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Tai Chi and Yoga for Pain Management in Neurology Now

Tai chi is one of the therapies that I’m definitely going to try. Neurology Now’s article describing how tai chi and yoga invokes the mind-body connection to relieve pain cemented my decision. Physical benefits aside, releasing tension and teaching mindfulness are the most powerful effects of tai chi and yoga, according to the article.

Mindfulness is nothing more than paying calm, moment-by-moment attention to what you are thinking and feeling. Ideal for cultivating greater awareness of the connection between mind and body, mindfulness has been shown to positively effect a range of autonomic physiological processes, such as lowering blood pressure and reducing overall arousal and emotional reactivity.

Yoga and tai chi combine the stress-reducing effects of mindfulness with low-impact movement, which is especially helpful for people who have chronic pain or physical limitations that make them relatively sedentary.

I’m captivated by the stillness of tai chi and am looking forward to trying something new. Seattle studio Embrace the Moon, which began as a program in a medical setting of tai chi for pain reduction, starts a new schedule next week. I’ll be there.

Embrace the Moon’s overview and description of tai chi styles is (relatively) concise and easy to understand. I’m finally understanding more about this discipline, which totally confuses me.

Neurology Now is an excellent free patient education magazine published by the American Academy of Neurology. You’ve probably seen it in your neurologist’s office. You can sign up for a free subscription to the magazine or read it online. I love getting it in the mail — I actually remember to read it.

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Trying New Treatments: A Long, Long List

Physical therapy, craniosacral therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, biofeedback, hypnotherapy, tai chi, pilates, meditation, chiropractic. While my migraines were too bad to keep appointments this fall, I kept a running list of the new treatments and therapies I’d like to try.

I have fantasies of doing nothing else than jumping in and trying all these therapies at once. They’d have to add up to more than 40 hours a week. Reality quickly usurps the fantasy: No blog, no decent meals, no organizing and downsizing. You know, all the other activities of my life.

Prioritizing treatments is more challenging than it seems.

  • My massage therapist’s physical therapist has aborted her migraines and his techniques are different than I’ve had in the past. No question I’m seeing him as soon as possible..
  • I tried a bit of craniosacral last year and the results were promising, so that’s in.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy, biofeedback and hypnotherapy have common threads. With my depression, cognitive behavioral therapy is the natural starting point. I expect that biofeedback and hypnotherapy will flow from that.
  • Tai chi, pilates and meditation also have similarities. I want to exercise more and learn to be mentally quiet. Pilates is more about relieving pain in my lower back, but tai chi is the perfect fit.
  • Chiropractic is last on my list. Last year’s attempt was a
    bust
    , but I’m planning to see a different chiropractor, whose approach
    is quite different than the one I saw last spring. Still, having not
    been effective in the past, I’m in no rush to try it.

Choosing one from each group leaves me with physical therapy, craniosacral, cognitive behavioral therapy and tai chi. Is that still too much? Combined with myofascial release and a yoga home practice, which are having good results, I’m afraid I’m overdoing it.

In fact, I know I am. This “narrowed” list would require appointments four days a week plus three tai chi classes. Ha! Like that’s possible. But they all seem absolutely necessary.

I’m stuck. What do you recommend?