Sunday, November 25, 2007

Have you ever. . .?

Did you ever will yourself to get well, and you got well? Or will yourself to do anything that was totally mind over matter?

I'm thinking of that, because on Sunday I had the privilege of sitting in the company of a Tibetan lama who has healed himself of injuries and ailments. (His story is here.) We shouldn't feel bad if we can't do what he has done, however. He meditates about ten hours a day and received healing practices from the Dalai Lama, so he was mended in a first-class Tibetan ER, you might say.

Personally, I have no trouble believing these things happen, because I've experienced minor examples in my own life. The first was in my early twenties soon after I began living on my own, away from my parents' home. One day I began to get that feeling you get when coming down with the flu. You know that feeling? Achy, feverish, etc. I caught myself thinking, at a barely perceptible conscious level, "Oh, good, now my mom will take care of me and bring me crackers and chicken soup." The moment I caught that fleeting wish, I thought, "Wait a minute! I'm not at home. My mom won't be here to take care of me!"

I got well so fast you'd have thought somebody had waved a magic wand.

It was pretty funny, and pretty darned instructive.

How 'bout you? Ever heal yourself? Ever see somebody else do that? Do you believe it can happen?


Nancy P said...

Off to bed. See you when it's really Monday.

katiebird said...

This is a good topic Nancy. I have thought about it. And why some people have (seem to) have the ability to heal themselves and others don't or can't.

And the fine line between thinking that people CAN heal themselves. And the risk of blaming people who don't. NOT that I think you're doing that at all. It's just that in BushWorld, it sometimes seems that someone has to be blamed for everything.

Family Man said...

Morning Nancy.

I've always thought the mind has a lot more power over the body than people usually think. Most people are too busy to think about it or even care, until something comes up.

AndiF said...

No. No. Agnostic, though certainly believe that attitude can affect health.

And here's visual representations of how (I hope) attitude can affect mood for the Monday picture post:

my "going back to work after a long weekend" mood.

my "hey, lighten up" in reply.

Morning all. said...

Yeah, that's a tough one, Nancy.

The mind is definitely part of our medning kit and I certainly do know that the mind is more than a kit of perceptions. The mind also has some dandy projection tools.

Healing as a matter of mind seems cool when it's the Dalai Lama, but gets a little shaky when it's a fundamentalist preacher laying on of the hands on TV for someone with Leukemia. Still, most people in health care have witnessed a miracle healing or two.

At odd moments, I like to think the body and the mind are both more a part of each other than separate entities. Healing the mind is, perhaps, the better trick.

Thus far the fatality rate of the human body is %100. :-(

Football. "I'm not a betting girl, though, so I didn't make any money off it."

I must confess, Katiebird, that the friend and I have been betting the same $50 for about 8 years now. We occasionally buy each other lunch, but I don't think either of us has actually removed $50 from our wallets in all that time. :-)

Andif, your little woods are starting to remind me of Monet's haystacks. How nice this is.

katiebird said...

Andi -- You've captured MY mood pretty accurately with that first photo. And that was sweet of you to post the second. I'll try to keep THAT one in the forefront of my mind as I stumble through the morning.

(I want to stay HOME!)

Ghost -- I wonder why we've got that Dalai Lama = Cool / Preachers = Con thing going?

Also, I think that miracles are not the same thing as self-healing, aren't they? I've seen my mom through at least 2 medical miracles & mister through 1 miracle and I thought they were a totally different sort of thing.

AND ALSO, with my first post, I didn't mean to imply that self-healing doesn't exist. Self-healing is a HUGE part of reason for the existence of Eat4Today.

AND I know that people can Think-Themselves-Dead. My mother-in-law lost the race to be The-Sickest with her sister who passed away a couple of years ago. She's still trying to catch up.

paul lamb said...

I can remember willing away a case of hiccups once. It was one of those barely conscious moments, just before I drifted off to sleep, and I can remember thinking that I had hiccuped enough. It was time to stop. And they did.

I've often thought that we learn to control our bodies to the point where we can see benefit. A child learns to walk (control and coordinate the leg muscles) because it gives tangible, immediate benefit. I learn to push a pencil across a page in a florid script because I can save my fleeting thoughts. I can even summon a sneeze when I want to.

