Sunday, August 9, 2020

Tension or Relaxation?

In my youth, I often heard comments about my ablility to relax. My Mom would gently lift my arm, and then let go of it to see how quickly it would drop back onto the armrest. "Wow," she would say, "you're really relaxed." I was also a slow eater. At the dinner table, I would often be the last one still eating after everyone else had finished and left the table, and I was comfortable with that. Even though I had times of worry and nervousness, my ability to physically relax was always there. 

When I reached my late 40s and started looking for ways to heal my increasingly problematic low back issues, I pursued body work for the first time...ultimately settling on chiropractics. When my first chiropractor noticed tension in my neck and shoulders, she would often suggest that I was too stressed and should find ways to relax. 

Actually, my life was not stressful, but her comments led me to believe that I was stressed and didn't know it. So I consciously tried to relax my body and my muscles, in an attempt to counteract the stress that apparently I didn't know I had. Based on her comments, I came to the conclusion that tense musles were bad and relaxed muscles were good. 

I also noticed that I was now a fast eater, rather than a slow one. I was frequently the first one finished at the dinner table, rather than the last. Being a mom to three kids may have had something to do with that, but I sensed that there was more to it. 

As I pondered my childhood ability to relax my musles and eat my food slowly, I wondered when things had changed. I'm sure it was gradual over the years, making the change unnoticeable, but looking back it had resulted in a pretty huge leap.

For years I believed I was aggravating my physical issues with my mind, based on the comments by my first chiropractor. If I could control my thoughts and relax my muscles, my shoulders wouldn't be so tense. If I could rediscover how to physically relax, like I was able to do in my youth, my back problems would start to resolve. If I could stop worrying about what needed to be done next, I would be able to slow down my eating speed.

I started focusing on calming my breath, taking regular baths, taking magnesium supplements, altering the focus of my thoughts, intentionally relaxing all my muscles, and giving meditation a try. While each of these gave me a little break from my symptoms, to varying degrees, none of them made a difference for the long term. Meditation wasn't clicking for me. It felt like I was mentally tapping my foot and looking at the clock the whole time. Letting go just wasn't happening.

When I discovered Medical Medium information in 2016 and learned the true causes of my various symptoms and conditions, I was finally able to cut my mind some slack. I wasn't a mind over matter failure. There were physical reasons for my inflamed joints, tense muscles, anxiety, and racing mind. The culprits were viruses and toxins, primarily toxic heavy metals. When viruses eat heavy metals, they release neurotoxins that inflame the nerves. When the inflamed nerves are the vagus and/or phrenic nerves, that's when anxiety kicks in.

I started incorporating Medical Medium recommendations into my diet and supplement routine. Gradually at first, and then more diligently as I started noticing improvements. Looking back at my 60+ years of food consumption and toxin exposure, there was a lot that needed to be cleaned out. And I mean, a lot. After decades of searching, I finally had the tools to turn my health around.

The more diligently I embraced Medical Medium recommendations, the more I healed. My mind became calmer, my anxiety reduced, and my muscle tension continued to ease. When my back reached a serious low point last year, I reassessed everything. Based on the amount of healing I'd experienced over the prior three years, I concluded that my diet was on track. That left mental/spiritual and physical to focus on. 

I gave meditation another try. This time it made a significant difference for me. I had knocked back and cleaned out enough pathogens and toxins to allow my body and mind to do a better job of relaxing and letting go. Meditation was actually able to relieve my back pain temporarily. I started meditating daily for at least an hour. What a difference this made! 

Physically, my track record of exercising and stretching was sporadic. The real problem, though, was my lack of understanding of the specific muscles in my body, how they worked together, and what they really needed. This is where my current chiropractor, Scott Kolofer, has been such a big help. Do muscles need tension or relaxation? The answer is yes. 

Tension is not all bad and relaxation is not all good. We need a balance of both. Learning about core muscles vs supportive muscles helped me to understand a significant factor in the decline of my back. I needed to learn to tighten and tone my core abdominal muscles, so that the muscles in my back, that had been spasming from overwork, could relax. I needed to achieve tension and relaxation at the same time!

Exercising is all well and good, but doing the wrong exercises or doing the right ones the wrong way will often aggravate the situation. Both of these were issues for me. Pushing myself too hard was also a problem. Doing the right exercises for my current condition (gentle is okay when it's needed), doing them the right way, and doing them every single day have been essential parts of my healing routine.

As far as the speed of my eating goes, I'm still a work in progress there. I've found that I like my food at the optimum temperature and texture. Eating it promptly is the only way to achieve that with every bite. I guess a cold plate of food didn't bother me as a kid. Smaller portions have helped, as well as allowing some time to pass before refilling my plate.

Step by step I continue to learn, and my body continues to heal and strengthen. This process typically happens more slowly than I would prefer, and is not without periodic setbacks, but that's okay. As long as I'm utimately heading in a forward direction, all is good. 

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