*I believe my computer has downloaded a virus (cough cough Brett), so ignore that some of the words are highlighted. I apologize for that and will work to fix it*
Years ago, when I was swimming in college, I looked for ways to better myself as an athlete. Yes, training hard is key, but I knew there was something I wasn’t tapping into. And that was the mind-body connection. I won’t begin to pretend that I am anything close to an expert on this subject. In fact, I could use more work, as could most everyone. Which is why then, while dealing with this terribly frustrating injury, I decided to seek help in the mind-body connection.
As a swimmer and triathlete, visualization has always been a key part of my training and competition. In high school Coach Shields used to do a visualization exercise with the swim team before key meets. He would have us go out in the hall, or to the library, and he would read us a “story” about a seagull flying high through the air. I don’t remember it very clearly, but I do remember we were to visualize our races, seeing things going exactly as we had planned.
I continued visualizing throughout college and then again when I started triathlon. I think practicing seeing your race, seeing yourself going smoothly and efficiently through a part of the course that might make you nervous, seeing a perfect execution, this will help you to have a better race. And while I think it’s very important to do this during your season, what I’ve been learning is that when your injured, there is also a strong mind-body connection. And my mind and body were off.
Anger, frustration, fear, denial. These are and were the emotions that I’ve been having and dealing with the past year+. And as positive of a person as I am, not having answers for an injury that has taken me out of any exercise has been almost unbearable. Unfortunately, Brett has been hearing the most of these, and after a while, a friend suggested Raiki. For both my sanity and Brett’s. Not really understanding Raiki, I decided what could it hurt, so I made an appointment.
Raiki:(taken from Reiki.org)-Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by “laying on hands” and is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one’s “life force energy” is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.
Having a fairly scientific mind, but also being very spiritual, I wasn’t exactly sure what to think about Raiki. I personally am a Christian, but after speaking with the practitioner, I wanted to at least give a few sessions a go. Kelly (who used to be a stock broker), the practitioner explained that Raiki isn’t a religion, it’s more spiritual. She explained about the 7 Chakras in the body, and how our body’s energy is interconnected.
- Root Chakra- the tailbone area, feeling grounded
- Sacral Chakra- lower abdomen, ability to accept others
- Solar Plexus Chakra- upper abdomen, confidence
- Heart Chakra- heart, love, friendship
- Throat Chakra- throat, communication
- Third Eye Chakra- forehead, ability to see the big picture
- Crown Chakra- top of the head, our connection to spirituality
A Raiki room is laid out like a massage therapy room. There is a massage table, covered in sheets, soft lighting, calming music, soothing colors, etc. Unlike massage, you keep your clothes on, however you do lay under the blanket on the massage table to keep you warm. Then, the practitioner has you close your eyes and relax.
Kelly used crystals in the two sessions that I had. She placed one on my forehead, heart and stomach. She said not every practitioner uses them, although she liked to. At first they felt strange, however soon enough I didn’t notice them. Then, she spend the next part of an hour moving her hands over your body, around an inch or two above. She occasionally placed her hands on my shoulders, neck and jawbone. She goes into a meditation, where she can feel the energy flowing through your body.This is where I do not know if I believe this 100%, but I do believe there are people with healing gifts. And I desperately want to feel normal again, and not this frustrated and angry person.
All in all I didn’t feel anything expect warmth and relaxation. Raiki is not like massage therapy, where once you release a knot, you feel much better. It takes time to reconnect the chakras.
After we were done, Kelly told me that the three head chakras were disconnected. My throat, third eye and crown were all disconnected. So, she said she spent a fair amount of time reconnecting my chakras. She also said the energy on the right side of my body wasn’t moving as freely as the left side of my body. Given that my right hamstring is the one that is torn, that makes sense. It also makes sense that my head chakras are disconnected. For the past year I have been so disconnected from my head to my body, that it makes sense.
In all I went to Kelly twice. I might schedule a third session, but honestly, while I didn’t feel physically better, I felt emotionally better. I felt calmer about my injury and that where I am today is OK. I will eventually be back to being the athlete that I once was, it just isn’t right now. And no amount of wishing, pleading, praying, crying or yelling is going to help. So, would I recommend Raiki….yes. If you feel disconnected, and want to try a different approach to healing, I would give it a try.
Yes, I feel emotionally better, but that doesn’t mean I’ve given up on finding out what’s really causing my pain. Now that the hamstring tear is healed, what could it be? Well, a few days ago I stumbled across several research studies talking about proximal hamstring syndrome. I think I may know the direction to go in next. It won’t be an easy or fun direction, but I’m willing to take it. I want to be me again.