The days before modern medicine people got ill and died or they got on with coping with whatever they were feeling. Only in the last century and a half people had a new and specific ways of describing their illnesses prior to that illnesses had all encompassing names which ranged from a malady through to the more specific “fit of the vapours”. As medicine has moved forward so has the ways in which medicine has sought to identify ever newer and more specific conditions but also medications to resolve these conditions.
As this pharmaceutical arms race has progressed the ability for the patient to have a sense of their own ability to manage and cope, other than to take their meds, has become more and more eroded.
The long know connection between mind and body and their respective role on the health is now starting to be reconsidered as a way to manage illnesses, when the pharmaceutical industry continues to fail to effective offer profit yielding remedies.
Conditions like Fibromyalgia, ME but also depression and anxiety demonstrate a close line between body and mind being able to influence the well being of the other.
The work of the likes of David Hamilton (How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body) offers some good insights into the range of research which has shown how expectation of a prognosis and a sense of a patient’s responsibility to make themselves better demonstrates that this thinking has a huge impact on the outcomes for patients and this is especially so when the pharmaceutical options have been largely ineffective.
There is an empirical acceptance that being mentally unwell will generate genuine physical symptoms. Being stressed means that you are run down leading to more cold, sleepless nights and general aches and pains. It is largely accepted that stress can impact on sleep, general recovery rates and incidence of colds. People who are diagnosed with depressive conditions also are more susceptible to gastric issues, lethargy and even alopecia. Yet when the pill popping pioneers have lost their way, there is a reluctance to go back to basics and help the patient develop self esteem, personal responsibility and a sense of expectation. So that they are empowered to focus on what they can do to manage their symptoms instead of what they cannot do.
The treatment of fibromyalgia can focus on the limiting aspect of the condition, which, as an approach, feeds into the patient as victim whereas another, much more positive approach is to focus on what can be achieved, that their progress is inevitable and the patient has a responsibility to see themselves as a survivor with manageable, variable symptoms.
This approach has been very effective within my work. The real challenge is not the capacity of the patient, nor the extent of the symptoms that they are experiencing, no matter how extreme, but instead, the focus should be centred around the expectations of the patient around their own ability to effect change and progress. By building self esteem, a positive view point, self reliance, effective coping strategies, anxiety management and stress management skills the patients of Fibromyalgia demonstrate the inherent resources that they have plus the power of their own mind to effect positive change on their physical conditions.
Hypnosis has been acutely effective in giving the patient skills to develop the self belief, confidence and direction to make those significant changes which allow self healing alongside using visualisation to further drive the patient’s view of their own potential.
So, for some conditions the reliance on the perception of modern medicine being the arbiter of ability and progress remains limiting and especially for conditions like ME and fibromyalgia, regardless of the depth of knowledge about the condition it is still wise to go back to basics and remember that the body can heal itself if we raise expectations of this approach and leave it to get on with the task in hand.