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- “We get resourcefulness from having many resources. Not from having one very smart one.” -Marvin Minsky
Meditation can scare people. I think it’s because most people don’t really know what it is. They think it’s a medium that turns people into monks. Or they think it’s simply the act of having no thoughts. These two ideas couldn’t be further from the truth (no pun intended).
In broad terms, meditation is the practice of quieting the mind and improving awareness.
In the realm of movement and physical therapy, meditation can have powerful effects to reduce sympathetic drive, decrease tension, decrease stress, enhanced immune function, and improve interoceptive awareness.
In the realm of health and quality of life, meditation can lead to improved working memory, less emotional reactivity, decrease biases, increased focus, relationship satisfaction, enhanced self-insight, and improved brain function (among other things).
I usually advise patients to start with a simple 5 minute breathing meditation.
But thanks to Seth Oberst, I now have another resource. Seth has created a series of movement-based meditations. Right now he has 4 meditations – grounding the feet, visual relaxation, trusting the legs, and weightless shoulders.
I think they’re all valuable, but I find it useful to have specific mindful practices for certain patients. It provides an entry point to meditation and mindfulness that directly correlates with the reason they’re in the clinic.
For example, I’ll prescribe the vision meditation for my chronic neck pain patient that is anxious, stressed out, stuck in high-threshold patterns with limited ROM, and can’t stop the ruminations (see #1 & #2 here if you’re still skeptical about vision and the cervical spine).
As with all interventions we should always experiment on ourselves before we prescribe something to a patient.
So give these meditations a shot. I think you’ll be surprised at the outcome for both yourself and your patients.
And again, I want to thank Seth Oberst for his generosity in sharing this work.