We are all familiar with physical pain and its effects on quality of life. However, many of us underestimate the effects of stress and negative emotions on our perceived pain levels. People with chronic conditions like diabetes, arthritis, cancer, muscular dystrophy, and others suffer extra pain because there is an emotional component that causes tension and stress. They may be fearful because of past pain, angry and resentful at having to deal with constant discomfort, and/or frustrated because their illness limits what they can do. These feelings hurt almost as much as the disease itself if they come to dominate our outlook. We must be willing to have these feelings, and then let them go.
Effects of Negative Emotions on Our Bodies
Emotions have an immediate, tangible, measurable, and proven physical effect on the body: they can contract our muscles, slow or speed up circulation, alter our digestive processes, and suppress breathing as well as all other functions of the autonomic nervous system. Tightened muscles and slowed circulation of body fluids will only make our conditions and overall health worse. The School for Self Healing, led by Dr. Meir Schneider, develops exercises designed to loosen the muscles and increase circulation.
If you are in the habit of doing things strenuously, forcibly, or mechanically, you will have to learn new habits. Strain contributes to arthritis and other painful conditions. The goal is to develop patience with your body, and your patience will be rewarded. Many of our clients who have learned to work on themselves in this way have found flexibility and ease of movement far beyond what they had even before their illness, and healthy individuals discover capacity beyond their initial beliefs. Even in cases where full function is next to impossible, developing more function can be very encouraging and have a profound impact on your life and happiness. The best results come through working on the entire body, rather than just on the problem areas. Each movement of a joint affects many other joints. Arthritis in the hip may be worsened by the way we move the ankle; chronic tension in a shoulder may be contributing to the development of arthritis in the fingers or trouble with the lungs, and so on.
In short, the best thing we can do for any illness is to learn to mitigate stress using activities like palming, meditation, deep breathing, and gentle exercise. Self massage and professional massage can go a long way toward mitigating stress and tension as well.
Dr. Schneider’s Program of Stress and Pain Management
This whole website and the programs within it are devoted to reducing stress and tension. Stress reduction improves the symptoms of chronic disease and contributes to quality of life. Here are a few things to keep in mind while you learn to manage your stress:
1) Diet is especially important. Make sure you eat food that your body likes. From time to time you can sin, eating something sweet or something that you really like but is not good for you, but twice a week is more than enough. Eating good food causes us to develop a taste for it. Try to eat light before exercise so that you can move easily. Diet is an individual affair, but there are a few common sense rules that apply to everyone. Reduce the salt and sugar in your diet, avoid tobacco, caffeine, and alcohol, and build your diet around the freshest fruit and vegetables possible. We also suggest a fast from time to time to cleanse your system.
2) Your body needs daily exercise. Checkups with your physician are important, but not nearly as much as maintaining your body daily. Be vigilant with your body. Recognize a problem and stop the process of deterioration as soon as you can. Change your lifestyle at the first sign of disease – do not wait for it to escalate.
3) Many people are not satisfied with what conventional medicine offers for disease, and therefore search for alternatives. Instead, we suggest that you start with alternatives. If you believe in your body’s natural capacity to be strong, firm, and loose at the age of forty-five, fifty, and even eighty, then you may have the motivation to change your body for the better. If you do not believe in your body’s capacity, then we hope that with time we will manage to convince you. Your body’s healing mechanisms have the capacity to prevent deterioration and stiffening.
4) Palming is the best exercise we know of for relaxation and health. It is a powerful friend for anyone looking to improve health, reduce pain, improve vision, and develop awareness. We suggest at least half an hour a day, or more depending on the situation.
A Note on Medication
We are against taking any unnecessary drugs, but particularly averse to taking drugs for pain long term. Taken over time, analgesic, or pain-reducing medications cause more damage to our bodies than they help. Our society used to believe that drugs were a panacea, but as time marches forward we are discovering more and more bad effects. Opioids and steroids are especially concerning. You can be your own medication – chemicals should be a last resort, not the first one.
Awakening Your Power of Self Healing
Dr. Schneider’s new book, Awakening Your Power for Self Healing, contains a wealth of knowledge on stress reduction, healthy living, holistic health, and treatments for specific ailments and diseases. There is truly nothing comparable on the market. If you are serious about taking control of your own health, learning how to improve your body, and develop practical, easy habits for a longer, happier life, his book will be a lifelong friend.