So I suspect that there are other bodily controls we might master if we could only recognize the physical benefit of them and get some sort of feedback that we are gaining some control. I've read that with practice, some people can concentrate enough to lower their heart rate. Apparently this has been observed in laboratory tests under controlled conditions.

What if we could know that our blood sugar was high? Could be master the ability to release insulin into our bloodstreams to control the problem? What makes this different from learning to walk is that we can't really measure our blood sugar in any natural way (nor do we have adults across the room encouraging us the way a toddler does). Plus the effects of the insulin might not be immediate, and when they do arrive, they might be so subtle that we don't see them.

Okay, enough babbling for today. said...

Herding dogs are such a different breed, Far. I am currently living with a golden retiever / border collie mix and it has taken me forever to get used to the border collie parts.

Beth said...

Morning, everyone.

I spent years going to a naturopath instead of a regular Western doctor because I believe the body can heal itself if shown the way.

I can make myself sick just by thinking about it. Unfortunately, I don't seem to be able to do it in reverse yet. But I truly believe it's possible.

There's a whole 'nother world out there that we're not encouraged to explore, that some lucky people have learned to tap into. Maybe this is part of that.

I wish I had a millionth of his compassion.

Thanks for sharing this, Nancy.

Now I'm going to think about this cold going away, instead of whining about how long it's lasting.

katiebird said...

Good Morning Beth, does Chicken Soup count as Self-Healing? I believe it can work miracles....

Beth said...

Oh yes. Anything that doesn't involve sucking down a pill that makes the symptom go away while the problem causing it remains.

Isn't there scientific proof that chicken noodle soup DOES help in some ways? I remember reading it somewhere.

Right now I'm trying hot oatmeal...too early for soup! :-)

Cathy C said...

Interesting topic, Nancy. I like to believe in the possibility of healing ourselves. Maybe it's that darn optimism bubbling up again that was discussed here a few weeks ago.

There have been times when I felt a cold/flu coming on right before I had some important event or commitment I didn't want to miss, and it seemed I was able to sideline the illness.

Of course, I could never prove I had some part in my "instant" recovery.

My father was a very unhappy, angry man and was plagued by a long list of illnesses and hospitalizations. I can't help believe his mental attitude helped ruin his health.

I strive not to think like him.

AndiF said...

Ghost, thank you for the over the top comparison -- I am maybe a wee bit obsessed with the play of light but I can only wish that I could capture it with the insight, delicacy, and nuance of Monet.

kb, anything to help a fellow sufferer. ;)

beth, yes it's true about chicken soup.

Cathy C said...

KB and Beth, I read that about Chicken Soup too.

Also, I wonder if we think something is supposed to help us get better that we actually do because our minds are helping out in the recovery. said...

On the other hand, Beth, the effects of a cold amount to the experience of the body healing itself. Your body is kicking the shit out of a virus -- on its own. :-)

Katie, I started to reply to your post... but, uh, I was getting pretty close to a blog no-no deep doodoo sort of thing: religion.

I'll have a scotch and water and you a glass of wine then we'll ramble about these things from midnight to nine. :-)

I wanted once to write a book of the religion of dogs. "In the beginning, there was ball."

Because everyone I have told this to looks at me like I'm really stupid, I may yet have to do it.

Aw heck, Andif, Monet wanted a digital camera for his birthday but didn't one.

Beth said...

Ghost, that ties in with the Flying Spaghetti Monster - sort of.

There was ball - I love it. said...

Uh, Beth... what is the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

OMG, I'll never be able to go to sleep tonight.

Beth said...

Google it, ghost. Something that's been around for a while, but hit the news again recently. I couldn't begin to do it justice. It's in that "don't go there" realm - but closer to the ball theory. :-)

Nancy P said...

Hi, Paul, and welcome.

Morning, katiebird, ghost, andie(thanks!), family man, beth, and cathy c.

I've done that cold, etc., thing, too, cathy c, though I have to really mean it for it to work. I have a (neurotic?) tendency to start to get sick right before a big trip or event, and I have to say to myself, "No. You may not. Not now. There's no time for this." I haven't kept track of whether I then let down later, afterwards, and go ahead and get sick.

I'm going to heal myself of caffeine deprivation and get coffee.

Nancy P said...

