Tuesday, 18 September 2012

More from Vashali abour natural healing

Contemplating The Navel: How Chi Nei Tsang Saved My Life (When Western Medicine Couldn’t

By Vaishali, author of “You Are What You Love” and “Wisdom Rising”

Vaishali Demonstrating Chi Nei Tsang:

It all started when I was in my mid twenties, with a small pain in the abdomen. Little did I know how this little pain would force me to make big changes in my life. The pain seemed concentrated in three points around the right ovary. It became most acute when I would bend over. The mystery pains gradually grew until they were bothering me all the time, regardless of posture or position. I did what most people would do when seeking to address something health related: I made an appointment with my doctor. He was a better listener than most doctors and took the time to do a physical examination. While examining the pelvis, he found that merely touching that area was enough to produce pain, so we agree to proceed with non-invasive testing. That started off simple enough: leaving bodily fluid in a cup, taking a blood sample, or an ultra sound test. (For you guys, it would be the equivalent of “turn your head and cough”.) Everything we tried was inconclusive.

Over the course of a year, the pain spread down the right leg and across the lower back. I pretty much just dragged my right leg around. My abdomen slowly swelled until there was a constant state of discomforting distention. My skin turned a pasty shade of gray with tiny bumps, the greatest concentration being on my back. I looked like a cross between Quasimodo and a heroin addict.

Looking back on it now, I can understand that my skin looked this way because it was the only organ still detoxifying my entire body. I lived with a hot water bottle stuffed down my pants. It was the only thing I could do to help alleviate the non-stop pain that plagued the lower body. Due to my declining condition, my doctor suggested we try exploratory surgery. The best way to know what was going on would be to look directly into the body. The way I felt, I agreed.

My doctor and I discussed best and worst possible scenarios so that I would be prepared. The worst case would be that they might have to start removing organs. We still suspected if there was a problem, (if you could have seen me, that would have been a no-brainer) it would be centered on the reproduction organs. I was perfectly fine living without some or all of my reproductive organs… I didn’t need them to live. But I only had one heart or liver, and those I did need.

I clearly remember the moment I regained consciousness in the recovery room. My doctor would not make eye contact with me, and I was thinking, “This can’t be good.” He said, “I have some good news and some bad news. I’ll start with the good news. We did not take anything out; you still have all your organs.” “Great!” I was thinking, “What could possibly be the bad news?” “The bad news is that every organ from your stomach to your colon is in crisis.” He then took a quarter out of his pocket. “Your liver and small intestine are the worst. I could flip this quarter to determine which organ will shut down first, but most likely you are going to die from either the liver or small intestine shutting down, and I do not know why.”

My doctor referred me to a digestive specialist who acted like he was God’s gift to the medical profession. He came into the room, looked at the chart, and said, “I am going to run a bunch of invasive tests, and then be prepared for me to tell you that there is nothing wrong with you.” I was shocked! This man had not even examined me, yet he was dismissing me out of hand. “You have seen the surgery notes from my other doctor, haven’t you? How can you say that?” I asked completely stunned by his insensitivity, arrogance, and confrontational attitude. “Is your other doctor a digestive specialist?” he spat out in a very aggressive and hostile tone. “No, he isn’t,” I answered. “I’d be surprised if your other doctor even knows where your liver is!” He snapped with no deference to cordiality or even superficial professional courtesy. He then proceeded to load up my arms with bags, hoses and bottles of fluid, told me to reschedule, and shoved me out the door.

Looking back on it now, I can see that this specialist, unintentionally, did me the biggest favor of my life. I remember walking over to the nearest trashcan, opening my arms, and dumping all the medical paraphernalia unceremoniously into the garbage. I walked away thinking, “I am going to have to figure this out myself. These people do not know what they are doing.” I am not advising other people to abandon their doctors, but for me it was the right choice. And it changed my life forever.
I had for the most part accepted the terminal diagnosis, but as long as I was still alive, I wanted to try and minimize the excruciating pain I was in all the time. The pain of having your organs rotting out inside your body is horrible; it would make you want to jump off a building. (Good thing I lived on the first floor at this time in my life.) I would sometimes lay in bed in agony, unable to move, and just cry and whimper for hours. I had to train my roommates to be neutral to my suffering, as I could not deal with their reactions and my situation at the same time. Besides I knew their panicking was not going to do anything but increase my already ‘through the ceiling’ stress level.

I heard about a rare Chinese form of internal organ massage called Chi Nei Tsang, and decided to try it. Fortunately for me, I stumbled into the office of Gilles Marin, the foremost master in this technique. He worked on me for about ten minutes and then said, “Okay, I am going to tell you what is wrong with you. I’m warning you now it is going to be extremely hard for you to hear, because you have been diagnosed as terminal and been through so much pain for so long. The problem with you is that you are not breathing correctly.” My first thought was, “What an asshole! If it was my breathing, I would have been dead long before now.”

