Learning about SOMATICS and CHRONIC PAIN…

“Demystifying Chronic Pain, A Somatic Functional Perspective,” By David MacDougall.

How do we measure the cost of chronic muscle/joint pain? A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicates the cost of healthcare spending for back/neck pain is $87.6 billion a year. Studies indicate it is “the leading global cause of disability in 2015 in most countries.” Just stroll through your local pharmacy and note the amount of shelf space occupied by “pain killers,” and you can see that chronic pain is truly a cultural phenomenon. Since back, neck and other chronic musculoskeletal pain are so common, you may have personal experience with the cost and inconvenience/suffering they cause.

Low back pain is a prime example of the persistence of the medical enigma of chronic musculoskeletal pain. Much of the money spent treating back pain is allocated for diagnostic testing in an attempt to determine what is causing the pain. Yet despite the enhanced sensitivity of new imaging devices, typically no definite pathoanatomic site is found, and no theory of what causes regional back pain has stood up to scientific testing. The structural bias inherent in most of medical thinking obscures the fact that many regional musculoskeletal disorders do not respond to treatment as diseases because they are not diseases.

Medicine and Somatics each seek to determine the underlying causes of maladies such as back pain, but Somatics takes a broader perspective. The medical viewpoint is affirmed, but with Somatics the focus is not on “what” causes the illness as much as it is on “how” the physiological system has adapted to stress and trauma. Symptoms are seen as an indicator of strain due to dysfunction within the involved systems. Since muscles are the agents of function within the musculoskeletal system, it seems logical to focus our attention there. Indeed palpation of the hip and back muscles of back pain sufferers commonly reveals hypertonicity and soreness and softening of these tissues via manual therapy often brings temporary relief. But we must bear in mind that muscles contract only when activated via a signal from the motor nerve. If we wish to evoke a lasting change in muscle tension, the change must occur within the central nervous system that regulates nervous activation of muscle action.

Various methods may induce de-contraction of hypertonic muscles, but when the muscle contractions have been habituated and the condition has become chronic, an internal reorganization of the sensing and activation of muscle actions must occur before the changes evoked by therapy can persist. Those suffering must take an active role in developing more efficient self-regulation of muscle action.

The somatic exercises developed by Thomas Hanna, PhD are a proven time efficient, gentle means of enhancing voluntary control of movement and posture. The exercises are based in methods of somatic education developed by Hanna during 17 years practice of the Feldenkrais Method, and are informed by current theories of motor learning and biofeedback training. Helmut Milz, MD, former consultant to the World Health Organization, said, “these exercises could make a real difference for the vast number of people who suffer from musculoskeletal ailments.” Since enhancing the efficiency of bodily movement enhances vitality in all functions whether physical, emotional or mental, students find that as they lose the pains they have suffered with for years, other benefits occur as well. In the words of Thomas Hanna, “Somatic Exercises can change how we live our lives, how we believe that our minds and bodies interrelate, how powerful we think we are in controlling our lives, and how responsible we should be in taking care of our total being.”

Mark your calendar and register today for Dave’s  Workshop on Saturday, Nov. 3rd, “Somatic Self-Care,” and learn an easy-to-practice set of somatic exercises that will enable you to reduce unwanted muscle tension and restore/maintain comfort and ease of movement with 10-15 minutes a day of pleasurable movements. Then, on Dec. 1st, Dave teaches us “A Somatic Approach to Better Breathing.”

David MacDougall, MA, LMT, is a certified Hanna Somatic Educator specializing in intelligent self-care for the reversal/prevention of muscle/joint pain. Contact Dave to register.

One Roof Welcomes Clinical Psychologist Dr. Dana Lau.

This month we welcome a new clinical psychologist to One Roof, Dr. Dana Lau. Her specialty is adolescent therapy, and she treats families and adults as well. Her practice includes DBT and mindfulness, so she is a great fit with all of us here. Her complete bio is on our website, and she accepting new patients at this time. Feel free to reach out to her directly to schedule an appointment.

