Medications and procedures rarely relieve more than 30% of the discomfort of chronic painful conditions. Pain affects our ability to work, our ability to participate in recreational activities, our mood and our relationships.
This does not mean that we are defective in some way. The normal reaction of our body and mind to pain is a stress reaction known as the “fight or flight” response. Pain is a signal of danger and injury and we are “programmed” to do everything we can to escape or eliminate it. When we are exposed to transient dangers, such as fire or a biting animal, the response helps us escape danger. When the pain is due to a chronic condition, and we can’t get away from it, the normal stress reaction to pain takes away our energy, concentration, and makes enjoyment of life difficult.
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction is a program that was originally designed for patients with chronic illnesses, including pain. Participants learn how to “retrain” the central nervous system’s normal stress reaction.
Gradually, participants learn to release the physical and mental tension that pain causes and recover a sense of well-being, even if the pain does not go away. Participants begin to feel better in every day life.
The skills we teach include gentle yoga, modified for any physical condition; breathing practices and various forms of meditation to calm the mind and body. We also share practical coping strategies to improve our relationship with ourselves and others. Some of the skills draw on effective cognitive therapy techniques for combating depression, anxiety and other difficult emotional states. Taught in a group of participants with similar conditions, the supportive atmosphere makes change easier.
You are invited to join our Mindfulness based stress and pain management upcoming program. The Spring 2018 workshop will be run by Dr. Kathy Nathan and Jennifer Innes. Dr. Howard Nathan will be participating as a guest teacher. Please click here to download an application form. Our mindfulness course consists of an eight week workshop with groups of about 15 participants. The sessions usually take place on a weekday evening from 6:30 to 9:00 pm. Participants can sit, stand or lie down as needed to be comfortable. Skills are introduced during the group sessions with opportunities for practice and discussion. The emphasis is on the present moment and learning to make the practices work for you. There is no need to reveal personal information in the groups and there is strict confidentiality. Graduates of the workshop can attend ongoing monthly sessions to deepen and reinforce their gains.