Music is the Strongest Form of Magic

musicA music therapist will use music to facilitate behavioural changes, by allowing patients to use a variety of musical instruments. Then, the therapist will engage in discussions about the patient’s musical interaction, allowing the patient to express his/her feelings with the aid of musical interaction. The main aim of music therapy is to determine how patients respond emotionally to music, and improve cognitive functioning and quality of life.

How Does This Apply to Fibromyalgia

Researchers examined the effects of music therapy on fibromyalgia, and found that music therapy, combined with relaxation techniques, reduced pain and depression, along with improving sleep for fibromyalgia patients.

music 2If music is able to reduce muscle tension, then possibly the muscle pain experienced in fibromyalgia may decrease. Additionally, if music interventions do decrease the release of stress hormones, then most of the emotional and anxiety symptoms of fibromyalgia may decrease. There is also evidence that music improves mood and stress, and it may also increase one’s immunity.

Sixty FM patients were assigned to either a music group or a control group. The participants of the music group listened to music (duh!) daily for 4 weeks, and were assigned to listen to two types of music. They were also taught relaxation techniques, and the combination of relaxation techniques and music therapy significantly decreased pain intensity and improved quality of life. After 4 weeks, participants of the music intervention group reported a significant decrease in their pain levels, while participants of the control group experienced no change in pain and/or quality of life.

Researchers state that musical interventions decrease cortisol and endorphins, which are markers of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (responsible for release of stress hormones), along with decreasing levels of cortisol, prolactin, ACTH, growth hormone, and norepinephrine levels. Music initiates brain responses that reduce muscle tension, heart rate, and skin conductance.

The researchers greatly recommend the combination of music and relaxation for FM patients. However, the efficacy of this combination depends on the patient’s dedication and willpower to be involved in the treatment.

BUT what if our overly sensitized brains can’t even handle music? (Personally) Give me silence any day…ssshhhh!

from Effects of Music Therapy on Fibromyalgia

Acoustic Brainwave Activation – Why is it Here?

Acoustic Brainwave ActivationYou may have noticed a new ad on the right hand side of the page for Acoustic Brainwave Activation. I haven’t tried it yet (I am totally broke) BUT it sounds really good (or am I being naïve?) so I have put it up as a trial – if any of you have had any experiences with the product, please write a comment below.

The company claims a multitude of fabulous ‘aids’ (I don’t think that’s the correct word but it will have to do for now) but I’m only going to look at the ones that may help us:

Chronic Fatigue

Using acoustic brainwave activation, Medipower are able to change the electrical activity in the brain and induce the correct delta frequencies and diminish the interfering alpha frequency incursions – It is delta wave sleep that is the “deepest” stage of sleep and the most restorative. It is delta sleep that a sleep-deprived person’s brain craves the first and foremost.

acoustic brainwave activationThe product directly addresses the issue of reaching the delta state early in your sleep cycle. It encourages this deep level of sleep in a gentle manner and allows the process of recovery and repair to begin. The program is 45 minutes long and should be listened to, in its entirety, when going to sleep.

As it does not require headphones to be effective it can be played on repeat or loop throughout the night if required.

It can also be used through the day to help with recovery and additional restful sleep.

Improving Memory

It has been proven beyond all reasonable doubt that short and long-term memory can be improved by relaxing and meditating in the alpha range. Stimulating a certain part of that alpha range with acoustic activation will increase this benefit even further. The improvement in memory will be rapid, consistent and permanent.

Stress Relief and Deep Relaxation

You are guided through gentle relaxation techniques to relieve tension. In a state of calm reverie, you enter an inner sanctuary, a magical garden that you can return to again and again to restore your sense of self. You will learn how to generate powerful states of being that will contribute to an ever-increasing sense of well-being in your life. At the end you re-emerge into the world cleansed, revitalized and ready to tackle any challenges with a fresh attitude.

