What do our Bodies Ache For?
by Dr Margaret Jinn Ngu
When we have pain be it a toothache, headache, bellyache or joint ache, the intuitive thing we do is to take or do something to fix it or get rid of it or to numb it.
Perhaps there is more to our symptoms then just a nuisance that needs to be got rid of. Prescribing medicines or complementary therapies alone may help keep symptoms at bay for a while (like soothing a crying baby with a dummy) but symptoms may return sooner or later with recurrences or another worse symptom than before and over time develops into chronic degenerative illness like anxiety, depression, arthritis, heart disease, cancer.
I often say to my patients that a headache is not due to panadol or aspirin deficiency. Palliation with medicines (medical or complementary) or even meditation techniques may not be fully satisfying or complete if we work to only remove the symptoms, which is what patients of course want. We really have to ask what underlies; is there a causal chain?
As Holistic Physician, my witnessing of over 35 years of patients suffering from chronic physical, emotional or mental health issues indicates to me that there is a beckoning from the deeper wisdom and life within, anxiously aching for something more satisfying and more fulfilling than it is currently experiencing.
These symptoms are messengers from the body’s wisdom and until we (practitioner and patient) get its message, we may just be killing the messenger. We would really be missing the boat and I believe it may even be a case of medical negligence.
This is a crucial message for all doctors, naturopaths, osteopaths, chiropractors, massage therpists and any healing profession to be beware of the dangers of “fixing” the patient’s aliments. We need to realize that body symptoms are calling out from an emerging spiritual process. As practitioners I believe we have the duty of care to be midwives to their birthing process.
I am reminded of how in the days of old the Chinese physicians would only be paid when their patients stayed well! In those days the physician was called “Si Fu” meaning Master of Wisdom and was both the spiritual advisor as well as physician to the patients and their families.
Today we live in a society where personal mentoring is not the norm but is filled with spiritual anxiety manifesting as physical or mental illness, drug addictions, family and social upheaval. Body symptoms are signals of secret longings that the mind is either not aware of or not heeding. Suffering occurs as a result of this split within – a separation of mind from the body.
What are the secret and hidden wants and longings of the deeper self?
More importantly, how do we access what is true?
This query says that we could heal ourselves by recognizing and meeting the depth of who we are – conscious, subconscious and unconscious fields of energies in our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies. We need to wake up to which part is influencing our path in life and health. When I ask patients what they really want in life, 90% will answer, “I don’t know”. Many of us spend our life unquestioningly like driftwood letting the current of the environment take us where it will.
Body symptoms are our allies, signaling us to stop, listen and re-direct our physical, emotional, mental or spiritual condition to assert our inner governance.
Do you know how to listen? To whom do we listen? How can we hear? How do we get in touch with what is going on when most of us live in our minds, think and even feel with our minds?
We instinctively focus on what’s wrong; trying to eliminate what is wrong. It may be that to achieve real transformative healing we may need to look for what is right about what’s wrong and for what is trying to emerge.
Perhaps we have to do the counter intuitive thing of “going into” the pain, the ache or the symptom; instead of moving away from what hurts. The instinctual thing we do is to barricade, to close off, to shut down, to not feel as pain hurts. Doing so, we move away from our body to what seems to be the safer place of the mind.
Ultimately it becomes unsustainable to live in the virtual reality of our minds and alerting messages are sent from the body. To get real and heal we must re-connect to our body. Body Wisdom prevails over our minds no matter how educated you or the doctor may be. A good practitioner consults the patient’s body.
To heal we must FEEL in our body – touch, taste, hear, move, see, and feel. When we connect to our senses we become present to the sensations and emotions felt in the body that points the way. The mystery then unfolds – tracking one sensation, one feeling, and one emotion at a time till you reach the heart of what your body aches for – the Essence of oneself. Through this art of mindfulness you will know that this is real because you feel it in your body, in your senses the qualities of Love, Presence, Connectivity, Beauty, Energy, Peace.
Dr Margaret Jiin Ngu (MBBS Monash, FACNEM, MAMAC, MSE (Psych) is a Monash University medical graduate (1978) of 36 yrs, an expert in Integrative and Transformational Medicine for the past 30 plus yrs. Internationally she is a founding member of the IOICP (International Organisation of Integrative Cancer Physicians) and member of the AAOT ( American Academy of Oxidative Therapies). In Australia she is the only accredited IPT Physician offering Metabolically Supported IPT low dose chemotherapy; and trained in the USA in Oxygen/Ozone therapies for degenerative illness. Dr Ngu is a past president of the AIMA (Australasian Integrative Medicine Association), member of the RACGP, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners; the AMAC, Australian Medical Acupuncture College and Fellow of the Australasian College of Nutrition & Environmental Medicine, ACNEM.