When it comes to healing any kind of physical trauma we don’t really need a plan for that specific injury, what we need is a plan that works for ANY kind of injury.
The challenge that people very often have with this suggestion is that they are coming from the point of view that different kinds of injuries need different kinds of approaches and specialists. And it is true in a way. A knee surgery is way better performed by an orthopedic surgeon than a cardiac surgeon, right?
But because we’re so caught up in this thinking that we need a specific specialist for a specific physical trauma, it blinds us when it comes to the whole healing journey.
This episode with Dr. Maya will help you understand why we need to zoom out and look at the big picture, plus what you/your body really needs when healing an injury.
Tune in… ❤
To download the pdf The Mindful Wheel of Healing please click here >>
Show notes & links
The show notes are written in chronological order.
- Dr. Maya Novak’s book:
- Heal Beyond Expectations [get the book here]
- René Descartes: The Mind-Body Distinction [discover more here]
- The Mindful Wheel of Healing [download it here]
- Iron-Built Flexible Ankles [discover more here]
0:00 – intro
1:15 – intro (listen to discover a little more about your host. Martin will tell you a new lesser-known fact about Dr. Maya)
Dr. Maya Novak:
When my husband got me to the hospital with my broken and dislocated ankle, all I wanted was for the pain to go away, get the answers and hear the plan of how my ankle could be usable again. I’m so grateful for modern medicine, as are millions of people around the world every minute of every day. Thank goodness for health professionals who’ve been investing countless of hours into their education and work. Because of this science so many of us are now capable of using our bodies again. But there are some missing things in the conventional medical approach and it’s on us to help change that.
For years I was kind of a part of that group of people who are annoyed with the medical system – that nothing changes, and everything is bad, and that Big Pharma and physicians only think about money and not about people’s health… And there is some truth to it… I mean I worked for a pharmaceutical company for 4 years, many years ago, and it IS a business… But THEN I stopped and I thought about it. Because in the same way as I’m influencing, for example, the food industry with my money – food that I buy and food that I definitely don’t buy – in the same way we all have the power to influence the medical system: by the questions that we ask; by the research that we do for ourselves; by the offered solutions that we say yes to and those that we say no to, and by so many other things. You have the power in your hand.
Dr. Maya Novak:
And so I was lying in the hospital bed, waiting for some answers, and THE plan that would get me back on my feet, but honestly all that I got was: “This is the surgery that we’ll do, and here’s the medication that you need to take… and yep, some physio when you’re ready for that step.” That’s it. And I know that even that sounds like a VIP plan for some people, because since I started helping injured women and men, I’ve received numerous emails and I’ve spoken to countless of people, hearing the stories of how some of their physicians are not even advising physiotherapy. “No, you don’t need it, just walk it off.” Or “Just move your arm a bit more and that will do it.” And I know that physiotherapists and other professionals whose work is about getting people back on their feet, are now going “Noooooo!” But even this plan: surgery, of course if necessary, medication, and physiotherapy is waaaaay too flawed when we are talking about healing any kind of physical trauma. You need more. Your body needs more.
And the big problem is that modern medicine is still operating by reductionism – thank you Descartes, right? Because in the 17th century with the newly “discovered” science, the modern medicine went down the road that the body could affect the mind, but interaction didn’t occur in the other direction; simply put, the mind did not affect the body. And THIS is one of the reasons why today, the typical recovery plan for any type of injury still doesn’t include all the aspects that are so important in healing.
Dr. Maya Novak:
And just before I guide you through the plan that does, let’s talk about how 1 plan could be the same for any kind of physical trauma. Because the challenge that people very often have with this suggestion is that they are coming from the point of view that different kinds of injuries need different kinds of approaches and specialists. And it is true in a way.
I mean, if I need a surgery on my knee I’d much rather have an orthopedic surgeon perform that than a cardiac surgeon, right? But because we’re so caught up in this thinking that for a specific physical trauma I need a specific specialist, it blinds us when it comes to the whole healing journey, which is normally way longer than a few hours or a few days – it can go on for weeks, months, years. And that’s why you need a holistic plan for healing that covers all the aspects of recovery. You need physical support, emotional support, mental support and yes, you also need spiritual support.
Why? Because your whole being consists of these 4 bodies: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.