All tracks are ideal for stress reduction or creative problem solving and allows you to unwind at your own pace. The gentle pulsations of soothing Alpha, Theta and Delta waves move your mind into a regenerative state of well-being. Your consciousness is lifted above fragmented thoughts and worries, becoming unified in peaceful repose. You experience a euphoric release from anything and everything that bothers you.

HypnoGuide treatments are the simplest and most affordable way to directly influence your inner potential and release the power of your subconscious mind! HypnoGuide treatments are also much more advanced than ordinary hypnosis or meditation CD´s being offered today. Nowhere else can you find recordings this long at this low price!

60-day-guarantee-money-back-smallLike many on-line sellers, there are plenty of products and packages available to purchase and download. AND, importantly, all are backed by a 60 day money back guarantee!

Meditation Power – Acoustic Brainwave Activation provides 7 days/24 hours/365 days online customer services. They have been around since 2007 and have received a number of very positive reviews:

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So, after all that, I figured what have we got to lose? Let me know how you go…please.

try this
Int Fibro

Find Local Body Work Shops

People use bodywork to promote relaxation, relieve stress, and reduce pain associated with FM. Bodywork and manual therapy are general terms that refer to body manipulation therapies used for relaxation and pain relief. Massage and chiropractic care well-known forms of manual therapy.

The idea behind bodywork is that people learn – or are forced by injury or stress – into unnatural ways of moving or holding their bodies. This unnatural movement or posture changes the natural alignment of bones, which in turn causes discomfort and may contribute to health problems.

The aim of bodywork is to realign and reposition the body to allow natural, graceful movement. Bodywork, along with identifying possible contributing causes of unnatural movement and posture, is thought to reduce stress and ease pain.

Some of the most common forms of bodywork are:

  • images (1)The Alexander technique, which focuses on proper alignment of the head, neck, and trunk. It emphasizes improving health by increasing awareness of proper posture.
  • The Feldenkrais method, a gentle form of bodywork that increases flexibility and coordination. Feldenkrais exercises are intended to help increase a person’s awareness of body movement and develop new patterns of movement.
  • brochure_pic_1The Trager approach, which people use to help relearn natural movements and exercises so their bodies can function better. Practitioners teach gentle, rhythmic motions to improve flexibility and promote relaxation (called psychophysical integration) and dance-like exercises to increase awareness of body movement (called Mentastics).
  • Deep tissue massage, which attempts to treat chronic tension in deep muscles of the body. Deep tissue massage is thought to relieve pain and increase flexibility.
  • Rolfing, a form of deep tissue massage that practitioners use to realign the tissues that cover and connect all muscles and body organs (fascia). Bringing the body back into proper alignment is thought to reduce pain, improve flexibility and energy, and reduce muscle tension.
  • Dance/movement therapy, which has many of the same characteristics as the types of bodywork described above with the addition of creative and expressive art elements.

Bodywork can be a safe form of therapy when a qualified and experienced practitioner performs it. Talk with your doctor before you start any bodywork program, so you can choose the most appropriate form of bodywork for your specific condition. It may not be safe to forgo your conventional medical treatment and rely only on an alternative therapy.

Wiggle It (Just a Little Bit)

Belly dancing was one of the first forms of exercise. Belly dance is found all over the Near East, including Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon, Greece, and Turkey.

Belly dance (also known as Middle Eastern dance, Danse Orientale, Raqs Sharki, Ciftetelli, Rakkase, Danse du Ventre) is a celebration of a woman’s body.  It is a unique style of world dance that intertwines improvisation originating from ancient folk and gypsy movements with trained professional choreography originating in the harems.

There is no definite origin of belly dance, but one can see traditional associations with many fertility rituals of the ancient world and the dances in the ancient Indian temples. The fertility rituals were meant to celebrate the reproductive aspects of life, both human and in nature. The movements developed into being used by female only groups for strengthening muscles and spirit for birthing. In this sense, the dance was seen as a private, sacred art. The undulating movements strengthen muscles and breathing techniques, making it easier to control your body.

