Injury, assault, deformity, weakness, genetic inheritance, degeneration, inflamation, viruses, cancer... of course. But also complex, less definable interactions of body, soul and environment. Famously, x-rays may show you two spines similarly marked by wear and tear - one patient has disabling back pain, the other none. While doctors can do a lot to fix the definable, for the less easily definable we need healers, shamans, of whom there are fewer. Not that fewer are born in our times, I suppose, but the speed and chaos of the way we live now scarcely encourage them to embrace and develop the faculty. Ingrid Bacci is one who has. Here she gives a particularly clear and vivid summary of her approach and experience.
" A teenage girl was brought to me for chronic headaches that had resisted all treatment for a year. The headaches were so severe and constant that the girl had to be home-schooled. In just a few sessions that combined bodywork and conversation, her headaches disappeared. Why? On the physical level, her headaches were caused by severe tension in the shoulders and neck. The tension in the shoulders and neck, in turn, was an expression of the girl's inner conflict. She was a person of high intelligence and natural sense of independence whose need for self-expression conflicted with the strong deferential patterns of her ethnic background. Her culture taught her to respect her elders and bow to authority, while her educational upbringing was teaching her to speak up and think for herself. Our sessions gave her the opportunity to recognize and address this conflict, rather than just acting it out unconsciously by tensing up. To heal, she needed both physical release work through hands-on healing and sensitive dialogue and problem-solving around the mixed messages she was receiving in her home and school environments. If she had received just one of these, her relief would have been temporary at best.
A woman with chronic pelvic pain came to see me after removal of a cyst in one of her ovaries failed to resolve the problem. The ultimate cause of the pain wasn't her cyst. It was chronic tension in the muscles of her pelvic area. In fact, this tension was probably the cause of the cyst. Why? Tension maintained in a given area of the body over a long period of time will tend to reduce blood flow and nerve conduction in that area and contribute to congestion or inflammation in nearby organs. This woman had held tension in her pelvic area since childhood. Was it any wonder that her ovaries suffered? To find a deeper resolution to her problems, and to help her avoid further gynecological problems, we had to both relieve the tension through manual therapy and help her identify and release the emotional triggers for that tension. In this client's case, the emotional triggers were related to childhood abuse. To fully release her physical tension, this client had to recognize, process and release the emotions of anger and hurt that she held in her pelvis. She had to start the process of living in her body in a different way, with more love and tenderness toward herself."