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How Experiential Therapy and Reiki Helped Me Heal from Medical Trauma

Updated: Oct 10, 2022

I was diagnosed with moderate asthma and allergies when I was just two years old. I was fortunate and privileged in the sense that my parents took me to one of the best pediatricians in my hometown, and I had all of the best at home treatments, which prevented me from visiting the hospital/ER as a child. I only needed to go to the ER once for my asthmatic symptoms when I had the flu during a family vacation. However, I still experienced the medical trauma from feeling like I was suffocating during asthma attacks. It was as if an elephant were sitting on my chest, and I could barely gasp for air. My allergies were severe as well, which often caused asthmatic flare-ups. I can vividly remember the sense of dread every time I got a cold or flu because it usually led to a secondary infection, such as bronchitis or a sinus infection.

To prevent hospital visits, my pediatrician often prescribed antibiotics or a corticosteroid, such as Prednisone, to ease my asthmatic symptoms. In many photos of me as a child and teenager, I look sick with a red nose and inflamed sinuses. From a young age, I diligently and consistently took my preventative and rescue asthma inhalers, which allowed me to play high school sports and sing/perform in choirs and musicals. My parents were also supportive and often reminded me that my asthmatic symptoms didn't have to hold me back from living a full life.

However, as I became a young adult, I remember several other adults saying to me: "Wow! You haven't grown out of your asthma yet?" As if my asthmatic symptoms were a childish pair of shoes that I should have outgrown already. This only caused me to feel more disappointed and inadequate about my chronic condition. Uninformed comments such as this caused me to feel ashamed of myself, and I remember thinking: "What's wrong with me? Why can't just grow out of this like everyone else?" When I discovered Reiki healing in 2013, I was grateful to finally be able to focus on healing myself. This holistic energy healing technique strengthened my immune system and reduced my asthmatic symptoms.

Although Reiki healing supported my healing journey, I continued to consistently take my preventative and rescue inhalers until I was in my second year of social work graduate school. As I learned about experiential trauma therapy, I became more aware of how unhealed trauma can manifest as physical symptoms in the body. But I didn't become aware of my unhealed medical trauma until I discovered Gestalt therapy. I attended a weekend Gestalt therapy workshop and signed up to do "hot seat work," meaning I would be doing some individual Gestalt therapy work in a group setting. During my work, I was guided to choose another group member to play the role of my asthmatic self, so I could have an open and compassionate dialogue with that traumatized and unhealed part of me. Music therapy was incorporated to further integrate my healing experience. The Gestalt therapist played the song, "Breathe" by Faith Hill. Now whenever I listen to that song, I experience further integration of my Gestalt therapy experience.

Little did I know the miracle healing that I would experience as a result! A few months after my Gestalt therapy experience, I began seeing a new pulmonologist. During my first appointment, my lung function was evaluated, using several breathing tests. The results were far better than I could have ever imagined: The pulmonologist shared that my lungs were as strong as a professional athlete/Olympian! He prescribed a new medication that would allow me to only take the lowest dosage of a preventative inhaler, and eventually not need to use it if the new medication helped me. I'm very grateful to say that I no longer need to take a preventative inhaler.

This healing experience is why I learned how to facilitate Gestalt therapy, psychodrama, and other experiential therapy techniques in combination with Reiki healing. I've experienced this miracle healing in my own life, and it continues to support me on my journey. I believe that healing happens in layers and there are usually many layers of trauma to heal. However, if I could heal the traumatized asthmatic part of me, I know that healing from medical trauma (and other forms of trauma), is also possible for you!

If you have a chronic autoimmune disease or have experienced any type of medical trauma, feel free to reach out and connect with me about how experiential therapy and Reiki can facilitate your healing process. You are worthy of this sacred and powerful healing work!

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