I often reflect on my fifteen year service as a Paramedic and Emergency Care Practitioner in the Ambulance Service, as the springboard that quite literally catapulted me into Holistic Health Care. I am one of many individuals who have made the bold decision to step away from a career in the NHS, not because I did not enjoy and love it, quite the opposite in fact, I love and want to save it and felt in order to do so, a means of delivering some form of alternative healthcare in the community would be the best contribution I could make.
A wise person once explained to me “the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those that cannot read or write, but those that cannot learn, unlearn and relearn” and those words have stuck with me ever since. Sadly this ethos is not inherently manifest within the heart of the NHS and yet within holistic care I have noticed significant pace of change in the 4.5 years I have been practicing in it.
Coming from an NHS based professional background that underpinned its healthcare strategies on so called “evidence based practice” my natural skepticism was initially awakened to any form of treatment not of this ilk. However when I became accustomed to the placebo effect on my patients to whom I treated, often out of context for their conditions, my curiosity became aroused. How was it possible that language, non-verbal gestures, minimal physical touch and an understanding of how a person perceived their environment, could actually influence their pain! Now had I gone to the powers that be at the time, with these thoughts, I would have been chastised as not actually doing my job properly. Yet here we are with our NHS in crisis, a staggering amount of people experiencing chronic mental and physical pain having been through a plethora of treatment and pharmaceutical protocols and pathways, with little to no change accomplished. That was what sealed the deal for me to learn both The Bowen Technique and Body Mind Work.
I fundamentally believe that to treat the body without first considering the persons state of mind is akin to ‘closing the door after the horse has bolted.’ Of course there are circumstances where purely physical cases have presented in clinic and that is where I apply the bodywork skills I have learnt over the years. However I am noticing more often than not, that client’s non-verbal cues are the gateway to reliably accessing their source of pain, rather than them simply telling me where there pain is. “The problem is not always the problem” is a phrase many people may be familiar with and is an analogy I keep in mind when treating.
When we pause to consider that the mind and body are intrinsically linked and always have been and only in recent years finally getting the recognition it deserves, it is no wonder the momentum in this direction has gathered pace.
Holistic healthcare acknowledges that a person, who withholds or suppresses their emotional state, will in time become systemically unwell and this sadly is the route cause to many diseases of the body and mind. So treatments tailored to the individual, are devised that are all encompassing and not merely selected based on a symptom tick box criteria, of which I have been guilty of performing in the NHS historically. I have learned that whilst the NHS does the best it can with the resources it has at its disposal, the systems used are at worst archaic and at best protocol driven and rigid. Little has changed in the many years I worked within pre-hospital healthcare, resulting in multiple admissions of the same folk more times than I care to mention to no avail. Yet I have experienced something remarkable in the alternative healthcare sector with clients. Lasting changes both mentally and physically for the individual, improved quality of life and wellbeing and more importantly a significantly reduced reliance on pharmaceutical interventions and diminished need for NHS intervention.
I am always amazed at how clients respond to the Body Mind Work and Bowen treatments they receive and it is quite astounding how many people are so impressed they then go on to learn the techniques for themselves. I can honestly say I have never been to a hospital or to see a GP and thought I’d like to learn what they do with as much gusto. Holistic therapy really is healthcare at it best and I am both proud to be a practitioner of it and a contributor to reducing the burden on the NHS.