And so let’s leave Descartes in the 17th century and move to the 21st where we already know and have evidence that the psychological state affects the healing outcome. That what you imagine in your mind affects how your body responds. That what you’re feeling day in and day out has an effect on biochemistry. And going even further – that your injury is not a coincidence - it’s your body’s way of speaking of what needs your attention. And by cutting something out - which sometimes is absolutely necessary – it doesn't mean that we resolved the main issue or the main reason of why this happened; why it came to this condition. And please hear me out – this is not about blame and pointing the finger and saying “It is your fault.” No! This is about zooming out and looking at the big picture – it’s an opportunity to step forward.
Dr. Maya Novak:
So let’s look at the plan. I prepared a pdf for you (The Mindful Wheel of Healing) that you can find on my website – if you go to mayanovak.com/podcast and click on Ep. 11. Download it, print it out, give it to your friend, your colleague, whoever needs it. This is the hands-on work so that we take theory into practice and that you can move forward on this journey. It is something that I give my clients as their homework as well. And not just that. It’s something that they do at the beginning of our work together and after a couple of months again. Because that way you can see just how much you’ve progressed during that time. So in the pdf you’ll see there’s a wheel divided into 4 parts: emotional support, mental support, physical support, and spiritual support. The wheel has 10 levels. And so you’ll think about how many points you can give yourself by thinking how much support you’re giving yourself in each aspect. 1 – I barely do anything, 10 – I’m a master. And be honest with yourself – how much are you actually doing in each department? This is the time for honesty. Each aspect also has space for you to write down all the things that you’re doing – to really get the big picture of what is already in place… and then also, what else you need to put in place for your healing.
Now, let’s talk about each aspect. First, emotional support. Your emotions have an effect on your body, and the thing about emotions is that when we don’t process them in a healthy way, they don’t magically disappear—instead, they hibernate. These stored negative emotions eventually show up as physical ailments, and they also interfere with the healing process. So you need to deal with those uncomfortable feelings, and these can be connected specifically to your injury, or they can be connected to anything else that is happening in your life. For example, problems in a relationship. You can have physical symptoms and go to the best specialists and they can do all sorts of tests that come back negative because the problem is not that there’s something physically wrong with your body. So what are your top 3 emotions and how are you handling them? And what are you doing to resolve these challenges?
Next, let's talk about mental support. The thoughts and images we are creating in the mind are connected. All those undesirable thoughts come and go but persistently creep in pump stress hormones into your body, taking over your internal environment – in the same way as emotions. When you’re thinking about your injury – what kind of pictures are popping up in your mind and what are you doing about them? In my book Heal Beyond Expectations, in chapter 5, I talk about how extremely important it was in my healing journey to change those pictures in my mind and guide my body to where I wanted it to go. You have the power to change what is happening in your mind. So what kind of mental support are you giving yourself? What kind of mental exercises are you doing? Think about this, write it down, and then give yourself a score from 1 to 10. Again, honesty is the best policy here.
Physical support - this includes, for one, going to your appointments and checkups regularly and being in contact with your physician. And talking about it with your healing team - if your physical trauma requires any kind of physiotherapy, or physical support that includes different kinds of exercises. Years ago, after I started sharing my story, and helping people with their recoveries, I decided to put out a program with all the ankle exercises that helped me when I was recovering from a broken and dislocated ankle. This program is called Iron-Built Flexible Ankles if you’re interested. But it's not meant as a replacement for any kind of physiotherapy – absolutely not – but so that people can use it as additional support. The program’s been very successful and we actually ran a survey and 80% of people who are in the program are working with their PTs and still find it very beneficial. It’s also been very helpful for those people whose physicians don't suggest physiotherapy, for some reason. But enough about this – let’s go back to physical support. Now this is physiotherapy… but perhaps your trauma doesn’t need this kind of support… even so, being active helps your body in the healing process. So what are you doing in this department? How are you keeping your body mobile? What kind of exercises are you doing? How many times per week? Could it be better? What’s the score? Physical support goes way beyond physical activity as well. Diet and nutrition play a very important role. The foods that you eat can help your body or hinder your recovery. This episode is not meant for us to go into great detail of each aspect because that would mean we’d be here for hours and that’s not the point, but it is important that we talk about each and every component that can make or break your recovery. So there's diet, and then there's hydration as well. What are you drinking, how much are you drinking? Are you sure that every liquid that you put into your body helps you? If not, what can you do about it? And then we have supplements that sometimes are necessary to add. What are you adding? Are you sure it's beneficial, and if you're not, what kind of research can you do to make sure? We also have to mention sleep and rest. And sleep goes hand in hand with your eating habits; When do you stop eating in the evening? Because the closer you are to your night rest, the bigger effect eating has on the quality of your sleep, and when your delta state / deep sleep is affected, your body cannot regenerate properly. So you see, physical support is much more than just exercises. How are you doing in regards to this?
