Memories of pain

What actually is pain? There are several theories that have been developed over the years. Ancient Orientals believe pain is stuck energy or chi, the vital life force traveling along pathways known as meridians. When the energy becomes trapped or congested due to trauma or illness the end result is pain.

One traditional western study known as The Gate Control Theory by Melzack and Wall (1965) concludes that pain is our brain’s perception. This theory suggests the transmission of a pain impulse is modulated by a gating mechanism in the base of the brains signaling system. An open gate results in pain; a partially open gate, less intense pain; a closed gate, no pain. This theory explains why pain is so varied given the same stimulus.

Whatever the experts may agree or disagree upon, pain is a warning system. It’s saying "pay attention, something is wrong." If we ignore our pain instead of releasing it – or correcting the root cause – the pain maybe become chronically stubborn and difficult to manage.

At the time of injury or illness, our body makes indelible imprints of the experience that have high levels of emotional content. The body can hold information surrounding the event below the conscious level for processing later, as a protective mechanism. The memory then becomes dissociated from the event a process known as memory dissociation or reversible amnesia.

These memories are state or position dependent and can therefore be retrieved when the person is in a particular state or position. The information not available to the conscious mind allows the body’s protective mechanisms to keep us away from the positions that our mind/body awareness construe as painful or traumatic further blocking a release from the event and any associated pain.

These memories perceived as painful are stored at the cellular level via our fight or flight hormones, epinephrine and norepinephrine. The state or position the person is in at the moment of trauma is encoded into the system. Our mind and body will not allow us to forget, therefore as protection the person progresses into the state of resistance.

Let’s test this theory. Remember a childhood injury or illness – something that caused you pain. In your mind, bring forth as many memories surrounding the incident as you can. Visualize where you were, who was there, what kinds of treatments did you undergo because of the injury. Bring forth any emotion grief, pain or fear. If the area is scarred, touch it. You may be surprised just how much pain is still associated with that old injury. Just bringing the memories to the surface will be useful in helping you relieve any remaining pain surround the event.

Another way to release pain surrounding old injury is to bring them to the attention of the conscious mind with positional release. A powerful massage technique that brings a conscious and a body awareness to the past event or trauma allowing the individual to grasp previously hidden information that may be creating or maintaining symptoms pain. With this information now at the conscious level the long forgotten memory restored the individual can learn what holding or bracing patterns have been impeding progress towards wholeness and healing.

The body –just as the mind – will sometimes hold on to useless information that needs to be thrown out. How long have you been storing your memories of pain? Maybe its time to throw them out.

Till next time, Rebecca