Friday, April 1, 2011

Injuries and Injury Recovery

   Injuries, how do we recover from them? What is happening when we hurt ourselves and then are restored to health? What mechanism is at work that brings (or doesn’t bring) us healthy tissue, comfortable movement, an end to pain? We take for granted that we heal from a cut or a burn, that bruise will “go away”. What is really happening when these things go on?

   Organization, reorganization, communication and instant feedback all happen as a result of our healing process. We can see action taking place from the most visible level like changing the external posture of the body to accommodate a restriction brought about by the injury to the microscopic level where individual cells move from other parts of the body to assist in tissue regrowth. Beyond that we can measure organizing changes in tissue that we cannot even see.

   There is even electrical signaling entirely separate from nerve conduction going on in wound healing. Different levels of electrical potential are set up at the edges of the wound to align the cells that will be growing across the open wound1. Not only is the body sending building blocks for the healing of an area, it is “remote controlling” the arrangement of the blocks at a level that is entirely invisible.

   We have an astounding mechanism for repair and recovery available to us. Astounding, ultra-detailed, subtle and ready to help whenever we need it. And we need it every moment, since cells are being replaced every second of every day. New tissue to replace old and worn tissue completely enough so that it is said we have an entirely “new” body each 7 years.

   Well it may be that some bodies are “new” but you might be saying that yours doesn't feel particularly “new” or even completely recovered. Why is that with such a fantastic innate healing mechanism we don't often heal easily quickly or completely? What's wrong? Perhaps nothing is wrong as much as misdirected.

   There is a framework that is used to organize the involuntary activities of the body, from digesting to fear response, from breathing to keeping our our general muscle tone so we don't fall over. We call it the autonomic nervous system or ANS for short. It has two divisions, Sympathetic and Para-sympathetic, the  former focused on our short-term survival and the latter on our long-term survival.

   Sympathetic is our “fight or flight” part. It deals with muscle tension, blood flow heart rate, adrenalin production and our reaction to and mediation of pain. It is the “now” side. We run from the tiger, pull our hand from a hot stove, etc. Para-sympathetic is what we use between the incidents of fight or flight to keep ourselves fed, rested and renewed. Nutrition, cell growth and recovery, sleep all come under this divisions. Simple enough, two balanced parts to the mechanism that keeps us safe and healthy.

   Unfortunately the method of balance between these two divisions is a reciprocal one. When one is active the other is much less active. So if we have situations where there is no let-up in the “fight or flight” inputs like constant stress or chronic pain, healing has to be put on the back burner, to wait or be done in only a partial way. The body keeps tending to an emergency situation without taking care of its long-term needs.

   What can we do? We can focus on reducing pain to help the parasympathetic side take over. We can do breathing and meditation and visualization exercises such as Serge King's to relax and focus our healing. We can initiate gentle movement sometimes passive movement if we can't comfortably use our muscles yet. We can rest. allowing our bodies to workinternally istead of having to tend to externals. We can use a modality that can immediately move the body's reactions out of Sympathetic and into Para-sympathetic and facilitate healing, like Bowenwork or Reiki or Quantum Touch We can use a modality that pinpoints the body's attention on remembering its healing mission and generating supportive communication throughout the body to speed our healing. We can use Bowenwork, the modality that works with the body to relieve stress and recover from injury.

1Energy Medicine in Therapeutics and Human Performance-James Oschmann- Butterworth Heinemann- 2003

 ©Kevin Minney

If you'd like to add a comment or actively disagree with me I welcome the opportunity to connect. Thanks for your time.

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