I do think we in the West make it as hard as possible on ourselves to use any such techniques. First, as katiebird said, by expecting perfection and blaming people if they don't do it--like it's easy! Hah. You'll note I said he meditates ten hours a day! Or like we even understand much of it. Hah, again. And second, by scoffing so hard that the atmosphere is poisoned for people who'd like to try.

Nancy P said...

Our doctor in the house, Kimberly, would probably say the cases she's seen in ER need the good Western practical stuff, and they need it right now. If you're in a car wreck, you're going to the ER, not to the meditation mat.

But if I can lower the long-range physical effects of say, stress, by more esoteric means, than I'm at least going to try it. Cheaper than insurance!

Beth said...

Oh, very true, Nancy. Thankfully there are Kimberlys out there who can fix us in a jiffy when we need fixin'.

I had chronic fatigue for two years. My Western doctor finally told me to seek Eastern help because she had no answers for me except to go away and wait 3-5 years. The naturopath cured me in 4 months, in spite of my swearing (to his face) that he was a quack, only out for my money. No mind over matter there.

If I have a headache, I'll drink more water, get a massage, refrain from breathing nasty chemicals, lower my stress - and it will go away.

Lowering stress will go a long way toward curing you of MANY nasty ailments!!

Nancy P said...

Funny story about you and the alternative doc, Beth. Cured you in spite of yourself.

I haven't had any health insurance for 15 or 16 years, so I have *had* to consider other ways to stay healthy and then deal with the times when I'm not healthy. Which sometimes means just being sick until time passes and then I'm not. A lot of people with insurance don't understand that, I think. A whole lot of Western medicine is simply out of reach for 47 million of us. I'm always delighted to hear of success stories from other cultures and other ways of dealing/healing.

FARfetched said...

I haven't seen it, but I know people who have — reliable witnesses, in my eyes.

KB, very true about blame.

Andi, that first shot is really what it looks like here. Actually, the pic is lighter — it's been raining all night & hasn't really stopped. Yay! My actual mood is in between the two.

Paul, I remember reading something about biofeedback techniques that trained people to lower their blood pressure. The feedback was simple: they would hear a beep every time their BP dropped; eventually, they would get the beep quite often. My son is diabetic, and I know that a plug-in pancreas — that measures glucose levels and delivers insulin as needed — is only a few years away. The "measuring" part could be used in a biofeedback device.

The mind-numbing meeting has started, so I'll come back a little later. Man. You show up late here and you're waaaaayyyyy down the line. ;-)

Beth said...

I only have catastrophic health insurance - for when that piano falls on my head. I'm so rarely sick, it's a pain to pay for monthly insurance that I don't use. But not having any would scare me a little.

PS to story - my doc responded, "I don't want your money. If you're not better in 3 weeks, go away." I was 50% cured in 2 weeks, and worshipped at the altar of naturopathy from there on out. His office cured an ear infection with accupuncture, and made it possible for me to go out in the sun again (I was allergic to Vitamin D, and passed out when I suntanned).

Beth said...

We'll wait for you to catch up, far. And I'm glad it's still raining!!

FARfetched said...

Hey Beth… I've never worked with a naturopath, but I've been to a chiropractor for back problems. Chiro's like to say that they can fix just about anything; I don't believe that but I *do* believe they are a valuable part of a holistic approach to health. I think reflexology, acupuncture, naturopathy, chiropractic, and good ol' Western medicine all have their part to play — the problem is that all of them, including (especially?) Western medicine, tend to exclude the others instead of recognizing their own strengths & deferring to the others in their weak spots. (ramble ramble goes the run-on sentence)

Beth said...

I have a dear friend who is a chiro - practices "light touch", which doesn't involve bone-crunching. He swears by the maintenance theory of health. But you're right - they all play a part, and all should learn to play together nicely.

katiebird said...


I had/learned bio-feedback for my TMJ 20 or so years ago. And it really worked. I learned to feel sleepy instead of feeling pain. And it still worked last week when I banged my head. I could tell it hurt, but the pain made me sleepy and almost comfortable. Describing it makes it sound impossible though.

Nancy P said...

I have one of those light touch chiros, and I love her. She works with some excellent and open-minded MD's and they cross-refer each other. She knows I can't afford MD's, so we happily play in the fields of woo-woo.

katiebird said...

