Have you got a persistent pain or mysterious body symptom and are beginning to wonder if it has emotional roots?
(but have no idea how to find out what they might be?)
Intuitive Healing Sessions
Sometimes in life we get aches and pains in our body, or strange things like rashes or sensory symptoms (like tinnitus) that pop up. If you’re like me, you live with it for a little while, wondering if it’s just going to go away on its own.
Sometimes it does.
But sometimes it doesn’t.
So you start asking questions. If you want to freak yourself out, you go straight to Dr. Google and do a search for your symptoms. Otherwise, you start with a visit to your doctor or walk-in clinic. If you’re alternatively inclined, you go see your naturopath or your Chinese Medicine practitioner.
And maybe the course of action that these well-trained people suggest relieves your symptoms.
Sometimes it does.
But sometimes it doesn’t.
Now you are tracking a mystery. Now you are dealing with something inexplicable.
If you’re like me, you let it ebb and flow for a while - getting better, getting worse.
Actually, this pain can be what I might call “existential” also: what I am doing here, how is this my life, what can I change?
Eventually, we start to get really tired of this thing.
My guess is that this is where you are right now.
Hi There, My Name Is Rachel
I’ve been a seeker my whole life, though perhaps I only realized this when I was in my late teens. I became entranced by all things esoteric and magical. So when it came to inquiring into my own life, I went the route of seeking out healers instead of doctors or counsellors. I got myself into what I thought was a reasonable state of health in my 20’s.
Then it all fell apart when I had my babies at 31 and 33. I plummeted into a depression that I didn’t know was a depression. And I had this rash that wouldn’t go away no matter what I did. I turned to the same methods of inquiry that had helped me in my 20’s. I saw a herbalist, a shamanic healer, several different BodyTalkers. I started to heal myself of this rash.
It took seven years to be completely rash free.
In those seven years I learned some things about myself and about humans in general - in particular about Pain and Healing.
First it’s good to talk about what kind of pain we’re talking about...
The Four Causes of Your Pain:
I believe that your pain could be caused by one of four things:
Physical: Acute, physical damage, such as a physical blow to muscle and fascia (e.g. car accidents, surgeries, dental work) and the resultant trauma
Bio-Chemical: Allergies & inflammation and autoimmune diseases
Emotional: Your emotions with nowhere else to go: either unprocessed acute emotional trauma, or a lifelong pattern of not having the space to feel what you’re feeling
Ancestral: Sometimes pain can be ancestral - something from back in the family line that didn’t get processed or a way to feel connected to someone or feel like you belong to them.
All of these sources of pain can interact and intersect to create what you are physically experiencing: something that was initially a physical accident can be compounded by a difficult-to-process emotion, for example.
My particular specialties are:
Finding and shifting the emotional roots of or the emotional complications to physical pain/strange symptoms
Finding and shifting the ancestral ties to particular pain patterns
Two keys to understanding your mysterious pain & body symptoms:
Key #1: If the feelings that we are feeling don’t have a way to find expression, we stash them in our bodies. Humans are soft-bodied, feeling creatures. We don’t have a hard shell on the outside, and we know it. So if our life brings us into contact with painful experiences, we make up ways to protect ourselves and our soft bodies from the inside. We harden up in different ways. Often these experiences (like abuse or neglect, or an accident, or a loss) come from moments in our childhood that we couldn’t process at the time. They get deeply buried in our bodies. Pain can be understood as emotion with nowhere to go, which we may well try to mask it with all of our addictions. (And friends, we can be addicted to anything.)
Key #2: Pain is your body trying to talk to you: This can eventually manifest as pain or strange symptoms in our bodies (like a rash). Pain is the escalation of the message - your body has given you many stress signs along the way. This pain is now an emergency siren going off.
By the time we are aware of a body part through chronic pain that it has likely been trying to get a message to us for quite some time and it has now become far more intense than if we noticed it when it was a mere twinge. Pain like this is a long way down the road from where it started, since we experience pain and then, likely, emotion comes in on top of it and compounds the pain - like if we receive an injury but we also experience shame for having been hurt, or we are hurt and something comes in an complicates our recovery.
Pain is trying to get your attention, to get you to stop, to ‘get the message’, to give your body some kindness and warmth, some sense that you and your body are together, and that you’re a one unit thing.
