Healing comes from the Old English hælan, meaning “cure; save; make whole, sound and well.”

This information was shared with me at a recent workshop with anatomist John Sharky, whose work on understanding of fascia and biotensegrity is immense.

I sat there thinking this sounds like something we should aim for more than ‘being healed’. Maybe we need to focus on what’s needed to create wholeness.

Over years of practice we ask ourselves: how do we help people heal, and what does that mean for each person. I think it’s best looked at in terms of wholeness instead.

  • For athletes, at any standards, ‘wholeness’ means being able the run, cycle, play golf, hockey or football pain free. It’s an essential part of their wellbeing.
  • For our professional sports people, ‘wholeness’ means being able to compete with a deep confidence in their body; a trust in their ability to deliver a positive outcome and perform to a high functioning state
  • For arthritic people it’s about helping them to keep moving, encouraging them in the best way we can. Explaining even though it can be painful, the less a joint is used the stiffer it will be come. There’s a bit of ‘use or lose it’, which can be tough to hear – they won’t feel healed. We must help them find a way to progress where they treat themselves kindly, accepting they may not be ever pain free and stiff, but they can get to a place where they may feel a little more ‘whole’.
  • For those with chronic conditions and long-term pain, for example those with CFS, fibromyalgia or rheumatoid arthritis, I spend time working with the individual to establish what ‘wholeness’ looks like. We set steps in place together to get them there. In this process we review often the ‘wins’ and gains made, focusing on realistic expectations. I ask them ‘how kind’ are you with yourself. Often, I find these people are very harsh on themselves for getting into this position.

In any of these situations it’s important to offer warm, compassionate honesty and support, and say there is only so much we can offer with our hands. They have to meet us and work with us to get them to a state of ‘wholeness’

My final note on this is that whether we think we’re living with pain or not, there are always things we need, different for everyone, to feel whole. These are the things that me feel well and whole.

  • Time with family and close friends
  • Walking Eddie dog all on my own
  • Going to Chapel Allerton Pilates
  • My practice and sharing knowledge with other therapists
  • My monthly facial at the beauticians.
  • Feeding myself food that my body will welcome, and taking time to think about the food my body would welcome
  • Giving myself space to move, doing Pilates just for me each day
  • Walks along cliffs, beaches, to the top a hill with an awesome view

What are yours?

Susan Bennett FLCSP (Phys)

Sue qualified in Remedial Massage in 1991 at the Northern Institute of Massage gaining a solid foundation on which to build her bodywork skills. Since 1991, Sue has continued her education to include a vast range of soft tissue techniques, giving her a great knowledge of anatomy and physiology, acquiring the title of physiotherapist in 2004. Sue also gained her Higher Grade Diploma in Manipulative Therapy in 2002.

After being in practice for a number of years, Sue wanted to expand her knowledge and find a soft-tissue technique which would enhance her treatments and create greater precision in clinic. She found this by travelling to the US in order to train under leading chiropractor Tom Hendrickson in San Francisco for 7 years.

In 2009 became the UK’s first qualified Hendrickson Method® therapist and is an ambassador for the Hendrickson Method® in the UK. Sue continues to undertake mentoring from Dr Tom Hendrickson in Berkeley, CA.

Committed to continually developing her knowledge and skills, most recently Sue completed a 10 month series in 2018 in Myofascial Anatomy & Movement for Pilates & Yoga teachers with Gary Carter of Natural Bodies.

Sue has also completed training with the Nuero Orthopedic Institute to further her understanding of pain and its mechanisms. She has undertaken the following workshops: Explain Pain, Mobilisation of the Nervous System and Graded Motor Imagery.

Sue is also a teacher and trainer of physiotherapy; she writes and delivers various workshops for physiotherapy and massage therapists throughout the UK, Ireland and Canada, and is PTLLS trained. She is also a neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) practitioner.

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