The common people and travelling gypsy groups later performed belly dance movements on the street (the higher class did not dance in public). Eventually this moved into the harems, where beautiful slaves and dancing-girls learned to entertain their host. With harem girls began sophisticated dance and music training, incorporating choreography and “props”, and the dance was also taught to the higher-class female family members, who also lived and were educated in the harems.

So, it’s kinda weird that it was researchers in Brazil who found that, after beginning a belly dance program, FM sufferers reported reduced pain and improved functional capacity, quality of life and self-image.

Researchers studied 80 women with FM (the rest were doing the Samba! Lol!) who were randomly assigned to either a dance group or control group. The dance group participated in 1-hour belly dance classes twice a week for 16 weeks, with movements involving the upper limbs, scapular girdle, trunk and hips. A masked physiotherapist evaluated pain assessment, functional capacity, quality of life, depression, anxiety and self-image at the beginning, 16 weeks and 32 weeks.

The dancing FMers significantly improved from baseline to 32 weeks in pain, emotional aspects and mental health scales.

Health benefits of Belly Dancing (not just for FM sufferers)

  • Stress reduction

Belly dancing requires tremendous relaxation and concentration, as you must focus on isolating various parts of your body. The flowing movements of belly dance help to calm and soothe the mind. The repetitive movements of the dance and the concentration needed to do them can help a mind filled with daily stress to “let go” for a while and relax. It’s hard to worry about deadlines at work when you are thinking about getting that next drop just right, or while making sure that you are in time with the music.

One effect of stress is that our bodies tense up, causing contractions or spasms in muscle groups, such as those in the neck, shoulders, or back. Belly dance, on the other hand, gently stretches and uses these vulnerable muscle groups, and as they are utilized, blood flow increases and lactic acid is flushed away. Stressed muscles relax as they are gently exercised, relieving the “clenched” muscles often seen in FM sufferers. The body becomes supple and limber, and practitioners frequently report that pain diminishes in the back and neck areas.

  • Fitness and Muscle Building

Belly dancing is vigorous and will make you break a sweat. The fast movements of the hips and shoulders are enough to really get your heart pumping, offering tremendous cardiovascular benefits. When performed as exercise, belly dancing can be compared to any other aerobic workout.

Belly dancing is also a wonderful way to strengthen the major muscles of your body. When performed correctly, belly dancing can also stretch and release tension in the back. Because it is a low-impact form of exercise, belly dancing won’t jolt or jar your body.

  • Weight loss

Belly dancing can have a positive impact on your weight, improving your self-image. If performed regularly, belly dancing can actually encourage weight loss, as it burns calories as well as increases your metabolic rate. According to Dr. Carolle Jean-Murat, M.D., belly dance can burn up to 300 calories per hour. This estimate will vary, of course, depending on the intensity of your dancing.

Belly dancers come in a variety of body types and sizes. Belly dancing will make you more aware of your posture, grace, body language and facial expressions, all helping to improve your self-image. If you attend a belly dancing class, you will probably see several different sizes of bodies, all just as beautiful as the others.

  • An Internal Massage

Belly dancing can be very beneficial to the health of your internal organs. It is sometimes said that belly dancing was developed as a way to prepare the body for childbirth. Since belly dancing centres around controlling the muscles of the abdomen, it may make carrying and delivering a baby easier on your body. For women who desire natural childbirth, this form of exercise through dance, with its emphasis on muscle control not only facilitates natural childbirth, but also makes an excellent post-natal exercise that helps encourage abdominal tone.

Also, many women notice that belly dancing helps to relieve menstrual cramping.

Belly dance seems like a fun, healthy way to exercise. As we are continually being told, exercise is important in the treatment of FM. The Brazilian researchers concluded, “Patient education regarding how to initiate and continue exercise is crucial to the success of treatment. … Belly dance leads to improvement in pain, sleep pattern, functional capacity and self-image in patients with fibromyalgia. [It is] a safe, effective therapeutic strategy for women with fibromyalgia.” It can be a creative outlet that conditions, tones, and allows a woman to tune into the natural movements of her body. It can refresh, relax, and/or exhilarate. So why wait?

