like if I'm going to spend the day in bed, there's a huge difference between hiding under the covers to making a hot drink, grabbing a magazine, opening the bedroom window, pulling the curtain open a bit to connect to the outsode world, straightening the blankets, and then diving in for some restorative solitude.

ps. I've sent you an invite to my blog, it is set to private to give me peace of mind.