Pain is Feeling that has Become too Tightly Connected to the Body

Ever met someone who has a really weak and limp handshake, the kind where the hand flops around in your grip? It is not very satisfying. In fact, it can be a little disconcerting because you don’t feel like you have been properly able to meet or encounter the person. Where is she?  What is he afraid of? If a sensation (like touch) is too small or too soft, then it is hard to register or orient to the sensation. On the other hand, if you meet someone who has an iron grip and makes you secretly worry that your fingers are being broken, that is not any better. That hurts! You think “I see you already, I acknowledge you. Let go now, please!” Too much sensation causes pain, whether it is too much grip, or too much heat from a flame, or even too much cold from an ice cube. Take any kind of sensation and exaggerate it beyond normal measure—too much touch, heat, cold, light, noise—and it can become painful. This is a concept anthroposophic medicine has been working with for nearly a century: pain is feeling that has become too tightly connected to an organ, or to a part of the body.
This has far-reaching consequences. It provides new perspectives for working with heightened and stuck sensations, as well as the recognition that we need to move and rebalance our feeling life, as opposed to simply medicating pain away or ignoring what is happening. This is not to discount the very real impact of pain on our wellbeing. Pain medications are tremendously helpful and important when we have broken a bone or are recovering from a surgery, but they have been used too widely. Other kinds of therapies should instead be used to free and balance our feeling life; to bring movement and “breathing” to the sensing connection we have with our body.
In preparing for a recent presentation at the medical school here in Denver, I came across the following interview with a patient treated at the anthroposophic Kairos Rehabilitation Center in London. Besides meeting with an anthroposophic physician, patients there are able to also receive regular rhythmical massage and/or eurythmy therapy treatments.  Both therapies are hard to describe with words–watching a video is much better. So when you have some free moments, look at the video below and see how through ensouled physical movement, this woman is able to work at freeing and mobilizing her feeling life, and thereby reducing her physical pain. She engages and releases; moves forward and backward; lifts, then moves down. It has helped her transform.

Eurythmy Therapy at the anthroposophic Kairos Rehabilitation Clinic in London

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