Last but not least - spiritual support, which also includes faith, and trust that you can do the recovery process. Some people include meditation into this aspect, some include it into the mental aspect. It depends on what the main reason of meditation is for you. Is it self-reflection or is it for calming the mind? Perhaps they go hand in hand for you. Here we also talk about connecting the dots and becoming curious about why this physical challenge presented itself here and now. What is it that your body is trying to communicate with you? What needs your attention? What is Life trying to say? I tell all my clients, because it is my core belief, that we already know the answer to the question of ‘Why?’ But sometimes we are so distracted or afraid to face the reality that we quickly answer with “But I don’t know. I have no idea.” Become curious – and practice this curiosity without any attachment or blame. And yes, sometimes it helps to have someone from the outside looking in to help you get the answers you’re looking for.
Dr. Maya Novak:
So these 4 areas are necessary to cover on your healing journey. This is the 1 plan that works for any kind of physical trauma – it doesn’t matter if we’re talking about broken bones or chronic pain or perhaps a disease like cancer. It works. And all of these aspects are connected… and that’s why it’s so important that you work on all of them at the same time. This connection and how they are intertwined is the reason why some people struggle with their recoveries. They are focusing only on one aspect at a time – mostly the physical support, and even with that one they don’t cover it completely, and the rest… it just is. And this is not enough. Your mental state affects the body, it also affects your emotional state, spiritual state. And vice versa. So please start using this plan. If you cannot do it on your own – no one is expecting you to be able to do it on your own… we all need support – find someone who can help you. Think about expanding your healing team. Think about inviting new people onto this journey with you. I always tell my clients that I’m grateful and humbled to be a part of theirs – because from my experience I know how much courage it can take for this step to happen. You deserve all the support you can get. And while other people are going to support you, you’re going to be in a much better place to support yourself as well. That’s why it matters. And then it’s also easier to cover all the aspects at the same time. So… the first part of the pdf is about writing down all the things that you’re already doing. And then the second part is about brainstorming what else you can and will start doing that will bring you results that you deserve.
Dr. Maya Novak
My intention with The Mindful Injury Recovery Talks is to give you ideas, guidance through either my solo episodes or through collaborations with other amazing healing experts. Each and every one of them is hand-picked and I really do my best to discuss the important things that will make a difference in your recovery. So this one is about the one plan that works for any kind of physical trauma, the reason we need to cover all the aspects at once. We need to talk about and do stuff in the department of emotional support, mental support, physical support and spiritual support, and it is time to leave the old knowledge and the old 'newly discovered' science in the seventeenth century and finally move to the first twenty first century where we already have so much evidence that, yes, it matters what you are thinking. It matters how you are feeling. It matters what kind of exercises you are doing. It matters how much faith you have. It matters to also connect the dots and to realize why this is happening right here and right now. So if you are right just listening to the podcast at this moment, please go to my website mayanovak.com/podcast, click on episode 11, download, download the pdf and print it out. Give it to your friends, family or colleagues - anybody that needs it. And take your time. Take the time for this hands-on work because I promise you it will make a huge difference on your healing journey.
Dr. Maya Novak
Thank you for tuning into this episode today with your truly. The next episode is coming in just a few days so make sure to subscribe and share this podcast with your friends, family, colleagues – I really appreciate your support and I cannot wait to spend more time with you next week. Also, if you’d like to learn more about using the Mindful Injury Recovery Method, either for yourself, a loved one, or as an addition to your own healing practice, make sure you check out my book, Heal Beyond Expectations. It’s available on Amazon, in paperback and Kindle, and it’s a great extra healing resource. And if you would like to know how to work with me, either 1-on-1 or through my self-paced programs, head over to my website mayanovak.com and discover more about these options.