Caution: Many doctors have suggested belly dancing classes as part of rehabilitation from injury; it is, however, important to check with your own medical provider before starting any new form of exercise.

 

My Life has the Tendency to Fall Apart When I’m Awake

Do you think Ernest Hemingway (author of the quote in the title) had FM?

As we all know, even if we are lucky enough to sleep 10 hours a night, we are still fatigued and exhausted.

Research shows that with FM, there is an automatic arousal in the brain during sleep. Frequent disruptions prevent the important restorative processes from occurring. Growth hormone is mostly produced during sleep. Without restorative sleep and the surge of growth hormone, muscles may not heal and neurotransmitters (like the mood chemical serotonin) are not replenished. The lack of a good night’s sleep makes people with FM wake up feeling tired and fatigued.

The result: The body can’t recuperate from the day’s stresses – all of which overwhelms the system, creating a greater sensitivity to pain. Widespread pain, sleep problems, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and memory difficulties are all symptoms of FM (just in case you hadn’t noticed!).

Insomnia takes many forms — trouble falling asleep, waking up often during the night, having trouble going back to sleep, and waking up too early in the morning. Research shows that smoothing out those sleep problems – and helping people get the deep sleep their bodies need – helps fibromyalgia pain improve significantly.

But how?

Medications can help enhance sleep and relieve pain. But doctors also advocate lifestyle changes to help sleep come naturally:

  • Enjoy a soothing (warm) bath in the evening.
  • Brush your body with a loofah or long-handled brush in the bath.
  • Ease painful tender points with a self-massage device (like a tennis ball).
  • Do yoga and stretching exercises to relax.
  • Listen to calming music.
  • Meditate to tame intrusive thoughts and tension.
  • Sleep in a darkened room. Try an eye mask if necessary.
  • Keep the room as quiet as possible (or use a white-noise machine).
  • Make sure the room temperature is comfortable.
  • Avoid foods that contain caffeine, including teas, colas, and chocolate.

Therapies to Treat Insomnia When You Have Fibromyalgia

If you’re still having sleep problems, several therapies can help, including biofeedback, relaxation training, stress reduction, and cognitive therapy. A psychologist who specializes in sleep disorders can discuss these therapies with you. The therapies help people handle stress better, which helps control FM episodes, When you’re stressed out, FM tends to flare and you feel worse – that’s when you’re most likely to have insomnia, too.

Medications can also help ease FM pain at night, or directly treat insomnia. Medications to ease pain and improve sleep include certain types of antidepressants, anticonvulsants, prescription pain relievers, and sleep aids.

BUT, as we kept getting told (a lot!), no one therapy will control FM pain 100 per cent. So start to mix it up and use all the tools that are beginning to come to light.

Stress = Pain = Stress

Stress and pain are intimately related.

In our case, often, being stressed causes pain AND/OR pain causes stress. Psychological therapies – including hypnosis, meditation, and relaxation – may help break the cycle.

For pain therapists, these treatments, which focus on the relationship between the mind and body, are considered mainstream.

For other health professionals, they may be considered alternative or complementary therapies.

And for the layman, they may be considered hocus pocus!

Regardless of how they are labelled, there is evidence that for many people they work.

Hypnosis

fate2For many, hypnosis brings to mind a parlour game or nightclub act, where a man with a swinging watch gets volunteers to walk like a chicken or bark like a dog. But clinical or medical hypnosis is more than fun and games. It is an altered state of awareness used by licensed therapists to treat psychological or physical problems.

During hypnosis, the conscious part of the brain is temporarily tuned out as the person focuses on relaxation and lets go of distracting thoughts. The American Society of Clinical Hypnotists likens hypnosis to using a magnifying glass to focus the rays of the sun and make them more powerful. When our minds are concentrated and focused, we are able to use them more powerfully. When hypnotized, a person may experience physiologic changes, such as a slowing of the pulse and respiration, and an increase in alpha brain waves. The person may also become more open to specific suggestions and goals (such as reducing pain!) In the post-suggestion phase, the therapist reinforces continued use of the new behaviour.

