By: Cindy Kunath Brock
Published: June 2007
It was like any other summer day as it had been for the previous 44 years. But, in the matter of a few days, things made an abrupt turn and a new journey had unfolded.
Sound like the beginning of a mystery novel? Well, it should be. As someone who is suddenly diagnosed with not one, but two, chronic and life altering illnesses, every minute of every day is faced with the unknown.
Fibromyalgia is an illness with symptoms ranging from bothersome to total disability. And, it also includes a host of treatments. As a newly diagnosed patient, a plethora of medications will be offered, seeming to be the solution. Yet, as too often is the case, the treatment can be as bad (or worse) than the illness itself.
Two factors play into Fibromyalgia: stress (too much) and sleep (too little). Too much stress grinds away at your body and can bring you to the brink of non-functionality for a day, a week, a year, or a lifetime. That coupled with the endless nights of too little sleep manifests into no quality of life. So, you take all the prescriptions you're given, accept what is, and just live with it, right? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
Settling is never an option when you're chronically ill. At some point during your illness, something from deep in your heart and soul stands up and says, "try anything to make yourself better." You begin to change your mindset to view any challenges presented - whether it's finding a practitioner, or paying for treatment - as "growth opportunities" (as it's so fondly called by a wonderful friend).
The best key for your journey is the Internet. It empowers even those disabled by illness to start taking responsibility for their own well-being. You do some searching until a door opens (or a web page appears) that catches your eye, and feel that glimmer of hope begin to unfold.
While looking for a yoga class for people affected by fibromyalgia (and I found none I might add), I discovered a link to Roz Zollinger's web site for The Heal Center in Atlanta. I read about what she does, and sent her an email explaining my plight. (I am certain to this day that she felt my suffering through this first email. That's no surprise because alternative medicine practitioners can do this. In some sense, I think we all can do this, but simply don't know how.)
Roz Zollinger holds certifications in reflexology, aromatherapy and energy healing and has pioneered the concept of Aromatic Reflexology. She also developed the Zollinger "BodySystems Method" for reflexology, a system that is currently taught and applied in the US, Japan and the UK.
Reflexology was not foreign to me, having tried it a few years earlier for a problem with swelling in my feet. However, this encounter had all the earmarks of being different.
I had never experienced Aromatic Reflexology before, but the results were amazing. Most people believe that aromatherapy is the addition of fragrance into candles to make them smell good. However, Aromatherapy is a powerful treatment option that is both fascinating and different. Aromatic Reflexology brings results.
After my first visit, I experienced calmness, a sense of peace, hopefulness, optimism, and - most importantly - a reduction in the level of pain. Each weekly visit is filled with anticipation, knowing that a single hour delivers benefits that equate to more hours, days, and weeks of feeling better.
Having sought out reflexology as a solution for pain, it was quite a surprise to discover that aromatherapy solved issues related to both stress and sleep. The first night using one of Roz's "AromaBlends" yielded the best night of sleep in five years. In a matter of less than a week, sleeping became a nightly event, while stress a distant enemy. Emerging was a person no longer lost among a rough road of pain and uncertainty.
For those experiencing chronic illness, medication should be viewed as only one fork in the road of options. Reflexology, aromatherapy, massage, and other alternative means should be investigated as well.
Do whatever you can to understand the power of your own body. Realize that it seeks out and craves what the Universe offers. Recognize any growth opportunities offered through non-traditional approaches such as reflexology and aromatherapy. Reaffirm your value to this world by going the extra mile, and take whatever steps necessary to live your life to the fullest.
Roz Zollinger and the practitioners at the Heal Center offer a variety of complementary health modalities, classes and workshops. Contact the Heal Center at (404) 303-0007.
Cindy Brock is a published writer as well as a current patient (and forthcoming student) at The Heal Center. She is the founder of Helping MyselfTM - an Atlanta-based organization that teaches individuals how to WIN in life through Wisdom, Insight, and kNowledgeSM. She can be reached via email at: helpingmyself2007@ yahoo.com