When Touch Hurts - Fibromyalgia
I am in the beginning stages of a personal research project.
Maybe I'm reinventing the wheel here, but in regards to understanding how to deal with something like fibromyalgia from a shiatsu perspective, I'm finding less specific info out there that is helpful as a practitioner, beyond the advice that 'shiatsu can help'.
But why? And how? Well, 'support' and 'balance'. Okay, and so, what the heck does that mean?
I'm in the process of posing questions to fibro sufferers, other shiatsu practitioners, as well as working with a few clients myself who deal with this mysterious malady, in an attempt to get a more clear picture of how I can possibly help. Part of the challenge I'm finding, is how to offer the right kind of touch when even the slightest pressure can cause excruciating pain.
So, risking audacity, here are some very initial observations I've made and hope to follow up on to determine if they're relevant:
*Fibromyalgia is a 'syndrome'... a collection of typical symptoms, which include pain, chronic fatigue, metal fogginess and digestive issues.
*Shiatsu can help in one basic way in that it releases endorphins, helping with pain relief.
*What I have noticed under my hands as a practitioner is: really obvious disparity in how different body parts feel... upper back being hot and rigid, arms soft and doughy, legs and feet thick and cold. And also, regarding the upper back and shoulders, it's like something hot and bubbling just under the skin surface.
*At this time, there is no actual traceable 'cause' of fibro, but my suspicion is that is has at least some roots in repressed emotions or emotional trauma.
*There may be a common personality profile among sufferers that include people (mostly women), who "absorb" and take on the responsibility of others' emotions, at the expense of expressing their own needs.
*Also, there may be a degree of lacking love and respect for one's own body... self-hate turned inward.... though this could also be a result of contracting these symptoms.
Some connections I've made:
*Fibromyalgia could be a connective tissue/fascia disorder.
*Current research is showing that it may be in the connective tissue that emotional trauma and memory is stored. (ah ha!)
*Research in Japan is also indicating that the meridians... the pathways by which 'chi' travels... is bioelectric energy that is conducted through the connective tissue. (oo another ah ha!)
*One book says the three main meridians found to be typically imbalanced in fibromyalgia are Gall Bladder, Triple Heater and Spleen. Psychologically, Gall Bladder imbalances figure into unhealthy expressions of anger, Triple Heater deals with relationships - in particular, the health of one's emotional boundaries - and Spleen is about nurturing and self-care.
*Physiologically, the GB meridian has to do with delegation of energy resources.. so an imbalance here can cause fatigue as well as stiffness, especially in the upper back, shoulders and neck. The Triple Heater regulates how the chi flows through all of the other meridians, and the Spleen meridian is adversely affected by damp and cold... conditions which seem to exacerbate fibro symptoms.
*And, I don't know if this is typical of all fibro sufferers - I hope my research bears this out-but there seems to be a high degree of sensitivity at play in the person dealing with fibro.
If you have some comments or information you'd like to offer, I welcome your contributions.