Some answers lie just beneath the surface…

Readings with James Orzano at One Roof are a guided exploration into self-awareness and self-discovery. Each reading is a unique experience that can reveal the deeper inner meanings behind issues that are presenting themselves on a mental, physical, and spiritual level.

Each Reading begins with a discussion about the client’s issues and a clarification of the intention for the Reading. Then a spread is created using the Osho Tarot Cards. This layout serves as a portal into the client’s energy field and provides James with a template for gaining insights that can identify hidden clues, which can help them “connect the dots” about difficult challenges they are facing. Since the client selects their own cards, the layout is a direct reflection of what they have been unable or unwilling to recognize or accept.

James provides a guided interpretation of the Reading and generates a clear picture of the client’s present situation, with suggestions about how to move through the obstacles that have been standing in the way of growth and change. The emphasis of the Reading is not on prophecy or divination. Instead, the Readings focus on the “here and now” and encourage the client to embrace their potential for transformation and empowerment to shape their future by accepting the need for change.

With over 20 years of experience offering Readings, James is able to create a safe space for clients to fully immerse themselves in the energy of the Reading experience. He is an empath who is a compassionate and gifted intuitive channel. With a no-nonsense commitment to truth, James brings humor and wisdom to the deep and introspective realms of personal growth.

One Roof welcomes new practitioner!

One Roof welcomes psychotherapist Stephanie Armer (LCSW). Stephanie is currently accepting new patients at our 58 Henry St. offices. Stephanie has been in the social work field for over 13 years. She provides a structured and safe environment in which clients feel comfortable identifying goals and working towards a more positive and fulfilling life experience. She collaborates with clients to identify and build on their preexisting strengths, develop and utilize coping mechanisms, and increase mindfulness. Stephanie strives to enable clients to embrace and cultivate these strengths utilizing strength-based therapies, while creating a treatment approach that meets the individual needs of the client or family.

She uses a dynamic approach in her work, using a combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), along with strength-based techniques. Stephanie works with adolescents, adults, couples and families to provide support in a therapeutic setting. She has particular interest and experience in working with adolescents and adults struggling with depression, anxiety, self-esteem issues, family conflict, and trauma. Visit our Practitioners’ Page for complete contact info.

Reflect and Refresh, by Pierre Zimmerman.

We call ourselves human beings, but we might as well say we are human doings. Most of our time is spent in work projects, relationship management, and related details. Reflection allows us to explore and discern which thoughts and actions will contribute to the services that make any system flourish. Reflection provides a platform to redirect the focus needed for interventions to turn things around for the well being of the individuals and the company with which they are associated.

Pierre Zimmerman Director One Big RoofMeditation, a focus on emotional intelligence and mindful practices in the workplace, can create more balance between doing and being. Reflective awareness maintains integrity, commitment and alignment with the goals of the organization. Social competencies determine how we manage relationships, leverage diversity, influence and build a web of relationships, become change catalysts and enhance cooperation and team building.

About fifteen years ago as the executive director of a specialty hospital, I would invite staff to honor a minute of silence before starting meetings. At first people reacted to having their mental models challenged, but over time people were able to re-set their breath in a natural rhythm and their bodies and minds into a state of regulated functioning: calm abiding. It gave them time to reflect, to bring awareness to their emotions and figure out how to proceed with the agenda items in a manner that provided more stability, flexibility, curiosity and coherence. Meetings became attractive and rewarding!

Reflection is important for understanding ourselves and others. It enhances efficiency and because of this, outcomes are more productive. Victor Frankl, who survived many atrocities in concentration camps, was once asked how he was able to integrate all he witnessed. This was his response: “Between every stimuli and response there is a pause and in that pause lies freedom.” The pause is the refresh. We even have a bio-pause between every in-breath and out-breath. Frankl figured out in the midst of exceptionally extreme conditions and an unsafe environment how to resource himself.

