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  #31   Report Bad Post  
Old 02-07-2007, 01:12 PM
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Re: Differently Abled Artists: Please Respect This Healing Thread:

Quote:
Originally Posted by prairie painter
Wow, love that spoon analogy. I'm half blind in both eyes, have short-term-memory problems, chronic depression, neurological damage all down my right side, and have to be uber-cautious about heavy lifting with my left arm as I have a deformed artery on that side that could collapse again and cause another stroke event. But, I don't look effected at all, and my speech is clear. My right brain is largely undamaged, and unless I choose to tell them most people don't know theres anything wrong. I suppose I just seem a little ditzy. But I was passed over for a job again, so I'm looking into getting officially "labled" so maybe I can get some training.
Mary thanks for being here! Do they have any sort of vocational rehabilitaton in your area? This program is usually operated by the state government.

They can help a lot but you have to be assertive with them or they will drop you through the cracks! The program in NC trains the employee in a new skill, works with the employer (actually "pays" the employer to work with the employee) and offer the assistance of a job coach that will work with the employee on site.

There is a federal program too but I forget the name of it. Check with the US Dept. of Labor. My sister has MS and they helped her find a job and helped her keep it!

Good luck to you!!!!!!!!!!!!! And I am sending positive healing thoughts your way!
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Old 02-07-2007, 01:33 PM
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Re: Differently Abled Artists: Please Respect This Healing Thread:

Right after I posted this I got a telephone call from my daughter. I had called earlier and left a message fussing at her because she had not called in five days after telling me about a problem she was having with my 12 year old grand-daughter. Darned right I fussed.

I feel bad now. The doctors are working her husband up this week( he just turned 33) for lymphoma! I don't think this is the problem. He just found out last month his back pain is from scoliosis which was never diagnosed. He is a hard working man who married my daughter three years ago. He had three kids, she had one and then they had a son together one year ago. They have three teenaged girls!!!!!!!!!!!!! I feel that it is probably going to be the scoliosis and stress. I pray this is all. He is a sweet guy and I love him very much! Please send positive and healing thoughts for Jimmy!
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Old 02-08-2007, 12:12 AM
Ghanima_Atreides Ghanima_Atreides is offline
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Re: Differently Abled Artists: Please Respect This Healing Thread:

I hate hate hate the "but you don't look sick" attitude. I get it a lot...sadly from my parents mostly. its amazing to me that after seeing me give birth, undergo surgery and lay in a hospital bed in agony stuck with needles like a voodoo doll and with a tube up my nose they still fail to accept that I have illnesses.
then again. when i was 19 i was in a serious car accident. this is the cause of my back pain, herniated disk, disk degeneration, sciatica and knee problems. i remember that my mom came to pick me up at the hospital when i was released. she took me to the pharmacy to get my meds and dropped me off at my apartment, and left.
the next day she came to my house, made me go to her house and call her insurance company to let them know about the accident, then she made me get in her car, go to the junkyard, get my personal effects and sign my title over to them to destroy my car. she then drove me back to my apartment and left me there.
I spent a year in physical therapy 3 times a week, she went with me a few times yet i dont think she's ever really believed me.
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Old 02-08-2007, 03:47 AM
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Re: Differently Abled Artists: Please Respect This Healing Thread:

Thanks for starting this thread ! It has brought new awareness to me. I do not have illness or pain but I teach art to quite a few that do and they tell me that it means so much to them, to come once a week to paint >- I now have a better understanding of that - thanks Hugs to all
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Old 02-08-2007, 09:17 AM
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Re: Differently Abled Artists: Please Respect This Healing Thread:

G, that must have hurt so very much. Her lack of empathy and support. She can't give to you what she does not have to give.; empathy. I am not defending her because I do not understand that kind of mothering. I just want to help you realize that being angry with her is going to hurt you in the long run.

I have had to cut down on a relationship with my oldest daughter for the very same reasons; complete lack of empathy. During the time when I was waiting to find out if Social Security would approve my application for disability I asked if she could pay my electric bill (one time) and send some $$$ for stuff I needed that food stamps would not cover. She emailed me and said this, "Mom you are a sinking ship and no I can't help you!" Me her mother. Me who helped her after she was grown to find a good job with the company I worked for, her first apartment with the company I worked for (I was an apartment mgr and got them in without paying the security deposit and application fee and bought them housewarming gifts) lots of times I helped them in the beginning. Her husband makes over $150,000 a year now. And she refused and insulted me as well.

We have a changed relationship now. Cooly polite but that is it. I tried to fix it because I felt guilty. What mother wouldn't? I must have done something wrong to her if she felt it was okay to treat me this way. I had to finally accept my daughter lacked empathy. So does her husband. But I must have some sort of civil relationship in order to have a good relationship with her two children who adore me. It is Grandma Cookie said this. Grandma Cookie did this, on and on.

And you will need to have some sort of relationship with your mother in order for her to be a grandmother. I hope she is more sensitive to the needs of the children.

Try not to concern yourself with changing your mother. It is a waste of your energy and time. Try not to concern yourself with negative persons either. You can never help them to get it. That is something they have to work on themselves. Please take good gentle care of you and your precious children!

Bowerbird, thank you so much for participating! Abd your students are very lucky to have you for their teacher! Especially with heightened awareness! Hugs back to you!
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Old 02-08-2007, 09:36 AM
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FYI: Fibromyalgia:

I am going to be posting some information about various chronic illnesses and add the site where I got the information. I have shortened the sections on medications. If there is something not listed and you would like me to do some research and post it here feel free to send me a PM. Please check the site and consult with your doctor before taking any of the medications listed. Thank you for reading!

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++++++++

The Facts about Fibromyalgia
http://healthlink.mcw.edu/article/926046887.html
Fibromyalgia syndrome is a common, chronic disorder characterized by widespread muscle pain, fatigue, and multiple tender points. Tender points are specific places on the body - on the neck, shoulders, back, hips, and upper and lower extremities - where people with fibromyalgia feel pain in response to slight pressure. In addition to pain and fatigue, people who have fibromyalgia may experience:
sleep disturbances
morning stiffness
headaches
irritable bowel syndrome
painful menstrual periods
numbness or tingling of the extremities
restless legs syndrome
temperature sensitivity
cognitive and memory problems
a variety of other symptoms
Fibromyalgia is a syndrome rather than a disease. A syndrome is a collection of signs, symptoms, and medical problems that tend to occur together but are not related to a specific, identifiable cause.

According to the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), fibromyalgia affects 3 to 6 million (as many as one in 50) Americans. For unknown reasons, between 80% and 90% of those diagnosed with fibromyalgia are women; however, men and children also can be affected. Most people are diagnosed during middle age, although the symptoms often become present earlier in life.

