… Everything that we have inherited or acquired (such as behaviour, applicable knowledge or skills) influences how we individually deal with ourselves. Besides the fundamental anatomical, physiological and psychological comparability, this is what sets us apart from our fellow human beings.
Everyone could develop a stress-related illness as a reaction to stress or overload, such as overloading tension. But in fact, not everyone does.
In dealing with our musculoskeletal system, we have a considerable latitude in our movement and posture, through which we actively influence ourselves. No matter how aware we are of that, our way of moving and our posture determines the condition of our bones, joints, muscles and tendons, our connective and supporting tissue.
Thus, diseases of the musculoskeletal system – like RA – can arise from a lack of knowledge and appropriate treatment regarding oneself.
In a way, a good relationship with our own body is like a good relationship between two people. The better we communicate, the better we understand each other. This way, we learn a lot about the peculiarities, reactions and needs of the other. We can develop an understanding of each other and coordinate with each other. As a couple therapist, Michael Lukas Moeller described relationship work as the ever-new opportunity that creates love.
And for this as well as for any other work, it means joy, success and enrichment predominantly for us, we like to do it ourselves and from ourselves for our own sake.
In terms of how we deal with our bodies, we can find ways in which we can always achieve understanding, agreement and good feelings.
Only when we take the opportunity to do so makes a healthier life possible.
Dealing with our “soft” competencies, with our thoughts, feelings and ideas needed for such relationship work is easier for some people than for others. Moeller cites a man talking about a couple-talk with his wife, “For my entire life, I never really found any access to myself. I couldn’t answer the question ‘What moves me most at the moment?’ ”
In the readiness to explore so far unfamiliar, the question arose for me individually about what would I instead accept:
- the inflammatory pain, the restrictions and the impending destruction of my joints through my rheumatoid arthritis or
- dealing with my feelings and my relationship with myself.
At the beginning of RA, I wasn’t very experienced when it came to handling my feelings and my relationship with myself; I had not much experience at the beginning of my illness. All in all, I would have described it as “as always” and hardly worth considering.
With the HeilÜben, we’ll first take a look at some of our abilities to bring them to better use. Through that, we can take a closer look at our wishes, feelings and ideas. Back then I soon found this kind of intrusive, unpleasant and even disgusting. On the one hand, because words with which I associate good, healthy, and important things often come across in so much shallow and meaningless chatter. On the other hand, being aware of my feelings for me was like something strange touched me – my feelings for me were too often associated with discomfort: the impression of disorientation, embarrassment, shame, worrying about weakness and loss of control.
To the extent that we are tense (in a particular situation, before or generally), not only can the physical sensation of tension itself feel uncomfortable, but also everything we perceive influenced by this tension:
Perceptions of ourselves, others, or our surroundings.
Such negative sentiences, in turn, can cause tension.
Back then, when I was confronted with situations which were linked to negative sentiences I used to
- try to avoid them or
- to compensate them with something, allowing me to relax and thus feel better again: a good meal, a conversation with dear and trusted people, a movie, an exciting book. In the course of that I could diminish or eliminate the paraesthesia I felt for as long as the moment lasted.
If I couldn’t avoid or compensate the negative sentiences, because the opportunities didn’t arise for me at the time, I started to reduce them by pushing them away with just a little more tension, suppressing them to stop feeling them.
Thus, I could put the concern with the cause of tension and the resulting discomfort off for a while. At the same time, dealing with my feelings became increasingly unfamiliar to me and, from a certain degree of tension, even unpleasant. I was helpless. Unpleasantries cause defence and uncertainty, And it isn’t unlikely to assume that most would rather avoid it. Especially when there are no good solutions in sight, and for that, it is to be suspected that there are no solutions at all.
Therefore, I couldn’t make the experience that I can reduce stress and thus also tension and discomfort through relaxation by that time.
But this experience could be caught up, and the targeted use of relaxation both in everyday life as well as additional challenges could be rehearsed.
Of course, we can ask why we got so distanced from ourselves. We can decide to go and search for the reasons in following the connections of emotions, thoughts and sentiences. That however would lead into the endless field of psychology – and there waits much that has been already written just waiting to be found and read.
I hope that HeilÜben can relieve stress and give some inspiration for a self-controlled and harmonic life.
With my HeilÜben, I naturally and without pretty words found piece by piece more of myself. I experienced how enriching better access to oneself is and with what high intensity he has a relaxing and thus healing effect on my body. So I learned to take it seriously. The thing is not difficult in itself, only my inner threshold of unpleasant sensations (through feelings of embarrassment and failure) and comparatively little good experience seemed for a while almost too high.
If you too should feel an inner defence threshold, calmly let the feelings come to your mind, then just set them aside in your attention and focus once more on the logic of the text.
When we‘re motivated to change something for ourselves for the better, when we refuse to suffer from pain, to be restricted or even to be destroyed by the effects of inflammation, then we to communicate with our body about our needs. And by that also about those needs of body, soul and mind that stand against each other. Sometimes I limit my time for sleep because I want to read a thriller or have an exciting conversation. Sometimes I want recognition until I realize that I do not want to pay the price and do not want to bend. Sometimes I write to some extent ignoring hunger or cold. Some limited, temporary deficiency I can take because I know about my actions and effects on my body. If this is not the case and things get unbalanced (up until to the point where one has to deal with a chronic inflammatory joint disease) for our own sake, we need to stop and improve the relationship with ourselves by having a conversation with our body.
But how does one lead such a conversation?
For example, through good ideas and feelings, movement, stretching and massage. And we can learn to understand its answers. This is a fascinating process.
