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My friend Anna had a trying time this holiday and she has shared with me her process for working through and out of it with the help of several holistic practitioners and ancient remedies.

She was the unfortunate recipient of a brownie cooked with a large amount of hashish.  She did not know that it was not a “normal” brownie when she ingested it but soon after noticed as she was getting ready to sit on the floor that she did not know if she was standing or sitting.  This concerned her and she wondered if she was having a stroke or a heart attack.  Soon after she was told about the brownies and then she blacked out. 

After vomiting for several hours at the ER and having cat scans of her abdomen and head and blood work and a long list of diagnostic tests that would have not been done if her driver had admitted knowing what she ingested, she realized that to end the nightmare she would have to act as if she was feeling okay.  She couldn’t understand why she couldn’t end this nightmare like she usually did.  She has little snippets of images from 8 hour black out, including being treated unkindly by those trying to move her, and a doctor saying it is a good thing you vomited that all up, because it was very toxic.  She also remembers hearing an angry voice say several times, “vomit into the blue bucket” but she had no idea where that was.  And she remembers hearing several times, outside her “room”, “They found her lying face down in her vomit.”  Some friends took her home, (sadly the hospital only supplied a hospital gown and slippers over her pajama bottoms ).

The combination of the hash and the tranquilizer the ER doctor gave her, in a body that had experienced a few drugs but not since 1970, did a number on her nervous system.  She told me she remained in a doped up space for ten days!  The first few days were a wash.  Then she became more alert but was in shock and could not sleep.  She said she felt as if there was an electric current pulsing up her spine and getting stuck in her neck.  She forced herself to drive to her first healing treatment from a craniosacral therapist who helped her let go of shock in her spine, skull and legs.  He told her she was pale when she got there, but had plenty of color when she left.  Driving home she felt more relaxed and that night did fall asleep watching C-SPAN Book TV.  Her second treatment was with an acupuncturist who put needles in her areas of depleted “chi” and on points to help her sleep.  She felt much better after that but could not sleep that night.  The next day she thought she better get some sleeping pills because she knows that not sleeping can make it impossible to recover from shock to the system.  She went to the health food store and found Bach flower Rescue Remedy sleep aid and that night used it whenever she woke up.  She did get sleeping pills to have on hand if needed, but she  never used them.  She had a second craniosacral treatment during which she released some more shock but was concerned that a week after her event she still felt liked she was going to faint.  Her acupuncturist told her she was probably dehydrated and suggested water with electrolytes and emergen-C.  After a day and a half she no longer felt faint.  One more acupuncture treatment, and then a massage on the 10th day helped her turn the corner.  She now felt grounded and in her body.  But she had to work hard to get there.  She also took hot baths in epsom salts, lay on tennis balls to release tension from her spine, did yoga in the middle of the night when she woke up, began to take  some walks and constantly had to remind her self to stop holding her breath and breathe.  An aromatherapist also put some anti shock oils on her solar plexus and shirt and some myrrh for protection.  She slept in that shirt for several days as that also seemed to help her sleep.

She told me she wondered how all the people who experience shock and trauma recover from it.  Do they get help, or ignore the physical and emotional symptoms.  Does the painful event(s) stay stuck in their nervous system?  Or are they able to release it gradually and gently, without causing more shock to their body/mind/spirit.

She says she is thankful for the help she received, medical and holistic, for her friends who cooked her nurturing meals, for her pets who stayed tuned into her throughout, and for healing touch which she noticed was essential in her healing.  Anna is savoring every minute of her peaceful holidays.


mandala-PeaceThis past summer my ninety-year-old father was hospitalized for a broken hip. He was not getting much touch as his nurses were over-worked, and he developed a MRSA infection which meant no one was supposed to touch him without wearing plastic gloves. In addition his hearing aids were lost, and perhaps most challenging was the fact that he was brain damaged from an accident forty years ago. When I got to his hospital room his legs were blue from the knees down, and his feet were ice cold. He was sleeping but seemed agitated. I went to work on his legs and feet and back. He never woke up but when I left him he was sleeping with a peaceful look on his face. The next morning his feet were warm and his legs and feet were a healthy color, and he was in good spirits.

Due to several complications he died several weeks later. But during those weeks, at my insistence, he was graced with caring and loving touch from his immediate and extended family, and his entire Quaker meeting. We in turn were graced to be sharing that sacred time with him.

Many people suffer from touch
deprivation including people with AIDS, people with cancer, hospice patients, infants in Neo Natal Intensive Care Units, especially those who have been abandoned by their parents; people with injuries and amputations, the not very visible part of our population that is challenged with physical abnormalities; people recovering from addiction; victims of physical and emotional abuse who find it difficult to trust any touch; those suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome including victims of natural and man made disasters and even car accidents; and many veterans returning from Iraq, suffering from the wounds of war.

You can start with those closest to you–your family, your immediate circle, and your pets. My teenage daughter reminds me constantly that she needs massage to loosen tight muscles after an extremely hard work out, or to help her get to sleep when she is over-excited.

Besides the emotional comfort of caring touch, massage therapy oxygenates the cells which increase endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers. It increases flexibility and movement in joints and eases stiffness and pain in arthritis sufferers, and gets the “chi” or life force moving, which helps us feel vitalized. Healing touch reduces or eliminates stress related headaches; eases digestive disorders and chronic muscular pain including fibromyalgia; improves body image and speeds healing after surgery; and improves the immune system. By increasing circulation, massage is invaluable in preventing bedsores that are so problematic, and too often life-threatening for the immobile. It relieves agitation in Alzheimers’ patients; enhances blood pressure and pulse in geriatric patients; and helps women with all phases of the childbearing year.

Massage therapy comforts and relaxes children with attention deficit disorder, those with autism and people with many forms of mental illness.

As vital as food and water is to our survival, so is touch and giving from the heart.