People with certain rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus (commonly called lupus), or ankylosing spondylitis (spinal arthritis) may be more likely to have fibromyalgia, too.
Several studies indicate that women who have a family member with fibromyalgia are more likely to have fibromyalgia themselves, but the exact reason for this - whether it be hereditary or caused by environmental factors or both - is unknown.
Causes Unknown
The causes of fibromyalgia are unknown, but there are probably a number of factors involved. Many people associate the development of fibromyalgia with a physically or emotionally stressful or traumatic event, such as an automobile accident. Some connect it to repetitive injuries. Others link it to an illness. For others, fibromyalgia seems to occur spontaneously. Many researchers are examining other causes, including problems with how the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) processes pain.

Diagnosis
Research shows that people with fibromyalgia typically see many doctors before receiving the diagnosis. One reason for this may be that pain and fatigue, the main symptoms of fibromyalgia, overlap with many other conditions. Therefore, doctors often have to rule out other potential causes of these symptoms before making a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Another reason is that there are currently no diagnostic laboratory tests for fibromyalgia. Because there is no generally accepted, objective test for fibromyalgia, some doctors unfortunately may conclude a patient's pain is not real, or they may tell the patient there is little they can do.

A doctor familiar with fibromyalgia, however, can make a diagnosis based on two criteria established by the ACR: a history of widespread pain lasting more than 3 months and the presence of tender points. Pain is considered to be widespread when it affects all four quadrants of the body; that is, you must have pain in both your right and left sides as well as above and below the waist to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The ACR also has designated 18 sites on the body as possible tender points. For a fibromyalgia diagnosis, a person must have 11 or more tender points.

Treatment
Not all doctors are familiar with fibromyalgia and its treatment, so it is important to find a doctor who is. Fibromyalgia treatment often requires a team approach, with your doctor, a physical therapist, possibly other health professionals, and most importantly, yourself, all playing an active role. It can be hard to assemble this team; when you do, however, the combined expertise of these various professionals can help you improve your quality of life. There are pain clinics that specialize in pain and rheumatology clinics that specialize in arthritis and other rheumatic diseases, including fibromyalgia.

At present, there are no medications approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating fibromyalgia, although a few such drugs are in development. Doctors treat fibromyalgia with a variety of medications developed and approved for other purposes. Following are some of the most commonly used categories of drugs for fibromyalgia.

Analgesics
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including aspirin, ibuprofen (e.g., Advil, Motrin), and naproxen sodium (e.g., Anaprox, Aleve
Antidepressants
Perhaps the most useful medications for fibromyalgia are several in the antidepressant class. Antidepressants elevate the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, including serotonin and norepinephrine. Increasing the levels of these chemicals can reduce pain in people who have fibromyalgia. Doctors prescribe several types of antidepressants for people with fibromyalgia:
Benzodiazepines
Benzodiazepines help some people with fibromyalgia by relaxing tense, painful muscles and stabilizing the erratic brain waves that can interfere with deep sleep.
Other Medications
Doctors might also prescribe other drugs, depending on a person's specific symptoms or fibromyalgia-related conditions. For example, in recent years, two medications - tegaserod (Zelnorm) and alosetron (Lotronex) - have been approved by the FDA for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. Gabapentin (Neurontin) currently is being studied as a treatment for fibromyalgia. Other symptom-specific medications include sleep medications, muscle relaxants, and headache remedies.

People with fibromyalgia also may benefit from a combination of physical and occupational therapy, from learning pain-management and coping techniques, and from properly balancing rest and activity.

Complementary and Alternative Therapies
Many people with fibromyalgia also report varying degrees of success with complementary and alternative therapies, including massage, movement therapies such as Pilates and the Feldenkrais method, chiropractic treatments, acupuncture, and various herbs and dietary supplements for different fibromyalgia symptoms. Though some of these supplements are being studied for fibromyalgia, there is little, if any, scientific proof yet that they help. If you are using or would like to try a complementary or alternative therapy, you should first speak with your doctor, who may know more about the therapy's effectiveness, as well as whether it is safe to try in combination with your medications.

Prognosis
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition, meaning it lasts a long time - possibly a lifetime. However, it is not a progressive disease, it is never fatal, and it won't cause damage to your joints, muscles, or internal organs. In many people, the condition does improve over time.

Self-Care
Besides taking medicine prescribed by your doctor, there are many things you can do to minimize the impact of fibromyalgia on your life. These include:
  • Getting enough sleep. Getting enough sleep and the right kind of sleep can help ease the pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia. Even so, many people with fibromyalgia have problems such as pain, restless legs syndrome, or brain-wave irregularities that interfere with restful sleep.
  • Exercising. Though pain and fatigue may make exercise and daily activities difficult, it's crucial to be as physically active as possible. Research has repeatedly shown that regular exercise is one of the most effective treatments for fibromyalgia. People who have too much pain or fatigue to do vigorous exercise should begin with walking or other gentle exercise and build their endurance and intensity slowly.
  • Making changes at work. Most people with fibromyalgia continue to work, but they may have to make big changes to do so; for example, some people cut down the number of hours they work, switch to a less demanding job, or adapt a current job. If you face obstacles at work, such as an uncomfortable desk chair that leaves your back aching or difficulty lifting heavy boxes or files, your employer may make adaptations that will enable you to keep your job. An occupational therapist can help you design a more comfortable workstation or find more efficient and less painful ways to lift.
If you are unable to work at all due to a medical condition, you may qualify for disability benefits through your employer or the Federal Government. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) are the largest Federal programs providing financial assistance to people with disabilities. For information about the SSDI and SSI programs, contact the Social Security Administration.

Eating well. Although some people with fibromyalgia report feeling better when they eat or avoid certain foods, no specific diet has been proven to influence fibromyalgia. Of course, it is important to have a healthy, balanced diet. Not only will proper nutrition give you more energy and make you generally feel better, it will also help you avoid other health problems.
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Old 02-08-2007, 09:42 AM
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FYI: Lupus:

The Facts about Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Lupus is one of many disorders of the immune system known as autoimmune diseases. In autoimmune diseases, the immune system turns against parts of the body it is designed to protect. This leads to inflammation and damage to various body tissues. Lupus can affect many parts of the body, including the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels, and brain. Although people with the disease may have many different symptoms, some of the most common ones include extreme fatigue, painful or swollen joints (arthritis), unexplained fever, skin rashes, and kidney problems.

Lupus is characterized by periods of illness, called flares, and periods of wellness, or remission. At present, there is no cure for lupus. However, lupus can be effectively treated with drugs, and most people with the disease can lead active, healthy lives.