Our healthier fellow human beings usually achieve sufficient relaxation in their everyday lives, as in blind flight, do compensatory sport and or purposefully use relaxation techniques and generally achieve a better dynamic of tension and relaxation in their posture and movement. Then tension won‘t become a continuous habit and in addition to that in overwhelming situations, a sufficient relief follows. All of this leads to the fact that the individual can stay somewhere below its personal overload level even under stress. Often the one affected knows little or nothing about it.
Each of us reacts to sentiences with tensing or relaxing some muscles and connective tissue parts rather than others. The result is that everyone has at least one body part to react with to emotional stress – no matter of which manner, joyful or not. To some it’s the hands, arms or shoulders, to other people, it’s the back, the neck, the feet … so much so that one can say, “I express myself, I think and feel, I react especially with them”. They are the place of the strongest physical expression of each of our ideas, thoughts and feelings. Even if we have learned to hide that in no small extent, we subsequently will express ourselves through them. Also, when burdened by stress and overload:
when we are strained we fell paraesthesia
when we feel paraesthesia we‘ll strain again.
Although I felt the inflammatory pain and movement restrictions as a result of my physical expression of my discomfort, my habituation of the excessive tension prevented nevertheless, that I could identify this excessive tension as the cause of my afflictions and to help myself.
Nobody in his right mind would lay his hand onto a hot stove and take medication to numb the pain because the cause to the pain is apparent. With my RA, I found it to be crucially necessary to see the connection between the symptoms and their cause. Only this way, it was possible for me to determine it. And the longer the cause stays unknown, the effects are fatal.
As long as I was unaware of the connection between cause (overload due to tension) and effect (inflammation, pain, destruction), I felt a higher level of suffering and the need for action. Also, I felt perplexity, concern up to frustration and in the meantime, even resignation in terms of healing. I couldn’t be healthy and also had to live with the constant subliminal strain from my usual but too high tension.
So one could wonder:
“Why did I fall ill with rheumatoid arthritis?”
“Why is it spreading to larger areas?”
“Why is it so continuously respectively occurring in phases?“
“Where do the other complaints come from?”
“How do I get rid of RA?”
In addition to everything else, the consequences of overloading stress can also become clear by several simultaneously occurring or secondary diseases.
Regarding diseases of the musculoskeletal system, two types of illness development due to overloading tension in muscles and tendons, which are also triggered and maintained by incorrect posture, are distinguished in HeilÜben:
1. Overloading tension first leads to strain.
The strain spreads throughout the body and is palpable as well as it is visible in a poor posture and movement restrictions. Muscular pain then draws attention to impending destruction – including the risk to the joints. In excessive tension, muscles and tendons also affect the bones and joints to which they are connected: then they are subjected to unusual, damaging stresses. The mechanical destruction of the joints begins “from the outside” on the bony structure and in an advanced course also causes the painful inflammation of the synovial membrane and the surrounding tissue.
2. Overloading tension leads directly to inflammation in joints.
Like other people, I stretch my muscles to hold and to move things in many different daily movements. My tensed and thus shortened (contracted) muscles are then as visible and palpable as anyone else’s. In the past, however, when I was under stress, I (consciously or unconsciously) relaxed only my larger muscles. Both in terms of movement and posture. Much more relaxed than many of my fellow humans but without reducing my tension. However, I didn’t stay healthy because of that. No matter how much more relaxed muscles were, tension accumulated in me too. Tension due to stress and a poor posture caused strained muscle and tendon cells to automatically tighten on my bones and joints in an overloading manner. They transmit impulses for either moving or freezing. My joints suffered from overloading stimuli, such as the strain and pull of the taut and contracted tendon cells and the muscle cells connected to them, without larger muscles or tendons being noticeably tensed. My RA proved to be the result of such overloads. My joints became inflamed “from the inside” without any previous mechanical destruction of the bony structure.
The effect of HeilÜben showed me that depending on how far I reached the actual relaxation of my previously so soft and relaxed appearing muscles and tendons and thereby also relieved some malposition, the inflammatory and thus destructive process in my joints vanished and with it the inflammatory pain. As a result, when I could stay permanently under my upper limit, my rheumatoid arthritis healed — in the sense of HeilÜben, healing from stress-related RA means that the destructive chronic inflammatory process eventually comes to a standstill. I distinguish between the disease itself and its possible consequential damage.
The more we continue to reduce our burdens, the further we get below our upper limit.
The farther we get below our upper limit, the less quickly we will be able to cope with overloading burdens, which can cause a variety of illnesses.
My stress-related rheumatoid arthritis was completely healable because I could stop many overloads, prevent it from the beginning or learn to handle stress differently than before.
I found excessive tension in my entire everyday life:
• at rest and on the move, with strength, speed, stamina and coordination;
• in response to certain events and
• in response to the expectation of certain events.
In HeilÜben stress-related rheumatoid arthritis is at the same time considered to be:
◦ a expression of the whole person,
◦ the visible tip of an iceberg from strains due to some very specific bad habits and
◦ and a physical reality of its own, which also causes a further overload and works again through exactly the same bad habits and is maintained by them (chronic course.
Otherwise, one would merely work on the symptom in an attempt to fix something that is considered the whole problem, even though it is just the tip of the iceberg.
In the HeilÜben-programme rheumatoid arthritis is synonymous with the chronic inflammatory process and healing synonymously with the end of this process.
With my HeilÜben, I dealt with the completion of the rheumatoid arthritis-causing chronic inflammatory process and not with a possible regression of existing deformities or the reconstruction of destroyed tissue.
The quality of how we deal with ourselves makes the difference between if posture and movement are unpleasant straining or even painful and cause inflammation and wear or if they operate soothing and strengthen us.
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All the best!
HeilÜben founder, coach, and trainer
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*Man and Superman, Stray Sayings verse 163
the „conversation with our body “ is a metaphor
Moeller, Michael Lukas, Gelegenheit macht Liebe, Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag 2009