Overview. This recording is an extension of relaxation and psychological strategies found to be helpful in our experience with thousands of patients with chronic headache and other pain disorders. It is our sincere hope it will leave you feeling relaxed and assist you in developing your own personal methods for managing pain and coping with other difficult or stressful situations. After a brief introduction, the program begins with four relaxation techniques.
Breath Meditation reviews deep breathing, which has been a foundation for relaxation since the dawn of the written word. This selection is accompanied by a string quartet playing Mozart (Eine kleine Nachtmusik) and Bach (Air on a G String).
Relaxation Phrases uses self-talk to focus attention on feelings of heaviness, warmth, and a calm mind. The phrases are based on a technique called autogenic training developed early this century and later combined with biofeedback training for migraine therapy in the early 1970s. Here it is integrated with the quartet playing the well-known Canon by Pachelbel.
Self-Hypnosis merges with the sound of a soft rainfall. Self-hynosis is often particularly helpful in quieting verbal thinking which can lead to a state of deep relaxation, such as when a person is attempting to fall asleep at night. The first three selections are designed to flow easily from one to another and can be combined for a more extended period of listening.
Relaxation Journey is the longest of the relaxation selections and is accompanied by a variety of water sounds, bird songs, and other sounds from the natural environment. This section begins with a discussion of goal-setting and planning, and concludes with suggestions of ways to maintain relaxation once it is achieved.
The remaining three selections review aspects of cognitive therapy, a therapeutic approach that emphasizes the relationship between thoughts (cognitions), emotional feelings, and pain-related discomfort. Although Self-Talk, Correcting Distorted Thoughts, and Thought Framing are not designed as relaxation techniques in the classical sense, patients tell us that repeated listening can, in fact, create a feeling of deep calm.
Self-Talk is a technique that can be used to reduce the emotional distress that often accompanies headache or pain.
Correcting Distorted Thoughts addresses common errors in logical thinking that can amplify negative emotions.
Thought Framing describes a specific technique that can help set limits on our human tendency to obsess or dwell on the negative.
Summary. The above techniques will provide the best results when practiced daily, even for brief periods of time. In addition, when utilized at the earliest stage of a headache and/or stressful situation, these techniques can induce a state of calm, allowing other interventions, such as medications, to work more effectively.
Appropriate medical treatment for headache and pain, as well as consultation with a psychologist or other health professional with specialized training and experience in pain management, can significantly extend the value we believe you will receive from these selections.
The Michigan Headache & Neurological Institute (MHNI) is a world-renowned private specialty center headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Founded by Dr. Joel Saper in 1978, MHNI is the nation's first comprehensive head pain treatment and research center, and the only center of its kind to earn national accreditation. The Institute and its staff have also received numerous awards for program and clinical excellence.
Dr. Alvin Lake, a licensed psychologist, received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from The University of Michigan. He is Director of the Behavioral Medicine Division at the Institute, Senior Research Psychologist, and Associate Program Director of the Head•Pain Treatment Unit at Chelsea Community Hospital. Dr. Lake has achieved both national and international recognition for his clinical work, research publications, and patient-oriented articles on headache and is an invited lecturer to professional audiences across the nation. He is a former Board member of the American Headache Society and the American Council on Headache Education (ACHE), and served on the editorial board of the scientific journal Headache from 1992-2003. Dr. Lake is a Senior Fellow of the Biofeedback Certification Institute of America (BCIA). He is a founding member of the Institute and has been an influential force in its direction and accomplishments since 1978.