Totally off-topic: I can't get into Eat4Today. Can anyone? From my end, it seems like it's gone down.

(sorry for the interruption)

Kelly McCullough said...

Morning all. Lukewarm tea today because I was slow out of bed. Off to write now.

KB, I can't get in either. But I've also had a couple of other sites blow out on me this morning including several bits of Salon.

Nancy P said...

I can't get in, either, Kb. :(

katiebird said...

Thanks Kelly. I just checked and I can't into Salon at all. So maybe it's an Internet Hub problem??

Luckily Nancy's site is OK!

katiebird said...

I sent a question to the Server Administrator.... This REALLY frustrates me.

(breathing deep calming breaths)

Conda said...

As a fitness instructor and somebody with "bad" genes, I believe (and continually see the evidence of) that you can certainly help heal with the mind. I've done some hypnosis (self and assisted) and meditation and seen great results.And Beth, I too, have seen people make themselves sick, even unto death. Scary.

However, in no way do I believe you can "think cancer away" or that cancer or any other illness is the person's fault. The mind is a powerful helper, that's all.

Dr. Weil is usually pretty balanced for integrated healing:

And Andif, love the photos, as always!

Beth said...

kb, I got in earlier today, so it was working at some point.



AndiF said...

I can't get there either, katiebird.

Far, sounds like we are having the same weather -- a classic gray, gloomy, wet, cold November day. And if today is your birthday, you share it with my m-i-l -- which goes to show what a high quality day this is to have two such wonderful people born on it.

Beth said...

kb, you're up again - just got a comment from catdog. But you probably did too! :-)

Rick Bylina said...

Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening. Hope all are doing well.

Interviews this morning are laying me low. Still waiting for the job I want and tossing aside jobs people want to give me that I'd be bad at or are 60 hour weeks disguised as 40 hour come-ons. My wife will die if I tell her about the job I no one tell her. ;-)

I don't believe you can will yourself better; however, positive attitudes and laughter can influence your body's ability to fight back just as a negative nancy (nothing implied) can lower your fight.

I get sick (flus/colds) slightly more than the average person. There is nothing I've ever done to alter that basic fact.

However, I heal really fast. Cut me. I bleed, clog up and am healed faster than you can say blotablue.

The human bod is an amazing thing and what Joe can do maybe Frank can't no matter what Joe believes is possible because of his experience.

Oh damn, another meteorite is heading this way...ARGH!


Nancy P said...

There's a new post up, everybody.

I agree with you, Rick, that what works for one person doesn't work for the next one, and that's why we can't judge other people's medical choices. I do think, however, that "will" is definitely one of the things (combined with who knows what else) that can work for some people some of the time.

New post up, farfetched. (hint)

FARfetched said...

Hey all! I've seen the new post and am truly touched.

So Rick, did you not take the Cisco job?

Kathy McIntosh said...

I used to feel so guilty about calling in for a sick day when I wasn't really ill, that I'd make myself truly sick. If I said I thought I was coming down with a cold, soon the symptoms began.

So now I try the opposite and it often does work. If I say, no, I'm not really sick, I feel great, I feel better.

Rick Bylina said...

Far...No decision from them.

Kathy...As a former manager, I told my staff, if you're sick stay home. Employees get sick days when, well, when they're sick, and they should use them as such so as not to infect the rest of the office. I've even sent people home whom I felt weren't doing real work but taking one for the team. Take one for the team on your couch with Theraflu. :-)

When my boss heard that "...I encouraged people to take their sick days...," I replied, "It's my fault if I haven't anticipated how to survive a day or two without an employee." Sick people should stay home and get better not be miserable at work. Achoo, achoo, achoo, achoo, achoo, germs, we're free, free I tell you, free to infect all of these people.

Have a germ free day.


Nancy P said...

Hi, Kathy. I'm so glad you're sticking around. Come join the party in the next post, if you want to.

Rick, if I ever have to have a boss again in my lifetime, I want it to be you!

Rick Bylina said...

Nancy...I am your boss. I bought your last book. Now, get back to work on the next one. Crack, goes the whip. :-) :-) :-)

Nancy P said...

Rick, lol! (along with sighing, complaining, and dragging feet.)