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MINDFUL MEDICINE

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Not the usual physiotherapy course, I was very happy to get CPD points for attending something I am really interested in. And I was not disappointed. Presented by a fellow physio/alternate therapist, Ivo Visic guided us throught two days of mindfulness – an integrative approach to wellness. It always helps to have a presenter who walks his talk, has no ego and has done all the research. The course was stimulating, enlightening and fun and we all came away with another tool in our toolbox to share with our clients.

Mindfulness is the `in' thing at the moment, being taught in many health care professions and businesses all over ther world. It is nothing new though, being derived from the meditational practices from the Buddhist anapanasati, which has been around for thousands of years. Rather late than never though, mindfulness is maybe an easier way for us Westerners to learn the very powerful and useful art of meditating.

So what is Mindfulness? It is, simply put , ' paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, non judgementally as if your life depended on it.' This definition comes from Jon Kabat - Zinn, creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine. The foundations of Mindfulness are non-judging, patience, trust, acceptance and letting go. These are the qualities we try to develop by practising Mindfulness, the challenge then being to apply these to everything we do in our lives. Certainly not an easy task, but worth a try. Practising Mindfulness teaches us to pay attention, and this then helps us to become more emotionally and cognitively flexible, which helps us to be aware without judgement, which results in mental and physical wellbeing. Awareness helps us to change deeply ingrained habits, change old behaviours and establish new ones, i.e. we can change the way we think, speak and behave. It requires compliance, that is, alot of practise and comittment.The reward is ahost of new, stabilizing, self-calming behaviours. The research is there and is coming in fast and furiously(Kabat-Zinn),claiming usefulness in treating chronic pain,anxiety,depression, fibromyalgia,substance abuse, headaches and a host of other lifestyle-related illnesses we all seem to suffer from.

To begin, we need to be mindful of the breath. In a comfortable position and posture, we begin to pay attention to the breath. We try not to think about it, but when the thoughts come, we notice them and then try to go back to the breath.Our focus is not too loose and not too tense. Sighing is a good way to help us to relax and start. That's the first exercise. Just sitting and being still, mindful of the breath. We did many more throughout the weekend – The Inner Smile Practice, Body Scan and Dialoguing, Somatic Integration and then using Mindfulness in our Postures, in Movement and in our own Presence as Practioners.

It was a wonderful, mindful weekend. I would highly recommend Ivo`s course for anyone,not only health care practioners. It is a very useful tool for all of us, and I plan to pass it on to my clients. Follow Ivo on ivo@trailsoflight.net

Thank you Craig from www.club-physio.co.za for providing yet another great course.              

 

 

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