I’m not a morning person.
So I find it slightly…irritating, I have to get up early in order to go to the relaxation sessions I’ve been having over the last few weeks. I don’t find that relaxing at all!
Relaxation sessions is one of the treatments the local pain clinic offers. To be fair – the clinic doesn’t offer that much, but the relaxation sessions are one of the handful of treatments they do. They’re run by a friendly nurse, in a room that hasn’t changed in the ten years I’ve been going to the pain clinic, the chairs are uncomfortable, and it’s kind of cold. But they do offer pillows, of which I usually take about five just to get to basic levels of the chair not completely sucking.
Relaxation is a funny one. I don’t tend to do it at home, because if I do I just fall asleep. The one time I remember it being successfully done at home was on a lovely summer day, and I dragged my yoga mat outside and lay listening to the peace and quiet, the sun warming me up and my laptop playing the free CD the pain clinic gives at the end of the sessions.
I do hope to do it again this summer, but generally I’m always too busy doing… something, and don’t make time for relaxation like I should.
When you have chronic pain, it’s generally thought the natural fight or flight response to the body has gone a bit haywire, and it’s constantly in fight mode. You’re naturally stressed, your nerves are constantly firing in pain and your muscles tense up. Relaxation is aimed at trying to break this connection between the brain and the body, to try and release those muscles and to de-stress.
I generally don’t find any benefits of relaxation last long-term, but I do find it a good distraction when I take the time to do it – and find I do achieve a deep relaxation where I have no idea what’s happening, which is always a plus!
Sometimes when in pain it’s also an idea to concentrate on your breathing – by putting your hand on your abdomen and slowly breathe in and out, trying to push your breath down as far as possible – instead of breathing in the chest like most people do as a bad habit. Again, I find this does reduce pain a little sometimes, and calms me – and again works well as a distraction technique.
My last session with the pain clinic is tomorrow, but if it’s something that interests you I’ve found my local Health In Mind (http://www.rethink.org) offer similar free sessions, or it’s something easily done yourself by downloading a relaxation track, or for free on YouTube.
Where you’re favourite place to relax? How often do you fit it in?