We got this email recently:
I want to praise Carol Dickman's Seated Yoga video and Belleruth's Parkinson's Disease imagery. My husband who has been disabled and depressed with his illness for several years responds well to these. He works with both each day. He is less depressed, sleeps better and we both think he has gotten somewhat better at getting himself to move when he is "stalled", which is what we call it when there is a gap between when he wants to use his muscles and when they respond.
Having something he can do for himself to improve his symptoms is therapeutic in and of itself, we have concluded. This has been quite a difficult journey for us. We are very happy to have new tools he can use to improve his sense of agency over his life. As his wife and caregiver, it is therapeutic for me as well. There is nothing worse than helplessly watching the man you love suffer.
In the future I will be looking for more tools for him, to keep this "roll" going when he tires of these two tapes. For instance, now that he has the energy for it, we may try some gentle, graded exercise. We read on the site that this can be helpful for PD too - which reminds me, thank you for posting the new research every week. And thanks to all the staff in the office. The woman who answered my phone call was notably kind and patient.
Researchers from the University of Greenwich, London, UK investigated whether hypnosis plus Virtual Reality (VR) performed more effectively than hypnosis alone.
Thirty-five healthy participants were randomized to self-hypnosis with VR imagery, standard self-hypnosis, or relaxation interventions. Changes in sleep, cortisol levels, and mood were examined.
It's April, and all around us life springs forth, affirming and renewing itself. Spring can be a particularly difficult time for people who are experiencing fertility issues. It often feels as if the whole world is doing something they have been unable to do.
About ten years ago, I taught play and music classes for children, and often taught a class for newborns. The babies were bounced on laps for songs, then placed in a circle, so they could visually interact with each other. The moms (and on occasion, a dad) sat in an outer circle and had sharing time.
They spoke candidly of insecurities about parenting, physical exhaustion, roller-coaster emotions and the wonders of parenting, like the internal, red-flag that tells you to go and check on your infant. Many shared stories of prior challenges with infertility.
Which of all these strategies can be applied to phobias, such as a fear of heights?
The two simplest methods would be to either become very skilled at becoming relaxed at will or to use one of the alphabet therapies, such as Emotional Freedom Technique, to extinguish the fear.
For the first approach, you could work with any relaxation program – I think the most versatile we have is our Panic Attack CD, which offers five different relaxation approaches that you can pick and choose from, mix and match. Listening repeatedly to your favorite tracks, at times when you are not threatened or stressed, will create this ability to relax at will, merely with the help of a couple of breathing or positioning cues, at the first sign of anxiety or terror. You can then use these simple tools when you're ready to climb that mountain or cross that bridge.
Harriette Rovner-Ferguson, LCSW, is a gifted psychotherapist with a private practice in Smithtown, NY, where one of her specialty areas is fertility. In fact, she's been treating patients trying to get themselves pregnant for over 20 years now. Harriette was one of the clinical experts who provided input to Belleruth when she was writing the narrative for her Help with Fertility guided imagery audio program.
Here, Harriet recounts how guided imagery helped one of her clients recalibrate her attitude and sense of self after struggling with a sense of failure that was threatening to take over her whole identity. Some of the identifying details have been changed to protect this client's privacy.
We got this enthusiastic review of our guided imagery for surgery quite a while ago – an emailer just referred to it. It's signed. Here it is:
Because my CD player broke down at the very last minute, I was only able to hear the guided imagery pre-op meditation one time. I replayed it in my head the night before surgery, and then (because I had no CD player with me) the attending anesthesiologist played Steve Kohn's surgery meditation music for the entire OR staff on their player. (They "loved" it.)
But what was truly astounding was when one of the doctors came to my room to report EXACTLY the words that are in the pre-op meditation. My surgery was "spectacular" (the O.R. team's words), I lost the smallest amount of blood they'd ever seen (10 ml), and it took 2.5 hrs instead of the usual 3 hrs.
On top of that, I was off heavy pain meds within 36 hours and off the Tylenol in another 36 hrs. In 72 hrs I was up and dancing (gently) with my granddaughter! Every doc who visited me took down the name of this CD!