Benefits of Hypnosis

Research has shown medical hypnosis to be helpful for acute and chronic pain. In 1996, a panel of the National Institutes of Health found hypnosis to be effective in easing cancer pain. More recent studies have demonstrated its effectiveness for pain related to other conditions. An analysis of 18 studies by researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York revealed moderate to large pain-relieving effects from hypnosis, supporting the effectiveness of hypnotic techniques for pain management.

If you want to try hypnosis, you can expect to see a practitioner by yourself for a course of 1-hour or half-hour treatments, although some practitioners may start with a longer initial consultation and follow-up with 10- to 15-minute appointments. Your therapist can give you a post-hypnotic suggestion that will enable you to induce self-hypnosis after the treatment course is completed

To find a hypnotherapist, speak to your doctor.

More reading on Hypnosis: Look into my Eyes

Find a licensed Hypnotherapist:

The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis

American Psychotherapy and Medical Hypnosis Association

Mind Motivations – For US, UK and Australia

Therapy Tribe – for US, UK, Canada and Australia

Meditation

Meditation involves using a number of awareness techniques to help quiet the mind and relax the body. The two most common techniques are:

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  • Transcendental meditation. The patient repeats a single word or phrase, called a mantra, and is taught to allow other thoughts and feelings to pass.
  • Mindfulness Meditation. The person focuses all of his or her attention on thoughts and sensations. This form of meditation is often taught in stress-reduction programs. Want to give this a try?

meditationBenefits of Meditation

Studies suggest that meditating can increase pain tolerance, activity levels, and self-esteem and decrease anxiety, stress, depression, and use of pain medications.

Mindfulness meditation has been used successfully in programs to reduce pain and improve mood in patients with chronic pain from a variety of conditions, including headache, low back pain, chest pain, and gastrointestinal pain.

Because there are varied forms of meditation and opinions about requirements for training, there is no formal certification or licensing process for instructors. Training requirements differ widely by institution. If you would like to find a meditation instructor, speak to your doctor or a friend, who may be able to recommend one.

To practice meditation, repeated meetings with the instructor may not be necessary. A recent study examining the perception of pain and various mental training techniques has found that relatively short and simple mindfulness meditation training can have a significant positive effect on pain management.

Relaxation Therapies

Relaxation therapies include a range of techniques with the goal of reducing stress. In addition to meditation, the major types of relaxation techniques are:

  • Progressive muscle relaxation: Also known as systematic muscle relaxation and Jacobson relaxation, this technique involves slowly tensing, briefly holding, and then releasing each muscle group in a systematic fashion, starting with the muscles in the toes and moving upward. During this exercise, the person should notice the differences between tension and relaxation.

MINI-RELAXATION PROCEDURE (for those on a tight schedule!)

For relaxation to be of the most benefit, you need to learn how to relax and calm yourself instantly upon your awareness of tension or irritability. While a 20-30 minute relaxation period is great, and very pleasant, you cannot escape and listen to your tape or do your long practice when you are tense in traffic or irritated with your family or co-workers.

A mini-relaxation is done as follows:

  1. Take a deep breath and raise your shoulders slightly (until you can feel increased muscle tension).
  2. Starting at the top of your head, focus on letting go of muscle tension (beginning with the muscles across your forehead). Allow sensations of relaxation, release, and heaviness to flow downward from your forehead, downward through your face, shoulders, arms, torso, and legs and imagine all the muscle tightness and tension draining right out your feet. Exhale as you allow the tension to drain away, and use your “key word” as you do so (this may be Relax, Peace, Calm, Serene, Ocean or any other word or phrase that denotes deep relaxation to you). Be certain that your deep breath was a deep diaphragmatic breath.
  3. This whole procedure should take no more than about 30 seconds (and can be done in as little as 10 seconds if that’s all the time you have). At the end of this period, go about your business regardless of how relaxed you feel.
  4. Repeat this process many times during the day, at least 20. Use the coloured dot procedure to remind yourself to do a mini-relaxation, preferably several times an hour. Place coloured dots in places you will see them often: your telephone, kitchen faucet, refrigerator, bathroom mirror, the door frame of doors you walk through frequently, your notebook or appointment book that you consult frequently, and even cut a small part of the coloured dot to place on your watchband. Whenever you see the coloured dot that is your reminder to do a mini-relaxation: deep breath, raise shoulders, let go of muscle tension as you breathe out and drop your shoulders, while repeating your ‘key word.’ You will notice that you become better and better at producing sensations of relaxation in a very short period of time, as you practice this over days and weeks. Do not extend your mini-relaxation more than one minute. If you are still tense, continue with what you are doing, and do another mini-relaxation the next time you see a dot, or the next time you are aware of feeling annoyed.

