Claire Small Says Stop, Relax & Focus On Your Body

Chief Clinical Officer Claire Small focuses on the need to rest and relax our mind, allowing us to focus on how our body is feeling and improve our well-being.

Life is not a spectator sport, so get your mind in the game!

Did you either give or receive an adult colouring book as a present last Christmas? They were everywhere at that time and still continue to top the best seller’s lists on Amazon. So – what is the huge appeal?

The theory is that the act of colouring focuses our minds on a simple task that requires some level of concentration to stay within the lines but without a lot of thought and analysis. This allows our minds to rest and recharge, reduces our stress levels and the unwanted brain activity that stops our brains focusing on key aspects of our wellbeing. 

It allows us to reconnect our brains and our bodies at a time when our brains are normally focused on just getting through the day in London.

PM 1 0585

For those of us working in healthcare, the strong connections between our minds and our overall health and wellbeing is (pardon the pun) a no brainer”! 

Unfortunately, back in the 17th century, French philosopher Rene Descartes created the concept of Dualism in which the mind and the body were seen as two separate entities with limited ability to influence each other. For centuries, clinicians and scientists from all areas of medicine treated pain and disease affecting the body with complete disregard for the individual’s mental state and also failed to understand the ability for our brains to influence our bodily functions, including feelings of pain.

The idea that the brain can cause or influence physical things happening in our bodies may seem rather strange, but you experience this every day of your life – you cry when something sad happens, you blush when you are embarrassed, your fingers tingle when you stand on the top of a tall building and you may be physically sick when you hear or see something awful or upsetting. 

These are all physical responses to information being received by your brain.

OR2 2366

Another example of the brain / body connection I commonly discuss with patients is that of Phantom Limb Pain, where people who have had a limb amputated continue to feel” the physical presence of the body part, right down to sensations of pain and itchiness. 

The part of the brain responsible for this area of the body is still functioning and continues to send out information. The strange sensations of pain, itchiness and swelling that people feel in their phantom limbs are due to the disconnect between the information that the brain is receiving from the body and how the brain is used to functioning.

Clinicians treating this very painful and disabling condition are now using mirrors to focus on changing the way the brain thinks about this amputated region. I liken the brain / body disconnect in Phantom Limb Pain to the very weird feeling you get when you walk up an escalator. 

The reason for the strange sensation is the disconnect between what your body is feeling and what your brain is expecting.

More common conditions that research has shown can be hugely influenced by our brain include neck and back pain, repetitive strain injury (RSI), tennis elbow and even arthritis.

For more information on pain, or help with managing any pain related conditions, get in touch today. 

Find out how we can help
Pm 1 0233

Claire Small Says Exercise Your Mind

Exercise the wonder drug’ — Claire Small explores the importance of exercise for mental health & wellbeing.

IMG 0071

The Mind-Body Connection; Exercise, Pain and Mental Health

We all know the benefits that physical activity can have on our bodies, but what effects does it have on our mental health?

Pm 1 0127

Five Tips to Keep You Well

Dr Mike Burdon and Dietitian Linia Patel, share their top tips for maintaining good health during the colder months.

Pm 3 106

Claire Small Says Work On Your Resilience

This month’s blog Claire Small says take some time to work on your resilience, both personally & professionally.