As a child, I learned early on in a very conscious way how to increase my core body temperature so I could get out of Physical Education (PE) class. I hated PE class for many reasons because most of the sports did not interest me and I was not coordinated enough to do them well. Because of this, I would often be picked last when we had to divide up in teams. Most of my classmates did not want me on their team and they would often yell at me when I missed catching a ball or some other mistake. On top of that, I hated the fact that I had to undress and shower in front of all these other people. There was humiliating reasons that caused embarrassment but for me, it was a very unsafe environment. And so, I would often use my mind consciously to raise my body temperature so that I could go to the nurse and get out of PE. She would of course take my temperature and then declare I was sick and send me home. If they ever caught on to what I was doing, they didn’t say anything and I was smart enough to not do it every time but to only use this when I just could not deal with attending PE class.
For a long time, I never thought anything about it. Then when I got into bodywork and I started to see just how powerful the mind was over the body, I realized that I had actually overridden my normal body controls just with the power of thinking that I wanted my body temperature to increase. It wasn’t like my body temperature went very high but it was just high enough to be outside of the normal body temperature range. Of course I would have to play sick and make it sound to the nurse and my mom that I was truly not feeling good. It had to be convincing or they wouldn’t believe you. It was nothing for me to make my stomach hurt and in fact it hurt most of the time, so that was the convenient symptoms to put with the story. It was believable every time I did it and I didn’t even have to work at it that hard.
Now, another situation has arose where I have seen this in a first hand way. I went to a trade day with some fellow massage therapists. My body was already in a place where I wasn’t sure if I could be touched but I felt safe with these people due to past experiences with them and thought this would be a good thing. Being one of the first ones on the table, I was worked on one by one for a few minutes each by several people. Not giving thought to just how much that was probably not a good thing for me in this moment, I of course obliged the group and received the touch. After all, I didn’t want to upset anyone by not allowing them to work on me. I was stronger than that I thought and I could take this. Why does that not sound good now? I get a chuckle out of what I did not see that day.
So the first person worked on me for a few minutes and it felt good. My body dropped down and I just enjoyed being touched without jumping out of my skin. It was a good feeling. Than the next person came and worked on me and while I proclaimed to them what I needed and wanted and even thanked them at the end, there was a part of me that was wishing the touch would stop. However, I could not bring myself to say NO, please don’t touch me. The third person came along and the same scenario played out. In fact, by the time the third person got done with me, I felt like I had really relaxed and gone out on the table. It was as if time had stopped and I was in a deep place. Most people doing bodywork or receiving bodywork would perceive this state as a good thing. However, in my case, it was anything but good.
When I saw that my pulse had went from the 90’s before the touch began to almost 115 after the table work was over, I was puzzled by this. In my mind, I had relaxed and my body had let go from this light form of touch. Yet, my pulse was showing something completely different. It made no sense at the time. The two perceptions were completely at odds with each other. I didn’t say anything to anyone of course as I didn’t want anyone to think less of me as a result. So I just traveled back home. However, I noticed that as the time went, I became very angry at the people that worked on me. How could they not do better and how could they not do this or that to me? I just didn’t understand.
As I went through the night, the anger was continuous. It grew and grew until I began to question where it was coming from. Here all the time, I had missed the obvious. Much had been kicked up in me emotionally but it had not been allowed to discharge or dissipate. So I was left with everything being kicked up to the surface when in all reality, it needed to be pushed out of my body. Without that part, I could not go into complete relaxation because it is like an overflowing closet in your house. If the closet has too much stuff in it, you can’t put anything else in it until you remove something from the closet or clean it out. Much like our bodies, until you dissipate or remove the excess stuck energy, you can bring in the relaxation and true peace.
In my case though, I was able to numb out completely what was going on and bring my entire body into a state of what appeared to be total relaxation because that was what the objective of the work was. My body did this unconsciously without any thought to what was going on. So even though my body showed all the signs that one would look for, without the pulse meter indicating that my pulse was still in the sympathetic mode, I was not in a place of peace and relaxation.
Just think though how powerful the mind is that it can present one set of conditions to the world and yet inside, it is completely full of chaos. For me, this was my survival technique that helped me make it through some difficult times growing up. Now, however, it is not necessarily something that is a positive reaction in me that I still need to hang on to. Without a feeling of true safeness though, my body is going to automatically revert back to old patterns that are based in fear. Without the pulse meter showing my pulse at 115, I would have never realized this was going on. In fact, I felt so good while lying on the table. My mind and body were not connected together.
I learned firsthand through my own experience, that a feeling of peace and ease was not necessarily the way my body experienced it. And without dissipation, my body can only come down so far. It really changes how I look at myself and how I am able to sense that within myself. Just the realization and awareness of this has caused a major shift within me.
If you’re a body worker or even just someone that wants to become more aware of yourself and monitor your own body, get a pulse meter and see just what is going on. I’ve got a feeling you will be surprised as you learn to work with the pulse. The pulse is a good indicator of what is happening in the body. Even though you might feel like you have the ability to sense and see what is happening, the pulse meter will show you in truth and reality what is going on. The mind and the body may try to trick you but the pulse doesn’t lie.