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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Creative Expression Can Break the Cycle of Chronic Pain

A few weeks ago I wrote about the "power of focused attention."  This
article, sent to me by my daughter-in-law, Renee Groenemann, comes from
the opposite direction but with the same message.  By allowing ourselves
to get in that place from where creative expression comes we can distract
ourselves from the pain of negative experiences.

We know that creative expression releases the same hormones as are
released in jogging.  According to the article below, it can also give relief
from chronic pain.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- There's more to the healing arts than just
medicine. Numerous studies show how creative expression through music,
writing or art work can break the cycle of chronic pain. The topic was
discussed at the For Grace's 3rd Annual Women in Pain Conference.

For Radene Marie Cook, chronic, intense pain from injuries she suffered
in a plane crash is a way of life.

"It means that with my pain, there are so many signals and it's at such a
severe level, that without treatment I'd have a heart attack or a
stroke," said Cook.

Cook finds some relief in art, poetry and music.

"There's something about getting inner conflict and inner feelings out
to where your eyes can see it," said Cook.

Artistic expression can be more than just a form of therapy. For patients who
have pain that's difficult to describe, art can help patients communicate with
their doctors.

"Some of the pain is indescribable when nerves are involved. It does
bizarre stuff," said Cook. "But I could show them a picture of something
being electrocuted and they could understand that."

Pain specialist Dr. David Bresler says art can be a distraction from the

"When they realize that they're becoming obsessed and concentrating way
too much on their pain, they need to break that cycle in some way, and
let their mind focus on other kinds of things," said Bresler.

One powerful prescription: focusing on the positive.

"One of the things that we've learned is that whatever you give
attention to, grows," said Bresler. "Whether it's your garden, your
children, or your worries, anxieties and fears. When people pay so much
attention to pain, the pain will grow."

It's that advice -- and art -- that keeps a smile on Cook's face.

"I wanted to put on the walls everything that I could look to and grab
immediately that told me I was going to make it," said Cook. "It's a
reminder to say, 'Yes, I can and it's going to be OK in the end.'"

                         "Tree Poem" is part of the Abundance Exhibit at
                          American Bounty TODAY in Washington, MO.
                          I'd love to see you there!

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