Many more women than men have lupus. Lupus is three times more common in African American women than in Caucasian women and is also more common in women of Hispanic, Asian, and Native American descent. In addition, lupus can run in families. There are three main types of lupus:
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is the form of the disease that most people are referring to when they say "lupus." The word "systemic" means the disease can affect many parts of the body. The symptoms of SLE may be mild or serious. Although SLE usually first affects people between the ages of 15 and 45 years, it can occur in childhood or later in life as well. This article focuses on SLE.
  • Discoid lupus erythematosus is a chronic skin disorder in which a red, raised rash appears on the face, scalp, or elsewhere. The raised areas may become thick and scaly and may cause scarring. The rash may last for days or years and may recur. A small percentage of people with discoid lupus have or develop SLE later.
  • Drug-induced lupus is a form of lupus caused by medications. Many different drugs can cause drug-induced lupus. Symptoms are similar to those of SLE (arthritis, rash, fever, and chest pain) and they typically go away completely when the drug is stopped. The kidneys and brain are rarely involved.
Causes
Lupus is a complex disease, and its cause is unknown. It is likely that a combination of genetic, environmental, and possibly hormonal factors work together to cause it. The fact that lupus can run in families indicates that its development has a genetic basis, but no specific "lupus gene" has been identified. Scientists believe that genes alone do not determine who gets lupus and that other factors also play a role. Some of the factors include sunlight, stress, certain drugs, and infectious agents such as viruses.

In lupus, the body's immune system does not work as it should. A healthy immune system produces proteins called antibodies and specific cells called lymphocytes that help fight and destroy viruses, bacteria, and other foreign substances that invade the body. In lupus, the immune system produces antibodies against the body's healthy cells and tissues. These antibodies, called autoantibodies, contribute to the inflammation of various parts of the body and can cause damage to organs and tissues.

Symptoms
Each person with lupus has slightly different symptoms that can range from mild to severe and may come and go over time. However, some of the most common symptoms of lupus include painful or swollen joints (arthritis), unexplained fever, and extreme fatigue. A characteristic red skin rash - called a butterfly or malar rash - may appear across the nose and cheeks. Rashes may also occur on the face and ears, upper arms, shoulders, chest, and hands. Because many people with lupus are sensitive to sunlight (called photosensitivity), skin rashes often first develop or worsen after sun exposure.

Common Symptoms of Lupus
  • Painful or swollen joints and muscle pain
  • Unexplained fever
  • Red rashes, most commonly on the face
  • Chest pain upon deep breathing
  • Unusual loss of hair
  • Pale or purple fingers or toes from cold or stress (Raynaud's phenomenon)
  • Sensitivity to the sun
  • Swelling (edema) in legs or around eyes
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Swollen glands
  • Extreme fatigue
Other symptoms of lupus include anemia (a decrease in red blood cells), headaches, dizziness, depression, confusion, or seizures. New symptoms may continue to appear years after the initial diagnosis, and different symptoms can occur at different times. In some people with lupus, only one system of the body, such as the skin or joints, is affected. Other people experience symptoms in many parts of their body. Just how seriously a body system is affected varies from person to person. The following systems in the body also can be affected by lupus.
Kidneys: Inflammation of the kidneys (nephritis) can impair their ability to get rid of waste products and other toxins from the body effectively. There is usually no pain associated with kidney involvement, although some patients may notice swelling in their ankles. Most often, the only indication of kidney disease is an abnormal urine or blood test. Because the kidneys are so important to overall health, lupus affecting the kidneys generally requires intensive drug treatment to prevent permanent damage.
Lungs: Some people with lupus develop pleuritis, an inflammation of the lining of the chest cavity that causes chest pain, particularly with breathing. Patients with lupus also may get pneumonia.
Central nervous system: In some patients, lupus affects the brain or central nervous system. This can cause headaches, dizziness, memory disturbances, vision problems, seizures, stroke, or changes in behavior.
Blood vessels: Blood vessels may become inflamed (vasculitis), affecting the way blood circulates through the body. The inflammation may be mild and may not require treatment or may be severe and require immediate attention.
Blood: People with lupus may develop anemia, leukopenia (a decreased number of white blood cells), or thrombocytopenia (a decrease in the number of platelets in the blood, which assist in clotting). Some people with lupus may have an increased risk for blood clots.
Heart: In some people with lupus, inflammation can occur in the heart itself (myocarditis and endocarditis) or the membrane that surrounds it (pericarditis), causing chest pains or other symptoms. Lupus can also increase the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
Diagnosis
Diagnosing lupus can be difficult. It may take months or even years for doctors to piece together the symptoms to diagnose this complex disease accurately. Giving the doctor a complete, accurate medical history (for example, what health problems you have had and for how long) is critical to the process of diagnosis.

No single test can determine whether a person has lupus, but several laboratory tests can help the doctor to make a diagnosis. The most useful tests identify certain autoantibodies often present in the blood of people with lupus. The doctor may order a biopsy of the skin or kidneys if those body systems are affected. Other laboratory tests are used to monitor the progress of the disease once it has been diagnosed. A complete blood count, urinalysis, blood chemistries, and the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) test can provide valuable information. Another common test measures the blood level of a group of substances called complement.

Treatment
Diagnosis and treatment of lupus are often a team effort between the patient and several types of health care professionals that might include a family doctors or internists, rheumatologists, immunologists, nurses, psychologists, social workers, nephrologists, hematologists, dermatologists, and neurologists.
  • NSAIDs: For people with joint or chest pain or fever, drugs that decrease inflammation, called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), are often used.
  • Antimalarials: These drugs were originally used to treat malaria, but doctors have found that they also are useful for lupus.
  • Corticosteroids: The mainstay of lupus treatment involves the use of corticosteroid hormones, such as prednisone, hydrocortisone, methylprednisolone, and dexamethasone. Corticosteroids work by rapidly suppressing inflammation.
  • Immunosuppressives: For some patients whose kidneys or central nervous systems are affected by lupus, a type of drug called an immunosuppressive may be used. Immunosuppressives such as cyclophosphamide and mycophenolate mofetil restrain the overactive immune system by blocking the production of immune cells.
  • Methotrexate: In some patients, methotrexate, a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug, may be used to help control the disease.
  • Alternative and Complementary Therapies: Some alternative approaches people have tried include special diets, nutritional supplements, fish oils, ointments and creams, chiropractic treatment, and homeopathy. Although these methods may not be harmful in and of themselves, and may be associated with symptomatic or psychosocial benefit, no research to date shows that they affect the disease process or prevent organ damage. Some alternative or complementary approaches may help the patient cope or reduce some of the stress associated with living with a chronic illness. If the doctor feels the approach has value and will not be harmful, it can be incorporated into the patient's treatment plan. However, it is important not to neglect regular health care or treatment of serious symptoms.
Lupus and Quality of Life
Despite the symptoms of lupus and the potential side effects of treatment, people with lupus can maintain a high quality of life overall. Learning to recognize the warning signs of a flare can help the patient take steps to ward it off or reduce its intensity. Many people with lupus experience increased fatigue, pain, a rash, fever, abdominal discomfort, headache, or dizziness just before a flare. Developing strategies to prevent flares can also be helpful, such as learning to recognize your warning signals and maintaining good communication with your doctor.

