Healing doesn’t have to be Dramatic: How Ayurveda Creates Lasting Change
As someone who practices Indian and Mayan medicine, I suppose I have to say that I am in the business of healing. It’s taken me a long time to become comfortable with using the word ‘healing’ in connection with my work. To me healing implies that there is some sort of magic involved, some immediate wizardry to be done on my part. What I’ve discovered is that the most powerful form of natural healing is slow and steady change made day to day – and I can get behind that, even if it’s a hard sell sometimes.
We’re Addicted to Drama
Along with running an online business, I am also a panchakarma therapist here in Vermont. Panchakarma is a traditional deep cleansing technique used in Ayurveda (Indian Medicine.) This practice is short, sweet and deep, involving fasting, massage, enemas, purging, even therapeutic vomiting. These deep cleansing practices are pretty dramatic – and though it does create a sudden change of circumstance in our clients, it’s not right for everyone, nor is it really sustainable. I mean, if you’re fasting, taking medicinal enemas, and doing castor oil purgation – you’re literally going to get explosive results. And of course this is going to feel powerful. But if you go home and immediately go back to your old life and habits, is it lasting change? Is this permanent healing?
Slow and Steady Always Wins
In my personal business as an Ayurvedic Practitioner, the reality is that I am an educator. I teach online courses about Ayurveda for healing stubborn digestive complaints and women’s fertility issues. My courses are about ten weeks long, and when I work 1-on-1 with clients, it’s for a minimum of 3 months. The crux of healing with Ayurveda is found in preventative medicine and self care practices. Learning these and their context (oh so important), as well as incorporating them into your life is not a quick fix. That’s why I work with individuals over a longer period of time than most practitioners. I like to say that I am involved in a more practical magic – in this case, it is slow and steady change, over time, that equals healed.
Slow and steady can be a hard sell when you’re not feeling well, but this is the kind of healing that sticks around for a lifetime. It’s not just that seemingly magical quick fix – whether natural (panchakarma) or conventional (surgery, etc). This kind of work is for people who are ready to be an active participant in their healing process – to take responsibility for the decisions they make day to day, changing bad habits (like not getting enough sleep, or eating junk food, or bogging down their liver with synthetic hormones or drugs) and adopting better ones.
Forgetting the Pain
My students’ healing is not usually showy or dramatic. It sneaks up on us, and does it’s work behind the scenes while we’re not looking. When I first take on a new client, their digestive troubles may be as ‘simple’ as chronic constipation, or gas pain every afternoon. Not perhaps life-threatening, but interfering with day to day activities.
Often, after a session or two, those things are cleared up with personally-tailored diet and lifestyle changes. The body is incredibly resilient. At our next meeting, when I ask them about their digestion, it’s like they have almost forgotten they had that issue to begin with. Forgotten about the daily pain and discomfort they were having. Once they start feeling better, it’s like they ‘forget’ how awful they had previously felt.
And I take this forgetting as a compliment. In one way, it may be a subconscious protective mechanism – like maybe mind and body is like ‘okay, let’s not waste energy on this any more, it’s fixed.’ And I see that they’ve experienced some serious healing – though the moment of healing was so subtle, that they simply did not even notice it was happening.
No fuss, no drama, but no less powerful.
In my work, I have come to a greater respect for the subtle. Even with our panchakarma clients, I notice that it’s the subtle changes I see throughout their process – emotions, relationship to self, and way of being and interacting within the world – which truly seems to be the most relevant in their day to day lives.
Perhaps this is why natural medicine is gaining strength recently – we’re ready to take charge of our well-being, we’re ready for the real deal.