Ariane Goodwin, Ed.D.
Researchers from the Santa Lucia Foundation IRCCS and Tor Vergata University in Rome, Italy, evaluated the impact of progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery and phantom exercises on phantom pain in 51 subjects with unilateral lower limb amputation who experienced phantom limb pain (PLP) and/or phantom limb sensation (PLS).
The randomized controlled prospective trial was conducted on the amputee unit of a rehabilitation hospital, using 2 parallel groups.
The experimental group received combined training of progressive muscle relaxation and mental imagery, and phantom exercises 2 times/wk for 4 weeks, while the control group had the same amount of physical therapy dedicated to the residual limb. No pharmacological intervention was initiated during the trial period.
Purple Up! For Military Kids
If you're reading this on April 15, it's not only tax deadline day, it's Purple Up! We are encouraged to wear purple to raise community awareness and support of military children. If you missed the 15th, you have the rest of April. The DOD has designated April the Month of the Military Child, to honor the unique challenges faced by military youth, and celebrate their ability to adapt.
"Parent deployments, frequent moves, a new school every few years, a constant rotation of friends, and, most of all, the threat of a parent being killed in combat--these facts of military life make them more prone to stress and anxiety, but military children are also found to be quite resilient in the face of those demanding pressures."—David Moore, from The Resilliency of the Military Child
My former husband left me (we were in our early-to-late fifties, he being five years younger) after almost twenty years of marriage, saying he wanted to find his "soul mate."
What he didn't say was that he had already found her about two-and-a-half years before that. They had been meeting in secret and also having phone conversations --- 90 in one year alone, that I counted on phone statements that I requested from the phone company.
He and his "friend and confidante," as he referred to her, denied a sexual affair. They said their romantic relationship started two months after he left me, which, coincidentally enough, is also when he made his "friend and confidante" the beneficiary of his life insurance policy, removing our son from it. Is that the behavior of a man who has known a woman for only two months? Well, okay, maybe an imprudent, impulsive man of poor judgment who is impelled by hormones.
Our new landing page is here! We honestly thought we’d be up and running with it last week, but glitches were found, incoherent text needed rewriting, screen sizing issues made right and other tech anomalies set straight. Check it out! Let us know what you think. We’re going to need to rely on your feedback to fix whatever else we missed.
Infertility Awareness Week is coming up next week, and a terrific parenting blog called My Baba posted a short piece I put together on how to handle all the associated stress, pressure, disappointment and distress that shows up when facing this challenge. I also wanted to make the point that, some of the things people do to manage the stress may also improve their fertility outcomes. Either way, it's a good idea to adopt some of these tips, and I offer seven of them.
If you think it could be useful, please pass this along to any friends, bloggers or organizations that might be interested. It's at http://www.mybaba.com/7-ways-to-manage-stress-to-help-fertility/.
Oh, and dare I say, Happy Spring? Hope so. I believe we may be done with the snow in Northeast Ohio. But, as with our long anticipated landing page, you just never know...
We got this note and video clip from a friend a few years ago, and it's really a treat, so we're showing it again. You'll find in the lounges of various Mayo Buildings, there is often a piano, and sometimes people stop to play. This is an enchanting video of two older folks playing a duet in the Gonda Building, to an impromptu audience of delighted and appreciative folks. Click here.
And for a double dose of 'feel-good' medicine, this is the story that generated the video.
And here they are on a return visit, reprising their by now iconic musical number. By this time, he's 91 and she's 85 years old, and they've got a way bigger audience. Awesome.
Researchers from Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, looked at the impact of guided imagery on postoperative outcomes in patients undergoing same-day surgical procedures.
Forty-four adults scheduled for head and neck procedures were randomly assigned to 2 groups for this single-blind investigation.
Anxiety and baseline pain levels were documented pre-operatively. Both groups received 28 minutes of privacy, during which subjects in the experimental group listened to a guided imagery compact disk (CD), but control group patients received no intervention.