Body and mind are not different things, you can’t separate them out. You can’t do mind over body forever. Well, actually, you can, just ask any good stoic, it’s just not what will get you the juiciest life possible, if that’s what you are looking for. Sometimes we need help seeing what it is that we are holding deep in our bodies and what it is that our soft, feeling bodies are trying to say with their pain or physical symptom.
Here’s What I Learned About Healing...
When it came right down to it, the rash that I carried on my rib cage for seven years after my second baby was born was grief that I had not been able to feel or express. In fact, I realized that it was really hard for me to feel feelings at all, and impossible for me to express them in certain situations. I had a lifetime’s worth of sadness and intense vulnerability struggling for expression through a weepy, red rash on my chest.
This rash, and working with hundreds of people since then has taught me three other important lessons...
Healing Lesson #1: You can use your thinking brain to figure out your pain, but I believe it’s more effective to ask your body.
I can remember so many moments of feeling a vague pain somewhere and turning to my brain to try and figure it out. Sometimes it works. Often it doesn’t. It would never have occurred to me then to ask my body. And, even if I had, I likely would have been coming from a get-it-over-with place of impatience: it hurts, make it stop, what’s the fix? Asking your body asks that you slow down so that you can hear the answer.
Asking your body means that you are using subtler senses than the ones that we usually turn to. It actually means that you are letting your breath and your awareness back into the places of your body where you have been avoiding pain. This is like feeling frustrated with something and instead of backing away and huffing and complaining, we quietly draw the thing we are frustrated with closer and look at it with curiosity. “Shoulder, why do you hurt? What are you holding?” And shoulder might say, “Every time you push past bedtime, I get very tired. I can’t lie straight anymore. I curl up to guard myself from more strain. I’m afraid of being asked to bear still more.”
Healing Lesson #2: Treat your body with friendly curiosity not suspicion.
We are often at war with ourselves when we are in pain and it sucks. We bring in all kinds of ammunition and tactics so that we can keep on doing business-as-usual in life. We want the pain gone. It takes a lot of energy to ignore pain or to force through it. The last thing we want is to have to give it more attention than it is already demanding. But for me, our kind attention to the pain and to the body in pain is the surest pathway to clearing the pain.
What we push against pushes back against us. When we push our pain away, it stays close and hard to see. When we make space for the pain in our awareness by bringing our non-judgmental attention to it, it doesn’t push so hard because it already has our attention. When we make space, it allows us to step back and see it more clearly. Pain in the body is like the small child tugging at your pant leg: hey, pay attention, pay attention, pay attention. When the attention is given, the tugging ceases and the next stage of interaction begins - asking questions and listening to the answers, even when the answers seem strange.
To take it one step further, listening to and expressing our feelings can help heal pain. The more we can be present with and express our feelings, the more our bodies are free of pain and unwanted symptoms. Once the conversation with our own body and our own pain has begun, the pain or physical symptom becomes easier to shift.
Healing Lesson #3: “Healing” means “becoming more and more whole”.
Healing means that you draw closer to yourself and your body and all that you contain with curiosity and as much compassion as you can at that moment. And then you can like yourself and your body more, and the sweetness that you remember (from before the pain or relentless discomfort) comes more frequently.
And if you don’t remember sweetness, then perhaps what you realize is that there is a possibility for simple body pleasure - an omnipresent, quiet joy that comes from being alive in a human body that you might not even know right now.
You can live pain free but it might take a while to get there. It might mean taking on healing - like deeply witnessing your own story and digesting your life experiences - as a lifestyle.
What a Session With Me Is Like:
When you come to me for an Intuitive Healing Session, I give you the space to tell me what is going on in your life right now. Likely I will ask you how it was to grow up in the family that you had.
Then I will tuck you up on my treatment table in as many blankets as you need. If it’s ok with you, I then take your right hand and get a yes/no from your body through muscle testing. (If you don’t want to be touched, I can still access the information from your body, I just use a proxy, that is, a stand-in for you that involves no touching. It works the same.) This yes/no structure helps take my ego and your conscious agenda out of the picture - we listen to your body to show us how to unravel the tangle that you are stuck in.
I bring to bear my extensive training in Shamanic healing (as taught in the lineage of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies) and BodyTalk, as well as my years and years learning to speak archetype and story through studying Medieval French literature and a wiccan spiritual practice.
In this way we follow your physical symptoms to their emotional roots. Since we are following your body’s yesses, it is impossible for me to push you further than your body wants to go. This is a good thing.
And here’s an important thing...
