Subjective Pain Experience: retraining pain with massage by Frank Carone
The Chakra Series: The 7th Chakra and The Emperor's New Clothes by Rina Thibault
We are all victims of pain to some degree, no matter what age; pain experiences go from discomfort to agony.
Through my practice of massage, I have encountered people who live with extreme pain every day. This experience of chronic pain is a phenomenon that tests the very human will. The problem is, the longer we are living with pain, the greater the chance that the perception of pain grows more sensitive. After about 5 years of pain, the map in our brain that regulates that area of the body looses precision. It becomes a block. The brain clusters and the associated body area become a solid undefined area in structure and function. Our nervous system is usually good at interpreting the actual danger level, however, once in a cycle of pain, the brain adapts and hard wires into a life of pain. In fact, our nervous system produces pain without our conscious control. We actually feel pain where there is no stimulus to cause it. There is a natural disconnect between tissue damage and pain.
How pain works: something enters skin or body is irritated from inside – activates Pacinian Corpuscles (fast conducting myelinated nerves) – neurotransmitters activate other nerves in the Spinal Cord -Nociceptors – Danger Receptors, tell the Brain (in the opposite hemisphere) of a threat to the body’s integrity - The brain tells the Thalamus at the base of the brain, which works out if there are other distractions to worry about. The brain then works out what to do. If the brain then decides the response required for the stimulus. Normally we move away from pain unless the brain overrides that.
Pain is the end point, a symptom. It is totally subjective, outside our awareness or control. It is our most important protective mechanism. Threats of all kinds are constantly being sensed and analysed. Our personalized relationship with pain, determines what we feel with a stimulus. A 6/10 on the pain scale for one, could be, a 12/10 for another.
Many strange experiences are endured by people with chronic pain giving the sensation of altered body awareness: “splitting headache” – the feeling of actually being beside yourself in pain; “stabbing pain in the back” – some feel as if a knife is in their back which makes them feel as if they cannot move or breathe; pain can bring forth feelings of swelling, loss of control in limbs, and internal organs feeling out of place, when there is no real physical change in that area.
How we communicate pain is also similar to what happens physiologically. We learn pain patterns and then, if painful enough, we disconnect from our body. We start to use figures of speech: “screaming pain “ , “ burns like fire “ , “ suffocating pain” – whatever our experience it is very difficult to explain to others what it feels like. Our experience of pain become cyclical and then hard wired. We begin to anticipate pain before it arrives. The pain mechanism begins to become integrated into our daily life. We have gone from a protective mechanism to a ‘knee– jerk–reaction’. The figures of speech become stereotypes, and only ineffable pain remains.
Chronic pain is the number one health issue in our society, and chronic back pain is most common. From one mechanism of pain comes, secondary and tertiary compensation patterns, resulting in gripping and tension in entire parts of the body. The mind, breath, blood, nutrients, and, and nerve conduction are cut off from entire areas of the body. We want to move but we are limited by pain. We suffer in our own fear of pain.
Our emotions and beliefs influence how we feel about pain. That is why a paper-cut to a guitar player can really hurt, because there is a highly concentrated area of nerves in the fingertip. Much of the guitar player’s life is conducted through those fingertips. They may experience more pain with a paper-cut, than others who do not make a living with their fingertips. How we feel about a pain stimulus will be determined by our individual life experience and training.
Massage is a natural way to change how we feel about our body and our experience of pain. Just a pin prick, a hammer to the thumb, or shin on the coffee table, and our hand is there to rub it to make it feel better. We use the nervous system to soothe our nervous system. Our bodies are a source of pleasure and pain. I believe we can train ourselves to experience pain OR pleasure. The body is the source of consciousness, and it is vital to learn early or late in life that we can learn to use our nerves and internal chemistry to feel good, or, noxious.
Mediation, Qi Gong, and Massage are ways of, purging disturbed energy, noxious chemicals, and compulsive thought patterns. They are also important in re-establishing the mind, breath, and blood into the body again; where we can relearn nerve connections that favor pleasure to pain. These methods can strengthen the weak, and soften the hard blockages and re-establish the map in the brain giving definition to the pain, thus limiting its hold on the attention of the brain, giving us back the control of our nervous system and our lives.
Clothes say a lot. They can tell a lot about a person’s attitudes and beliefs, especially identity. Living in a four seasons place, I have quite a few too many clothes. But they are necessary for my survival in extremely cold and hot climates. The 7th Chakra, Sahasrara, is located at the top of the head and correlates to our universal identity. Universal identity is how we relate to the rest of the world, and how we dress tells others how we want to be seen.
