Recently I had a series of inspiring interviews with healthcare professionals who are also Breema instructors and practitioners. In keeping with their aim to bring Breema to every aspect of their lives, they use the philosophy and principles of Breema in their practices, transforming their interactions with patients and colleagues and finding balance in the midst of tremendously demanding schedules.
They all said that the philosophy of Breema supports them to view both themselves and their patients as much more than their outward condition. "I try to remember that it is doing a disservice to the patient to see them as just a set of symptoms, or a condition I need to 'fix,' says Laura Rawson, LAc.
"Breema taught me how important it is to accept people as they are."
Karen Burt, MD, agrees. "In Breema classes I learned that to just be with someone, to be truly present with them, in a moment of life together, is one of the most healing activities I can do. Some of my patients who expressed the most gratitude to me—I never felt that I 'fixed' their problem."
Alexandra Johnson, MD, also recognizes that it's impossible to really know what someone else needs. In her interaction with patients, she supports them to look a little deeper at their condition and its causes. "I know the potential for learning and growth that comes from our relationship to our bodies," she said. "I try to help my patients figure out what they need to support their own health and vitality, recognizing that everyone has that wisdom within them, and they just need to get connected to it. This posture came directly from studying Breema."
All three physicians emphasized that developing connection and trust with their
patients was the crucial element in their movement towards health. "Healing means
wholeness," Karen said. "I've seen in the groups that I worked with that people need to find a connection to some aspect of themselves that is inherently
whole and healthy, in order to rise above their resistance to change.
Sometimes a real connection with the doctor, or with other group members, is what supports this
connection in themselves."
Breema principles also provide support in dealing with the challenges of practicing medicine in the modern world. "There are times when I'm seeing many patients in quick succession," Laura said. "At first I had the idea I need to "conserve" my energy, but I soon saw that Full Participation was a better approach. Fully participating in each exchange—and working with Single Moment, Single Activity too—actually gives me energy and makes short interactions feel complete." She also uses the Breema touch with her patients—holding with one hand on their body as she places needles with the other hand. Touching the patient while placing the needles isn't "necessary" for acupuncture, but she finds that it is very supportive, helping her remember her wish to be present and increasing the connection between herself and her patient.
Using the nurturing touch of Breema bodywork with patients could take the form of giving Breema as part of an examination or prior to a procedure, or simply holding a hand while being present, with body-mind connection. "I used to see patients and they would rest their arm on the small desk at which we were seated, and I would just place my hand on their arm, and focus on my breath as I listened to their stories, says Karen Burt. "That supported me to be receptive rather than focused on my own agenda, and when I became present, this receptivity made it more possible to find what was needed. It also helped me to really listen—sometimes truly listening to someone is all you need to do."
Alexandra often offers a Breema foot treatment to women about to give birth. "The birth process can be scary," she said. "As we go through it together, I try to help them stay grounded in the present, to actually experience their body in each moment. Staying out of the past and future reduces the fear."
Using Breema principles and body-mind connection also supports these doctors under the demands of their job. "If a colleague gets tense or upset around me, I remember the principles of Mutual Support and No Judgment," says Alexandra. "I know that when Breema principles are alive for me, I am supporting everyone in the room, including myself— no matter what specific role I may be playing in an operation or procedure. So it helps me let go of ego and keeps me available to what is needed." She's also involved in resident education to support physician wellness and burnout prevention. Her classes include body-centered meditation and she teaches residents how to create reminders to support themselves to stay balanced and grounded throughout their day. "Every time I disinfect my hands between patients, I use that motion to remind me to come to my body. I encourage the residents to find reminders like this for themselves. The more we bring this type of self-care into physician's education, the more we'll have physicians who don't burn out."