It is also important for people with lupus to receive regular health care, instead of seeking help only when symptoms worsen. Results from a medical exam and laboratory work on a regular basis allows the doctor to note any changes and to identify and treat flares early. The doctor can provide guidance about such issues as the use of sunscreens, stress reduction, and the importance of structured exercise and rest, as well as birth control and family planning. Because people with lupus can be more susceptible to infections, the doctor may recommend yearly influenza vaccinations or pneumococcal vaccinations for some patients.

Women with lupus should receive regular preventive health care, such as gynecological and breast examinations. Men with lupus should have the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. Both men and women need to have their blood pressure and cholesterol checked on a regular basis. If a person is taking corticosteroids or antimalarial medications, an eye exam should be done at least yearly to screen for and treat eye problems.

Staying healthy requires extra effort and care for people with lupus, so it becomes especially important to develop strategies for maintaining wellness. Wellness involves close attention to the body, mind, and spirit. One of the primary goals of wellness for people with lupus is coping with the stress of having a chronic disorder. Some approaches that may help include exercise, relaxation techniques such as meditation, and setting priorities for spending time and energy.

Developing and maintaining a good support system is also important. A support system may include family, friends, medical professionals, community organizations, and support groups. Participating in a support group can provide emotional help, boost self-esteem and morale, and help develop or improve coping skills.

Learning more about lupus may also help. Studies have shown that patients who are well-informed and participate actively in their own care experience less pain, make fewer visits to the doctor, build self-confidence, and remain more active.

Pregnancy For Women With Lupus
Although a lupus pregnancy is considered high risk, most women with lupus carry their babies safely to the end of their pregnancy. Women with lupus have a higher rate of miscarriage and premature births compared with the general population. Pregnancy counseling and planning before pregnancy are important. Ideally, a woman should have no signs or symptoms of lupus and be taking no medications for at least 6 months before she becomes pregnant.

Some women may experience a mild to moderate flare during or after their pregnancy; others do not. Pregnant women with lupus, especially those taking corticosteroids, also are more likely to develop high blood pressure, diabetes, hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), and kidney complications, so regular care and good nutrition during pregnancy are essential. It is also advisable to have access to a neonatal intensive care unit at the time of delivery in case the baby requires special medical attention.
The information in this article has been made available by the
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, National Institutes of Health.
Article Created: 2003-08-01
Article Reviewed: 2005-07-20
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Old 02-08-2007, 11:25 AM
Ghanima_Atreides Ghanima_Atreides is offline
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Re: Differently Abled Artists: Please Respect This Healing Thread:

Quote:
Originally Posted by katsarecool
G, that must have hurt so very much. Her lack of empathy and support. She can't give to you what she does not have to give.; empathy. I am not defending her because I do not understand that kind of mothering. I just want to help you realize that being angry with her is going to hurt you in the long run.

I have had to cut down on a relationship with my oldest daughter for the very same reasons; complete lack of empathy. During the time when I was waiting to find out if Social Security would approve my application for disability I asked if she could pay my electric bill (one time) and send some $$$ for stuff I needed that food stamps would not cover. She emailed me and said this, "Mom you are a sinking ship and no I can't help you!" Me her mother. Me who helped her after she was grown to find a good job with the company I worked for, her first apartment with the company I worked for (I was an apartment mgr and got them in without paying the security deposit and application fee and bought them housewarming gifts) lots of times I helped them in the beginning. Her husband makes over $150,000 a year now. And she refused and insulted me as well.

We have a changed relationship now. Cooly polite but that is it. I tried to fix it because I felt guilty. What mother wouldn't? I must have done something wrong to her if she felt it was okay to treat me this way. I had to finally accept my daughter lacked empathy. So does her husband. But I must have some sort of civil relationship in order to have a good relationship with her two children who adore me. It is Grandma Cookie said this. Grandma Cookie did this, on and on.

And you will need to have some sort of relationship with your mother in order for her to be a grandmother. I hope she is more sensitive to the needs of the children.

Try not to concern yourself with changing your mother. It is a waste of your energy and time. Try not to concern yourself with negative persons either. You can never help them to get it. That is something they have to work on themselves. Please take good gentle care of you and your precious children!

Bowerbird, thank you so much for participating! Abd your students are very lucky to have you for their teacher! Especially with heightened awareness! Hugs back to you!


As angry as she can make me, i don't hold it against her. I know it comes from how she was raised and also with life with my father. Currently she is filing for divorce and I'm behind her 100%. I just got off the phone with her a few minutes ago.
aside from her lapses in motherly empathy we maintain a pretty good relationship, we just come from different worlds. I shoulder my burdens, she looks for someone to drop hers on
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Old 02-08-2007, 11:54 PM
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Pain, Depression Often Travel Together

Pain, Depression Often Travel Together



Q: For the last several years I’ve been suffering from terrible pain. It all started, I believe, from over 20 years of physically demanding work as an aircraft mechanic.
I finally had to quit and have spent the last three years of my life in and out of doctor’s offices and have had many surgeries to relieve my pain, with little in the form of relief to show for it.
I’m really depressed about the possibility that this is the way that I will live the rest of my life. Is there anything that I can do?


A: Chronic pain is defined as a condition that lasts a month or more beyond the usual recovery period for an illness or injury, or pain that goes on over months or years as the result of a chronic condition. As you may have already learned, chronic pain is a source of frustration for health care providers due to the difficulties in meeting the needs of those afflicted. Chronic pain also has an effect on family members, and if severe enough can undermine or threaten one’s financial security.
Often accompanying the physical pain is emotional distress that may be manifested as severe depression and anxiety. The physical pain for some becomes entwined with debilitating mental illness, increasing the complexity of management and often requiring providers with special expertise in this area.
The intensity of the pain that you are experiencing is sadly magnified by the fact that you are one of 86 million Americans who are experiencing chronic pain, with a projected annual cost to society of up to $90 billion dollars per year.
The treatment of chronic pain requires a team approach to achieve success. The team may include a physician who is a specialist in pain management (such as a neurologist, a physiatrist, or an anesthesiologist). There are mental health professionals who also participate as experts in rehabilitation. And of course, the team members include the individual with chronic pain and his or her family.
One goal in the process to increasing the patient’s functionality by providing some level of relief. In addition, the team must work to manage the expectations of patients and family. For many, total elimination of pain might not be possible. You need to be wary of any organization or product that promises total relief – these could result in needless expense or unnecessary treatments and procedures that make the situation worse.
Working with your family doctor and a pain management specialty group remains your best alternative or relief from your intense pain. The Froedtert & Medical College Pain Management Center, under the direction of Robert Kettler, MD is an excellent resource for consultation. You can reach the pain center at 414-805-6150. You can also visit the websites of the American Academy of Pain Medicine or the American Board of Pain Medicine.
For more information on this topic, see the HealthLink article Chronic Pain Can Steal Sleep, Work and Pleasure.
Article Created: 2003-05-23
Article Reviewed: 2003-05-23

Dr. Russell Robertson is a former Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Associate Professor of Family and Community Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin.
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Re: Differently Abled Artists: Please Respect This Healing Thread:

Rheumatoid Arthritis



Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease that causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of function in the joints. It has several special features that make it different from other kinds of arthritis. For example, rheumatoid arthritis generally occurs in a symmetrical pattern; if one knee or hand is involved, the other one is also. The disease often affects the wrist joints and the finger joints closest to the hand. It can also affect other parts of the body besides the joints. In addition, people with the disease may have fatigue, occasional fever, and a general sense of not feeling well (malaise).

