CAMP Lite: "I Sing the Body Electric"
|by Glen Pruitt|
I am developing a new respect for the human body. While I have always appreciated a fine example of the human form in othersespecially a male form with a hairy chest!I never really thought about my own. I took it for granted. Id get up in the morning, take a quick shower and shave, get dressed, and be on my way. During the day, Id gulp down a candy bar, a couple of bottles of Coca-Cola , and Id be set. Some days I MIGHT get a good meal (which for me was anything that came with a side serving of vegetables), but that usually happened only when I was invited to my mothers house for dinner.
However, all of that is changing for me lately. Maybe its a by-product of being in my mid-thirties (okay, my LATE thirties!) and realizing that my body is an important part of who I am as a person. How I feel physically greatly impacts how I feel emotionally and spiritually. Furthermore, I am discovering how all these many components are inter-connected, thanks to some "alternative healing modalities".
Alternative healing modalities? Sounds like some New Age mumbo-jumbo, doesnt it? I must admit that I was a cynic when I first started hearing about these treatments. Reiki? Isnt that what Billy Ray Cyrus did to get over his "Achy Breaky Heart"? And magnet therapy? If there really was anything to that, then my refrigerator is one of the healthiest organisms in the universe!
My journey into alternative healing modalities started innocently enough... with a stomachache. One day I was at work and I developed some stomach pain. Im sure that it had nothing to do with the high calorie, high fat, low nutrition lunch that I had eaten two hours before (yeah, right!) My co-worker Kathy offered to help me by performing some reflexology. She told me that she would simply massage a small area in my palm, and the pain would be relieved. Well, I said "sure!" I thought that it would be soothing, at the very least. Boy, was I wrong! She began the massage, and I was quickly on my knees, with tears in my eyes. Now Kathy is a "mere slip of a lass", so how could she weld such power over me with just two little fingers? Kathy explained that reflexology helps realign the metabolic activities of the body. All I know is that, when she started the massage, I could feel a lump the size of a pea in the fleshy part of my palm, and two minutes later I didnt. I also didnt feel a stomachache anymore! Kathy did a similar massage for someone with a pinched nerve in his back, restoring the movement in his neck and arms in just minutes. The end result? I now have a copy of The Reflexology Workout on my bookshelf at home!
I went on to experience a higher level of "alternative healing modalities" during my recent visit to Transitions. Cheryl Cross invited me to a complimentary session at her new facility at Red Mill Center on Route 1, north of Lewes. I went, not knowing what to expect but open to experiencing something new. Cheryl invited me into her office and introduced me to her two partners. Together the three of them were going to share with me some of their healing treatments. The first was going to be Reiki. Oh no, not the dreaded Achy-Breaky-Reiki! Cheryl explained that Reiki is a form of hands-on healing, focusing on the seven major energy centers of the body. It heals the body, mind, spirit and emotions, "all the way down to the DNA level." Reiki actually means "universal life force energy". During a session, the Reiki healer places his/her hands in a series of positions on a clients body. Together the healer and the client tap into the source and receive an increase in the life energy of "ki". My Reiki session lasted for about twenty minutes. What did I experience? I certainly felt an emotional calming during the process, which Cheryl said was typical. I know that it was a treat to be still for twenty minutes, in a setting that was peaceful and quiet. I remarked afterwards that the sensation of human touch was powerful as well. As adults, we often dont touch other people physically. If we do, its only for a few seconds during a brief hug. I felt a real sense of connection as Cheryl rested her hands on my head or on my back.
While Cheryl was performing Reiki, her partner Judith was giving me some magnet therapy. I was reclining on a special bed of magnets, and later rested under a blanket with magnets sewn into it. Judith also passed magnets over various portions of my body. Magnet therapy claims to relieve pain and to enhance a persons sense of wellness. One common theory is that magnets attract the iron in the hemoglobin, drawing more oxygen to the painful site and speeding the removal of metabolic waste products. I dont know about all that, but I do know that I finished that portion of my session feeling even more relaxed and centered.
We ended my session with a very basic form of hypnotherapy. Cheryl explained that hypnosis is a matter of setting aside the conscious mind and narrowing the attention span down to one thing. Its a similar state to that which you experience just as you drop off to sleep at night. By altering the messages given to us by our subconscious mind, we can create positive changes in our lives. Hypnosis can help with releasing anger, losing weight, overcoming fears, or stopping cigarette smoking. I elected to work on relaxation and stress management. Cheryl guided me through a series of visualizations, as I imagined stress leaving my body. I became even more relaxed and calm as the visualization continued. Cheryl made me an audiotape of my session so that I could use it at home. In fact, Im listening to it right now. Its very relax-zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Glen Pruitt is Executive Director of the Sussex County AIDS Committee and an occasional contributor to Letters from CAMP Rehoboth.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 9, No. 8, July 2, 1999