One of the first questions my new patients often ask is “how long will it take for me to feel better” or “how long will it take to heal”? After 19 years of practicing medicine I almost always reply that everybody has an internal wisdom that leads the way and sets its own healing pace. Effectively, I humbly respond that I don’t know.
It can be difficult to understand that healing is a process that occurs over time. Living in this fast paced society we quantify our success and worth by how much we accomplish in a day. The faster we get things done and the more we achieve, the more we value ourselves. This perspective is reinforced in societal norms, print and screen advertisements, and sometimes even through words and actions of family and friends . We hear the messages of not enough and/or not fast enough so often that the words soak in and become or feed our ever hungry internal critic.
The word “heal” comes from the old english “haelan” which means to “make whole”. The process of healing is often defined as the transcendence of suffering. Symptoms, whether physical or emotional, are reflections of imbalances going on in the body or emotional/spiritual being. Somehow, we are not in alignment with what we need to thrive.
Factors of Healing
The process of healing has physiological, emotional and spiritual components:
- emotional: shedding old habits, beliefs, perspectives, thoughts and actions.
- physiological: mending of broken bones, restoring gut terrain, balancing hormones
Will I Feel Worse Before I Feel Better?
If you look at the squiggly line in the graph above, the process of healing involves a lot of ups and downs. During the down times it is possible to feel worse instead of better. Just as it takes time for illnesses to occur, it takes time to unravel it and restore health.
What Can I Do?
While we may not be able to avoid feeling ill, we do have a choice about how we treat ourselves while we are healing. We can choose to eat healthily, hydrate, and get ample sleep and rest. Though restoring personal balance is key to expediting healing, self-care is usually the first thing we drop when times get tough. For that reason, I am creating a weekly meditation drop-in class at Calypso Natural Clinic. Meditation not only reduces stress levels, it can also help reduce blood pressure, enhance focus and concentration, and support the immune system. Look for more details about this donation-based class soon!
Disclaimer: this blog is not a substitute for doctor’s advice. If you have any questions about your health or healing, contact Calypso Natural Clinic at 503 472-5500.