This coming from a fairly strong catholic.
But just how far away is the "metaphysical" from what my belief system holds?
Aren't there proven health benefits to some of the "therapies" ?
I decided to tackle this topic today. (I am actually quite excited about this one!!) Just so you know, I have been studying the "metaphysical" since I was 10 years old. It started with my mother, and her zany spell books. I know you might be wondering what in the world am I talking about? But I suppose my mother has always dabbled in such things. She reads "cards", has an acute sensitivity to the paranormal. You can laugh or scoff - it is her reality and I will leave it at that. Needless to say, as a child - I was intrigued. I thought it was a very different way of viewing the "world." I at least understood that.
Then as a teenager, I was able to read many books on the subject. I bought myself an excellent book at 16 - Shakti Gawain's Creative Visualization. I am going to put this out there - and if you know me, I am the most straight forward, tsk tsker you will ever meet. However, there is definitely SOMETHING to this technique.
This book, which helped launch a movement, has been successfully used in the fields of health, education, business, sports, and creative arts for many years. Gawain explains how to use mental imagery and affirmations to produce positive changes in one’s life. The book contains meditations and exercises that are aimed at helping the practitioner channel energies in good directions, strengthen self-esteem, improve overall health, and experience deep relaxation.
In a nut shell - you think about it, you visualize the entire scenario - do this alot - and basically it will happen. People - it works. Of course, I put my "christian" spin on it ~ it's like a prayer/wish/blessing you hope to achieve. God knows.. God provides.
That is just one example of what I experienced at a young age.
On my 16th birthday - my mother arranged for me to have my first massage. I was hooked after that! There are a lot of really strong research backing the use of massage. For someone, like me - with high anxiety and high blood pressure - it works as a perfect therapy. According to the Mayo Clinic, massage when combined with traditional medical treatments is used - it will definitely reduce stress and promote healing in people with certain health conditions.
During a massage, a therapist manipulates your body's soft tissues - your muscles, skin and tendons - using his or her fingertips, hands and fists. Massage can be performed by several types of health care professionals - such as a massage therapist, physical therapist or occupational therapist. (I believe this is the most main stream form of using the "metaphysical/alternative therapies.)
Massage is a great complementary and alternative treatment. Almost everyone feels better after a massage. The treatment has been shown to help relieve pain and soreness and reduce anxiety. There are different types of massage. If you find one that works for you, you ma be surprised at how quickly it can become a regular part of your weekly routine! For me - a therapeutic massage is my favorite. It usually lasts about 90 minutes and leaves me feeling like a sack of jello for hours afterwards.
Another popular "alternative" therapy would be acupuncture. I have to admit - I have not tried this yet, but I really want to. I definitely believe you should find a proper therapist, and I do not know who is safe where I live. Again, I consulted the Mayo Clinic's Complementary and integrated Medicine Program research and they do recommend acupuncture. They have used this therapy at the Mayo Clinic since the 1970s in a variety of treatment settings. They also keep a licensed acupuncturist on staff. They believe when performed properly by a trained practitioner, acupuncture has proved to be an effective therapy. Apparently it is excellent with Fibromyalgia, Nausea & Vomiting, Osteoarthritis, Pain Management and Smoking Cessation.
A typical session involves a series of weekly or biweekly treatments in an outpatient setting. It's common to have up to 12 treatments in total. what will happen is you will sit and have a consultation, an exam and assessment, insertion of needles and a discussion of self-care tips. A session typically lasts 30 - 60 minutes.
According to the National Institutes of Health, researchers are studying at least three possible explanations for how acupuncture works:
1. Opiod Release 2. Spinal Cord Stimulation
3. Blood Flow Changes.
Another form of therapy which is a little more controversial is Reiki. I happen to personally know two Reiki practitioners. From my understanding, it is similar to Healing Touch therapies.
Reiki is made up of two Japanese words - rei, which means universal spirit, and ki which means life force energy. As with other energy therapies, practitioners of reiki belief that disturbances in the body's energy systems can cause illness, and that by improving the flow and balance of energy, disease can be treated and health maintained.
