Monthly Archives: November 2014
In a beautifully written piece, Affirmations – What's the Point?, Donna Falcone blogs about the usefulness of affirmations for managing chronic illness, after starting out with some serious skepticism over their value.
Donna's been dealing with Lyme Disease for some time now, and has learned to do some adjusting of her schedule, attitude and mood as she's trained herself to manage and triumph over the energy-sapping fatigue and discouragement that Lyme can produce.
I actually started out thinking affirmations were pretty silly myself- strictly the turf of late night satire - Saturday Night Live's Stuart Smalley comes to mind (Al Franken's fabulous recovery support group character). But I was pressed into making them by Time Warner for the "Side B" of my earliest tapes, and I didn't have any better ideas.
Imagine my surprise when we got feedback that the affirmations seemed to work better than the guided imagery for some folks. That was a revelation, and I started giving them the respect they deserved.
Researchers from the Beaumont Health System in Royal Oak MI evaluated the effectiveness of massage therapy, with or without guided imagery, in reducing anxiety prior to cardiac catheterization.
A total of 55 inpatients and outpatients received massage, guided imagery, or massage with guided imagery prior to cardiac catheterization. Self-reported anxiety levels and blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) were evaluated in participants and a matched comparison group.
Massage with and without guided imagery resulted in significant reductions in self-reported anxiety (p < 0.0001). Additionally, patients receiving the intervention had lower diastolic BP and HR vs. the comparison group (p < 0.0001 and p < 0.05).
This week, we join millions across our country in celebrating that singularly American holiday, Thanksgiving. With all due respect to our northern neighbors, who have a wonderful celebration every October – it really all began here, nearly four hundred years ago.
So while we have visions of roasted turkeys, glazed hams, stuffing and pumpkin pie dancing in our heads, I wanted to take a minute to talk about the reason for this season: gratitude.
It can be truly difficult to practice gratefulness with world and local affairs plaguing our days with stories of woe and strife, injustices and pain. Moreover, we have our own personal challenges, from the mere annoying to the heart wrenching, bring-us-to-our-knees type. Add to that often frustrating family dynamics, or even missing family members – and anyone may find it hard to be thankful this holiday.
Actually not a question but a personal observation: I have several of your guided imagery/affirmation cds which I use often. They've been very helpful but for me, but there's too much suggestion. I guess it's the way my brain works.
When you suggest going to a place where I feel safe, etc., I can usually do that, but then I'm distracted by your various suggested alternatives and find myself mentally flitting from place to place.
Similarly when I'm in that place, your suggestions about seeing, smelling, hearing and feeling it, while helpful, get undermined by the varied scenarios you present.
Posted: November 24, 2014Categories: Update from Health Journeys
It's Thanksgiving week, and I'm thinking about a colleague I met at a conference a while ago, who told me about the challenges she was facing from dealing with her traumatized husband while he was in the first stages of posttraumatic stress and probably TBI (traumatic brain injury) after a terrible accident that left him with broken bones, chronic pain and a state of constant fury.
They'd been married for 45 years and were totally devoted to each other, but his constant rages were hard for her to endure. She told me, "You know, I never for a minute considered divorce, but MURDER?? Definitely!"
We have many military families dealing with similar scenarios, taxed to the limit physically, emotionally and financially. It can be a heavy, exasperating, nonstop burden, infused with grief for all that's been lost.
Depression in family caregivers is rife. Some feel so trapped, they think about suicide.
I worked as an art therapist on a dialysis unit in Cleveland, Ohio for five years. A music therapist (who made individualized tapes for each patient) joined me, and together we were successful in uplifting the mood and environment of the unit, both for the patients and the staff.
We were certain we prevented blood pressures from dropping when people worked with us, and attempted a study to prove this. Unfortunately, statistics got in the way and we were never able to finish the study.
Nevertheless, we remain steadfast in our belief that art and music therapies benefit and improve the dialysis experience.
Sara Dickman, M.S., ATR with Marianne Kallen.
Researchers from the University of Siena in Italy and Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital/Harvard Medical School studied the neuro-anatomical and psychological impact of an 8-week mindfulness based stress reduction program (MBSR) on 23 subjects who were new to meditation.
The investigators analyzed several morphometric indexes at both cortical and subcortical brain levels, as well as multiple psychological dimensions, before and after the 8-week training, comparing the meditators to age-gender matched subjects.
Posted: November 18, 2014Categories: News
Many people are curious about the birth of Health Journeys’ guided imagery, and they often ask us how the whole thing started. November recognizes National Lung Cancer Awareness and National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness, so it’s a good time to discuss Belleruth’s journey, beginning with her first guided imagery cassette tape created to help a woman undergoing chemotherapy.
Follow Belleruth’s journey from that first individualized tape to today’s array of audio programs, including the current version of A Meditation to Help You With Chemotherapy, which offers the central image of a lovely fountain of healing liquid, cleansing and clearing, and helping the body’s own natural defense system do its work.
Your e-newsletter was recommended highly by a dear friend of mine, who is a hypnotherapist and part of the Verve newsletter and group. Recently my partner came down with CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome).
The rapid onset of this has put me in a tailspin of questions and wondering what to do. We have been lucky enough to get acquainted with a good doctor who specifically deals with this, but have found the majority of the medical profession turning the other way, because it is not curable with antibiotics and because they cannot tell what it is or where it comes from at this point.
Posted: November 17, 2014Categories: Update from Health Journeys
Listen up, good people!
On Wednesday, November 19th, one of my all time favorite trauma experts – none other than the brilliant treatment innovator Peter Levine, creator of Somatic Experiencing - will be offering this week's free webinar for NICABM, as part of their new series, Rethinking Trauma: The Third Wave of Trauma Treatment.
Whenever I'm asked by a therapist which of the many new trauma therapies they should train in if they only have time for one, I answer that if they've got the time and money, Somatic Experiencing is the one. It's just such an elegantly effective protocol that makes the most sense, because it's body-based, just like trauma is, and because it's the least likely to create distress, activate symptoms or get clients stuck in ugly experiences of the past. (And by the way, it's superb for treating many conditions, not just PTS).
Again, it's free at the time of broadcast and you can sign up here.