To heal, you need more than medicine. You need care.

My fella is laid up right now with an injury, so that has altered my clicking patterns. “Is there scientific proof we can heal ourselves?” asks Dr Lissa Rankin in her TED talk. Click, I go, down that rabbit hole, and what I learned is that there has long been evidence that healing has a certain magical element to it. We call it “the placebo effect.” Rankin explores this in her book and this TED talk, but two things really stood out for me:

  1. The care offered by a health care provider – their caring energy, their words, their attention – is often more powerful than the pill they’re prescribing.
  2. Our nervous systems have remarkable impact on our overall system… this is the system by which hormones are released into the body – stress hormones and love hormones. When we’re activated by stress, triggered into a state of alarm (by scary situation, an injury, a saber tooth tiger, the activation of childhood fears), our sympathetic nervous system is activated, into a fight or flight response. Our body releases the hormones that will help us activate – cortisol, adrenaline… a soup in which our cells get marinated… When we shift into parasympathetic mode (sometimes called rest-and-digest), when we feel safe and taken care of, our bodies release other hormones – serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin – the hormones that give all our cells a love bath. And that is the state in which repair takes place.

This energized me in my current care-tending role. I’m not just a put-upon house elf, doing double the regular chores. I’m a healer… By creating a safe and supportive vibe, I’m helping the body’s natural ability to repair accelerate.

AND, at the same time, I’ve been receiving tons of supportive messages from friends – and it’s remarkable how much it helps, just to hear a “sorry to hear that, let us know if you need anything, thinking of you.”

I always felt a bit helpless when someone was hurt or ill, because I don’t have any good casserole recipes and “thoughts and prayers” seemed a bit hollow.

But hearing kind thoughts from friends supports recovery, especially if you allow yourself to receive it.

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