Chronic Pain and Movement Therapies

Chronic Pain may benefit from body awareness and movement based therapies

Chronic pain is now classified by the World Health Organization as a health condition in its own right. This recognises the condition’s close links with significant emotional distress. It also acknowledges it’s interference with the activities of daily life and participation in social roles .

Dance Movement Therapy

A recently published study suggests that mindfulness based Dance Movement Therapy* is a promising therapy approach for people living with chronic pain.

Chronic pain is a body-based condition. Therefore, there may be value in a body–mind intervention. The core components of DMT are somatic awareness and kinesthetic empathy. In addition, DMT is holistic and creative.

DMT is defined as “the therapeutic use of movement to further the emotional, cognitive, physical, spiritual, and social integration of the individual.” In other words, it features movement as creative self-expression and dance as non-verbal interaction. There is growing evidence about the positive impact of this form of psychotherapy. In particular, it may have a positive impact on the psychological states of patients with somatic concerns.

A safe therapeutic environment is a key element in all therapy. The creative process underpins all DMT. In addition, this approach includes mindfulness skills and body awareness. relaxation/releasing; distancing and staying with discomfort; meaning making; self regulation; acceptance and integration. , with . Dance and movement provide a means for self-expression. This allows participants to communicate concerns which they might not be able to express verbally.

you can read the full study here

*in the UK the profession is Dance Movement Psychotherapy (DMP)

Tai Chi and Qi Gong

The calm, flowing body movements of Tai Chi and Qi Gong are gentle on the body. However, they also provide the exercise it needs. The practices focus on the breath and how the body is moving. This can be helpful for those who struggle to quiet their mind. In other words the movement helps to maintain a state of relaxed alertness. This can sometimes be more appropriate than practices which induce sleepiness. For many people with chronic pain, exercise can be worrying or they may avoid it. Our mindful movement practices focus on moving effectively. Rather than adding effort or using force to stretch, this can help to maintain a state of calm, making for a more pleasant movement experience.