I thought I would write a quick update on my back situation since my last blog.
I am pain free! After consulting with the doctor who did the cranial treatments on me, I decided to stop wearing my orthotics. At the time I got them, it seemed like the right choice (I had foot pain, they solved it), but after writing a timeline of my health issues over the last few years, I see the following pattern:
Knee pain (solved by physiotherapy) > foot pain (solved by orthotics) > pelvic/low back pain
This made me think that I’m not really getting to the root of the issue here. So, I stopped wearing my orthotics on the 28th of September and I haven’t had much (if any) back pain since. During the first week after being treated, my back felt a bit strange, but not bad. At my appointment with my intern on Friday I rated my back discomfort as a 1 (on a scale from 0 to 5) and after he did acupuncture for it, it felt 100% fine!
According to the laws of cure, the pain moving from knees to feet was a positive change. The pain moving from my feet to pelvis/low back was not. So, at the very least I want it back to my feet!
So where to now? Yesterday I bought new running shoes since mine needed replacing but also because I need shoes to properly support my feet without the orthotics. I plan to ease back into running more often. Long-term, I am looking into some cranial therapies that I have access to here.
FYI, the technique used on me was BioCranial. Unfortunately the nearest practitioners to me are at least 3 or 4 hours drive from here. There is also Craniosacral Therapy and luckily there are practitioners here in Toronto, so I will try to make time to see one of them to work on a permanent solution to whatever misalignment I might have.
Thanks to everyone who sent me comments. I do think there are mental/emotional connections for my physical pain, as well as connections with some internal issues I’ve been working on since starting the BTD. I have made a lot of progress with my health in the past 4 years, and I am seeking to kick it up to the next level by working with my intern at the school clinic this year.
I’ve mentioned in my blogs that I’ve been having some low back/hip pain this summer. During August it was worse (probably due to stress, sitting studying a lot, and generally running myself ragged) and it still bothers me during long days sitting at school. I could go on about how I hurt my back, its connection to other structural issues (knees, feet, etc) and how all of that connects with years of working on internal healing, but that would make for an extremely long blog!
This week at school there was a “visiting elder” speaking on a few topics, including cranial manipulation (which covers several specific techniques). The general idea of this is that misalignment of bones in the skull, face, and neck can cause problems in the rest of the spine and structures of the body and that you need to begin at the top of the body and work downwards to create balance. There are many, many different manipulations and adjustments used, depending on the issue of the patient.
During this talk my back was particularly uncomfortable, so I volunteered to take part in a demo of some of the techniques. First, the doctor demonstrated misalignments in my body to the audience and pointed out that I am a “crooked mess” (not in a mean-spirited way), which really got to me because that is exactly how I’ve been feeling lately! After working on me for only a couple of minutes, my back felt great and I had no more pain! He said I should expect to have some soreness and pain for the next few days (which I did) as things settled out, but that my back should improve to some degree (which it did).
On Wednesday I went back to see him again during his office hours at school to discuss some of my structural issues and for another treatment, again for only a few minutes. I feel now like he has definitely helped to shift some things in my back, hips, legs, etc and that my ease of movement is much improved! I have yet to see where all of this will end up, but I am now looking further into these techniques as well as pursuing some therapies with my intern at the clinic.
What surprised me about this whole experience was how emotional it made me! I am feeling a lot of frustration about some of the physical limitations I am experiencing right now and I found particularly that after the two treatments he gave me, I was on the verge of tears – not from pain (although they left me sore), but from emotions that somehow were surfacing and tension that was being drawn out of my spine. I am so grateful to have met this doctor/teacher to point me in a new direction and I nearly broke down completely when I thanked him for all his help and he hugged me!
With the help of my intern (who assigned me to do a health timeline for myself to identify patterns and trends in my health history), I’m starting to understand how my external symptoms have evolved from internal healing I’ve done and also how some major emotional and psychological events in my life have contributed to my health. Seeing these patterns is inspiring because although I am having challenges right now, my deepest, internal health issues are steadily improving!
I’ll finish this blog with the Laws of Cure (attributed to Constantine Hering), which state that on the path to healing symptoms will change:
From above downwards.
From within outwards.
From a more important organ to a less important one.
In the reverse order of their coming.
This blog is dedicated to my dad, who loves Harry Potter even more than I do. We started making some comparisons last week and since then my mind has continued in this vein. I must get this out in a blog so my brain has room for more important things… like anatomy.