Gilles explained that breathing is how we digest our emotions, thoughts and experiences, as well as supply oxygen to the body. “You have absorbed as much fear as a person can, and still be alive, but just barely alive.” It is true my childhood was a succession of one highly traumatizing event after another. It was also true that after the exploratory surgery, I discovered that my live-in boyfriend was sleeping with the women who were supposed to be my good friends. The widespread, deep-seated betrayal was emotionally devastating. I remember thinking that they did not even have the courtesy to wait until I died. How rude can you get! I was also working for my boyfriend’s parents, so when we split up, I was advised to find another job. This meant losing my health insurance and trying to find gainful employment while physically suffering from pain that some days would not even let me get out of bed. And worse, I now had a “pre-existing condition” which would preclude me from ever getting health insurance and probably another job. I had wanted to jump off a building to get out of the pain, but instead I inadvertently got thrown under the bus. Ain’t life grand! My life was turning into a country western song.

Even withstanding Gilles’ accuracy about my history, which he could not possibly have known anything about, the idea that my breathing had anything to do with my present situation was just too foreign for me to accept. “You’re not even working where it hurts,” I told Gilles when he started back with the massage, just to show him he lacked the correct insight into my case. “I know. It hurts here, here and here,” he said, touching the three painful spots around the right ovary that had started this whole wild ride. No doctor had ever been able to make sense of these three spots when they asked me where it hurt. And now, out of nowhere, this guy zeroes in on them without any guidance on my part.

“How did you know that?” I asked completely stunned. Gilles explained, “The diaphragm in the body is designed to move downwards on the inhale. Yours is moving in exactly the opposite direction. Instead of going down, it is coming up. It is pulled up so high in the front of your body it is pinching off your liver meridian, cutting off your liver from desperately needed Chi, life force, energy. Your liver is hanging on by a thread now because the flow of energy has been choked off for so long. The result is the liver and the liver meridian are swollen and in crisis. The liver meridian comes closest to the surface of the skin where the most nerve endings are, and then dives back down here, here and here (those three spots). So that is where you would be experiencing the most pain. When you learn how to breathe correctly and bring the diaphragm back down, the flow of energy will be restored to your liver, and it will come right back, because there is nothing wrong with your liver. Your doctors were right about one thing, however, and that is you will die if you do not change how you breathe. But you do not have to die; there is still time. You can reverse this.”

In ten minutes this guy explained my pain, how I got it, and what I needed to do to recover fully from it. Modern medicine had my case for over a year without any doctor, including a specialist, offering me any tangible insights or wisdom. I remember thinking that even if this guy is not right, it couldn’t hurt me to learn to breathe more efficiently and harmoniously. I shut my mouth, followed Gilles’ instructions, and began to focus on what happened when I breathed.

Chi Nei Tsang is designed to be self-administered, so I spent the next several years studying with Gilles. The first year of the recovery process was extremely intense. In addition to retraining the respiration and the actual physical manipulation of the internal organs, an emotional exorcism occurs. The massage is about purging the body of negative emotions and bringing consciousness back to the core of the body. In the human experience, this is precisely where consciousness is designed to be seated. For more than a year, I would have an emotional release exactly twenty-four hours following an appointment with Gilles. You could set your clocks by it. The day of the appointment I would feel great. I could tell I was improving dramatically. Then the next day, I would be an emotional basket case. The fear would just start pouring out of me. I had to make arrangements to stay at home the next day, because I was so scared I literally could not function. I had to let the fear come up and release it, without repressing it again out of habit.

During that first year I also experienced profound changes in the myofacial tissue that surrounds the internal organs. The tissue, responding to years of fear stimuli, had grown very tight and had a death grip around the organs. The combination of the breathing exercises and the emotional releases from organ manipulation caused the tissue to rip loose from the inside out, finally permitting the organs to relax. The sensation of the tissue tearing loose inside the body was a bizarre combination of blinding pain followed by the sweet bliss of relief.

I spent so much time studying this internal organ massage and Chinese Medicine, I decided to become a certified practitioner to help other people regain quality of life as well. I gradually branched out and studied both Eastern Indian Ayurveda and Tibetan Ayurveda. These healing sciences are based on body types. Unlike the Western concept of the body, a mechanistic paradigm that sees all bodies as the same, Eastern systems see every person as unique: a universe unto themselves. And it is imperative that one knows about the various body types, their strengths and weaknesses, in order to understand how to achieve and maintain optimal balance and health. Now that I have this knowledge I find it difficult to see how most people survive our culture without its benefits. I guess the truth is most people don’t survive it well.

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