Another feature of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is that it varies a lot from person to person. In some people it lasts only a few months or a year or two and goes away without causing any noticeable damage. Other people have mild or moderate disease, with periods of worsening symptoms, called flares, and periods in which they feel better, called remissions. Still others have severe disease that is active most of the time, lasts for many years, and leads to serious joint damage and disability.

Scientists estimate that about 2.1 million people, or 1% of the U.S. adult population, have RA. Some recent studies suggest that the number of new cases of RA may actually be going down. Scientists are now investigating why this may be happening.
Rheumatoid arthritis occurs in all races and ethnic groups. Although the disease often begins in middle age and occurs with increased frequency in older people, children and young adults also develop it. It occurs in 2 to 3 times as many women as men. To try and explain this discrepancy, researchers are investigating the role of female and male hormones and other possible gender-based differences in immune responses.

Although RA can have serious effects on a person's life and well-being, current treatment strategies -- including pain relief and other medications, a balance between rest and exercise, and patient education and support programs -- allow most people with the disease to lead active and productive lives.
Features of Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Tender, warm, swollen joints.
  • Symmetrical pattern. For example, if one knee is affected, the other one is also.
  • Joint inflammation often affecting the wrist and finger joints closest to the hand; other affected joints can include those of the neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, ankles, and feet.
  • Fatigue, occasional fever, a general sense of not feeling well (malaise).
  • Pain and stiffness lasting for more than 30 minutes in the morning or after a long rest.
  • Symptoms that can last for many years.
  • Symptoms in other parts of the body besides the joints.
  • Variability of symptoms among people with the disease.

Development and Progression of Rheumatoid Arthritis

In the joints: A normal joint is surrounded by a joint capsule that protects and supports it. Cartilage covers and cushions the ends of the two bones. The joint capsule is lined with a type of tissue called synovium, which produces synovial fluid. This fluid lubricates and nourishes the cartilage and bones inside the joint capsule.


In RA the immune system, for unknown reasons, attacks a person's own cells inside the joint capsule. White blood cells that are part of the normal immune system travel to the synovium and cause a reaction. This reaction, or inflammation, is called synovitis, and it results in the warmth, redness, swelling, and pain that are typical symptoms of RA. During the inflammation process, the cells of the synovium grow and divide abnormally, making the normally thin synovium thick and resulting in a joint that is swollen and puffy to the touch.

As RA progresses, the abnormal synovial cells destroy the cartilage and bone within the joint. The surrounding muscles, ligaments, and tendons that support and stabilize the joint become weak and unable to work normally. These effects lead to the pain and deformities often seen in RA. Doctors studying RA believe that damage to bones begins during the first year or two that a person has the disease, so early diagnosis and treatment are very important.

In other parts of the body: Some people also experience the effects of RA in places other than the joints. About 25% of RA patients develop bumps under the skin, called rheumatoid nodules, that often form close to the joints. Many people with RA develop anemia -- a decrease in the normal number of red blood cells. Other effects, which occur less often, include neck pain and dry eyes and mouth. Very rarely, people may have inflammation of the blood vessels, the lining of the lungs, or the sac enclosing the heart.
Searching For the Cause of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is one of several autoimmune diseases, so-called because a person's immune system attacks his or her own body tissues. Scientists don't know exactly what causes this, but research over the last few years has begun to unravel the factors involved.


Genetic (inherited) factors: Investigators have found that certain genes that play a role in the immune system are associated with a tendency to develop RA. At the same time, some people with RA do not have these particular genes, and other people have these genes but never develop the disease. This suggests that a person's genetic makeup is an important part of the story but not the whole answer. It is clear, however, that more than one gene is involved in determining whether a person develops RA, and if so, how severe the disease will become.

Environmental factors: Many scientists think that something must occur to trigger the disease process in people whose genetic makeup makes them susceptible to RA. An infectious agent such as a virus or bacterium appears likely, but the exact agent is not yet known. This does not mean that RA is contagious: a person cannot "catch" it from someone else.

Other factors: Some scientists also think that a variety of hormonal factors may be involved. These hormones, or possibly deficiencies or changes in certain hormones, may promote the development of RA in a genetically susceptible person who has been exposed to a triggering agent from the environment.

Even though all the answers aren't known, one thing is certain: RA develops as a result of the interaction of many factors. Much research is going on now to understand these factors and how they work together.

Information provided by the
National Institutes of Health

Article Created: 2000-03-11
Article Reviewed: 2000-03-14
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The Facts about Arthritis

The Facts about Arthritis



The word arthritis literally means joint inflammation, but it’s used to refer to a group of more than 100 rheumatic diseases that can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints. These diseases might affect not just the joints, but also other parts of the body, including supporting structures such as muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments, as well as some internal organs. Two of the most common forms of arthritis cause many of us a great deal of pain: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, especially among older people. Sometimes it is called degenerative joint disease or osteoarthrosis.

Osteoarthritis is a joint disease that mostly affects the cartilage – the slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint. Healthy cartilage allows bones to glide over one another and absorbs energy from the shock of physical movement. In osteoarthritis, the surface layer of cartilage breaks down and wears away. This allows bones under the cartilage to rub together, causing pain, swelling, and loss of motion of the joint. Over time, the joint can lose its normal shape. Also, bone spurs may grow on the edges of the joint. Bits of bone or cartilage can break off and float inside the joint space, causing still more pain and damage.
People with osteoarthritis usually have joint pain and limited movement. Unlike some other forms of arthritis, osteoarthritis affects only joints and not internal organs.
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis, the second most common form of arthritis, affects other parts of the body besides the joints. It begins at a younger age than osteoarthritis, causes swelling and redness in joints, and may make people feel sick, tired, and sometimes feverish. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease that causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of function in the joints. It has several special features that make it different from other kinds of arthritis, for example, rheumatoid arthritis generally occurs in a symmetrical pattern. This means that if one knee or hand is involved, the other one is also.

For some people, rheumatoid arthritis lasts only a few months or a year or two and goes away without causing any noticeable damage. Other people have mild or moderate disease, with periods of worsening symptoms, called flares, and periods in which they feel better, called remissions. Still others have severe disease that is active most of the time, lasts for many years, and leads to serious joint damage and disability.
Coping with Arthritis Pain
Chronic pain is a major health problem in the United States and is one of the most weakening effects of arthritis. More than 40 million Americans are affected by some form of arthritis, and many have chronic pain that limits daily activity. Osteoarthritis affects more than 20 million Americans, while rheumatoid arthritis, the most disabling form of the disease, affects about 2.1 million.

