In the last year, there has been a dramatic increase in people visiting the clinic wanting to learn more about Mindfulness Meditation and the benefits that it can bring to a person’s well-being. Our team at 8th Ave Physio have noticed that there has been an overall shift in peoples awareness of the ‘Mind-Body’ connection and how stress can amplify (if not create) the pain that they are struggling with. This is Great, but the shift has not increased clarification, it’s just opened up more questions.
We understand the power of meditation and the tremendous impact it can have on some of our client’s life. So that’s why I am writing this today, I will briefly cover as to why we think it’s important and then how you can practice it. One unfortunate truth though - is that you have to experience meditation to ‘get it’, it is an experience that is difficult to put into words. Hopefully, this article will help you.
Usually, there are strong emotions attached to pain, Sometimes we are aware of them, most of the time we aren’t. It can be the frustration of not being able to do your job correctly or go surfing. Fearful that it might be made worse if you bend over to pick something up or go for a run. Maybe you are just anxious that this pain/injury may lead to surgery or never get better (just like Aunt Mary, who had to have the knee replacement at 40). Either way, this is where meditation can help immensely.
In today’s society, we have so much stimulus surrounding us, so many more pressures of work and family commitments, that it is easy for us to become distracted to how our body is reacting. We find ourselves being driven by these emotions as responses to the situation we are in.
A typical example I have in the clinic is when I am told of people experiencing neck tightness while driving on the Highway to work. This is your body responding to an emotion attached to the situation, which leads to the upper traps tightening as a ‘Fight or Flight’ response. The feeling might be a slight fear of all the other cars around you, or the frustration of running late to work and the traffic is slowing you down. Whatever the stimulus or emotion is, the same scenario in how the body reacts is the same. This is why, as physio’s, we need to improve people’s awareness of this, as it could be the precursor to the headache you get when driving home after work! We do this by advising mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness meditation is the practice of becoming aware of your emotions and thoughts and learning how to not invest in them. We specifically use it in clinical settings to calm the nervous system down and allow you to take a step back and spend a moment away from these emotions attached to your pain. This creates a calm, objective environment for your body/nervous system to respond more effectively to manual therapy. Thus leading to a quicker recovery and gain long-lasting results!
Most of your Physio’s at 8th Ave Physio practice mindfulness meditation themselves. We believe it is an essential part of your recovery and ongoing well being. The core principle of mindfulness meditation is to focus on your breathing and virtually step away from any other thoughts that might be occupying your headspace. Then as you breathe, you will notice that you have started to think about what you are going to eat for dinner, or reminisce over that funny joke you said at work - it was a corker - and that is when you bring your focus back to your breath. It is harder than you think, and most people feel like they are failing. But paradoxically, this is the point, and you are actually succeeding in meditation!
In our experience, we have found it easier to use guided meditation Apps to assist our clients in understanding this paradox and maintaining their practice. So below are our Top 5 Meditation apps that we use for guided meditation.
I hope you will find one of these apps useful. We use a range of these apps to help us professionally and personally. There is no App better than the other, just what you feel works for you.
I would love to hear how you go with the mindfulness meditation. Chuck me a facebook message if you have any questions or want to learn more!