The Alexander Technique and Slippery Elm!
I recently discovered with delight how one of the main principles of The Alexander Technique i.e. inhibition, became a godsend to me in relation to taking a herbal remedy .
If you have ever had to take “slippery elm” I believe you will have had an experience when drinking it somewhat like mine. I think that taking “complementary/herbal/remedies” is often unpleasant and that unpleasantness in itself means it must be doing something good. Perhaps it helps to ramp up any placebo effect! I totally believe that our inherent ability to heal is of supreme importance and I do not see placebo as a dirty word. However, my experience is that “nasty” tasting things go hand-in-hand with much medication we humans have. I also think that it is interesting because poisons are often bitter and so it takes faith and courage to drink/ingest these things!
Slippery elm, made from the bark of the tree is said to have “medicinal” properties and is fairly tasteless. However, a couple of months ago I bought 100 grammes of it to take for a gut problem. I dutifully took it 3 times a day before meals. I put the dosage in a cup, mixed it with water and drank it. Each day it got harder and harder to do and I found myself tensing up well before I was due to take it. Shoulders rising up round my ears and my chest tightening as I drank it as quick as I could to get it over with. Why? Well, it didn’t taste foul but it’s consistency is rather like drinking cold, thick gravy. It swells up in water and becomes like a thick jelly (which is an important benefit of the remedy). At times I had to work hard to get it out of the cup and actually drink it because it was so thick! I had all sorts of images of disgusting things that were jelly-like that I have ingested in the past and I developed a dislike of it in a big way.
About a week into taking the Slippery Elm I had a thought “What if I apply The Alexander Technique?” I had a number of options open to me and used them. I stopped “end gaining” i.e. trying to get the task finished in as short a time as possible. I began to think about the process, i.e. the “Means-whereby” and I got curious about each step of the task and how I moved and thought during it. The key element that helped the whole process become much easier was inhibition. I had already formed a habit of rushing and tensing before I prepared the drink so I “stopped” before I started the preparation and opened myself to a place of actionless action. I released all the unnecessary tension and that allowed my body to just be in a state of bliss poised before the task. From that place I moved with grace, calmly, consciously, and was able to “use” myself in a much more pleasurable way and drink the slippery elm without it being a perceived nightmare!
Would I take it again? If I had to! I’d rather have a good cup of tea or even a glass of wine and enjoy that process with a few more immediate benefits of look and taste and the “mmmmmmmmmmm” factor. I can’t say I got to that point with slippery elm. However, I did enjoy it much more because I felt so much better and was mindful throughout rather than wishing I was somewhere else! I also was free to breath easily and my shoulders were soft and released and I was grateful I had learned The Alexander Technique and had these skills to use.
What do you do in such situations?