Physical Therapy The Practice of Healing

The Practice of Healing

I was sent a link to an LA Times article by a client/friend/patient the other day. This article struck an emotional cord.  It is the resonance of this cord that gets me up everyday and attend to my practice in physical therapy.

I am reminded of a book that I first read about six years ago. This book Heal Thy Self, by Saki Santorelli, about the patient/therapist or practitioner relation that exists in this process we call healing.  The book is an eloquent must read for those seeking or making change; for the patient as well as the health care practitioner.   

Postural Relief Stretch at Work

The impact of physical therapy on an individual’s ability to gain mobility, strength and function has many rewards. The athlete returning to sport. The worker returning to work.  The simple ability to don a sock or get off the floor are those measurable tasks we use to support the need for physical therapy, and move toward a bigger and better goal. It is more than that. I will not be able to measure it in degrees or pounds or seconds.

The theme of Saki Santorelli’s book was based on the Rumi verse:

Don’t turn your head.

Keep looking at the bandaged place.

That’s where the light enters you.

A  look at this simple phrase gives a deeper meaning, and benefit, to this therapy that is provided. When an individual is met with the challenges of overcoming an injury, or illness, looking at the problem and giving attention will bring new light and greater insight. As a physical therapist I am only a guide, but I am also guided by the challenges that exist in this process of health and healing.

Don’t turn your head.

Be present. Slowing down and become aware. Often looking at what we would rather not.

Keep looking at the bandaged place.

This looking at the pain or conflict is often the torture that exists in physical therapy. It is not always pretty to look at the wound, or touch the part that hurts most, but this is where healing begins.

This is where the light enters.

It is through this process of slowing down and paying attention to the wounds of our injury, the source of our pain and disability, that we are able to heal. This openness is where transformation takes place.

The human body is made to move, but mindfulness, and a slowing down to pay attention, is what actually moves us forward in health and healing. In the words of Thich Nhat Hanh,

“Mindfulness is revealing and it is healing.”

This is where practice begins, with ourselves.

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6 responses to “Physical Therapy The Practice of Healing

  1. Pingback: Postural and Exercise Control for Back and Neck Pain | WellEvolvEdU·

  2. This is a great way to look at things. People these days are not present in the moment, even when recovering from an illness or injury. If you can’t slow yourself down when you are healing, when will you ever?

  3. Pingback: Overcoming Obstacles-Back on Your Horse | Well-EvolvEd-U·

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