HeartMath and Neurofeedback

A long gap. My sister came to stay and immediately afterwards we started tearing the bathroom apart, so are living in barely controlled chaos. Not helped by finding dry rot in a corner of the bathroom, necessitating taking the front corner off the house. Today we unwrapped the new bath to find a huge crack down the side. A helpful expert in bath repair commented sagely that it must have been dropped off the back of a truck! Rushed back to the store with the bath sticking out the back of the car like a reverse pregnancy and bargained a replacement. Of course, it was discontinued unless you special order it in avocado!

Having sat in a floor model amidst a whirlpool of shoppers and trolleys piled drunkenly with packages, like a woman with her hat on crooked, we settled for the next model up at 20% off.

All very character building and accompanied by hauling Thea out of holes on the floor. She has taken on the role of supervisor and is intensely interested in all the activity.

Which makes me appreciate my latest pain therapies, HeartMath and neurofeedback. HeartMath involves conscious even breathing while hooked up to a program that shows your heart rate. (More info on HeartMath.) This balances the two strands of the autonomic nervous system: the sympathetic, which provides energy and nutrients, responds to stress and can easily overdo it; and the parasympathetic which calms it down. Breathing in activates the sympathetic and breathing out the parasympathetic. Which is why so many breathing exercises, like Dr. Andrew Weil’s 4-7-8 emphasize a longer out breath.

HeartMath, aided by a clever visual of a ball rolling up and down a slope, evens out your breathing and I find I can easily visualize the ball’s movement and breathe with it. I did a lot in the hardware store today!I

Neurofeedback has been very interesting. I have had three sessions: the first was just a trial 15 minutes, which left me calm, spaced and had the immediate result of giving me much deeper sleep. I have always been a really poor sleeper and have reluctantly taken phenergan at night for years. I have tried to cut it back but always been driven back by exhaustion. Within 3 days of my first neurofeedback session, I cut the dose in half and have maintained on the lower dose. Am now, hopefully, going to cut it further.

The second session left me reeling and stunned – an excess of stimulus, though to be fair, I am super sensitive. (When I went to Aladdin I had to lie down for half an hour afterwards to recover.) But later that evening, I felt very peaceful. The third session today was shorter and I came out calm. Although the rest of the day was jerky and stressful, my inner calm was more easily restored.

But what I have noticed most is that, although my back pain was severe by the end of our shopping trip, I recovered fast and was active again soon. Now I think back, I have been able to push my back more and recover quicker since starting the therapy. Will it keep up? I don’t know. I have had so many hopeful moments dashed, but there’s a glimmer of light.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About UntraveledRoads

Fascinated by life, looking for answers to chronic pain and finding unexpected gifts. Interested in people, ideas, healing and humour. I am very happily married with three children and a kitten. As English born immigrants to Canada, we have family spread overseas, a daughter in South Africa and one in England. We also run a charity in South Africa to educate black, rural South African Women. Our first girl from a rural township has just graduated as an accountant from Johannesburg University and got a good job in a bank.
This entry was posted in back pain, brain and mind, Brain and Pain, chronic pain, coping with pain, pain - coping techniques and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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