NB: A note of caution regarding relaxation if you are driving your car: Never practice long periods of deep relaxation while driving. Never listen to a deep relaxation tape while driving. Frequency is the key! The more you practice relaxation, or mini-relaxation, the better you will become at releasing stress and tension quickly and effectively.

Autogenic training: This technique uses visual imagery and body awareness to achieve relaxation. The person imagines being in a peaceful place and then focuses on different physical sensations, such as heaviness of the limbs or a calm heartbeat. People may practice on their own, creating their own images, or be guided by a therapist. Patients may also be encouraged to see themselves coping more effectively with stressors in their lives.

Breathing: Breathing techniques teach people to breathe effectively to relieve stress. While placing one hand on the chest and another on the belly, the person is instructed to take a slow, deep breath, taking in as much air as possible. During this, the belly should press against the hand. After holding their breath for a few seconds, patients are instructed to slowly exhale.

Benefits of Relaxing

According to a 1996 National Institutes of Health report, there is strong evidence to support the effectiveness of relaxation techniques for reducing chronic pain related to a variety of medical conditions. Other benefits may include reduced muscle tension and insomnia and increased activity level.

chronic comic 167The best way to learn relaxation techniques is with the help of a trained practitioner (although you can find many guided meditations, etc. on the Net). Usually these techniques are taught in a group class and then practiced regularly at home.

There is no widely accepted license for practicing relaxation therapy. However, it is often practiced by therapists and psychologists. Ask your doctor for a recommendation.

More reading on Relaxation: Relax

Risks of Mind-Body Therapies

Although mind/body therapies don’t have the risks of medical or surgical therapies, there have been rare reports of adverse reactions from them.

  • If you have poorly controlled cardiovascular disease, experts recommend avoiding progressive muscle relaxation, because abdominal tensing can cause increased pressure in the chest cavity, slowing of the pulse, decreased return of blood to the heart, and increased venous pressure.
  • If you have a history of psychosis or epilepsy, you may wish to speak with your doctor before trying meditation. There have been reports of some people having further acute episodes following deep and prolonged meditation.
  • Hypnosis or deep relaxation can sometimes worsen psychological problems in people with post-traumatic stress disorders or a susceptibility to false memories. Its use should be avoided in patients with borderline personality disorder, dissociative disorders, or with patients who have histories of profound abuse. Because competent hypnotherapists are skilled in recognizing and referring patients with these conditions, only appropriately trained and experienced practitioners should undertake hypnosis.

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Bali 7

So this was the plan for today:

  • Wake up (then wake Mommy at 9am)
  • Walk (15 mins) to Bali Deli for brunch
  • Check out fat lady store (about 2 minute walk from Deli)
  • Get eyelash extensions while Mommy has massage (next door to fat lady store)
  • Buy lunch food at Bali Deli and return to Villa (by taxi)
  • Rest and relaxation ‘til about 4pm
  • Get taxi to bottom of Double 6 street
  • Walk/shop for an hour (at most!)
  • Dinner near Legian beach
  • Home by taxi

This seemed liked a nicely-planned, nicely-paced day, with about 1¼ hours of walking for the day – guess what? Didn’t happen!

That luggage under my eyes ain’t going anywhere!