We all need, in our daily busy lives, to call on ways that allow us to recharge our batteries and observe the world from a different perspective. These can include reflection, physical exercise, playtime, hobbies, artistic endeavors and volunteer activities. It is paused time that allows us to move beyond ourselves and embrace passionate activities for not only ourselves, but also everyone’s benefit around us.

Kids are given a “time out” when they cannot stop unwholesome behavior or don’t know when to rest or move on to the next moment. We as adults need to choose and determine a “down time” to replenish ourselves and become more resilient. Self-care keeps us healthy and activates loving kindness for ourselves and non-referential compassion for others.

PIERRE ZIMMERMAN IS DIRECTOR OF ONE BIG ROOF AND AN INSTRUCTOR WITH THE SARATOGA STRESS REDUCTION PROGRAM. This essay recently appeared in the Saratoga Chamber of Commerce “Workplace Wellness Guide.”

The Four Immeasurables

From the Desk of Pierre Zimmerman, MS
THE FOUR IMMEASURABLES OR GATELESS GATES

Bee-image

I wanted to share with you four intentions that are part of lay Buddhist practice to better be connected with others and share our deepest humanity. During the summer we tend to gather and visit friends, families and acquaintances and these intentions always come in handy in small or large groups.
Loving kindness is love with no strings attached or any particular agenda, just the pure, innocent wish for others and oneself to be content.
Compassion is the highest spiritual ideal of wishing other sentient beings to be free from suffering. The Tibetan word for compassion means “king of hearts.”
Sympathetic joy is experiencing happiness for someone else’s contentment, well being, successes and good fortune.
Equanimity is staying calm and centered, no matter what life throws at us; pleasure and pain, success and failure, praise and blame, fame and disrepute. It lets us relate in a deep way with friends, relatives and strangers.
Each of the four immeasurable has an opposite:
For loving kindness it is ill will or harmful intent,
For compassion it is cruelty,
For sympathetic joy it is envy or jealousy, and
For equanimity it is greed, aversion, prejudice.
Setting these four intentions sustains our energy and purpose to live in alignment with our best aspirations and wishes for ourselves and others. May it be so!
PIERRE ZIMMERMAN IS DIRECTOR OF ONE BIG ROOF AND AN INSTRUCTOR WITH THE SARATOGA STRESS REDUCTION PROGRAM.

Empathy, Compassion and Altruism

By Pierre Zimmerman

The word empathy is a translation from the German word Einfuhlung, which refers to “the ability to feel the other from within.” Empathy can be set off by an affective perception of feeling for a person with whom we enter into resonance or by cognitive imagination evoked by the other person’s experience. Emotional resonance usually precedes cognitive resonance and depends on the intensity of our emotions as to whether we can really respond or become reactive instead.

heartTrue empathic concern consists of becoming aware of another’s needs and then feeling a sincere desire to come to his or her aid. It doesn’t involve pity, which is egocentric or condescending, or for that matter emotional contagion, which results in distress or empathy fatigue because we confuse our feelings with that of the other.

Compassion is the capacity to use our heart to relieve the suffering of another and all the possibilities to accomplish this. It includes the realization that ignorance is the fundamental cause of suffering and gives rise to an array of mental obscurations, lack of love, meaning, confidence and absence of a clear compass. Motivation for taking actions for release of suffering counts more than their outcome or results. Compassion doesn’t exclude anything possible to prevent the other from continuing to harm or break the circle of hatred.

Altruism is the motivational state that has the ultimate goal of increasing another’s welfare. It is a willingness to lead a life devoted to the well being of others without the need of ulterior motive. Valuing others and being concerned about their situation are essential. Buddhism defines it as the wish that all beings find happiness and the causes of happiness. In this context, happiness is not just a temporary state of well being, but a way of being that includes, wisdom, inner freedom and strength, as well as an accurate view of reality.

