Body Wisdom Blog

by Donna Brooks

New Science of Holistic Pain Relief

Embodiment and Somatic Movement as key to pain-free living.

The new science of holistic pain relief tells us that chronic pain is often a habit. Let me back up. Pain is real – injury to our bodies (or minds or emotions hurts!). Yet, tissue injury heals in a matter of months. Why does pain continue and what can we do about it?

Pain is a signifier that the body believes something is wrong. Acute pain is very useful. It makes us stop and take care of our hurt.

Chronic pain is not helpful. It exhausts us. It makes us more sensitive to all kinds of things that never bothered us before: wind, hormonal fluctuations, temperature changes, touch, movement, sound and more. So how do we “desensitize” ourselves and turn down the volume on chronic pain?

You Can Turn Down the Volume on Chronic Pain

There are 4 important things you can do to practice this new science of holistic pain relief. through my classes and one on one guidance I can help you master these 4 tools so they are yours for life. You can be in control of your own internal pain experience.

Keep learning alive to rid yourself of pain

Your brain and nervous system want to help you. So, they create shortcuts for you. We know these shortcuts as habits. You never have to think about how you hold your toothbrush or start your car. Often, habits are helpful but sometimes they aren’t. For instance, habits of clenching, gripping, tightening in expectation of pain reminds us to feel pain.

Becoming curious and stimulated into new understanding or looking into new possibilities creates new neurological circuits. This is like offering the brain a new plate of food. If it’s interesting and engaging enough you will start to wire and fire circuitry that takes you into the pleasure of your new discoveries – lessening your pain!

I know this is hard to do when you are in pain. That is why it is best to combine new learning with the other tools below. Starting inside your own body by feeling it out with curiosity helps you learn new, pleasurable and good things about your own body.

Embodiment is essential to holistic pain relief

Feeling yourself internally- through movement, volume, with gravity or subtle sensation offers your brain alternatives to its habits of pain. The practice of embodiment also gives you a feeling of being at home in your own body. The importance of this can’t be understated. You can have rest and a refuge in your own body.

Move gently without fear of hurting yourself is mastering holistic pain relief

The truth is that many of us need to learn new ways of moving. In many cases, the old ways have brought about the injuries and difficulties in the first place. But, it’s hard to just make your body move differently. Using the tools above – Curiosity, new learning and sensing yourself both internally and in space inform the body how to move better. It is also brain plasticity – you rewire the movement aspect of your nervous system to bring my ease, integrity and comfort to movement.

This process breeds confidence and skill so over time you need less study and attention – you have developed new neurological pathways.

How You Think and Speak are Key to the New Science of Holistic Pain Relief.

Our body responds to the images, ideas and thoughts we offer it. Try this experiment. Reach your arm out in front of you and imagine you are lifting a heavy dish. Relax. Now, with the same arm, reach in front of young imagine you are lifting a feather. The difference in how you feel is just an idea. An important part of pain relief is using these images and ideas to help you have ease. Try this with your neck and shoulders since they are a common place of pain. Notice how you usually think of them and substitute a waterfall image coming front the sides of your head over your neck and shoulders. It may help!

Imagery, like the other tools above, is not meant to be used in isolation but with the tools of learning, embodiment and gentle movement. You can learn more or join mail listing at my website. I look forward to meeting you.