During a session, the fully clothed recipient either sits or lies down. The practitioner's hands are placed either on or a few inches above the person's body. There are between 12 and 15 different reiki hand positions. Each position is held until the practitioner feels that the flow of energy has slowed or stopped, usually between two to 5 minutes. In addition, reiki may be performed long-distance. Hmmm..
I could see the relaxation benefits - but not so sure if I see the actual health benefits.
Another one of my super favorite is aromatherapy! (note the punctuation.) This is one therapy I came SUPER close to trying to get a certification in practising. So YES - I do dabble a bit here.
Aromatherapy is the science of using oils from various plants to treat illness and promote health. The oils are often vaporized and inhaled or used as massage oils. It's believed that compounds in the oils activate certain parts of your brain, releasing difference brain chemicals that may have a relaxing effect.
One of the many things I have tried is making soaps and bath salts infused with oils. I do take hot baths with certain oils also. It is sooo simple to do and probably the easiest and most cost effective way to "calm your spirit."
Here is a quick list of oils you can purchase and what you can use them for:
Please visit this site - ttp://www.aromatherapy.com/essentialoils.html
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask in the comment section.
Another fun one that I have been practicing for at least 15 years is meditation. Ahhh.. sweet meditation. Now, don't shy away from this. If you pray -in all honesty - that is a form of mediation. Heck, even the catholic church has several prayers we "meditate" on. The term meditation refers to a group of techniques, many of which have their roots in Eastern religious or spiritual traditions. Today, many people use meditation for health and wellness purposes.
In meditation, a person focuses attention on his or her breathing, or on repeating a word, phrase or sounds in order to suspend the stream of thoughts that normally occupies the conscious mind. Meditation is believed to lead to a state of physical relaxation, mental calmness, alertness and psychological balance.
Meditation can be practiced on its own or as a part of another mind-body therapy, such as yoga or tai chi. Like other mind-body therapies, once you learn how to meditate, you can do it on your own.
Research has found it works wonders for people suffering with anxiety and stress, asthma, fibromyalgia, and high blood pressure.
There are several different kinds:
Visualization and Walking meditation.
There are a few other items you might want to familiarize yourself with:
Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Naturopathy and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
(I am a fan of homeopathy and naturopathy.. the other two.. not in my comfort zone.)
Just to break it down in the simplest terms:
Ayurveda - means "science of life." It originated in India more than 5,000 years ago and is thought to be the world's oldest system of natural medicine. The basic theory is that all things in the universe are joined together and that all forms of life consist of combinations of three energy elements: wind, fire, water. When these elements are balanced, a person is healthy.
Homeopathy - is a form of health care developed in Germany, which has been practised in the states since the early 19th century. The key premise of homeopathic medicine is that every person has a form of energy called a vital force, or self healing response. When this force is disrupted or out of balance, illness results. (Heck - when you are stressed, you get sick.. right???)
Homeopathy aims to stimulate the body's healing response. Treatment generally involves giving small doses of substances called remedies.
Naturopathy - is a form of health care based on the belief that the body has an innate healing power that can establish, maintain and restore health when it's in a healthy environment. (Who can argue with that?) This form of medicine relies on natural remedies, such as sunlight, air and water, along with "natural" supplements to promote health and well-being.
Traditional Chinese Medicine - is a system of medicine rooted in ancient Chinese philosophy (Taoism).
It is based on the belief that the body is a delicate balance of two opposing forces: yin & yang. Yin represents the cold, slow or passive principle of life, while yang represents the hot, excited, active one. Health is achieved by maintaining an appropriate balance of the two. In Chinese Medicine treatments may include: Acupuncture, moxibustion or cupping; Chinese herbs; massage and manipulation and Qi gong.
Finally, I cannot finish this out without bringing up religion. This can range from the BIG FIVE: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hindu, Buddhism. Then the "old religions" of paganism, etc.
Each are in their own way a form of the "metaphysical." Metaphysics generally deals with notions, concepts, hypotheses, etc. related to the non-material world, i.e., the sphere of mental events, or the astral world.
So whether you wear a talisman for protection, or clip your guardian angel to the visor in your car.. or perhaps you pray the rosary, or take baths in oils. Maybe you light candles when someone dies as a memory, or believe in the healing use of prayer - it's all metaphysical.
It makes me happy. What are you favorite forms of the metaphysical??