Mindful Movement for Pain Management
Yoga , Mindfulness and The Feldenkrais Method
Pain is Australia’s third most costly heath problem not to mention the toll to the individual pain sufferer’s life. Pain is the body’s natural way of protecting us and initiating healing. It is a complex biological phenomenon resulting initially from tissue damage but when persistent causes neuroplastic changes to our nervous system that lead to persistent pain.
Many modern approaches to pain are proving unsuccessful creating addictions and costing the individual dearly in time and money with little or no benefit. Pain is a mind –body process and our perception of the pain, and our emotional state play significant factors in persistent pain syndromes. Once the nervous has become “ wired “ for pain even small movements and stressors can tip the balance causing pain to increase and so the cycle continues.
The ancient healing practices of Yoga and mindfulness have much to offer the pain sufferer. Yoga and Meditation directly link us into the web of mind -body connections and harness a powerful self-healing process through the nervous system. The first experiences of the practices of mindfulness and yoga for pain were lead by Jon Kabat – Zinn in his groundbreaking research at The University of Massachusetts Hospital in 1979.
Since Kabat Zinn’s development of MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) the evidence for the powerful benefits of these Ancient healing practices has been growing steadily.
The Feldenkrais Method is also a healing art that has much to offer the pain sufferer. Through small gentle movements done with curiosity and awareness to sensations we become aware of patterns of holding tension and strain and are free to find new pathways to move and breathe that create less pain and more freedom.
The Mindful Movement approach leads to a positive Neuroplasticity ,where the brain with practice can actually grown new connections . In Mindful Movement we explore movement from a safe , gentle , whole body approach. This leads us to a wholesome place of acceptance, kindness and curiosity ; replacing the emotions of fear and helplessness. Learning to trust our own senses and experiences builds an inner wisdom and relaxation that inevitably makes living with pain easier.
This approach takes some practice effort and time; as the nervous system is being re-wired through gentle movement, breathe awareness . It is about taking back control of your life and trusting your innate sense of what you need rather than just listening to the advice of others. With this comes hope and with hope comes positive change.
As an Occupational Therapist and Yoga Therapist working for over 25 years with people in pain I feel excited by the new paradigm and the promise it holds to reduce suffering. I will be offering a new 8 week yoga course soon – Mindful Movement for Pain.
Contact me to learn more about this course and how Mindful Movement can help you !!
“ Once the mind sees clearly that it is creating suffering, its inherent wisdom lets go of the processing that creates it, just as we let go of a very hot object as soon as we register the pain it is causing “
Teasdale and Chaskalson 2011