The Incredible Shrinking Hospital

I was asked recently by a client of mine with fibromyalgia if shiatsu could have psychological effects.

(Quick background note: she's an occupational therapist that works in several area hospitals..)

I said sure, I believe it can.

She went on to say that she was getting this perception that the hospital where she was working seemed smaller. And quieter. Emphasizing that she knew in reality it wasn't doing either of those things, but it just seemed like it. And not just the one where she was that day, but all of them.

Also, the hallways in the hospital felt more ... (and here she took a minute to find the right word)... "accomplishable". In other words, where before when one end of the hallway appeared to stretch out impossibly before her, it now seemed far less so.

(Another side note: I have come to really appreciate this woman's degree of sensitivity and her description of things going on around her.)

I, of course, was excited to hear this... this is the sort of thing we were told about in school, but I had never heard anyone articulate their experience in this way.

Keeping it simple (as she gets overwhelmed by any lengthy explanations) I said that how we feel in her bodies affects how we perceive the world around us. She was quite satisfied with that, and I went on to ponder the greater meaning and implication of what was happening for her.

At its most basic level, we could say that she just has more of her core energy available to her. When we're tired or drained, the simplest of tasks - forget about the big stuff - can seem monumental.

There's a theory about fibro which suggests that it's a condition caused by long-term exposure to stress.... the body becoming so overloaded with stress hormones, that it can't even make its own natural analgesics to relieve even the simplest pain. To live in this state continually requires huge amounts of energy, and daily living is an effort.

This woman has been noticing, in the four months that I've been working with her, small decreases in discomfort in different parts of her body, and slighter increases in her range of motion. This new observation, to me, was really exciting, because it suggested that overall, her whole body is starting relax. Her inner resources are again becoming available to her to live her life, rather than siphoned off to maintain the high degree of tension in her muscles. And where I had noticed at her first visit that her body felt like it was made up of several different people, there is now a growing sense of uniformity, pliability and flexibility with each week that goes by.

Plus, she's smiling every day when she walks in my door.... (was not initially the case!)

It's great stuff...!

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More stuff to read:

When Touch Hurts - Fibromyalgia

Garden of the Soul (in this interview with author, Lynn Serafinn, she describes her own bout with fibromyalgia, the connections she made with her repressed emotions, and how she came out the other side. A lengthy post, but well worth the time to read, if this is your experience..)