Pathways App – Third Update

People on mats stretching in a gym class

I had a journey with this app that was less easy than I anticipated. Still, it taught me more than I expected after the first few weeks, especially in the final sessions. You can read the journey from the beginning here, followed by part II and Part III. This isn’t quite a farewell post, but I did get to the end of the sessions for the first time, and so have a better idea of how to move forward.

I think it’s worth saying that between the latest update and today, I have been to Italy and, while there, have been to get a blood test my GP in London was refusing to prescribe and a few other checkups that also were dismissed as not needed. It goes without saying that were, in fact, very much needed and they have brought up some issues. One of them was the migraines I was struggling with, and that Pathways did not help with. After addressing the root cause of the most difficult and frequent of them, the Pathways method has actually helped the remaining situations.

At time of writing, I still have an easier time with the pain in my back than the migraines, and have had to reach out for the painkillers when my sinuses had become blocked with fever to boot. My sciatica pain rarely appears and even more rarely stays after I use the techniques I learnt, and for the past few weeks the only back pain I have had trouble getting rid with with the Pathways method has been muscular in nature, so I suspect the reason why it didn’t work in full was that the injury was there and the pain signals were helpful. One thing I have learnt from the app is that not all pain is bad pain.

One positive side effect of the app has been, in fact, for my mental health. A huge difference in my life has come from not seeing myself as a hopeless case, but also the mindfulness principles on which the journey is based. I have a love/hate relationship with mindfulness as a concept, as many of its popular variances are just Buddhism in disguise (an accusation that has been made against even the book Mindful Catholic, which I’ll look at some other time). However, as someone with a tendency to catastrophise, there is a lot of benefit in being forced to focus on the here and now. The journaling exercises for healing also helped, and I have maintained a practice over time even though not following the same prompts (which had a specific aim etc).

Discovering that my fatigue is likely made worse by the lack of vitamin D picked up by the blood test, mixed with higher levels of inflammation than desirable and asthma which is both affected by vitamin D levels and a medical error in a course of steroids I wasn’t weaned off has given me a more positive view of life, and over time the energy to enter into the exercise routine that the programme provided. I might soon pick up a membership to the Pietra Fitness online studio, as I hear there are new classes coming to it sometimes this autumn.

I feel, in a way, that I may have begun this programme with expectations that I wouldn’t have had if the picture painted by the latest medical tests would have been known to me, so I’m interested in going through it again for the remaining migraines once I know that everything with a provable medical cause has been sorted out. I may have started with some doubts about the claims made by the app, even though I was also desperate for healing and willing to keep an open mind with anything that promised to deliver it, but I have none left. I cannot promise it will work for you, but I believe the method to be backed by strong evidence and adaptable to different circumstances. I have had one of my most active and pain-free months in years in August, while not perfect by any means, so I am positive for my future and I think it’s worth trying, especially if you have chronic pain that doesn’t seem to be explained by something or lingering from old injuries.

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