Jan Carstoniu MD FRCPC is the director of our program. He has been a licensed physician in the province of Ontario since 1986, a certified anaesthesiologist since 1992 and began to practice chronic pain management in 1993. Prior to entering medical studies he was a licensed psychologist in the province of Québec. His study of Chinese internal arts began in 1975 and he has achieved instructor certification in Taijiquan and Baguazhang.
Eric Reynolds brings to the group more than 30 years of meditation and mindbody study. He has a broad knowledge of practices and philosophy originating in India, China and Tibet. As well as being a diligent student he has more than 15 years of teaching experience with the methods used in our group.
The Mindbody Pain Clinics Story
In February 2005 a group of patients aged 30 to more than 70 with different medical conditions participated in the first chronic pain group therapy session developed by Eric Reynolds and Jan Carstoniu MD FRCPC. Funded by the province of Ontario’s provincial health care system it put into practice the principles that are the foundation of Mindbody Pain Clinics’ programs. Positive feedback from patients followed rapidly and some of the initial participants still attend group sessions. On average, 30 patients attend three weekly sessions. Many have reported improvements in well-being and reductions in medication use since becoming participants.
The program offered by Mindbody Pain Clinics is meant to serve the needs of individuals with chronic pain. Waiting lists for treatment of chronic pain have been growing for years. Mindbody Pain Clinics is a response to those who are asking for help. Our answer combines Western science and Eastern wisdom.
Prior to earning his medical degree, Jan Carstoniu had been a licensed psychologist in the province of Québec. This earlier training combined with his medical specialty in anesthesiology led to the opening of a practice in the management of chronic pain in 1993. He too had pursued training in Chinese health and defense methods and in 1978 became a certified instructor of Taijiquan (Tai Chi). In 1996 he began studying the art of Jiulong Baguazhang and has since become a certified instructor.
Eric Reynolds worked for years in the insurance and financial sectors in managerial and executive positions before co-founding Mindbody Pain Clinics. He has also pursued lifelong training in meditation. In the 1980’s he began studying Asian self-defense and health practices. In 1996 he became the first Canadian instructor in the Chinese self-defense system of Jiulong Baguazhang whose methods are used in law enforcement, the military and personal security.
Jan and Eric came to know each other as fellow students of this sophisticated martial art used by professional bodyguards. Both were fascinated by the emphasis placed on cognitive training and mental development in an eminently practical form of personal combat. The basic methods involved the development of mental imagery combined with postures and movement practiced repeatedly.
This, of course, bears a striking resemblance to methods used by sports psychologists to maximize athletic performance. Furthermore, meditation/relaxation training is considered to be the foundation for the development of mental imagery skills and the ability to perform under the stress.
The health practices associated with the martial art of baguazhang emphasize meditation, gentle yoga-like exercise and walking as foundations for living a better life. These practices made extensive use of mental imagery and relaxation combined with movement to enhance the effects of exercise. Notably, similar meditation, relaxation and other mental techniques are in wide use in the management of psychiatric and medical illness, chronic pain in particular. Active exercise has been long established as basic to the physical rehabilitation of chronic pain patients.
Combining their years of personal and professional training, Jan and Eric collaborated to develop a practical method of addressing the physical, emotional and cognitive issues faced by chronic pain sufferers. It promotes learning to cope with pain through the use of traditional Asian exercises, meditation training and education about chronic pain.
Mindbody Pain Clinics is committed to an evidence-based approach to chronic pain management that respects traditional knowledge. We offer this course in hopes of reaching more people dealing with chronic pain and contributing to a reduction in their suffering.