Over and over people come in for care reporting not only physical but emotional discomfort. Sometimes there is a clear causal link between emotional difficulty and physical symptoms. Sometimes the two seem to coexist without a clear interaction. In either case, I often ask patients to engage in a simple mindfulness practice while resting on the table. Here’s a condensed version of what I often say: “Bring your attention to your breath as you inhale and as you exhale. Then, attend to your body, noticing where it is resting on the table and where it may not be completely resting. Now use your breath to notice your body, breathing in awareness, and as you breathe out, inviting yourself to lie down more completely on the table. At some point, your mind will wander from this practice. When you notice that, gently, and with kindness, bring your attention back to your breath and to your body.”
Why do I make this suggestion? I make it to empower patients and to enhance the effect of the acupuncture.
There is ample research demonstrating that regular but relatively brief mindfulness practices like this can reduce both physical pain and emotional stress. As I deepen my practice through the study of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction I bring this work back to Open City and look forward to seeing what it has to offer to you all.