Open Focus is biofeedback developed back in the 1970s by Dr. Les Fehmi at the Princeton Biofeedback Institute. His theory is that pain is perceived in the brain, not the body part involved. When we are in pain our brainwaves go asynchronous. They lose the flow – imagine the difference between a smooth and ruffled sea. This exercise puts the brain waves back in synchrony so the pain is not perceived.
My sister came across it through her UK GP and sent me the link. I was skeptical but tried it anyway. At that time I had chronic pain and my GP wanted to put me on 24 hour codeine. When I tried the exercise, my pain was at an 8 out of 10. Ten minutes later, it was at a 2. Three days later I had no pain and I stopped taking painkillers for about 4 months until an overzealous physio flared my back again.
Dr. Tomasz Kopec, a London GP, developed the exercise I worked with. I have also tried Les Fehmi’s exercises, but found them much less effective. I have talked with Tomasz, who actually made me a specific meditation exercise, and can’t recommend him too highly. I have no financial connection with him.
My overall feeling is it is great for things like migraine that are passing, but I don’t find I can maintain it for long term pain control. It isn’t practical to stop when out to do it but I iistill use it as part of my pain control repertoire.
I am at the moment experimenting with a connected idea of my own: imagining pushing the pain out of my body, so it can disperse and also trying to keep my consciousness above and beyond the space of pain. See my journal entries for 21-23 March 2012 in my Complete Blog in Chronological Order.
People I have sent these links to in the past have sometimes had problems opening the pages, so I have provided the actual addresses as well so you can cut and paste to your browser’s address line.
Tomasz Kopek’s excellent explanation video – click on Watch How it Works on this page – http://www.openfocustraining.co.uk/exercise.html.
Open Focus long exercise. This is way better than the shorter one that is offered for you to sample. It is only a few minutes longer, but I think you need that extra for it to gel – http://www.openfocustraining.co.uk/exercise.html. Go to FAQ and click on the link for the longer version. I downloaded it to my iPod as an MP3.
Open Focus short exercise – http://www.openfocustraining.co.uk/exercise.html. Click on “Pain Dissolving Exercise”.
Open Focus Books:
The Open Focus Brain: harnessing the Power of Attention to Heal Mind and Body by Les Fehmi and Jim Robbins. (Book and CD) 2008.
Dissolving Pain: Simple Brain-Training Exercises for Overcoming Chronic Pain by Les Fehmi. (Book and CD) 2010.
A Symphony in the Brain: the Evolution of the New Brain Wave Biofeedback by Jim Robbins. 2008.
Open Focus is also used for ADHD. Link to U-Tube exercise.
Return to Blog: Pathway through Pain – Journey to Joy