On a psychological level, the 7th Chakra deals with how we derive meaning and become more conscious of the interconnectedness we share with our surroundings and people. But how does one become conscious or aware of the deeper structure of the fabric of life?
“If we want to see what consciousness looks like, we need only to look around us.” Anodea Judith
Everything around us, the material world, is the product of consciousness. Every object we see, touch, hear and smell is from the birth of an idea. In Yoga, they call this level of awareness, the bindu, the birthplace of ideas. The problem that arises with the 7th Chakra is attachment. Attachment is the basis of suffering. Let us use the classic children’s tale, the Emperor’s New Clothes as an analogy to our own 7th Chakra.
The story is about an Emperor who enjoys fancy things and wanted to wear clothing only fit for someone of higher “power”. He gets his seamstress’ to make him only clothes he can wear. So, they made him nothing and told him the fabric becomes invisible on those of higher worth. And of course, he parades the downtown showing off his new “clothes”, until a child in the audience makes a remark on his "nudeness"; the Emperor ignored him and continued on with his procession. The Emperor represents an aspect of our self; one of our many identities (mother, father, worker, etc.) . Like the emperor, we buy things with our money, such as fancy clothes to demonstrate our strong sense of being. Since we have many kinds of clothes for different functions and occasions, we also have many kinds of identities.
When we begin to strip away the layers of clothing (cultural beliefs, attitudes, opinions, judgements, etc.), we begin experiencing the letting go of attachment. Like the emperor wearing nothing, we start to feel a sense of nakedness because we are shifting our consciousness and beginning to direct our psychic energies towards a universal identity. This transcendence of identity becomes a witness to the ebbs and flow of our lives. Letting go of attachment and control releases our fixation on the outside aspects of our self.
Realizing our consciousness also involves going through external and internal pain, and suffering. They become the most important teachers in our life.
“Suffering may force a new perspective and perception about what is reality. It can weaken the ego through repeated frustration just enough to allow a giving up or surrendering, which opens the person to the possibility of transcending his or her previous belief systems and levels of consciousness.” Charles Whitfield
At METAbodyWORKS, we use massage as a holistic approach to release and work through pain in a safe and trusting environment. It shifts the conscious mind to become aware and reflect on an individual’s holding patterns. These holding patterns, whether internal or external are key triggers to shifting your consciousness to higher vibrations and returning you to a healthier mind, body and spirit.
“He who knows others is wise, but he who knows himself is enlightened.” Lao Tzu Book your next therapeutic Thai Massage! Call or e-mail us at email@example.com
Communicating With Our DNA Through Massage by Frank Carone
All life experience for us humans is vibration and expression of our DNA.
Our DNA is always changing in its expression depending on the environment and what vibrations are being processed. DNA is creative; it resonates at the same frequency of the sun.
When we are awash in negatively charged vibrations that creative energy is diminished and the body shrinks and gets harder. For instance when one hears of terrible news, the body hunches over and a new set of DNA sequences are expressed; a potential has become actualized.
Many new studies are being conducted on DNA changes in vibration but one from Russian Scientists Gariaev and Poponin ( 2005 ) show that the DNA changes in a vacuum over long periods. They call this phenomena The Phantom DNA effect – this is part of a general Theory that electro-magnetic energy vibrations can couple with the DNA substructures and effect change based on the type of vibrations. They used a laser to test the variation in values of the coupling between DNA and electro-magnetic waves. They were after information on the so called ‘Junk DNA’ – the 90% of the DNA that microbiologists don’t know about. They found that this ’junk DNA’ was reacting to electromagnetic vibration and DOES have an effect on the coding genes expression.
So, all vibrations on the electro-magnetic spectrum are effecting us, including, radio waves, cell phone/ microwaves, words, thoughts, light, Qi etc.. Depending on the positivity or negativity, quality and quantity, of these electro-magnetic waves, the DNA will express and produce proteins accordingly. This may be why ancient peoples worshiped the sun!!
These energies are subtle and work without our conscious mind. It is Nature’s innate communication. For achieving health, these subtle energies must be purged of any dissonance, and tuned to the frequency of pure life ( The Tao/ God / The Sun / ) When we are expressing ourselves from the core, that is positive; if we are confused and scattered, we will tend to produce DNA expression that emphasizes the less positive coding sequences. This theory is well established, some call it the ‘secret’, but it is just a basic principle of living.
