Being a complementary therapist … a lesson in humility.
I often think that being a complementary therapist is a humbling experience. For instance, it is not unusual to have our services referred to, if not to say ‘dismissed’, as nothing more than a ‘little pampering’. There is nothing wrong with pampering of course. It is just that it seems more evocative of some sort of indulgent luxury rather than a therapeutic treatment to promote optimum health and a sense of well-being. It is also a little ego-bruising and not quite the outcome we had in mind when we were swotting over the functioning of the nervous system!
Then comes the time when we have to talk or write about what we do. We are constantly reminded that we have not reached the lofty heights of being a medical doctor and as such we should not use any medical terminology. That is when we start playing the ‘navigating the word maze’ adventure game. We must talk of joint pain otherwise known to you and me, common mortals, as arthritis. Our clients do not have Parkinson’s disease, for instance, but they live with a long-term neurological illness and so the list goes on. As if this that was not tricky enough, we also have to pay particular attention to those unassuming auxiliary verbs one finds in the English language … It is acceptable to use ‘may’ or ‘might’ but ‘can’ and ‘will’ are a definite no-no. Expressions such as ‘has been shown to be effective in or with’ or, heaven forbid, ‘cure’ are guaranteed to have the Advertising Standard Agency (ASA) knocking on our door in an instant!
All of this however if somewhat challenging at times is fairly academic. The truly humbling experience comes from our realisation as complementary therapists that we do not do the healing but that we merely create the conditions for the healing to take place. No more, no less.
We are in a way Mother Nature’s little helpers. Our role is to gently nudge the incredibly powerful healing abilities with which Mother Nature has provided all of us.
Sometimes it is enough to help maintain good health and sometimes, we have to accept that despite our best efforts, it is not enough to prevent illness.
Yes, being a complementary therapist is a lesson of humility.