When it comes to treating the “Whole Person” Motivate Therapy has a unique approach in that we see the “whole you.” We are truly six “bodies in one. Not just a “physical body but an integration of six moving parts, as the picture depicts.
This is why, when treating symptoms of chronic pain and illness, a unique approach is most successful. Only treating physical symptoms will only result in limited results.
“According to one study there are an estimated 23.4 million adults (10.3 percent) experiencing “a lot” of pain, and an estimated 126 million adults (55.7 percent) reported “some type of pain” in the 3 months prior to the survey.” That is a lot of people. Yet, most often you would not know who is living with chronic pain by looking at them. Many of them are “functioning.” They work, drive, and take care of their families.
“Physically” they look just fine. Ask anyone with chronic health issues how it feels when someone tells them “but you look so good,” or “you don’t look sick.” Yes, physically we function, our bones, joints and muscles still function and we can live life. We learn to “ignore and endure.” But it is their quality of life that matters. If the more you move the more you hurt or burn up your limited energy because, “biologically” you are not stable, your quality of life is affected.
The ‘physical” system tends to be the only system we ever think of when it comes to health. If you can’t move because of pain or fatigue, you seek help. If you can’t swim, you drown. This system refers to what you can see, touch and feel. It is your “house” or your “temple” so take care of it. Your “physical” system refers to your skin, joints, muscles and tissues. It overlaps with your biological and other systems. There are 4 types of tissues, muscles being one of the four. The other 3 comprise the nerves, skin and organs.
ALL OF YOUR PAIN PERCEPTORS ARE IN YOUR BRAIN NOT IN YOUR BODY
Therefore your mental and emotional “bodies” need to addressed or “healed” as well.
Connective tissue is present throughout your entire body and systems. It supports other tissues and binds them together. Bone and lymph tissues, as well as the tissues that give support and structure to the skin and internal organs. The health of these tissues is essential to posture and movement. It’s health is dependent on blood flow. Moving in many different ways, strengthening and stretching is essential for the health of your physical system.
Whether you deal with arthritis, constipation, or fibromyalgia, movement is so important. Physical movement, liking, jumping, walking, and waving your arms, is the pump that moves your fluids to all of your parts. This is necessary for survival. Aging affects our living tissue health. It affects every body differently. So balanced movement is important for physical and biological health at every age.
Mental System: Feeling Nervous?
“Mental health” refers to the function of your brain. Your brain and spinal cord is your nervous system. The nervous system is the ultimate super hero in your personal story. You were made to be able to survive as hunters and gatherers living in the woods. So your nervous system is designed for “fight or flight”. To be on the ready to fight for your survival or to run away, (not get eaten by a tiger.) Though most of us are no longer running for our lives from a tribe or animal trying to eat us, our nervous system still interprets daily stress the same way. When your bodies thinks you are in danger, some systems “amp up” and others slow down. Your mental and emotional states are directly linked to your physical system. So when your mind senses a reason to fear, your physical body is immediately ready to react. And you now know that our daily “fears” are not about getting eating by tigers but being late for work. But your body reacts the same no matter the fear.
When you feel scared or stressed it is not time to relax, pee or poop. Your parasympathetic nervous system controls “rest and digest.” In times of stress it’s organs, such as intestines and bladder, slow down to focus on the more important task at hand, survive. Blood flow goes to the “get away” organs such as your heart heart and muscles. This is teamwork at its finest. Except most of us are not hunters and gatherers any more. We are not in constant danger and do not need to be on that level of alertness all the time. Yet, we often are in a constant state of “go, go, go.” If your body is constantly prepared to flee then when is there time to relax, pee or poop? What happens to your digestion? It slows down. Your body is learning that it must “hold it all of the time. What do we call this? Constipation. Four million people in the US have frequent constipation. It is the most common digestive complaint.
So yes, mental health and digestion affect each other. A very common compliant with endometriosis is constipation and pain with defication. Not to mention sleep, appetite and sex drive. This brings me back to the “it’s psychological” phrase. Mental and emotional health are essential for physical health. Pain is perceived in the brain and affects your physical body’s function. Your brains’ health is your mental health and therefore your physical health. They are connected, There is no separation. They all need to be addressed together if you are going to have any long lasting change.
Quieting down the mind, hearing your body’s signals leads to listening. So, understanding where in the body you are sensing or hearing requires a basic understanding of how the organs, tissues, and emotions affect each other. Where in your body you feel them. The fancy term for this is “somatovisceral.” “Soma” refers to the sensations of the organs” combined with the sensations or awareness of the muscles and joints. Your awareness in space combined with the awareness of what your body is feeling on the inside. Checking in with this helps you better understand the whole picture or understand your “body as a whole.” With the sense of touch, from your skin, we get sensations such as temperature or pain. With our “visceral” or organ sensation you get a deeper awareness of your internal state such as a feeling of fullness, short of breath or racing heart. This sensory system is just another of many amazing systems set in place to help with your survival, health and healing. The goal is not to control every single thing in your body, just to be aware. Education, improving your sensation and awareness of your body is wehre to begin.
Emotional System: The Map of Your Body
Your emotional systems prepares you to meet daily challenges by adjusting how your bodies’ system interact. This includes your heart, muscles and bones, brain, nerves and hormones. The way you speak of your emotions everyday proves this link. “I have a gut feeling,” or “I was heartbroken,” or “I have cold feet,” or I have butterflies in my stomach.
So you try to be everything to everyone. This mind set can suck your energy dry. Yet taking time out of your busy schedule to sit and just “chat” with your spouse, like you did when you first met, is rejuvenating.
Enjoying each others company. That is Social health. Taking time to “play.” This can mean playing on a softball team, having coffee with a friend, or talking with your kids about their day at school. Being present with the people around you. Connecting with people has a lot of benefits. It contributes to your “whole body health” on every level, at every system.
Spiritual System: I Will Survive. I Will Not Give up
Spirituality” means many things to many people. You will determine what “spiritual health” means for you. Here, I will refer to “spirituality” as defined by a “model” we use in occupational therapy called the “Canadian Model of Human Occupation and Engagement, (CMOP-E). This model places “spirituality” at the core of the person, (that’s you). It refers to spirituality as the main aspect of “being.” It is your source of will, self-determination, sense of meaning and purpose. It is your sense of “connectedness” within every environment you are ever in.
Your “spirituality” or “will and determination” is the power behind achieving your selfcare, or any, goals. This is the fire that keeps your selfcare foundation growing. Without a sense of hope, will, perseverance, and determination you can not achieve anything. You do not grow. Yes self-doubt is always there. Depression, pain, fatigue and anxiety can whisper in your ear “you can’t do that,” “your stupid, ugly, weird, worthless.” You let that “voice” win, you no longer engage. Your sense of purpose in this life dwindles, making you ask “is it worth it?”
This is your “core” or “essence.” Who you are and what is important to you. This system intertwines within every one of your systems. Therefore, the health of this system can make or break your “whole body” health. Having a true sense of purpose, feeling empowered is what drives you to heal “you” everyday. Every day is your opportunity to be transformed. Allow change to be just that, an opportunity.
(from excerpts of Denise Nichols book “Selfcare Matrix”)
Change Starts Here.
Consist Healthy Habits (based on) Awareness (of the) Now Grow Empowered.