The long-term goal of pain management is to help patients cope with a chronic, often disabling disease. People with arthritis may be caught in a cycle of pain, depression, and stress. To break out of this cycle, you need to be an active participant with the doctor and other health care professionals in managing your pain. This may include physical therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, occupational therapy, biofeedback, relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and meditation, and family counseling therapy. In addition, you can promote your health with measures including:
  • Eating a healthy diet.
  • Getting 8 to 10 hours of sleep at night.
  • Keeping a daily diary of pain and mood changes to share with your physician.
  • Choosing a caring physician.
  • Joining a support group.
  • Staying informed about new research on managing arthritis pain.
Arthritis Treatment and Self-Care
There is no single treatment that applies to everyone with arthritis, but health care providers who work with arthritic patients will typically develop individual management plans designed to minimize pain and improve joint function. A number of treatments can provide pain relief. These include:

Medications
Because people with osteoarthritis have very little inflammation, pain relievers such as acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) may be effective. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis generally have pain caused by inflammation and often benefit from aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (e.g., Motrin or Advil). In addition there are many prescription medications that can be used for the various types of arthritis pain.

Heat and Cold
The decision to use either heat or cold for arthritis pain depends on the type of arthritis and should be discussed with your doctor or physical therapist. Moist heat, such as a warm bath or shower, or dry heat, such as a heating pad, placed on the painful area of the joint for about 15 minutes may relieve the pain. An ice pack (or a bag of frozen vegetables) wrapped in a towel and placed on the sore area for about 15 minutes may help to reduce swelling and stop the pain. If you have poor circulation, do not use cold packs.

Joint Protection
Using a splint or a brace to allow joints to rest and protect them from injury can be helpful. Your physician or physical therapist can make recommendations.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
A small TENS device that directs mild electric pulses to nerve endings that lie beneath the skin in the painful area may relieve some arthritis pain. TENS seems to work by blocking pain messages to the brain and by modifying pain perception.

Massage
In this pain-relief approach, a massage therapist will lightly stroke and/or knead the painful muscle. This may increase blood flow and bring warmth to a stressed area. However, arthritis-stressed joints are very sensitive, so the therapist must be familiar with the problems of the disease.

Weight Reduction
Excess pounds put extra stress on weight-bearing joints such as the knees or hips. Studies have shown that overweight women who lost an average of 11 pounds substantially reduced the development of osteoarthritis in their knees. In addition, if osteoarthritis has already affected one knee, weight reduction will reduce the chance of it occurring in the other knee.

Exercise
Swimming, walking, low-impact aerobic exercise, and range-of-motion exercises may reduce joint pain and stiffness. In addition, stretching exercises are helpful. A physical therapist can help plan an exercise program that will give you the most benefit.

Surgery
In select patients with arthritis, surgery might be necessary. The surgeon may perform an operation to remove the synovium (synovectomy), realign the joint (osteotomy), or in advanced cases replace the damaged joint with an artificial one (arthroplasty). Total joint replacement has provided not only dramatic relief from pain but also improvement in motion for many people with arthritis.

Alternative Therapies
Many people seek other ways of treating their disease, such as special diets or supplements. Although these methods may not be harmful in and of themselves, no research to date shows that they help. Some people have tried acupuncture, in which thin needles are inserted at specific points in the body. Others have tried glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, two natural substances found in and around cartilage cells, for osteoarthritis of the knee.

Some alternative or complementary approaches may help you to cope with or reduce some of the stress of living with a chronic illness. It is important to inform your doctor if you are using alternative therapies. If the doctor feels the approach has value and will not harm you, it can be incorporated into your treatment plan. However, it is important not to neglect your regular health care or treatment of serious symptoms.
Research
The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), part of the National Institutes of Health, is sponsoring research that will increase understanding of the specific ways to diagnose, treat, and possibly prevent arthritis pain. At centers around the US, researchers are studying arthritis as it relates to human joints, injuries, pain, medications and surgery.

Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are chronic diseases that may last a lifetime. Learning how to manage your pain over the long term is an important factor in controlling the disease and maintaining a good quality of life.
For more information, see the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website.
Article Created: 2003-05-07
Article Reviewed: 2003-05-07
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Re: Progressive Relaxation Therapy:

I have used this therapy for about three years now. But please check with your health care provider before beginning any new exercise or therapy routine.
Progressive Relaxation


Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.
-Chinese Proverb


Muscle Physiology
To understand why progressive relaxation works as another effective form of relaxation, it is useful to begin this chapter with a brief look at how muscles work. The human body contains over 400 voluntary skeletal muscles. Skeletal muscles are involved in several physiological functions including generating force (strength and speed), generating heat, maintaining posture and assisting in the breathing process.
Our muscles are composed of many layers of muscle fibers which are bundled together with other muscle fibers and share nerve endings leading to the nervous system. These fibers grouped together make up what is known as a motor unit. When a motor unit gets a message from the nervous system, there is a release of bursts of energy in each of the muscle fibers. When this occurs tiny filaments, which are the smallest parts of the muscle, slide toward each other and cause a contraction or shortening of the muscle fibers. (Perhaps a picture of a muscle fiber contracting could go here)
An interesting aspect of muscle contraction, based on the way that a muscle contracts when it receives the signal from the nervous system, is called the All or Nothing principle of muscle contraction. Simply stated, it says that a muscle motor unit is either entirely contracting or entirely not contracting (relaxed). Our skeletal muscles are naturally in a state of non-contraction, they are naturally relaxed. When a nervous system signal reaches a muscle motor unit, somewhere in the body, all the muscles in this motor unit contract completely. When the message to stop contracting is sent to these contracting muscles, this muscle motor unit relaxes completely. In other words, it returns to its normally non-contracting state. A muscle motor unit does not partially contract. It is either contracting maximally, or not at all; hence the name, all or nothing principle. The way that a muscle is able to lift greater amounts of weight is by recruiting surrounding muscles to assist in the effort. The recruited muscles similarly contract maximally and then go back to non-contraction.
Background
What does all this muscle physiology have to do with stress management? Many muscles in the body remain in this chronically contracted state because they are continuously receiving the message from the nervous system that they should be contracting in order to fight or run from the big bear. They don’t receive the signal from the nervous system that the threat has passed and it is okay to relax. An example of this is often found in a person’s shoulders. They might feel tight and sore because these muscles are continually tensed.
It was a man named Edmond Jacobson who in 1929 first caught on to this idea of tension and relaxation in the muscles. He was a doctor living in Chicago working with patients who suffered from a variety of maladies. He noticed one common characteristic of nearly all of his patients and that was muscle tension. Working with his patients, he found that they were able to diminish the severity of the disorder as they were able to reduce or relieve muscle tension. Jacobson found that most of his patients had no idea that they had excess muscle tension in various places in their bodies. He found that as his patients were asked to consciously flex these tensed up areas, and then consciously relieve that tension, the contracting muscles would become relaxed. Jacobson understood that a muscle can’t be contracting and relaxing at the same time and by forcibly tensing a muscle and then consciously releasing the contraction, the muscles would naturally return to their naturally relaxed position. Thus was born the relaxation technique called Progressive Muscular Relaxation (PMR). It has also been called Progressive Neuromuscular Relaxation identifying the autonomic nervous system activity in initiating and turning off muscle tension. Another name for PMR is Active Progressive Relaxation. Progressive relaxation is probably the most commonly used form of relaxation therapy in western society today.
Why PMR works!
Recall, from our earlier chapters, that one of the immediate actions of the fight or flight response is an increase in muscular tension in order to generate immediate power to either run or fight. This is an automatic response in the presence of a threat. As was also mentioned, most of our threats of modern day society are ones that we create in our own minds. There are no “big bears” that we have to run from or fight. However, since we still perceive threats in our environment, the autonomic nervous system treats today’s threats the same as it did in ages past, by gearing up to run or fight. As a result, our muscles become tense. The dilemma of our day is that because our threats don’t immediately come to an end – daily work pressures, school requirements, or ongoing battles with our partner, etc., – we never come out of the fight or flight response and therefore, muscle contraction is continuous. The muscle tension does not turn off.
Progressive muscle relaxation is designed to initiate parasympathetic nervous system activity in a consciously directed way by first tensing a group of muscles and then consciously releasing the tension in that muscle group. It is called progressive muscle relaxation because one moves progressively through the major areas of the body. With the body either seated or lying down, the mind focuses on a specific area of the body, like the left arm and hand. Directions are given to make the hand into a clenching fist and tightening the fist to an almost maximum level for about 5 to 8 seconds and then relaxing the hand for up to twenty seconds. This procedure is repeated at least once. If an area remains tense, one can repeat tensing up to five times.
Directions are given to focus on the sensation of relaxation that result from the release of the tension and how this feeling differs from the feeling of tension. Careful examination of this change in tension is important. The subject then progresses to the next area in the body, such as the arms, the face, the torso, the shoulders, etc. Progressive relaxation usually requires a facilitator or a taped recording of the process.
Positive Effects of Progressive Relaxation
Progressive relaxation effectively turns off the stress response. As a result, many of the adverse physical, mental and emotional conditions associated with chronic stress have been found to be reduced or eliminated with regular practice of PMR. It has been shown to be helpful in dealing with insomnia,[1] post traumatic stress disorder, [2] and increasing feelings of relaxation.[3] One study[4] showed that those who practiced progressive relaxation experienced a decreased heart rate, decreased anxiety levels, decreased perceived stress, and a significant decrease in salivary cortisol (indicating a physiological decrease in sympathetic nervous system activity) compared to control subjects. The subjects of this study also self-reported increased levels of relaxation.
Long and Haney[5] found progressive relaxation to be as effective as aerobic activity in decreasing anxiety and increasing self-efficacy among working women. Progressive relaxation has been found, in additional controlled studies, to be effective in reducing the effects of other maladies that are stress related including reducing headaches,[6] ,[7],[8], [9],[10],[11] depression,[12] aversion to chemotherapy,[13],[14], [15],[16] low back pain,[17] depression,[18],[19] and hypertension.[20],[21],[22],[23],[24]
Passive Progressive Relaxation
Another form of progressive relaxation was introduced as an effective way of relaxing the body by Jon Kabat-Zinn, director of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Kabat-Zinn[25] created a more passive way of progressing through the various parts of the body and named it the body scan. Working with patients who struggle with all types of diseases and disorders, Kabat-Zinn introduced this form of relaxation/meditation as the first method for patients to use in order to discover their bodies in a non-judgmental way and begin to find some relief from their stress related symptoms.
While lying down, the patient is guided to put his attention on a specific area of the body and simply tune in to what is happening in that part of the body. Kabat-Zinn then has the patient progress to another area of the body. Patients are instructed to remain as passive and non-judgmental as possible, while at the same time, maintaining a detached process of careful observation of body parts, both deep inside and on the surface level.
Kabat-Zinn suggests that when practicing the body scan, a person should also become very aware of thoughts which may spontaneously arise while focusing on a specific area of the body. As thoughts come to the surface, they are noted, but not added to, nor are judgments made about those thoughts. For example, if a person were doing the body scan and her attention was on her knee, a thought might arise about how the knee was struck while snow skiing. These thoughts are simply observed, but not added to or negatively judged. The person would try to avoid adding additional thoughts about being depressed because she can’t ski anymore or what other people think of her because she can’t spend time with them on the slopes.
Detached observation may seem difficult at first, but according to Kabat-Zinn, passively progressing through the body in this way is profoundly beneficial. By allowing the breath and the awareness to move through the areas of the body, he feels that the body is left in a state of wholeness, balance and integrity. Kabat-Zinn describes the ideal attitude that one should maintain while practicing this passively progressive type of meditation. His words apply equally to any of the relaxation techniques found in this textbook:
In its truest expression meditation goes beyond notions of success and failure, and this is why it is such a powerful vehicle for growth and change and healing. This does not mean that you cannot progress in your meditation practice, nor does it mean that it is impossible to make mistakes that will reduce its value to you. A particular kind of effort is necessary in the practice of meditation, but it is not an effort of striving to achieve some special state, whether it be relaxation, freedom from pain, healing, or insight. These come naturally with practice because they are already inherent in the present moment and in every moment. Therefore any moment is as good as any other for experiencing their presence within yourself. If you see things in this light, it makes perfect sense to take each moment as it comes and accept it as it is, seeing it clearly in its fullness, and letting it go.[26]

Observing, without judgment, directs healing energy to the area being observed. This concept does not immediately make sense to us because we think we aren’t accomplishing anything by simply observing. But this is something you can test on your own. Kabat-Zinn explains, “Each time you scan your body in this way, you can think of it or visualize it as a purification or detoxification process, a process that is promoting healing by restoring a feeling f wholeness and integrity to your body.”[27]
Progressive Relaxation Scripts

The following are two Progressive Relaxation Scripts as they are described in this chapter. The first is a sample of traditional Progressive Relaxation. The second is based on Kabat-Zinn’s body scan.
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Re: The Script #1

Perhaps you can read this out and record it on a tape. My doctor actually made a tape for me that is very helpful. And yes please check with your doctor before beginning!

