Thursday, May 27, 2010

The way we're working isn't working

"The first mistake most of us make is that we try to operate as if we’re computers -- at high speeds, for long periods of time, running multiple programs at the same time. In fact, human beings are meant to pulse – to move between spending and renewing energy. Our most basic survival need is to spend and renew our energy – to inhale and to exhale. We’re hardwired to make waves – to be alert during the day and to sleep at night, and to work at the highest intensity only for limited periods of time."

Tony Schwartz, author of
The Way We're Working Isn't Working

Friday, May 14, 2010

Childhood Abuse and Fibromyalgia in Women

Here is a study showing evidence of permanent brain changes in women who received abuse in childhood, brain changes that directly impact the stress response in the body (H-P-A activity noted below). Every client I have seen with fibromyalgia has experienced childhood abuse or has been in a major physical trauma such as an automobile accident.

It's like the switches in the brain that respond to stress get stuck on, then turn the volume up from a normal stress response to telling the body every little stressor is a five alarm fire. Too many five alarm fires and the nervous & immune systems begin to wear out, leaving the body itself on fire, unable to repair the daily wear and tear damages in soft tissues, and joints.

"In women with chronic pain, self-reported childhood maltreatment was associated with higher diurnal cortisol levels. These results add to the evidence that abuse in childhood can induce long-term changes in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical activity. They further underscore the importance of evaluating childhood maltreatment in fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions." Psychosomatic Medicine Journal article, May 13, 2010

The good news is there are many cutting edge therapies that can soften or reduce the highly reactive stress response. Meditation has been proven in studies to change brain responses to stress; any body treatment that releases endorphins such as massage or Reiki will also change brain patterns with repeated use.

In order to change we must give the brain a replacement behavior pattern and practice it to create new neuron pathways that over-ride exacerbated stress responses. Some therapies such as Meridian Tapping Techniques (EFT, TFT, Energy Psychology) can unravel the switches at the source. Anti-depressants are used with fibromyalgia patients with fairly good results, but this is a chemical correction in the brain. These drugs may be helpful to get other healing activated, and provide quick relief, but there are many downsides and side-effects from AD's which often lose their effectiveness over a period of time and must be monitored and adjusted carefully.