Massage, Martial Arts, Yoga, Qi Gong, Meditation are ways one can clear the barriers of true DNA expression and maintain a protective barrier to incoming negative subtle energies. It is said that over time, once one can communicate with their own DNA they can gain paranormal abilities such as seeing auras, knowing the future/seeing the past, and control electromagnetic energy with their intent. This author can attest to some of these claims ( please stay tuned for more on this ) however, the modern life has us in an electromagnetic smog whereby much of our energy is battling for our survival. Self massage can help relate our flesh to our DNA, but receiving a Massage Treatment allows for us to enter a deep relaxation state that can open, clear and build a healthy Qi body ( bio-electric body ) that can allow true DNA expression.
All energy and information that disturbs this expression should be avoided or learned to be defended against. We will be what we are at the most subtle level.
The Chakra Series: The 6th Chakra and Lifestyles by Rina Thibault
In this month’s issue, we’ll be looking at the 6th Chakra, Ajna Chakra- the third eye. Its colour is indigo. The colour is a combination of red and blue (earth (1st Chakra) and voice (5th Chakra). The word Ajna is a combination of “to perceive” and “to command”. In Jungian psychology, this is the stage of development where we begin to accept what is true, not just our surrender “to not knowing”, but experiencing. Our experiences are related to our habitual/instinctual patterns of reactions because repetitiveness is the root of ignorance. When we repeat our actions (such as driving, talking, drinking, etc), there has to be a moment of consciousness (mindfulness) during the repetition. The opposite of mindfulness is ignorance (not being aware of our movements in action).
My teacher calls experiences a puppet show; there are two kinds of experiences: observing the audience from the stage and being the audience off the stage. The Ajna chakra is where we learn to balance these two experiences, and it is through this combining we develop habitual/instinctual reactions, which further create our internal and external environment- our lifestyle. Side effects, such as headaches and vision problems are physical manifestations of an excessive/deficient 6th Chakra. There are also psychological side effects and mental disorders, such as depression, mood swings, temperamental, post-traumatic stress disorder, insensitivity, illusions and obsessive compulsive disorders. How we allow ourselves to live out our lives is deeply correlated to this Chakra. When it is blocked we don’t allow our awareness to come into being because we are stuck in repeating the same habitual reactions. It is comfortable and safe. There is nothing wrong with repetition or getting into a rut, it’s when we lack awareness of the repetition. There are some things we should try to get into a rut with, such as a yoga and Tai Chi practice, or meditation, anything that is good in cleansing the 6th Chakra.
I like to think of the 6th Chakra as the level where we need to practice our intuitive abilities. Just like driving a car, bike, or plane we need to first practice. Through practice we develop comfort, safety, and most importantly confidence! This is why being born as a human being is the highest karmic merit to gain, because it is only through the human realm where one can have the opportunity to practice the innate gift of intuitive-ability. Our lives are the backdrops of opportunities to practice.
Anodea Judith calls the 6th Chakra “seeing our way through”. This makes me think about a recent King Fu movie I watched called “Fist of Fury, AKA Chinese Connection” starring Bruce Lee. The whole movie was a showcase of how a Martial Arts Master (Bruce Lee’s character) couldn’t accept his teacher’s death (he believed his teacher was murdered) because he believes a Kung Fu Master must leave this world in a “fantastical” fashion. His teacher died simply (old age pneumonia). And of course Bruce Lee delivers and dies in a “fantastical” manner. Our 6th Chakra directs how we want to “see our way through” to death. This is why it is vitally important that we practice mindfulness, a form of cleansing the 6th Chakra.
“Psychologically...the archetype as an image of instinct is a spiritual goal toward which the whole nature of man strives.” Carl. G. Jung
To book your next Chakra Reiki Balancing or Reiki Thai massage treatment, feel free to contact Rina through METAbodyWORKS.
