Catherine Scanlon, a colleague Shiatsu therapist (www.shiatsuhealth.com) recently published the following article in her blog. It is reproduced with her permission.
So, I broke my right clavicle on a beach (horse) ride 6 weeks ago. What a pain – meaning I have had to cancel my shiatsu treatments to give, as well as participating in tennis for at least 10 weeks during the summer season, just when it was getting going. I am writing this piece, because as a patient/ client/ service user I gain new insights into the experience of health care, which can inform understanding for all – practitioners, whether orthodox or complementary and patients. This is part of an attempt to consider what an integrated approach could mean.
1. Initial orthodoxy – so, once it was worked out that I had injured myself, I was shipped off to A&E by ambulance, which all sounds pretty efficient. (I don’t remember anything in fact from the beginning of the ride, to later in the day). I seem to have received an X ray, which diagnosed the clavicle break, and a CT scan, which ascertained that my head/ brain was/ were broadly speaking OK, though the amnesia and odd behaviour indicated severe concussion.
I was kept in hospital overnight to observe for further problematic symptoms from the concussion, but discharged thankfully the following day. I was told to go to the local fracture clinic, which I did two weeks later, but not especially advised to have any other treatment, such as physiotherapy. I found myself intuitively adopting the ‘neutral’ Alexander position, with my eyes firmly closed, to allow the healing clavicle as much chance as possible to get back in the right position, and also to allow the shock to disperse. I found myself yearning for some kind of healing compress, both for my head and for my shoulder, but was unable to manifest one; I had thought this might be something medical herbalists might do, but they seem keener to administer herbs as ?pills.
2. As it happened, I had a physiotherapy treatment booked for the following week, and attended it. I kept attending weekly (really from my own impetus rather than recommendation), and received very helpful treatment to help relieve muscle tension around the shoulder – by the spine, along the pectoral muscles and upper ribs, and perhaps other things that I don’t remember, or which weren’t explained to me. I don’t feel like the physiotherapist gave me an overview of the recovery process, though they did help encourage me to reduce movement, such as not bicycling which might have jarred the healing bone.
3. I also had some shiatsu treatment. I am a shiatsu practitioner, and my holidaying friend is too – having nobly driven me home, he gave me a brief treatment (just 10 minutes) to relieve shock (eg working on Heart 7 on the wrist – a well-known shock treatment point) – I felt my body shifting into a better space as he worked, and there was some hara movement, I think. I was very impressed.
I asked my regular shiatsu practitioner if she would advise bringing my booked treatment forward, but she seemed to think I would benefit from healing by myself until the bruising went down. I found myself craving a gentle shiatsu treatment to help settle down, but didn’t manage to manifest that. When I did have shiatsu treatment, I was enormously impressed with the work. Focus was given to the joints as each end of the clavicle; again, there was significant hara adjustment, and the shoulder felt more complete at the end of it; plus I felt shock had released in the process.
To conclude, I am enormously grateful to all these healers who have helped me in this process. I do think there could be more advice on how this kind of injury could be supported, because what I have received has beeen to some extent accidental, but so very helpful.
Feel free to add your thoughts to this blog.