Natural Balance Therapy has a team of therapists that has been providing therapeutic treatments to residents, in all stages of life, in southeast Wisconsin for the past ten years, helping them return to a pain-free, active lifestyle. We seek to help people understand their bodies and what is causing their pain and discomfort, as well as teach them what they can do to help themselves heal. Natural Balance Therapy is known for giving people in chronic pain hope and long-lasting results.
When you see a massage therapist, what do you mention to them at the start of a session? When you start self-treatment or stretching at home, what do you look for in your body? If you’re like most of us, you probably talk about your symptom patterns, or whatever function or movement is still limited or restricted or painful. At home, you’re probably tuning in to the tender or sore areas of your body. While this is useful information to be aware of, it’s not the only thing going on. We encourage our clients to take note of something else, too, something that’s often ignored or forgotten: the progress that has already been made.
It’s always easier to notice what still hurts than what doesn’t hurt anymore. Part of that is just how our neural networks work. If you think about it, the brain can only process a certain number of signals at a time: the ‘loudest’ one gets heard, while others get drowned out. As we receive treatment and resolve whatever is causing that major signal, it seems like new symptom patterns and pains come up. In most cases, these were already there, but the brain was so occupied by the big issue that there was no room left for the smaller ones. As the volume of that loudest pain signal gets turned down, the others seem louder in comparison. Because these are now ‘front and center’, when we come in for treatment it seems logical to focus on the symptoms that remain.
This focus, though, becomes a pattern of always looking for what is still wrong, rather than noticing the positive changes we’ve gone through. Many times, we only look at how far we still have to go — whether in our physical recovery or our emotional or mental growth. While we don’t want to ignore remaining symptoms or challenges, it is important for us to recognize and feel the progress that we have made, how far we have already come in our healing journey.
Before your next session (or your next self-treatment time), take a few minutes to reflect on where you were when you started receiving treatment, and what has changed since then. Acknowledging and embracing those positive changes, in addition to noting what remains unresolved, gives you a much more balanced perspective on your progress.
As I sit along the river’s edge in Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park, I gaze at the water and
am immediately drawn to its different movements. The flow feels symbolic of our life’s journey.
In some places the water just goes with the flow and moves with ease. In others it moves faster
and is almost more chaotic. Which way do you notice that you go through life: with ease or fast
paced? We may notice both ways at different times, but the important question is: What is your
response to each?
Whether the river was flowing easily or more chaotically, its response was the same when it
met a barrier (rock, branch, etc): it let go and continued to flow. The only difference was the
experience before the response. When it was faster, and more chaotic, there was an immediate
resistance to the barrier, but then it would let go and continue to flow. I noticed that it would
meet the barrier and then let go of the resistance. When the river was calm, there wasn’t any
resistance to the barrier, and it would immediately change its path as it continued to move
When you are amid chaos, stress, or difficult times in your life, how do you react? What do you
notice? What would happen if we took a moment to step back instead of pushing forward,
allowing ourselves time to feel the resistance? Now, instead of holding onto it and trying to
push through, give yourself permission to take a breath, acknowledge what you feel, and accept
it. Notice if the response feels different.
Imagine the chaotic river as it meets the barrier. It resists but responds by letting go and flowing
instead of continually resisting. How do you think it would feel to slow down, go with the flow,
and allow life to be easier? We all try to push through, make things happen, and ultimately
create more difficulty for ourselves.
Our reactions to situations are what create the response. We do have a choice between chaos
and flow. What do you choose?
Chronic back pain is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide, and over 80% of Americans will experience it at some point. Back pain is one of the top reasons for missed work, as well as visits to the doctor.