120 Clarence St. Suite 277B Downtown Kingston, Ontario. Canada
The Martial Arts / Massage Connection by Frank Carone
Healing wounds is a must, Life demands we adapt. Wounded warriors, for instance, must fight on to the next battle despite injury. Over the years of sustained conflict, the warriors/priests cultures of Asia simultaneously developed Healing Arts and the Martial Arts. In China, Japan, and elsewhere in Asia the principles of Non Action(mindful emptiness) and YIN/YANG were applied to massage as well as weaponry and empty handed combat. Techniques that soothed muscle pain, increase performance, set bones, encouraged general health were developed. SUIKODO/SHIATSU ( what I practice at METAbodyWORKS ) is a descendant of ANMO, a Chinese form of Massage, TUI NA, developed along with utilization of herbs, moxibustion, implements and acupuncture that traveled to Japan via the Monks of China. Anmo was developed in Japan specifically for the Samurai Culture that also embraced the Taoist / Buddhist , and Confucian philosophies and practices. In Japan, modern Western understanding of anatomy and physiology changed the look of Anmo around the turn of the 20th century. A great new form of massage was developed for a modern world: Shiatsu ( ‘finger pressure’ ) A series of bodywork techniques that incorporated Western Science and Traditional Chinese Medicine. SUIKODO was developed by Mitsuki Kikkawa, CST after years of Practice and intense training at Namikoshi’s Japan Shiatsu Institute. Kikkawa Sensei was an avid meditator, and devoted his entire life to understanding disease and human healing. Suikodo is firmly rooted in the Samurai Warrior Culture tradition but designed to relieve modern ailments the 'the easy way'. These are very subtle techniques using hard and soft, deep and superfiscial, to change the wiring in the brain ( neurons that fire together wire together, neurons that fire apart, wire apart ). The successes of Kikkawa Sensei's techniques were numerous including: relief from stubborn diseases, spinal alignment in two or three moves, and an increase in function and range of motion. His greatest achievement may be the training of other therapists whom use Suikodo techniques daily. Massage is about helping to remove blockages. To heal, and to keep on going. Whether on the battlefield, the sports field, or the Chesterfield ( a couch ), SHIATSU is designed to encourage the innate healing Ki ( energy ) by Massaging the Tsubo ( Accu Points ) along the meridians. SUIKODO emphasizes more of the Vibration, Oscillation, and Shaking techniques of Shiatsu. Massage is an essential skill for any experienced Martial Artists: it can be used in traumatology; when oneself or another is injured in such a way that requires immediate attention ( broken or subluxed bones joints, loss of vital signs, consciousnesses etc..), a means to get battle ready ( stimulate organs, and activate meridians and ' iron shirt' ), to address long term chronic problems after years of training and battle, and a way to heal others in a world that doesn’t wait. Our modern life drives ambitions, money, responsibilities and stress. We should learn how to integrate a health regiment as were the ways of our ancient peoples; a method of self care that doesn't require an "expert", just yourself with good techniques and a little experience. This way we can still function when all seems impossible. We must heal along this journey of life.
The Chakra Series: The 4th Chakra- Love and the Fantasy Bond by Rina Thibault
In this month’s article, we’ll be looking at the 4th Chakra: Anahata, the heart. Its element is air and associated with the colour green. This chakra is considered to be the integration centre for all the other chakras, as this is where our experiences get integrated and re-assimilated through emotional messages, and which gives our life experiences a rhythmic flow.
In developmental psychology (transactional analysis), the 4th chakra would be the stage of development where one begins to understand the different aspects of self, especially in developing a social identity. It is where we operate, unconsciously, internalized scripts. This stage begins between the ages of 4-7, where the child begins to learn about socialization, by interacting with other children of similar age it engages their development of a social identity. Social identity prepares them for increasingly complex social interactions. This is heavily reliant on balancing ones boundaries and letting go of autonomy, also 3rd Chakra issues. Children learn about relationships by imitation which stems from family values. The issue of spanking is a hot topic amongst parents and child caregivers today because of its tendency towards a confused and misunderstood concept of love. Often hard to detect its effects on a child, usually a balanced and healthy relationship within the family helps children understand and cope with the situation. In an unbalanced family home (i.e. lack of touch, threatened sense of security and social identity) can lead to misinterpretations in adult life.
John Bradshaw calls it the fantasy bond, “It is an illusion that keeps us believing that our partner (father, mother, friend, lover) really does love us- maybe today is just a bad day, we did something wrong, or it will be better tomorrow.” The behaviour becomes normally unacceptable. Through continuing the internalized relationships, bonding patterns appear and lead to a disintegration of personal boundaries and self-respect, feeling of disembodiment (mind and body are separate, ones worth is defined in sexual terms), and there becomes a need to find “corroborators” (peers). We become tolerant of our life living in an unbalanced “stereo” world: uneven volume control, distorted sound quality, or static interference.
The effects of mistreatment happen on 3 levels: the physical (experience), emotional (interpretation; attribute the experience to our own shortcomings), and conceptual (fusion with love; twisted concept of love becomes inseparably linked and the abuse continues to perpetuate). In order to understand and cope with our past mistreatments, we need to take the time to listen to ourselves, discover who we are as a human being, and most importantly honor the complexities of our inner self. By beginning to honor the different aspects of ourselves and individuality, we start to develop compassion for the inner soul. When we have a healthy social identity, operating from a healthy closed/open system of love, it increases our ability to integrate our experiences which leads to healthier relationships, which leads to a balance of energies.
By transcending our ego, one can become more conscious of these internalized relationships within us, breaking the spell of bondage to illusions.
“Abuse is the antithesis of love. If we do not get the love we need, we lack the basic ingredient necessary to assemble ourselves.” Anodea Judith, Eastern Body Western Mind.