The illusion of wellness – and the price we pay for it

I used to live ‘medium well’ accepting low-level pain as an inconvenient part of life, much like the rain or late buses. I assumed that in the absence of sickness, I must be well. Can you relate to this?

As my office-based career progressed, so did my stress levels and the manifestations of stress in my body. Insomnia, headaches, poor digestion, skin complaints, uneven mood and physical aches were always hovering in the background, some worse at times than others. When a symptom interfered with my day-to-day, I’d seek a solution.

We seem to rationalise some complaints as minor inconveniences, seek a remedy as a quick fix and ignore the deeper underlying issue. When our GP can only provide solutions that treat the symptoms, then the underlying cause may be unexplored and overlooked.

There are cultural conditions at play too – where productivity and achievement is valued above all else, people will work until they drop, and only stop when the body says no! Worse, highlighting a health complaint may be interpreted as causing a fuss. Consequently, minor (acute) symptoms are medicated away and we blunder on regardless.

This approach works relatively well for most of – until it doesn’t. This was my experience. After years of living ‘always-on’ things finally crumbled when I found myself without the energy I needed to get out of bed, and lacking the clarity of mind to continue with my freelance career.

I had ignored the various stress signals that my body had been sending ever more loudly throughout my 30s. A period of burnout finally made me not only slow down and listen to the warnings, but also examine why I was not prioritising my health. (The answer to this is lengthy and will be explored elsewhere.)

Passive participants

Part of the problem with how we take care of ourselves is participating in a healthcare system that makes us redundant participants in our wellness. We often have little option but to defer to an expert who takes the role of the active authority figure, and we have little choice but to medicate our way back to wellness.

We have become used to a ‘magic bullet’ mentality that seeks quick fixes, rather than recognising our wellness as an ongoing process of regular maintenance. If we perceive medication as the only path out of pain, then we may look no further for other options.

As passive participants in our self-care, we have become bewitched with pills, prescriptions and procedures. Collectively this creates an impression that the best expertise and knowledge of us as the unique individuals we are comes from external authorities.  

We each have the right to be an active participant in our health. It is practices from Eastern Medicine that can empower us with the skills we need to take more care of our needs.

The cost of sickness 

There is the economic impact of time away from work which cost UK businesses £14 billion in 2020, according to one study. (This was £1.3 billion more than in 2019.) But the greater tragedy is the human cost of the suffering we endure when we are unwell and even before that, when we are medium well: neither living our full potential nor struggling with extreme pain. This is the illusion of wellness.

Here are three key things about our health that I want you to know.

Physical wellness alone is no mark of health.

Feeling out of sorts, foggy or struggling with difficult emotions are mental discomforts that are as valid as physical complaints. They should not be ignored or written off as “all in the mind” or passing inconveniences. Eastern Medicine factors every aspect of your being – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual – into your health picture.

We can be active participants in our self-care.

In our daily practice of Qi Gong, Reiki cleansing and self-Shiatsu, we learn how to connect with ourselves on a much deeper level. Engaging in an ongoing process of learning helps us to become more animated with lifeforce, or Ki, a felt sense of ourselves. We can use practices from Eastern Medicine, in our own time as well as in group settings, to help us cultivate and strengthen our Ki.  

Quotes source: Beinfield, Korngold – Between heaven and earth – A guide to Chinese Medicine (1991)

We all have a self-healing muscle. 

Discover and connect with your Ki energy every week in Balanced, Happy & Whole. I guide you in exploring your healing hands, restoring inner balance and cultivating Ki. Joining regularly will help to strengthen your self-healing abilities.

Weekly class – pay by donation

Book a FREE 15 minute call if you want to explore your health picture and how practices from Eastern Medicine may help you realise the change you desire. You can work with me in person or online.

Join the Community

Follow Me on Instagram

About Me

I founded SJA Holistics to help people get well, feel great, and stay well using the power of practices derived from Eastern Medicine including Shiatsu, Reiki, Acupressure and Qi Gong.

For over a decade I’ve worked with Ki and have first-hand experience of how energy- and body-work can lead to positive health. Working with the energy body as well as the physical can bring profound changes to mental, emotional and physical issues.

After completing three years of study for the Professional Shiatsu Diploma, I honed my experience working voluntarily for six months in a national UK charity giving Shiatsu to people recovering from substance misuse.

It is my mission to help you recognise your own self-healing ability and to empower you with the skills and knowledge you need to dramatically improve your self-care.

Learn More

My Approach

We create your current health picture. Then we get clear on your goals so that we are aligned from the outset. This makes it easier to monitor progress.

Learn More

Intelligent Energy

Every one of us has a universal energy, also known as lifeforce, chi, prana and Ki, that underpins our whole existence, and within that, our health. Stimulating the flow of Ki is how you can get well, feel great and stay well.

Learn More