I woke up at about 6am (I am getting about 6 hours sleep a night but it is just not enough. My body needs to sleep properly (somehow). I keep thinking that, if I get exhausted enough, I will sleep properly – not working!) I read my book, fiddled about on the computer then got in the pool. I decided not to wake Mommy – it’s her holiday, too and if she wants to sleep, I’m going to let her.

When Mommy woke up, we walked to Bali Deli (as planned) and had a wonderful brunch of scrambled eggs on toast with exceptionally crispy bacon, accompanied by an apple-orange-carrot juice.

Then we walked to the fat lady store, where there was absolutely nothing for me and Mommy tried on heaps – but it looked horrible. Very disappointing! We had high hopes for that shop.

So, so far, the plan is not too off track…

We were so disappointed that we walked to the fat lady store we had discovered the previous night (probably another 30 minute walk there and back) but, because I hadn’t woken Mommy, it was almost midday and so, so extremely hot!

We didn’t find anything worthwhile there (at least at a price that we were willing to pay) either. So a walk back to the massage place for a one hour massage at $7.00 – gotta love Bali!

Then the plan went quite well for a little while, with lunch IN the pool because we were so hot and it felt decadent. But our rest and relaxation only ended up being about 1.5 hours (including making lunch) because we had started the day so late.

Next, we got ourselves ready and caught a taxi. The taxi driver, about half way through the trip, stopped and told us he had to pick up some-one at the airport – this was as far as he could take us. What the…?

Now came a decision: did we catch another taxi to where we wanted to go? Or, was the universe telling us something and, should we walk around these shops for a while? Well, what did you think I was going to do? SHOPPING!

I found a wonderful bead shop, where, after searching the highs and lows of his store, the shop owner (Rudi) is making me gorgeous wind-on wire bracelets (ie: will fit everyone) with purple shells, purple and silver beads, and a silver butterfly on the end. But firstly, he had to make me a sample so I could make sure that it was up to my exacting standards – so we were to return after dinner.

Then, Mommy and I continued walking. About 10 minutes later, we found another bead store with the exact purple bead I wanted in the centre of the bracelet. I bought one of their bracelets, left Mommy where she was and started back to Rudi’s store to show him what I wanted.

On the way back (and how did I miss it the first time?), I saw a beautiful silver pendant, inlaid with mother of pearl, in the shape of a butterfly. Oh my! perfect for the rubber chokers I found (with a magnetic clasp so we can open and close it without hurting our fingers!) But, I was getting so tired that I knew my brain wasn’t working clearly enough, so I decided I had to return with Mommy (when we came back later) to do the bargaining and money stuff (I’ve been getting really confused with Bali money (too many zeroes) so I refuse to buy anything without Mommy being around to double-check my calculations!)

Now, where was I? Okay, I continued to Rudi’s store, dropped off the beaded bracelet with the perfect bead, turned around and walked back to Mommy. By the time I got back, all I could do was signal to her that I needed a drink FAST! Mommy, being the perfect travelling companion and caring soul, already had one open and waiting for me. I sat down on the footpath and drank the entire juice in about two gulps. My ankles and legs were killing me (have you seen Balinese footpaths?)

We decided (FM decided it for us?) that we should just stop for dinner. We couldn’t be THAT far from the beach restaurant, right? Wrong! We couldn’t even find the beach! So we stopped at another restaurant, which looked rather appealing…

After dinner, we decided we should catch a taxi and have it wait for us at each of the stores (taxis in Bali are not the same as at home – it only cost us $4 to stop at the two stores (LOVE the sample bracelet (Stay tuned for the Bali Collection on my shop) and order before returning home – umm, where I had to run inside (despite my exhaustion) to get to the bathroom as, it appears, that dinner did NOT agree with my tummy!

