Saturday, January 3, 2015

Immunity: the Mighty Warrior

The onset of even a mild illness such as a cold or the flu is a crisis. The immune system springs into action, or more accurately described, goes into battle with the pathogen. The next thing you know, you've got a fever, head and chest congestion, a stomach ache, ear ache, headache, chills, shivering, sore throat, sneezing, and you're coughing so hard, you feel it might bring up a lung.

All these symptoms are caused by the immune system, not by the pathogen. Did you know that? It was a revelation to me. Up until I actually studied immune function, I always thought it was the virus that made me sick. I thought what my immune system did was bring relief from the symptoms, allowing me to sleep deeply and come back to myself. Nope. Healing is dynamic, healing is a battle, or at least a skirmish.

One of my teachers used to say that the first step in healing is to disorganize or disrupt the pattern of dis-ease. That makes perfect sense in the Reyaverse. After the virus is defeated, only then will the fierceness of immunity calm itself. It's only after the healing that we can breathe, eat and sleep again.

During the height of the battle, it's a terrible idea to go for a massage. I tell my clients this, and it's prominent in my policy practices (see tab above). But many clients show up for their appointments even when in the first crucial stages of illness, when their poor bodies are in shock, gathering the resources available, preparing for the fight ahead. I understand where my clients are coming from - they are suffering and looking for relief. On paper it sounds great but the truth is, it never helps. It always and inevitably makes them feel worse.

Pushing blood and lymph around in the midst of the battle does not enhance the process. All it does is put a strain on the body which is already in a state of distress. It's like trying to fight a war when all of a sudden a tsunami rolls through.

On the flip side of a cold or the flu, after the healing, 24 hours after the end of the fever at least, a massage is excellent. When you're on the mend, a massage can function like a crime scene clean-up crew. Lymph transports the detritus, the kidneys and liver process what they can and the rest of it leaves the body. Massage enhances this.

If you are in the throes of a cold or the flu, the very best thing you can do is support your troops by staying in bed, drinking a lot of water and tea - no cold drinks. Eat simply, try to sleep as much as you can. I think watching old movies is medicinal. They take my mind off my symptoms.

When you're on the mend, then go for a brisk, revivifying massage, or for a session of restorative Reiki.

I'm doing a lot of Reiki sessions during this horrid flu season with people who are in a pattern of catching every cold. There are years when people are sick a lot, others when they're well all winter. When you notice you've been sick a lot, you might need something more than just rest and tea.

I can't explain what Reiki does in scientific terms. My personal sense of it is that it brings harmony to the body's basic rhythms: respiration, heartbeat, craniosacral and other, subtler rhythms. It furthers a harmonious syncopation among the many living rhythms. Please don't ask me how it works. I have no idea.

When fighting a battle, you want the troops to function harmoniously, you want team work. With all systems working together, you stand a much better chance of rising to the challenge of fighting off an invading pathogen. Reiki is gentle but is sometimes just the thing you need to move towards well being.

May you be well during this awful flu season. If you catch it, may you be compassionate to the mammal of your body, may you be aggressive about self care. May you be patient with yourself, understand that the symptoms expressing themselves are the cure for what ails you. May you be kind to yourself.

May you be well! Happy new year. Shalom.