Rami's Blog

Like the Yin-Yang, Eastern Martial Arts and Western medicine are two halves of a whole. My mission is to preserve the ancient mind-body tools, and pass them on to you.

 

Recovery is About Balance

In America, very often doctors will tell you that complete bed rest is necessary for a healthy recovery from an injury. If you have a pulled muscle, or bad inflammation from arthritis, they recommend that you put no weight on the injury, and if possible, totally immobilize the area.

In my experience, this philosophy is only half of the whole picture. I have seen arthritis sufferers who moved their affected joints too much, causing more inflammation and difficult recovery. But I have also seen people with arthritis who moved their affected joints too little, and ended up losing much of their mobility and making their arthritis worse in the long term.

In recent years, western style medicine has incorporated healing movement into some areas, such as physical therapy after accidents or surgeries. That is all great, but it isn't enough. The body was not meant to be immobilized, and moving is an important part of the healing process for nearly everything.

For example, I have treated many people who suffered from chronic pain, such as fibromyalgia. These patients had severe pain in their soft tissues, especially when they moved or were touched. Most of them took this as a sign that they just shouldn't move or make physical contact until they found a medication that could treat their symptoms. But research that I co-authored showed that staying in bed and immobilizing painful areas was less effective at treating their pain than gentle movements like those found in Tai Chi

This principle can be applied to many skeleto-muscular issues, such as lower back problems, shoulder problems, foot problems, the list goes on and on. According to eastern philosophies, moving is one of the primary ways to cultivate healing energy.

So remember, if you are having issues with pain or mobility, especially chronic ones, and your doctor can only suggest lying in bed or taking a new pill, make sure to get a second opinion from a mind-body or physical therapy professional. You never know what a little gentle movement could do.

Happy Stretching!