“Heart Shock refers to a systemic instability, and to some degree, chaos, resulting from life insults or traumas (…) Not all shocks are created equal. Some are more significant than others, and individual constitutions vary considerably, creating the need to weigh all the variables as we interpret our findings”.
In this extract from Matthew J. Taylor’s latest book, Yoga Therapy as a Creative Response to Pain, Taylor discusses how yoga therapy can be used to decrease pain and the perception of pain.
How does one teach from the wisdom of pain? And how could yoga therapy be a creative response? My hope is you are starting to see some answers emerge. (Pun intentional and literal.) In this section I will offer some direct implications to make some of this what they used to call “lieutenant-proof” in the army when I was a lieutenant. (Do note later, though, Nora’s caution around giving “direct” instructions.)
We “know,” taken together, the above findings are important because they demonstrate that the neural mechanisms involved in mindfulness- based pain relief are consistent with greater processing of sensory experience and at the same time decreases in pain appraisal (Zeidan et al. 2015). Our familiar practices of paying attention inward and editing narratives. Pain reduction may also occur by fine-tuning the amplification of nociceptive sensory events through top-down control processes of inhibition of incoming nociceptive information and that such pain relief does not reduce pain through one avenue, but rather multiple, unique neural mechanisms. Ah, CDSR. Zeidan and Vago (2016) also cite evidence that mindfulness meditation engages mechanisms that are distinct from placebo to reduce pain and that this could be of critical importance to the millions of chronic pain sufferers seeking a fast-acting non-opioid pain therapy. See the marketing section coming up next for how to use this information. There is a decoupling between “sensory and appraisal-related brain regions,” and similarly, between “sensory and affective pain” to increase coping with the pain that does improve. An alleviation of suffering even if pain is unchanged in intensity? This is the frequently reported decrease in the unpleasantness dimension of pain with respect to pain intensity (Zeidan et al. 2015) plus what we already discussed about yoga also altering the meaning, interpretation, and appraisal of nociceptive information, all of which could be important tools for producing more stable and long-lasting improvements in chronic pain symptoms. Wow! How do we do that?
Taken from her new book, Looking Up, Looking Down, Reni Alexsandra Hagen discusses how to keep Feng Shui’s true meaning alive as it becomes increasingly commercialized in the West.
The most important reason for me taking up the serious study of feng shui was my growing frustration with all the peculiar things I encountered under the name of feng shui. After translating two feng shui books, reading a dozen others and attending various weekend courses, I had a strong feeling that there was something quite crazy about the claims being made in popular presentations. I had to make a decision: either that was the end of the whole business as far as I was concerned or I had to take up feng shui seriously. I did the latter, of course, because I sensed that there must be truth and understanding somewhere and that real feng shui was concerned with very different things to those I had been involved with so far.
Following the recent release of Yoga for Dementia, we asked author Tania Plahay a few questions about her work as a yoga teacher for people with dementia. Her book is based on the findings of a pilot therapeutic programme Tania ran for people with dementia in care homes.
What led you to become a yoga teacher and how did you become interested in running yoga sessions for older people in care?
Throughout my life I have benefited from the simple practices of yoga, for example, it helped me deal with the death of my father when I was 21 and many other of life’s ups and downs. After practicing for over 10 years I decided to train to be a yoga teacher as I was keen to share these simple techniques with others.
For a while before my father passed away he had lived in a care home. I remember visiting him there and seeing the residents just sitting in their chairs, not really doing anything, or engaging with others. This made me feel very sad and inspired me to work with older people in care.
What are the benefits of yoga for people living with dementia?
Dementia is not one condition but rather a collection of symptoms associated with the loss of memory and other thinking skills and will affect people differently. However dementia does have some common symptoms which yoga can help with. I’ve outlined a few of these below:
- Cognitive decline. Yoga and meditation exercises have been shown to be better than some standard memory exercises in improving mental functioning. For example, meditation can result in improvements in brain grey matter that is involved in learning and memory, regulating emotions, sense of self, and having perspective.
- Living with dementia can bring with it stress and anxiety. Yogic breathing exercises can help deal with these feelings, by activating the parasympathetic nervous system and the “relaxation response”.
- It is estimated that up to 40% of people living with Alzheimer’s Disease also have depression, and yoga has been shown to help manage the symptoms of depression.
- Dementia often results in people loosing a sense of their location in space – known as spatial awareness. Yoga exercises can help improve both spatial awareness, and also our proprioception, which is our sense of the relative position of one’s own body parts and strength of effort being employed in movement.
- Loneliness and a lack of social relationships has been linked to risk of dementia. Group yoga classes can provide a safe non-judgmental space for people to do activities together and can therefore help form social bonds.
- Yoga is a holistic practice, in that it helps with the mind, body and emotional life. Many people living with dementia may have other health issues, and therefore practicing yoga can be beneficial on many levels.
We have an extract from her latest book, A Five Element Legacy, where she provides guidance to other practitioners on how to tailor treatment to a patient’s needs, the difficulty of a fixed diagnosis and how to measure if treatment has been successful.
In A Five Element Legacy, Nora Franglen reflects on a lifetime of practising five element acupuncture, and offers advice and insights into developing patient-practitioner relationships, tailoring treatments to individual patient’s needs and the importance of taking your time and trusting your feelings. Read more about the book here.
Janneke Vermeulen, author of Diving Medical Acupuncture, explores how acupuncture can support the health of divers in this extract, thus reducing the risk of decompression illness, and provides advice to divers on steps they can take to mitigate their risk of decompression related illness.
Diving Medical Acupuncture provides an overview of acupuncture treatments for a wide range of health issues that can prevent, complicate or result from diving and other water sports. The book applies knowledge from Western Diving Medicine and Chinese medicine to present effective treatment for the most common ear, nose and throat problems associated with diving. Read more about the book here.
Fatigue can be a debilitating experience for many, and the impact on the physical and mental health of those affected can be immense.
Ray Griffiths, author of Mitochondria in Health and Disease, discusses fatigue in this extract, including an in depth exploration of the causes of fatigue and the mitochondrial nutrients that can assist with resolving cases of fatigue to improve the quality of life of your patients.
by Marina Cantacuzino
Writing a book with a co-author, warned my writer friends, is often a clash of egos and can be fraught with problems, especially if your co-author happens to be a friend! Mine was, and so I embarked on writing Forgiveness is Really Strange with a degree of trepidation over a collaboration that for no one’s fault might simply not work out.
I first met Dr Masi Noor in 2008 because of his academic research on the psychology of forgiveness in contexts of past or on-going political violence. He was interested in The Forgiveness Project, the charity that I founded in 2004 which promotes restorative narratives in order to help break cycles of conflict and vengeance. A collaboration in creating The Forgiveness Toolbox followed as we discovered our views on forgiveness were very much in sync – that it should never be pushed or prescribed, that it was complicated and easily misunderstood, but also that it was a skill that could be practised and learned in order to help liberate people from the debilitating power of victimhood.