On New Years Eve I fell in my shower, and I ended up bruising my ribs. I fortunately didn’t break or fracture them, but even bruising them was painful and for the first couple of weeks it hurt to pretty much do anything. It typically can take up to 6 weeks for bruised ribs to heal and I knew as a result that I was going to have to take a break from my usual exercise routines and just focus on letting my body heal. But I also figured there was no reason I couldn’t also help my body with that process of healing.
From the very beginning I took Advil to help with inflammation and pain management, but I also began working with neurotransmitters that could also help mitigate the inflammation and pain, such as Cortisol, Epinephrine, Neurokinin A, Norepinephrine, Anandamide, and Betalipotropin. By working with my neurotransmitters consciously, to help with the process of healing, I knew I could get the inflammation and pain under control quickly.
What I also did during this process of healing was continue my qi-gong moving meditation. While it did hurt some to do the movements, I felt that it was important to circulate my internal energy and direct it toward healing my body. So each day I would get up and do my qi-gong moving meditation and direct the energy toward healing my ribs. After I did qi-gong movements, I’d follow it up with Taoist water breathing meditation to help me dissolve any energetic, emotional and physical tension around the ribs. This helped me work through any lingering emotions around the fall, but also helped with directing my internal energy toward healing my ribs. The combination of the breathing meditation and qi-gong helped me take charge of the healing process and expedited the healing process.
At night, before I went to sleep I did marrow breathing, where I’d send my consciousness to the marrow of my bones. I’ve successfully used that practice to help me with knee pain and I reasoned it could also be used with my ribs. Each night I’d work with the marrow in the bones to stimulate healing for my ribs. This served to help me sleep better at night and also aided in the healing.
Each week after my initial injury, I noticed a lessening of the pain. Within three weeks, I started to swim again and by week 5 I was lifting weights. I can’t say that the healing process was any faster than it might normally be, because it typically takes 3 to 6 weeks for bruised ribs to heal and I would say my ribs have healed within that time range, but I do feel that engaging in the practices helped me utilize the resources of my body and made the healing process into something that allowed me to proactively be part of it, instead of just waiting for the healing to happen.
What this process also did was help me recognize there were actions I could take and apply on this journey of healing that would help me get to know my body better and be present with the healing process. And some of that process actually involved being present with the pain itself, because while I could do things to manage the pain and help with the inflammation, I still felt the pain and through it the vulnerability of falling and getting injured. This process of healing helped me work through that vulnerability, while also working with my body to heal.
I think any injury a person gets can be worked with and mitigated by drawing on the resources of our body. If we know what to work with, and know how to apply it then we make healing process into an experience that allows to focus on the healing, instead of just waiting for it to happen. We learn about ourselves and our bodies through the experience and come out the other side with an appreciation for the how body can heal and be more resilient, provided we take care of ourselves and do what we need to do to help with the healing process.