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Mind-Body Therapies and Chronic Illness

Updated: Mar 18, 2022

"If you do 7 hours of yoga a week, you will no longer have these symptoms."

One of my doctors said to me… ‍

I felt both defeated and angry at her statement.

At that time, I was working full time, but that's all that I was doing. Every day, I came home and rested, gathering just enough energy to go back to the office the next day.

And then, I rested a lot on the weekends to make up for the week. It made me feel defeated because there was no way that I could fit in 7 hours of yoga a week.

It also made me angry because it simplified the symptoms and the problem I was having so much. Like... "oh there's an easy solution to your problem… just do yoga…ta-da!"

Often, we are told about the "easy" solutions to our chronic illness: yoga, meditation, positive thinking. It often comes across as if we are the reason we can't get better. If you just do yoga 7 hours a week, you'd be fine.

Personally, I did try yoga, but I wasn't very consistent with it because:

1. I was too fatigued half the time to find energy for it

2. I honestly did not believe in its effects

After I started researching, reading more about the body and the autonomic nervous system, and experimenting with acupuncture, reiki, mindfulness, and massage, I was more convinced.

I noticed that being consistent with meditation and biofeedback did allow me to feel better.

It gave me the space to step away from strong feelings and thus helped me cope with my illness by giving me more energy.

It also helped regulate my breathing pattern.

These are just a few effects of the modalities that I've been employing, but there are many more. They helped bring my autonomic nervous system more in balance and helped quiet some of that danger response.

So... I still don't do 7 hours of yoga a week. But through experimentation, I found a routine that allows my mind and body to be more in sync with each other and thus help me heal.

Here I am, enjoying a barefoot walking trail. And yes, that is mud.

What is your impression of mind-body therapies? Let me know in the comments below.


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