Therapeutic Pain Explained
Therapeutic Pain (The Healing Theory): Common Questions
Why am I feeling worse?
What you are most likely experiencing is what used to be called the ‘healing crisis’, but I prefer to call it simply a release.
Sometimes you feel worse before you feel better. Why does this happen? This occurs as layers of fascial restrictions are released, meaning fascia is turning from solid to gel again so toxins which have been trapped in the cells, surrounded by solidified matrix, are released into the bloodstream. This is called ‘cell excretion’.
Increased toxicity in the bloodstream can make you feel generally unwell or very tired. Furthermore, these cells communicate with your Amygdala, an area in your brain which holds memory of pain, so it is likely that what you are experiencing temporarily is a brain perception of pain. Not only can symptoms intensify, but other sensations including emotions may also come to the surface to be released.
Usually this process commences the day after treatment and lasts a day or two, but for some, it can go on longer. This is not new pain, as you have not been injured during treatment. It is in fact ‘old pain, or a memory of pain-which has been trapped in the cells. Pain which you have been carrying with you every day, but have ‘tuned out’ .This is your body’s way of bringing these memories to your consciousness, to be released.
What should I do if I go into a healing crisis?
It can be overwhelming or even scary when your body goes into a healing crisis. Always remember that myofascial release is never injurious. First keep hydrated to flush out the toxins. Also keep moving in a way that feels good for your body, allowing the fascia to find its new position. Use the self-treatment techniques that your therapist taught you. A regular self-treatment programme combined with your therapy sessions will help progress your healing process much faster. What also helps is spending some quiet time bringing awareness into your body. Try to sink deeper into whatever feelings come up. Let yourself feel your symptoms fully. Give your body permission to let go of anything that is no longer serving you, allow your body to do whatever it needs in order to heal. This may bring up pain, memories, emotions, shaking, sweating – the list could go on. The key is to feel, not think, without any judgement or holding back. Remind yourself that this pain is now leaving your body.
I don’t want to have to feel or remember that again.
The fact is, on the subconscious level, you are experiencing this all day and all night long, like a broken record. To your subconscious the trauma is continuing to happen. The car is about to hit you, the surgical knife is cutting you, you are falling… your subconscious is still experiencing the trauma.
In the safety of the therapeutic environment it may be preferable to allow pain or fear to resurface for a short period of time and be released from the system, rather than spend the rest of your life ‘coping’ with it. ‘Coping’ is a losing battle. Your subconscious is constantly bracing against the unresolved trauma which causes the ground substance of the fascia to solidify. This constant subconscious bracing spreads and intensifies the symptoms over time, causing blockages which often result in persistent pain.
More importantly, having a lot of ‘baggage’ in your body is very challenging for the immune system as it continues to deal with all the issues in the background, even if you are not aware of them being there. This means that the immune system is overworked, often drained, and less able to deal with new challenges, thus making the body more susceptible to new intruders.
I’ve already dealt with this issue; I don’t want to be re-traumatised.
Myofascial release never re-traumatises! Trauma which has been dealt with and resolved will not re-surface as it has been released from the tissue. Only if and when you are ready to deal with past trauma, will it resurface!
You are always in control and can stop the process at any time. MFR enables the discovery of unresolved physical or emotional trauma to be processed and released in a safe way. This release will often free the body from blockages and pain that may have been stored in the tissue for many years so that the body can begin the healing process. Myofascial release allows for healing on its deepest level.
Why is my therapist treating my whole body rather than specific area of pain?
We often try to ‘fix’ symptoms instead of finding the cause of the problem. The cause of pain can be physical or emotional trauma and can be anywhere in the body. The MFR philosophy is to look at the entire being, not to just focus on where the symptoms are. Finding the root of the problem, allows the therapist to facilitate true healing and bring the whole body in to alignment.