All in all, quite an eventful (exhausting and not-to-plan) day. Perhaps we’ll stick to the plan a little bit better tomorrow…

******LIP UPDATE******

Pace Ahead

 

After H-E-L-P, it seems there was some confusion by what I meant by ‘pacing’ so here is my explanation…

People with FM have chronic pain and cope with it in different ways:

• Some people stay active until they can do no more and then rest to recover before returning to an activity for as long as they can again. This may result in their pain getting worse or a ‘flare’ as they carry out an activity for too long. The time taken to rest tends to steadily increase.

• Some people manage very little and stop an activity at the slightest hint of pain in order to avoid over activity and ‘making things worse’. If such people begin to feel pain earlier and earlier in the activity this may stop them from participating at all.

• Some people decide that the good day/bad day cycle is too much of a roller coaster. They avoid doing much for fear of flaring-up pain. They don’t do much but at least they feel they are on top of the pain.  But they have a poor quality of life, are not able to do much, have very little fun and often suffer from depression. They also feel a lot less fit and tired when trying to do anything. Often patterns of activity develop as people try to manage their pain. Life must go on, and day-to-day activities have to be done. People may say they have little choice and that they feel trapped or controlled by the pain.

Striking a balance between activity and rest is called PACING, so you don’t burn-out or become completely inactive. You need to take an active interest and involvement in the management of your pain; breaking the vicious circle of feeling worse and doing less.

The pain will still be there in the background. The theory behind pacing is quite simple: it is important that you spot the things that are making your pain worse and find ways to make this happen less often – this is part of pacing. Learning what to do when your pain is worse will also help, so that it does not add to the problem and end up making things worse.

How to Start Pacing

  • Plan how you intend to start an activity and how long you will do it for. Just as an athlete in training you can then gradually build this up to a level which you are happy with. This pacing of your exercises helps you to introduce things in a controlled and responsible manner.
  • Set yourself positive goals which are realistic, specific and measurable you will begin to see how you are progressing.
  • Prioritise your activities so that you are achieving things in the order that you would like to. Also if you are finding things difficult then you can have finished the tasks most important to you.
  • Exercise whenever possible, this will not only keep you fit and take your mind of things, but may also help you feel better.

Pacing & Spacing activities

Pacing is a technique that you can use to gradually increase your level of activity.

Pacing is all about breaking this pattern and gradually increasing what you can do. It should be possible to pace any activity, although in everyday life, we are not used to doing things gradually – we like to get things done quickly. But pacing really does work!

Start by choosing one or more activities that you want to be able to do, or be able to do for longer, e.g. walking, sitting, standing, etc. If it’s the first time you’ve tried pacing, don’t be too ambitious. Choose an activity that you find difficult, but not impossible. Set a baseline amount of time that you can easily and comfortably achieve. Then practice that activity regularly, every day if possible, on good days and bad. Then gradually build up the amount of time you spend doing this activity, but never do more than you planned. Write down your times on each occasion and this will help you to see how much you’re improving.

Pacing really does work; you can stay motivated by continually achieving a series of small goals!

Spacing involves breaking down an activity into manageable chunks and taking some time out between each chunk to rest and relax. By dividing up tasks in this way you can keep an eye on how you feel and how you are getting on with the task. Your rest periods might be a time for you to practice relaxation techniques, call a friend, listen to music, read the paper — whatever.

The idea of planning your activities and planning a rest break before your pain forces you to is a key technique of pacing and is called working to schedule.

Remember

 Inactivity is harmful to your physical and mental health as well as to your chronic pain.

 Pushing yourself to keep on at a task without taking a rest results in more pain and the need for increased recovery time.

 Balancing your activity and rest is called pacing.

 Pacing involves:

  • Planning realistic activities each day.
  • Planning several rest periods during the day.
  • Resting before the pain gets worse.

 Using a timer will remind you of your rest periods.

 Organize your activities and avoid rushing.

The Flip Side

It all sounds easy, huh? This seems to be the hardest thing for most us to do – it’s really hard to say that you can’t see your nephew because you had physio and hydro and seeing him will take your activity schedule too far. What if there are two family events on one day? We know that’s going to be TOO much, so how do you pace this?

Pacing takes practice and experimentation, and more practice! Good luck!