Sometimes (OK, often) I feel like I am Harry Potter and I am going to “magic school”. Seriously, there are so many parallels here that it can’t just be coincidence, can it?
FYI, all quotes are from the Wikipedia entry about Hogwarts.
“there are about 1000 students at Hogwarts … [J.K. Rowling] later suggested around six hundred.”.
There are about 500 students at my school (Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine), a number that continues to increase! Amazing to see that even within the last decade, some graduating classes had only 10-15 students.
“There are a few other schools of magic mentioned by name in the Harry Potter novels: one, Beauxbatons Academy of Magic, is located in France, while the Durmstrang Institute for Magical Study is probably based in the far north of Central or Eastern Europe.”.
There are also a few other schools of naturopathic medicine: Boucher, Bastyr, Southwest College, National College, University of Bridgeport. And that is just the ones I know of in North America…
“The school is enchanted to repel Muggles (non-magical people), to whom Hogwarts appears to be ‘a mouldering old ruin with a sign over the entrance saying DANGER, DO NOT ENTER, UNSAFE’. Electronic devices go haywire and do not work around Hogwarts because there is too much magic in the air.”
While my school is not so unfriendly to non-naturopathic folk, there are signs on the doors warning of the FRAGRANCE FREE ENVIRONMENT (to help out those people with MCS – multiple chemical sensitivities), which could surprise/turn off some people I guess… Also, electronic devices (wireless internet, cell phones) do not work in all parts of campus!
“First and second year students all learn the same subjects.”
First and second years at my school also learn many of the same subjects. In third year there is more practical education and students begin to spend more time in the clinic and fourth year students work primarily as interns in the clinic, under a supervising ND.
Many of my classes parallel the magical studies of Hogwarts students…
Herbology: “how to properly care for magical plants.” I am taking Botanical Medicine, although I still call it Herbology in my head… We even have a herb garden, from which we harvest herbs for tinctures, salves, tea, etc.
Potions: “making potions with magical effects.” Homeopathy is the parallel to this – potions with sometimes magical effects, and my current favourite subject.
Defence Against the Dark Arts: “how to properly defend themselves against the Dark Arts, including Dark wizards and creatures.” My version of this is Ethics and Jurisprudence – how to defend myself against lawyers…
History of Magic: “about historical events in the wizarding world.” Naturopathic History and Philosophy.
Arithmancy: “about the magical properties of numbers.” I’m going to compare this to Biochemistry, Physiology, and Immunology which are about the magical properties of enzymes, hormones, immune cells, etc.
Muggle Studies: “about the way of life of Muggles”. I’m stretching a bit here, but I’m going to say Public Health – the way of life of the public (ie: non-naturopathic folks).
Divination: “how to predict (or, some would say, attempt to predict) future events”. Also a stretch - Health Psychology, how to read and understand patients easier, faster, more accurately (some mind reading involved).
Hogwarts students also take Astronomy: “about stars, planets, etc. and their application in magic”, Care of Magical Creatures: “about magical creatures”, Ancient Runes: “about runic scripts and presumably dead magical languages”, Transfiguration: “changing the properties of objects”, Charms: “wide variety of spells such as making objects float”.
My other classes this year: Anatomy, Embryology, Massage, Hydrotherapy, Asian Medicine, Research, Histopathology, Clinical Nutrition, and Art and Practice. Anyone who can match these ones up somehow has my admiration...
“The day begins at Hogwarts with breakfast in the Great Hall. Students sit at their own House table and can eat, socialise, and finish homework at the last minute. At the High Table, at the far end of the hall, the headmaster eats with the professors.”
The equivalent location at my school is the cafeteria, where many students and professors gather before class for breakfast or in between classes for a quick lunch and last minute studying and homework.
“The food served at Hogwarts is, according to the students, very good. The house-elves at Hogwarts are skilled chefs, and cook a wide variety of dishes for every meal. The food served at the school is fresh and grown locally; the school has vegetable patches by the greenhouses.”
While opinions vary on the food served at our cafeteria, I have to admit it is definitely held to a higher standard than your average student eatery. Nearly every bakery item is made with spelt (wheat is minimized). Allergenic foods are minimized and there is a rule that dishes prepared on the same day will each not contain the same allergenic food (eg: if someone is allergic to eggs, there will be some hot meals that do not contain eggs). Lots of tofu is used. Brown rice instead of white. There are many fresh juices and smoothies available and you can buy pieces of fresh fruit.
