I am fascinated by how the body and mind work together to heal from pain and injury. To learn more about healing and how physical therapists can help patients be committed to their healing process, I interviewed my good friend Rose Caiola, founder of Rewire Me, a company with a wealth of resources, writings and teachers in fields of physical, spiritual and emotional health, all thoroughly researched and curated by Rose and her team at Rewire Me.
Here are some of the gems I gleaned from our interview:
Evelyn: Why did you start Rewire Me?
Rose: Rewire Me evolved from life lessons I've learned from age 13 onward, meeting various teachers and mentors who helped me on my life's healing journey. Connecting with these teachers proved more beneficial than trying to “fix things on my own."
Many people feel alone when dealing with life’s challenges and don't know how to ask for help or even where to look for guidance. One method or teacher may not resonate for every person, so I thought “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a site with a range of authentic experts, teachers, and healers?" People can seek and access these teachers' wisdom through writings, books and classes to help them on their healing journey".
Rewire Me's website includes a range of experts on topics such as relationships, parenting, physical health, spiritual growth, dealing with illness and loss - incorporating all aspects of life.
E: How can people with physical pain start their healing process?
R: The first step is to acknowledge that there is something wrong. Many people don’t want to acknowledge that they are feeling pain, so they bury it or pretend it is not there. Once you acknowledge there is a problem, then you can reach out to a friend, call a medical professional, research on professional medical websites like WebMD and go on to Rewire Me to find teachers who may inspire them.
People may reject acknowledging pain or injury due to fear of the unknown. Others may feel that asking for help is a sign of weakness, especially if they are used to being in charge or control. Pain can make a person feel out of control. In essence what this really translates into is, ‘I don’t feel worthy enough to have somebody help me. I don’t love myself enough to get the help I need.’
E: How can one rewire fear-based thinking that stumps taking positive action?
R: Set a little time in the morning before you have to start your day. Sit up, feet on the floor to ground yourself and spend 5 minutes focusing on your breath, feeling and focusing your attention to the breath moving in and out, at whatever pace. This centers you to the present.
After the 5 minutes of quiet breath, ask “What do I want to happen today so I can achieve good health, or be successful as a parent or attain a work goal”
Envision your hero, or person of history who inspires you, for example, Amelia Earhart. What would it feel to be like her? Envision and embody the emotion of Amelia‘s courage, risk taking, forward thinking. How do you think she felt when she was flying solo in the starry night sky?
E: How can we help patients stay motivated and the course of treatment; to understand that their home program as physical therapy is not a “quick fix?”
R: Well, one I think is to have faith in the healing process. So that might become their mantra. ‘Today I’m going to do what I can to heal myself.’ ‘Today I’m going to take that first step.’ ‘Today I’m going to do my physical therapy exercises.’ Not worrying about tomorrow, not thinking about anything else, but having faith that they can overcome. When and if they come up to a crossroad or a flare up, don’t give up. Tell yourself "It's okay." Acknowledge that it’s painful and that you’ve hit a rock or a wall. Figure out how you can go around the wall instead of letting yourself get stuck. Avoid the "Oh poor me.’ ‘This always happens to me.’ ‘This is my life.’ If you keep repeating that story, you’re never going to get anywhere. Replace them with positive statements. The brain and body are listening!
The second thing to do is Practice. Practice your home exercises, self care techniques, say your positive affirmations out loud. With practice different parts of our brain light up and those neural networks become bonded over time, overriding faulty pain patterns. If you play a sport you have to practice to compete well. But, if you don’t practice, you won’t play as well. My kids are on sports teams and if they don't practice, they get benched. They’ll say: “Why did the coach do that? I’m so angry...the coach hasn’t put me in play for the last 3 games!” Well, if you don’t practice, why would that coach put you in the game? It’s the same with committing and doing your home program, practice allows your body to change for the better.
Third, Schedule the 2-3 times a day in your calendar where you know you can do your physical therapy exercises. They don’t take long, right?
E: No. People wouldn't do them otherwise, so we keep them short and manageable.
R: That’s great, so patients start to feel better, get stronger and over time they’ll see the many benefits of committing to their treatment.
E: Yes! You've used the term “healing journey." What does that means to you?
R: A healing journey means learning to love myself. Learning to forgive myself, including what happened in my past. Incorporating growth and love from others and building this Rewire Me community is all about healing. Healing your heart. Healing your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being
Check out Rewireme.com to be inspired and continue on your healing journey!