GUEST BLOG – By Dr Caroline Purkhardt


Personal Transition and Business Team Coach 

The Psychology of Rehabilitation 

Two very different sporting injuries completely changed my approach to physical recovery. 

The first was a serious neck injury, which left me with restricted movement and a tendency to get a very stiff neck and shoulders. 

The second was a ruptured cruciate ligament.  

I eventually decided to have a reconstruction, but recovery from surgery proved extremely slow and incredibly frustrating, if not depressing.   

Having been an international lacrosse player, I thought that doing the correct physical exercise and asking for the help I needed from experienced physiotherapists would bring me rapidly back to full physical fitness.

Sometimes we are lucky, and this is all it takes. 

Sometimes it is not enough…

Being a sports psychologist, I also knew all about mindset and visualisation, and I did my best to engage these practices as part of my recovery. 

Although they helped, it has to be said that they are not very easy to do on your own when you are already on the downward spiral and struggling. 

This is what you need to know.   

There is a whole different energetic system that comes into play when recovering from injury or returning to wholeness after a prolonged period of pain. 

I was fortunate enough to be guided by a friend to enrol in T’ai Chi classes.  I was swept away by the power and force of this subtle energy called Chi.  And I have studied it ever since, through Chi Kung, T’ai Chi, Reiki, meditation, and connecting with nature.   

This is what happens. 

We want to get on with our lives, so we psychologically isolate the injury and do our best to distance ourselves from the pain.  In so doing, we cut off or block the circulation of chi, of this subtle energy, that is the master of effective recovery.  Without the circulation of chi, the injured or painful part operates on semi-automatic, or even worse, on semi-shutdown.   

The flow of chi gets blocked by physical injury.  It also gets blocked by emotional trauma.  And it is diminished by prolonged tiredness or stress.  Lack of sleep or overwork are not conducive to recovery!   

How to recover. 

Pay attention to the injury – not just by doing your exercises and going the physio.  Pay loving attention to the injured part of your body and remind it what it feels like to be well and whole.   

Use the breath – this will seem bizarre until you do it.  Let your breath guide the energy through the part of your body that is injured, bringing it the nutrients it needs for healing and the coordination with other body parts that will support it.   

Use light – this is only for those who are willing to stretch the boundaries of belief.  This can be direct light from the sun; coloured light, using your imagination to fill the injury with a particular chosen colour; or warmth from your hands, like you would with a child. 

Release the emotional trauma – this disassociation of the emotional from the physical is essential.  The injury stays to protect you, to stop you injuring yourself in the same way again.  By releasing the emotional trauma you give yourself the scope to recover fully – to learn from the experience and, instead of holding yourself back, finding a new, more effective approach.   

And sometimes we need help – to listen, to hold, to guide, to see and believe what is possible, more than you dare to believe for yourself.  This is why I also trained as a professional coach – so that I could share the power of chi in recovering from injury and returning to lead a full life. 

The Markland Clinic

Well-being is more than just physical. We aim to provide a process that assists in the mental, physical and spiritual recovery from injury and trauma.

Whatever your ache, pain or injury… let us help you on your journey to being pain-free!

Call us now on 01285 654059 or book an appointment online

The Markland Team

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