Active Progressive Relaxation
Make yourself as comfortable as possible. Gently close your eyes. Take a nice easy deep breath in through your nose . . . and exhale. Again, a deep breath in . . . and exhale. Continue to breathe deeply in and out, keeping your eyes closed. (Long pause) Allow all thoughts of your past and future to just drift away.
When you tighten an area, do it only to a point where you feel real tension but not pain. If a particular area or muscle is sore or uncomfortable, just skip that area. As you tighten the various muscles during this exercise, you will inhale and hold your breath. As you exhale, you will release the tension.
Now make a fist with your hands, pressing the fingers against your palm, tightening the muscles in your wrists and forearms, until you feel moderate tension in that whole area. Feel the pulling tightness in your fingers, hands and forearms . . . hold it for a moment longer . . . and now, as you breathe out, just let those muscles go limp like a rag doll. The tension naturally drains from your fingers, wrists and forearms. Feel the pleasant relief of flowing relaxation. Notice how different this is from tension. (Pause)
Again, tighten your fists and feel the tension build . . . hold it for a moment . . . and now, breathing out, let these muscles go limp, and say to yourself, “My arms and hands feel relaxed and calm.” (Pause) Notice carefully how different this is from the tension. (Pause)
One last time, make fists with your hands, while tensing your wrists, forearm and upper arm muscles. Hold that tension and feel the stretching tightness . . . now as you breathe out, let your hands and arms go limp, saying to yourself, “My hands and arms feel relaxed and calm.” Just let all remaining tension flow out through your fingertips, enjoying the sense of relief. (Pause)
While letting your arms and hands remain deeply relaxed, now focus your attention on your face and head. Concentrating on how it feels, close your eyes tightly as if you were in a dust storm. Stretch your forehead muscles up as far as you can. Pull the corners of your mouth back and feel tension in every part of your face. Experience that sensation . . . Now breathing out, just let all these muscles go completely limp, and say to yourself, “My face and forehead feel relaxed and calm.” Notice how different this is from the tension. Enjoy the sensation of relaxation. (Pause)
Each time you exhale, feel your hands, arms, face and forehead become even more deeply relaxed. (Pause)
Now shift your attention to your neck muscles. These are usually the first ones to become tense when you encounter stress. Keeping your mouth closed, tighten your neck muscles by gradually moving your chin toward your chest and tightly forward until you feel tension around the base of your neck. Stretch those muscles and hold it for a moment . . . Now breathing out, let these muscles go limp allowing your head to return to a comfortable position. And as you breathe out again, say to yourself, “My neck feels relaxed and calm.” Sense the flowing relief and notice how different it is from the tension. (Pause)
Each time you exhale, feel any remaining tension flow out of your hands, arms, face and neck. (Pause)
Now, allowing your arms and neck to remain as relaxed as possible, focus attention on your shoulders. Move them up toward your ears as high as you can and feel tightness there . . . Hold that tension for a moment . . . and now breathing out, release the tension, letting your shoulders go limp as a rag doll. Say to yourself, “My shoulders are relaxed and calm.” Notice how different this feels from the tension. (Pause)
Now as you breathe comfortably, let all remaining tension flow out from your hands, arms, face, forehead, neck, and shoulders. Enjoy the calm feelings of spreading relaxation. (Pause)
Now focus on your chest and stomach. Allowing your arms, shoulders, and neck to remain relaxed, take a deep breath, and hold it while you tighten the muscles in your stomach and around your chest . . . feel the tension build . . . and now just let go completely, breathing out, and feeling relaxation flow through this whole area. Say to yourself, “My chest and stomach are relaxed and calm.” Notice how different this feels from the tension. (Pause)
Keeping your eyes gently closed, let your hands, arms, face, neck, shoulders, chest and stomach become even more deeply relaxed. (Pause)
Now think of the legs and feet. Tighten the muscles in your buttocks and thighs and flex your feet by bending them up and toward your head. Feel the tension build . . . hold it for a moment . . . and now as you breathe out, just let all these muscles go limp. Say to yourself, “My legs and feet feel relaxed and calm.” Notice how different this feels from the tension.
(Say slowly) Now each time you breathe out, feel all remaining tension flow easily out from your hands, arms, face, neck, shoulders, chest, stomach, legs and feet. Repeat to yourself, “My entire body is relaxed and calm,” as you easily and naturally breathe in and out. (Pause)
Keeping your eyes closed, sense each part of your body. If you find any remaining areas of tension, tense and then breathing out, release the muscles until your entire body is comfortably, deeply relaxed. (Long Pause)
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Re: Script II

PassiveProgressive Relaxation – The Body Scan[28]
1. Lie down on your back in a comfortable place, such as on a foam pad on the floor or on your bed (but remember that for this use, you are aiming to stay awake, not fall asleep). Make sure that you will be warm enough. You might want to cover yourself with a blanket or do it in a sleeping bag if the room is cold.
2. Allow your eyes to gently close.
3. Feel the rising and falling of your belly with each inbreath and outbreath.
4. Take a few moments to feel your body as a “whole,” from head to toe, the “envelope” of your skin, the sensations associated with touch in the places you are in contact with the floor or the bed.
5. Bring your attention to the toes of the left foot. As you direct your attention to them, see if you can “direct,” or channel, your breathing to them as well, so that it feels as if you are breathing in to your toes and out from your toes. It may take a while for you to get the hang of this. It may help to just imagine your breath traveling down the body from your nose into the lungs and then continuing through the abdomen and down the left leg all the way to the toes and then back again and out through your nose.
6. Allow yourself to feel any and all sensations from your toes, perhaps distinguishing between them and watching the flux of sensations in this region. If you don’t feel anything at the moment, that is fine too. Just allow yourself to feel “not feeling anything.”
7. When you are ready to leave the toes and move on, take a deeper, more intentional breath in all the way down to the toes and, on the outbreath, allow them to “dissolve” in your “minds eye.” Stay with your breathing for a few breaths at least, and then move on in turn to the soul of the foot, the heel, the top of the foot, and in the ankle, continuing to breathe in to and out from each region as you observe the sensations that you are experiencing, and then letting go of it and moving on.
8. Bring your mind back to the breath and to the region you are focusing on each time you notice that your attention has wandered off.
9. Continue to move slowly up your left leg and through the rest of your body as you maintain the focus on the breath and on the feeling of the particular regions as you come to them, breathe with them, and let go of them.
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Old 02-09-2007, 12:13 AM
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Re: Progressive Muscular Relaxation Pointers & Tips

Progressive Muscular Relaxation (PMR)


To have the best experience with Progressive Relaxation, consider these suggestions:
v Do it where you will not be disturbed
Ø Turn off the telephone and cell phone
Ø Let those people around you know that this is your alone time and to leave you alone or join you
Ø Lie on a carpeted floor, on a couch or a bed. You may also use a comfortable recliner chair.
v Stay focused on the instructions for this exercise
§ If your mind wanders off, gently bring it back to the instructions
· Do not criticize yourself if you find yourself thinking of other things. Be kind to yourself and simply return to the directions
Ø Do not be in a rush to finish the exercise
v There are a couple “best times” during the day to do Restful Breathing
Ø During the afternoon after your day’s activities and before your activities of the evening
Ø Just before falling asleep.
§ Complete all of your tasks that you normally do before you fall asleep.
§ Make Progressive Relaxation be the very last thing that you do before your head hits the pillow and you close your eyes
· If you do other things after doing Progressive, you will find falling asleep more difficult.
Once you have finished this relaxation exercise, slip into bed and easily fall asleep or continue with the activities of your day.

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