Doing the emotional work makes the physical work easier.
Your chiropractor, massage therapist, rolfer etc. will be more effective if you do your inner work.
A Story from a Client Healing From Pain
I share this next story with permission.
One of my long-term clients went through a period of increasingly acute and fear-inducing pain in his upper back, neck and shoulders. He had been there before, years ago, and the pain had been associated with a life breakdown. So when he booked a session with me, he was in the midst of trying everything that he possibly could to stop his pain and fear: chiropractic, physiotherapy, homeopathics, conventional medicine, massage, two different intuitive healers, workouts, painkillers, and alcohol as coping mechanism.
This is our knee-jerk reaction to pain:
throw everything possible at it to get it to stop.
Really, this pain is asking US to stop, or at the very least to slow right down and start taking a good, long, slow look at what is going on in life and underneath the pain.
We ended up working together five times during this acute pain phase. One of the first things we did was establish which modalities were genuinely helping, and which could wait until they slotted in more appropriately. He ended up keeping physiotherapy and homeopathy as immediately useful: physiotherapy for the stretches, and homeopathy for its ability to shift what was going on underneath the pain and clear what had happened in the past. Chiropractic came in after a couple of weeks to help the process, but massage and workouts stayed out for a long time as being too aggressive and forceful for his body.
One of the other first things that we did was to really, deeply acknowledge the fear that he was feeling, and the uncontrollable anxiety that was rising at the slightest provocation. We did many things to smooth down his nervous system reaction and bring him as far as possible back into the body’s rest and growth state where the parasympathetic nervous system is dominant.
In our third session, it started to come up more and more urgently that his work environment was contributing to this pain and compounding it - partly because of the computer-based work, partly because of the emotional demands on him. Because of this session, he chose to go to his conventional doctor to request a medical leave from his work (since he still felt the edges of a total breakdown) and get some low-dose antidepressants (even though this wasn’t his favourite course of action).
Our last two sessions together around this particularly acute phase of his pain helped to pull apart some of his beliefs around who he is at work, what he is valued for, how hard he has to work to feel worthy of respect and love, and other tangled up things.
The work that we did together helped him express to his boss that the work environment was hurting him physically and emotionally, which was a very, very hard thing for him. He allowed himself to be seen at work as a human with feelings and needs that had not been met - needs around a work-life balance, reasonable deadlines, human-sized expectations of productivity. The result was that he negotiated enough changes within the workplace that, last I heard, he was able to go back into that work environment pain-free and feel good about it.
It was an amazing thing for me as a healer to be able to support this man through this incredibly trying experience. It helped me come to a deeper understanding that the work that I do is complementary to other modalities in that what I do can help those modalities do their work more effectively.
I’d like to tell you, too, that all of this was done at a distance - this man lives in Ontario and we’ve never met in person. This work works the same whether you come to my cosy treatment space in Victoria BC or we meet via the telephone or internet.
Almost everyone who comes to me brings an issue that has some manifestation in their physical body (or a sense of being uncomfortable in the life that they’re in - stuck, we might say) and we end up tracing it back to an emotional root. These roots, at first, might seem strange - eczema is related to a lack of safety in childhood? Yes, it is. I see links between our unresolved emotional trauma and our bodies all the time.
Some examples of body and/or emotional pain and symptoms in relation to the life experiences of real people:
Debilitating menopause symptoms:
A client came to me with extreme and debilitating menopausal symptoms that were becoming complicated by depression and anxiety. She had already been working with a naturopath and a body-worker. We followed the emotional trail back to a disturbing incident several years previously that lead to her having to leave her home under adverse circumstances and move. Immediately after the session she went to have a pee (an urgent need to pee is a very usual thing after this work). When she came out of the bathroom her face was all lit up from the inside. “I looked in the mirror,” she said, “I look like a completely different person. I remember these sparkly eyes. I haven’t seen them in so long.”
Eczema and tinnitus and picking at his hands:
A client came to me with eczema and tinnitus and a habit of picking at his hands. We went way back to the repeated childhood experience of not feeling safe in the care of volatile, alcoholic parents. This was a fairly recent session, and I haven’t heard from the client himself, but I ran into the friend who had sent him to me and the friend volunteered the information to me that, “He was so full of life and joy when I saw him after the session.”
