In our ‘fast-paced and convenient world’, it has become so easy to just take a painkiller whenever we feel those uncomfortable sensations. Sometimes the strengths of these pain killers must be increased because your body has become used to the effects of the milder pain killer.
What one doesn’t always realise is that we are not solving the problem that is causing the pain. Suppressing and / or ignoring pain is only creating bigger problems and may result in pains and problems elsewhere. It is like closing the door of a room that has caught on fire, even though the door is closed and we cannot see the fire, we can smell it, and eventually the rest of the house will start burning down.
Pain is defined as an unpleasant sensation. It can be caused by illness, injury or mental issues. When the body is not functioning well due to illness, emotional or environmental factors, problems start to manifest inside the body and cause pain. It is a warning sign that the body is not balanced, and if ignored it could lead to more serious problems occurring.
In TCM pain is seen as congestion of the meridians. Symptoms associated with the congested meridians show up in the form of pain or other body dysfunctions or irritations. In order to heal, the energy pathways need to be decongested. Sometimes this can take a few hours and sometimes a few months, or even years, depending on the severity of the congestion and the time it has been building up in the system.
Here is an example to make this easier to understand :
Patients who have heart problems usually have experienced early ‘symptoms’ (of the kidney / bladder meridian, which controls the heart meridian) such as pain or swelling of the ankle, knee pain, sciatica, haemorrhoids, back problems(especially of the lower back), forehead or crown headaches, baldness, neck and shoulder tension then later high blood pressure, kidney or bladder disorders.
The person’s body warns them that the kidney meridian is congested, if the issue is not addressed then more severe symptoms. The kidneys control blood pressure, so if there is congestion the kidneys will not be able to maintain the correct blood pressure. If this is not addressed heart problems occur.
This is where the next step comes in of addressing the problem. Drugs do not always address the problem, instead suppress it and cause other harmful side effects. You need to understand why you have developed the symptoms. Usually it is because of poor lifestyle habits or an emotional issue. For example congestion of the kidney / bladder meridian is due to an imbalance of sodium and potassium in the interstitial fluid. On an emotional level it has to do with fear. Balancing the elements with holistic therapies is also beneficial.
If the kidney / bladder meridian remains imbalanced, it could lead to congestion of the heart meridian. Usually patients with a congestion of this meridian will show signs of arthritis in the hands, wrist disorders, numbness; pain and stiffness on the medial aspect of the arm, pain and swelling of the armpit, angina pectoris and heart disorders.
Perhaps mild pain from an injury or mild illness could be left untreated and will go away on its own, but if the mild pain progresses or does not disappear you should consult a health practitioner to help you to solve the problem and prevent further damage. Ultimately you cannot get rid of the problem by suppressing it; eventually you will show symptoms elsewhere. The trick is to listen to what your body is telling you or warning you about.
How can reflexology help?
In summary, reflexology restores balance to the body, thus it will help balance the energies of the meridians. It also helps detoxify the body, which will also help decongest the meridians. Reflexology sessions also promote the release of endorphins – pain relieving and ‘feel-good’ hormones.
The therapist will also be able to help you identify which meridians are congested and help you to address the issue to help restore balance to the body.
This article is briefly introducing what pain means to the body, and how pain, and other body dysfunctions, can be used as a warning sign concerning more serious issues. Holistic / alternative / integrative therapies help the body to heal by addressing the underlying cause of disease.
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- How does Reflexology Work: Universal College of Reflexology. [Online]. Available: www.universalreflex.com/article.php/20040306175204417. Accessed: 2015-02-18
- Traditional Chinese Medicine in Pain management. [Online]. Available: http://www.taoofwellness.com/newsletters/pain.htm. Accessed: 2015-02-06
- Dougans, I. (2005). Reflexology. The 5 elements and their 12 meridians a unique approach. Thorsons: London.
 Traditional Chinese medicine. Working with the 5 elements and their meridians