Kay Koekemoer– Holistic Massage Therapist & Integrated Healing Kinesiologist
I first learnt about Fibromyalgia over 10 years ago, while working on the cruise ships on International waters, through a common complaint from my American passengers, who experienced widespread pain throughout the body. I was intrigued to find out more about their condition, as it didn’t represent the same type of muscular pain that most of my other clients would come to see me for, and I’d never heard of it in South Africa. It was at this point of my massage career, that I noticed that there was something more going on in the body – something deeper that caused all the aches and pains that many of my clients complained of – and not just from physical issues.
Fibromyalgia – a chronic illness
It shows up with symptoms of persistent pain within the body, sensitivity to touch, chronic fatigue, stiffness, trouble sleeping at night and waking up in the morning without feeling rested, headaches and a cloudy or foggy mind. Not quite fitting into the category of an auto-immune disease, but it does have many similarities. At the onset, Fibromyalgia could easily be passed off as Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus, but the difference is that a person with Fibromyalgia experiences pain within their muscles, rather than the joints and organs. Also, although Fibromyalgia can impact the quality of life, it is not life-threatening and does not impact the immune system as do RA and Lupus, which is why it is not considered an auto-immune disease. It is a disease of the central nervous system.
As I am not a medical doctor, I cannot provide a medical explanation of Fibromyalgia, but I can provide my understanding of it from the research I’ve done, and through my clinical experience as a massage therapist and Integrated Healing practitioner.
Dis-harmony within the body
It seems that long-term stress plays a huge role in the onset of auto-immune diseases and chronic illness. The disease could be thought of as dis-ease, which is dis-harmony within the body. Through my studies on Kinesiology and energy healing, my view on disease and illness is holistic in nature, which means that the mind, body and soul are all connected and that one cannot function without the others. This is where the mind-body connection comes in. Everything that is happening within our body is a direct reflection of what is happening within our lives… Every thought you think will have an impact on the life you are living, to varying degrees. If there is turmoil in your life on the outside, there will be turmoil on the inside. Our bodies are our indicators for when we are not listening to our intuition, that gut-feeling, and our emotions, then we need to focus on our physical sensations to guide us. We should look at our physical issues as messages from our Higher-self. Our bodies talk to us- we just need to listen.
We all have a connection to the Universe, as we are all made up of energy from the same source. This is our soul- the spirit within us, our higher self- the part of us that is all-knowing of our true divine purpose. When we are born, our connection is very strong, but as we grow up, we start to forget our life purpose and lose this connection to our Higher Self. We become conditioned to society- to the beliefs of our friends and family and of our community at large. The connection to our Higher Self is never truly lost, just forgotten over time, and can be strengthened and improved when the intention is set.
With all disease and illness, there is always a metaphysical meaning behind it
Metaphysics is concerned with the reality that exists beyond the physical world and our immediate senses. The metaphysical meaning of Fibromyalgia has to do with the Self, and it implies a loss of purpose or direction, almost as if the person experiencing the symptoms has lost all hope and has lost the desire or motivation for life- a loss of spirit or zest for life.
Claudia McNeely, a patient of Fibromyalgia, provides more insight on her blog ‘askclaudia’: “Those of us with Fibromyalgia usually lead busy, driven, tense and stressful lives. We do not have proper boundaries and lack the ability to balance activity with rest. Many of us tend to be a door mat, allowing others to ‘step on us’.”
The majority of people who experience this illness are women, who are natural caregivers and nurturers- always doing things for other people to make them happy without considering what will make themselves happy first. Dr Gabor Mate, through his clinical research on Multiple Sclerosis (an auto-immune disease of the spine and brain), observed that it was mostly women who are diagnosed with MS, and the same is true for many other disease and illnesses. Negative emotions which would surface through interactions with other people, situations or events, which were not expressed outwardly, would be stored within the body and eventually be expressed inwardly and manifest as disease and/or illness.
In her blog, Claudia continues: “We have less tolerance, or patience, which creates a deep inner pain. This represents a repressed resistance to our circumstances, a longing to pull back, as our tolerance for what is happening whether in ourselves or in our world, is close to non-existent. This affects our entire nervous system causing sleep disorders and pain.