Altruistic love and compassion add joy when perceiving the happiness and good qualities of others as well as impartiality. Rejoicing means that we don’t want others’ qualities and happiness to diminish, but instead to increase and persist. This serves as an antidote to competitiveness, jealousy and envy and is a remedy for depression or despairing views. Impartiality or equanimity doesn’t depend either on our personal attachments or the way others behave towards us. Altruistic love requires courage; fear and insecurity are major obstacles to altruism. We need to develop an inner strength that makes us confident in our inner resources, which help us face the constantly changing circumstances of our lives.

Pierre Zimmerman is Director of One Big Roof and an instructor with the Saratoga Stress Reduction Program.

Lunchtime Life Line…

Janet Orzano Reiki Master and Teacher One Roof SaratogaSpecial Offer: Pressed for time? Try this Lunchtime* Life Line: 1/2-hour Reiki sessions with Janet Orzano for $45. You will go directly to the Reiki table and choose to receive Reiki on the front or back of your body. Reiki comes from the Japanese word (Rei) which means “Universal Life” and (Ki) which means “Energy”. And a Reiki session can help ease tension and stress and support the body to facilitate an environment for healing on all levels – physical, mental, and emotional. A great way to recharge for office or family! (*This special is available anytime of day, not just at lunchtime!) Contact Janet today at 581-3180 ext 313.

Let’s Choose Love

By Pierre Zimmerman, M.S.

February usually reminds us of cold days and nights, school vacations to warm far away places for some, stuffy noses and red cheeks for those who stay here, and Valentine’s Day celebrations with roses and delicious chocolate. This winter season so far has missed the mark for whiteouts in our area bringing joy to some and disappointment to others. This heart image-2might change by the end of February, as the weather is just as unpredictable as everything else: the economy, gas prices, job security, health narratives and romantic love. Beacons of certainty are hard to come by.

No matter what change affects us in the short run or long run, how we relate to it always gives us the option to look at things with an open mind and heart. So I say let’s choose love, reigniting the embers of the smoldering fire within us, being kind to ourselves, loving others with all their differences and diversity.

We are hard wired to be kind, and we long for connection and intimate affection. We are born with a strong biological predisposition for caring. Positive emotions like love, joy and playfulness are beneficial to our health and strengthen our immune system because our well being depends on our inner happiness, not just on external things. Our usual menu of worries, frustrations, hopes and fears keep us focused on petty concerns. Selflessness, kind wishes and altruistic acts, large or small are antidotes to loneliness. When we offer non-biased compassion and realize our shared humanity, we too benefit from feeling love and contentment.

 

Pierre Zimmerman is Director of One Big Roof, Center for Mindful Practices and teaches in our Saratoga Stress Reduction Program.

A Mindset for the New Year – by Janet & James Orzano

We have so much gratitude for having had the opportunity to share our spiritual path with you, and we hope that you begin this year with the intention to go deeper into your spiritual life and explore the possibilities that lie before you. That intention can be energized by developing a mindset that focuses on growth and change rather than avoidance and complacency.

We have been working with an amazing book, Mindset, by Carol S. Dweck, PhD, that we highly recommend. It provides a perspective and clarity that can help usher in accelerated growth, personal evolution and revolution.Mindset

The research presented in Mindset documents the effectiveness of a growth state of mind, among many other things. According to this theory, we all come from either a growth mindset or a fixed mindset. A growth mindset leads to exploration, creativity and change, while a fixed mindset keeps us where we are.

The theory presented in this book has illuminated the struggle we all face to make changes on a mind, body, or spiritual level. We hope that you choose a mindset that is grounded in spirit and allows you to share your beautiful gifts with a world that sorely needs them.

Janet Orzano & James Orzano are Reiki Master Practitioners at One Roof and Reiki Teachers. James also offers Intuitive Readings, which explore self-awareness and discovery.