What is the Mindbody Pain Management Program?
Our OHIP funded group therapy sessions address the specific needs of chronic pain patients. Years of scientific study have shown that chronic pain is a phenomenon of human experience with sensory, emotional and cognitive dimensions. Optimal treatment of pain should therefore address all the different dimensions of pain. Clinical research has established the superior effectiveness of multidisciplinary approaches to the management of chronic pain.
Furthermore, there is now considerable evidence that training in such methods such as mindfulness meditation, guided imagery and relaxation techniques have value in managing pain. Scientific interest in traditional arts such as yoga and Tai Chi has grown with our understanding of the intimate link between mind and body when it comes to treating pain.
In recognition of the multi-dimensional nature of chronic pain and the evidence supporting the use of mental and physical training, our sessions address physical, emotional and cognitive issues related to the participant’s pain. Group members will be formally trained in relaxation/meditation techniques that emphasize awareness and the ability to cope with one’s situation in a realistic fashion. Meditation training will be complemented by a gentle system of exercise that combines mental imagery with postural training and movement to help participants maintain and improve their ability to function. Our methods are derived from traditional Eastern practices but are grounded in modern medicine and psychology.
Are patients expected to exert themselves?
Participants are encouraged to proceed at their own pace and rest at any time they choose during the 2 hour sessions. The structure of the group is an open one. New members can join at any time and there are no attendance requirements. Participation in the group is open to all individuals regardless of the nature of their pain.
What conditions have been treated?
Since being established in 2005 we have treated patients with chronic pain problems including headache, osteoarthritis, arthropathies, post-traumatic pain, complex regional pain, mechanical neck/back pain and fibromyalgia. Although many of our exercises can be used while seated, the full program includes standing and walking with patients free to sit and rest at any time. The maximum cardiovascular demand placed on participants is equivalent to a moderately paced walk.
Who is in charge?
The group facilitator is Jan Carstoniu MD FRCPC (anesthesiology) who has maintained a practice in chronic pain management since 1993. He has been a student of Chinese internal arts for 35 years and was a psychologist before entering medical studies. Joining him is Eric Reynolds, co founder of Mindbody Pain Clinics, who brings over 40 years of experience in meditation and Chinese internal arts to the group.
Is a referral from a doctor required?
No formal referral from a physician is required to participate in these group sessions. However, all participants must present a signed medical clearance from either their primary-care physician or referring doctor. We believe that participants will find these groups to be unique, combining evidence based practice with traditional training methods in a relaxed and compassionate atmosphere.