The deep fatigue can indicate a longing to give up, exhaustion from having to cope or to carry on beyond our limits. Muscle pain indicates psychological pain- such as anger, fear, insecurity, guilt or even self-punishment – are being expressed through the body. It signifies aching or longing for something or someone. It can also represent a deep desire for movement or change, but also inner resistance to movement. Many of the tender spots for Fibromyalgia are located on the back. Since our back is out of reach and out of sight, it is the perfect place to hide emotions or issues that we don’t want to deal with. Since we can’t see them, neither can others. These hidden emotions can include anger, fear, exhaustion, guilt or lack of forgiveness. Fear of abandonment and being vulnerable can be hidden in the back as well.”
Louise Hay, queen of affirmations, explains Fibromyalgia like this: “when a person is under stress, the body reacts and tenses. Stiffness and pain is felt in the fibrous tissues, usually deep within the muscles yet there is nothing wrong with the muscles themselves. Stiffness is a result of rigid and stiff thinking. Tension, fear and holding on, result in the body cramping and gripping”
A chance to heal
Currently, by Western standards, there is no known cure for Fibromyalgia. Symptoms are eased with the use of pain meds, anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication. Sleep and rest, exercise, healthy eating habits (some foods trigger symptoms), massage, lymph drainage, yoga and other alternate therapies assist to ease symptoms.
To truly heal oneself, one has to go within. We have to take a hard look at ourselves and at our life, figure out what we are not happy with and what changes need to be made, then make a commitment to that change. Our bodies are capable of anything we put our minds to. Everything starts with a thought. Thoughts turn into emotions, and it’s what we choose to do with those emotions that decipher our life. Meditation is a wonderful tool that we can use to help to filter out the mindless chitter-chatter that clouds our mind. Meditation will help us connect to our Higher Self and in return, help us find our life purpose which will give us meaning in this world and a renewed passion for life.
Although easier said than done, sometimes those emotions that run so deep within us and have internalized for so long, have been brought on by certain patterns or blocks within our own energy system. Trauma or stress rooted back to childhood that’s been so engrained in us that we are no longer consciously in control of the after-effects. The patterns that are held in the subconscious mind and are running 95% of our life.
Integrated Healing, a modality of Kinesiology and based upon ancient Chinese acupuncture and Eastern healing methods, aims to restore balance and flow to a person’s energy system, which in turn allows the body to repair and heal itself. The changes are also made within the subconscious mind and allow the person to move on from those past programs and leave behind their hindering effect, in order to create new positive programs.
Other forms of this type of healing include, but are not limited to, hypnosis and repetitive affirmations.
Hypnotherapy can be very effective at making those necessary changes and shifts needed within the subconscious mind. Even if on a conscious level, you decide to make a change in your life, if it does not sync up to your unconscious programming or beliefs, then the change will not happen. We need to change the subconscious first, to make an impact.
Repetitive affirmations also help create a shift within the subconscious. The subconscious mind does not know what is real and what is not. When we constantly say affirmations to ourselves, read it and say it out aloud, and silently in our minds, several times a day over a long period of time, then we eventually start to believe it, even if we didn’t in the beginning. That repetition is what is needed for the subconscious to eventually know it to be true. The amount of time varies from person to person as everyone is unique and so is every situation and experience.
Put your affirmation up on the wall in different parts of your home, on your desk at work, say it 20x every morning and evening while looking in the mirror after brushing your teeth. Use it as your screensaver, and listen to a looped recording of your own voice while falling asleep at night. Symptoms will start to ease up soon.
For anyone experiencing Fibromyalgia, affirm: “I move easily and comfortably. My feet dance through life!” -Louise Hay
Be easy on yourself. Figure out what you have a passion for and you’ll soon find your purpose. Every bump in the road is a lesson in itself. Appreciate the lesson then move on. Find ways of expressing your emotions and working through them in a healthy manner. Release stress and negativity. Value happiness and put yourself first. We cannot make anyone else happy, without being happy first.
In closing, I’d like to end with this quote:
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” –Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
*Louise Hay- author of ‘You can heal your life’ and ‘You can heal your body’
*Dr Gabor Mate- Youtube –‘When the body says no’
*Claudia McNeely- patient of Fibromyalgia- Blog: ‘askclaudia.com’
*Kay Koekemoer – for inspiration on overcoming anxiety, self-love, inner healing, journeying into the Self and connecting to your divine Inner Power.
*Melisha Reddy- for inspiration on overcoming auto-immunity, and journeying into her own self-healing journey on overcoming Rheumatoid Arthritis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
*Heal With Nexus- a collaboration between Melisha & Kay where we offer different themed Retreats and workshops such as ‘Healing naturally from Auto-Immune and Chronic Illness’ and run a course called K-Power where we teach you how to balance your body’s own energy system to help you deal with any issues, using simple but powerful energy healing techniques.