A Grief Recovery Project Post

One of the things most people don’t realize about grief is that it hurts. Physically. According to Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt, muscle aches and pains, shortness of breath, feelings of emptiness in your stomach, tightness in your throat or chest, digestive problems, sensitivity to noise, heart palpitations, queasiness, nausea, headaches, increased allergy symptoms, changes in appetite, weight loss or gain, agitation, and generalized tension are all ways your body may react to losses that you encounter in life. I’m not a huge fan of pharmaceuticals for pain relief so tried other things that did help, including acupuncture and massage therapy. All stuff Dan would call Chinese voodoo magic. All stuff he ended up trying and benefitting from. Since this is a GRP post, I’ll do my best to describe them for you.

Acupuncture was something I’d heard about growing up in an Asian family but had never tried for myself. It’s an ancient Chinese discipline that uses fine needles (think as fine as a strand of hair) to clear our energy channels and help them get flowing correctly. I went for the first time to get some pain relief after a car accident a few years ago and I fell in love with my acupuncturist. She is nurturing and kind and also a researcher! Science + Chinese voodoo magic?!? Now you’re speaking my language! Each session lasts about an hour, and you’ll probably need at least three sessions to see some progress, although I felt better instantly. After needles are in you get to chill out and relax for a bit. The first visit you may leave feeling a little high or euphoric, so be sure you don’t have to go back to work. The needles are small and don’t usually hurt. If they do, let your acupuncturist know so they can switch to an even smaller needle. 

Even though the needles are very small, some people are just flat out nervous about trying them. Remember how I told you my acupuncturist also does research? Well, she did a cool research project using laser acupuncture on Dan and actually wrote about the experience. Here is a link: https://www.miridiatech.com/news/2016/04/aah-relief-from-cancer-pain/ 

Kimberly made house calls when it became too much for him to travel to her office. And on that last morning she was there with us to help bring him relief as he let go from the pain. She was holding his hand and had just put in the first needle when he left us. That’s a story for her to tell but I choose to believe it helped him make that final leap. 

Side note: none of us there that morning have ever spoken to each other about what we witnessed.  

Kimberly also recommended massage therapy as part of my Grief Recovery Project. She didn’t have to tell me twice! Think about how many times a day you touch your spouse and then imagine that gone in an instant. Sensory deprivation is a real thing. Massage therapy was helpful not just for the physical touch but also to help with circulation and pain relief. To be pampered and nurtured through massage therapy is something I’d recommend for anyone in grief recovery. If you’ve never had a massage, sign up for one right now, I’ll wait. Don’t know a massage therapist? Ask around for referrals from people you trust. Reputable therapists maintain an office, keep up with training and certifications, and (in some states) are licensed. If there are bars on the windows or no one there speaks English, you are in the wrong kind of massage place.

Have you tried acupuncture or massage therapy as part of your grief recovery project? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

The Wandering Widow

P.S. Our family was blessed by people who wanted to help. One of my friends heard how acupuncture was blessing our lives and worked out a system with our acupuncturist for people to donate acupuncture visits. She explained how it helped with the pain and the hard emotions we were going through. She then posted a link and a phone number to our acupuncturist. If you have a W you’d like to help, this could be a great way to do it.