I’m now writing a story about yoga for natural pain relief. Does it have the potential to be effective? Damn straight it does. So do Feldenkrais, massage, tai chi, qi gong, meditation, and a host of other practices. But be careful not to let a sense of desperation for the cure throw you head-first into a practice. Stay discerning as you seek methods of natural pain relief.
I have found that it is often more about the instructor or practitioner than it is about the method. Those who have been most helpful in my healing path have all possessed the following qualities, no matter what their practice:
- They have been deeply compassionate, with big hearts.
- They have been creative, intuitive, and flexible — adapting their methods to my particular needs, with no ego attachment.
- They have been non-judgmental — listening to my stories in a matter-of-fact way, making it safe for me to share and release the hell I have been through.
- They have been open and responsive to feedback about what has not worked for me in their approach — again, with no ego attachment, but rather, with value for and appreciation of my honesty and vulnerability.’
- They have respected my boundaries, no matter what the boundary or reason for it — matter-of-factly, no drama, no judgment.
- They have been genuinely humble. Not the kind of humble that talks about it, but the kind of humble that just does it.
- I have felt safe and open around them.
- I have laughed with them at the absurdities of life. In fact, my sessions with one extraordinary massage therapist were like comedy shows half the time.
Here are a few more pointers I’ve gathered from the trenches:
- Look out for the practitioners that leave you feeling shut down, shamed, or afraid in any way. That’s a big fat red flag with a whole lot of red glitter, flapping around on a mountaintop. You may not understand why you have those feelings, but they may be there for a very good reason. Don’t stick around to find out what it is.
- Know that a method and how a practitioner administers the method are two completely different balls of wax. If a natural pain relief method doesn’t work for you with one practitioner, you can always try it with another and see if that changes the experience and outcome.
- Beware of people who promise you anything other than one more small contribution on your path of healing. The whole “this will definitely 100% be your cure-all” speech is a setup for disappointment and an empty wallet.
- Remember: You are the boss. It’s your body and your life. Pay heed to your instincts. Don’t let anyone put you in the back seat of your own healing process.