Relaxation

Relaxation is very important since chronic pain always has a major mental component and is managed by the brain.  Relaxation decreases pain. This does not mean that pain will disappear; it means that we can accept pain and organize our lives with a pain component.  However suffering will decrease and consequently, pain will also decrease because of relaxation directing the attention away from pain.

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Attitude means a psychological characteristic, belief, or posture, usually adopted without reflection.   Attitudes can be modified by relaxation if they are negative and  make acceptance or adaptation to pain impossible.   Positive attitudes will change the perception of pain.  This will reduce suffering in the same manner as hopelessness and depression increase it.

 

Laughter

Laughter heals because of its physical and psychological components.  It reduces stress that prevents relaxation.   How does it work?  Laughter moves the muscles on the face, the abdomen, the diaphragm, the ribs, the shoulders and arms; and it has a significant impact on the heart beat, arteries, blood pressure and lungs.  A good laugh gives the same pleasant sensations as a workout.

 

Music

Hearing is another important sense in relaxation.  Music is noted to develop the immune system and endorphins, the natural painkillers in the brain, because of the chemical reactions coming from rich emotions and joy born from music.  Of course music decreases negative feelings.  Music has a positive impact on the body.  It improves breathing by decreasing or increasing its speed before finding the right balance.  Other benefits attributed to music include decreased stress, and increased endurance.
 

Breathwork
We are not trained to breathe properly from the diaphragm and we tend to breathe silently from the chest.  On the contrary, place your hand on the abdomen and raise it slowly while breathing deeply before exhaling slowly.  You inhale from the nose and exhale from the nose or the mouth.  This simple relaxation technique decreases muscle tension.  It is invaluable to practice at work, under stress, to manage pain flares, or to fall nicely asleep.  Every meditative method in the world attends to the breath.  Every relaxation strategy attends to the breath. 

 

Affirmations
Affirmations are short positive statements or quotes to repeat to ourselves when we need comfort. Repeating them several times per day strengthens a positive attitude. Repetition also creates a belief having a strong impact on pain,  actions and emotions. 

 

Meditation
Meditation brings peace of mind  by removing thoughts from the mind.  It allows you to understand what is buried inside you and also to have a better idea of what is important in life.  It recharges and revitalizes mind and body, increases the production of serotonin in the brain and draws the electrical activities of the brain into an alpha state similar to light sleep.  It lowers blood pressure and develops antibodies.  It trains you to focus, and reduces stress, depression and anxiety. You need about 20 minutes once  or twice a day, to meditate.  When your mind is relaxed, your body is also relaxed. You do not have to buy expensive equipment to meditate. 
How do you meditate?  You sit in a relaxed position on the floor, on your heels or on a chair, in a peaceful and comfortable place without phones or distraction.  You close your eyes, you can concentrate on a visual representation of a happy moment or location, and you breathe deeply at the same time.  Of course there are many ways to meditate. You can also contract and relax muscles from head to toes or visualize  relaxed muscles.

 

Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is about the art of creating a force for wellness using essential oils, which can be inhaled from a vaporizer or used as massage lubricant to relax, increase well-being and distract from pain.  Essential oils have an impact on mood and release healing properties as they evaporate.  They can be combined to offer several healing benefits.  They improve quality of life by releasing tension and adding pleasure to the environment. 

Relaxation is not always easy. However anyone can learn relaxation techniques.  Relaxation allows you to reduce worries and teaches you to live for the moment without overwhelming pain.  This is essential to healing. 



EANPA - Edmonton (Alberta) Nerve Pain Association