“To qualify as a registered practitioner of magic, students must take the compulsory Ordinary Wizarding Level (O.W.L.) examinations in their fifth year, and may proceed to the Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Test (N.E.W.T.) level, a more advanced exam regimen covering fewer subjects but in more depth, in the seventh year.”
Naturopathic students are also required to take two sets of licensing exams, called NPLEX (Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations). The first set, Basic Sciences, is usually written after second year and the second set, Clinical Sciences, are written after 4th year.
So there you have it - both places are extremely challenging, but also extremely rewarding! I definitely feel like I am in a magical place everyday…
Everytime I try to start a new blog lately, I just can’t gather my thoughts cohesively enough to make sense, so please bear with me.
First, I wanted to say that I am still alive!
I started school full-time on September 5th and life has been non-stop since then. We had one day of class (9am to 7pm!), then left the next day on a class retreat where we pretended that we were 10 year olds at camp for 3 days – fun! Unfortunately over that time I managed to catch a cold and didn’t have enough down time over the weekend to mount a good immune response. So, I spent all of last week hacking and sniffing my way through classes until Friday night, when I ducked out of all plans to just nurse myself at home. Thankfully that seemed to be enough because I am now nearly completely well.
My classes are all amazing and I love what I am learning so far, but the workload is extreme. Long, long days followed by evenings trying to keep up with reading and learning.
Foodwise, I am fine. Probably too much fruit and Ezekiel buns (my growing brain is burning through calories like crazy!), but also getting lots of veggies and protein. Sleepwise, I am also (surprisingly) doing fine – 7 to 8 hours per night! I hope I can keep that up… Exercise is the weak area right now, but not entirely due to choice. I somehow hurt my back/pelvis earlier in the summer and have finally accepted that this is not something that is just going to heal itself – something is out of balance/out of place and needs manipulation. Until that is properly dealt with, most exercise exacerbates it, so I’m trying to be patient and lay off for awhile. Maybe a bike ride tomorrow morning, though…
Last week I got myself set up with an intern at the clinic and had my first (1.5 hours) appointment. So cool to spend that much time with someone who writes literally pages of notes… I’m excited to start working on my back issue and on the rest of my list of “complaints”, most of which are relatively minor, thankfully. My next appointment is this week, then another the following week and on a regular basis from then on. Oh, and did I mention that I don’t have to pay anything to go to the clinic at school? First visit is free for students, subsequent visits are very cheap, but also covered by my insurance!
Anyway, I’ll try to find some time to write a real blog sometime soon, so hang in there!
On my “to do” list today – write a blog!
I finished my last exam of my summer classes on Friday. I have been longing for this short time off before full-time school starts in September. I looked forward to being able to sleep in, read, lie on the couch and watch garbage on TV, and generally just have time to myself (something I have been lacking for months now). It is so silly that when I am busy, I dream about how nice it would be NOT to be busy. And then when I have nearly nothing that HAS to be done, I am anxious to start being busy again.
I am just generally feeling “off” since Friday. There are lots of reasons why – I’m catching up on lost sleep and getting back to better eating habits, my exercise routine has been less routine and more all or nothing than I like, I’m feeling the weight of obligation as a bridesmaid in a wedding this Saturday and some sadness over the state of that friendship, I’m feeling lonely because all my friends either left town or have a normal day job to go to while I have 2 weeks off… Saturn is square my moon (August 15-23) too, which heralds a “period of insecurity and self-doubt”. Astrologically, I am also looking at some tough angles starting mid-October: Saturn square Sun, Mercury, and Uranus. That’s what I get for having all my “eggs” (planets) in only a few “baskets” (signs/positions).
Having down time also means I have too much time to dwell on myself and my life (this is the curse of our prosperous society, really). A lot of changes have occurred in my life this year. I welcomed most of the changes, but I don’t adjust quickly. Some changes were quite hurtful to me, but ultimately for the best, I know. However, I also don’t get over hurt easily or quickly and I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately.
In the 6 months since I quit my job and started school, I can honestly say I haven’t once regretted that decision. In fact, I was somewhat unsure (before the moment I actually quit, which was phenomenally enjoyable) if I was really making the right decision. Now I am sure.