Eczema that they had tried everything to cure:
Another client came to me with intense eczema that they had tried everything to cure - diet, acupuncture, naturopathy, allopathic, homeopathic... Some things had palliated, but none had effected a whole body cure. They referred to themselves as a “high functioning depressive”. This person too had had experiences of being extremely unsafe during childhood. There was some alleviation of symptoms after just that first session, but, and I consider this more important, this person was looking at the direct lines of trauma from their childhood to their current experience and beginning to see them as “healable”.
Intense, overwhelming frustration:
A client came to me with an intense experience of frustration. They had done all the things that they were supposed to do: career, relationship, a child, and all they could think was, “Surely there’s more to life than this?” We found the repeated experience, as a child and as an adult, of feeling like they had no possible voice. They later told me that their mother had always spoken for them as a child, and they had spent their whole life checking in with their mother’s reaction: “Am I doing this right? Do I still have your approval?”. At the end of the session they told me, “I always knew that this was true, but I wasn’t aware that it was such a problem.” They went away feeling more open to the possibility of finding the things in life that truly bring them deep and subtle joy.
Suffocating in their own life:
A client came to me feeling like their own life was suffocating them. They really, really wanted to have a baby. The result of several sessions was this person leaving the marriage that they had been in. They later realized that their partner had been emotionally abusive and controlling.
A broken foot:
A client came to me with a broken foot that they had gotten by wearing broken boots long after they knew these boots were a problem. We looked at issues of self care, of course, but deeper than that we looked at childhood trauma in school that was making it hard for them to study, hard to make trusting relationships with women, hard to feel like they were deeply embedded (grounded, standing, with footings) in their own life. Last I heard this person was still working through layers of grief from the loss of someone close, but was feeling more in love with their own wild and unpredictable life. The foot healed well, also, and we started doing the work necessary to bring that foot and leg back into wholeness and connection with the rest of the body. Sometimes due to trauma it’s like a part of our physical body loses the blueprint to what it does within the whole. It is possible to bring that blueprint back and to help that part rejoin the whole. This is one of the things that was necessary for this client.
How we meet...
If we meet in person for our sessions, you will come to my ocean-front garden suite work space and walk through to a small, tangerine-orange room. Here you will sit and tell me some of your story. Then, as I said, I will tuck you up on my treatment table in as many blankets as you need for warmth and weight and the session will begin.
If we meet via telephone or Skype, I will be in that same room, and I will be working on your surrogate - a big, floppy, white rabbit who wears plaid overalls and a black shirt. Working on a surrogate like this keeps my technique stable - as in, I still take a hand and tune in to a body using muscle-testing. It’s not that the surrogate IS you, it’s that it is standing in as a doorway that I can look through to see YOU.
These sessions could be a fit for you if:
You have hit some kind of last straw with your pain/physical discomfort.
You have reached a plateau or a dead end in the modality that you have been working with to try and shift/cure this pain or physical symptom.
You have the beginnings of a regular, introspective practice of some kind (meditation, writing, mindfulness), or at least a willingness to be kind, patient and friendly towards yourself.
You are able to get physical manipulation support - physio, chiropractic, massage, rolfing etc. - when needed. This process will help you to recognize when you need it.
You are able to get counselling support if you need it.
These sessions will not be a fit for you if:
You don’t have at least a half hour per week to spend on self-reflection after the session (or between them if you commit to a package).
You don’t think that intuitive therapies work and you’re not willing to give them a try.
You have an idea of what your body might be holding and you are afraid of it. Please, please, find a counsellor. I have resources for you: let’s find you the support that you need.
Important Note: Please bear in mind that I am not a counsellor. If our inquiry into the roots of your pain unearths abuse that you were unaware of from your childhood, I will end the session in a timely and gentle fashion and ask you to seek out the care of a trained counsellor for the next part of your healing journey.
Making sure this is right for you...
I also want you to know that, in order for us to work well together, there needs to be a fit. It’s hard to allow yourself to be treated by someone you don’t trust or don’t like. So, if all of these words have convinced you that we’ll be a good fit for each other, then by all means, please book a session with me:
If you’re mostly sure, but not all the way, you can:
Let’s get you clear that we’re a good fit for each other.
I will ask you before we begin your first session if it feels right and you want to carry on. You are free to walk away, no charge, no judgment. I’d really rather you found another healer who suits you and your needs than have a bad experience with me.
Pricing and Timing:
Single sessions cost $120. Please allow 90 minutes so that we can do everything - check-in, session, easing you back into your regular world - with no rush, no fuss.