Mindfulness & ET

When medical or surgical therapy has not controlled all of the symptoms of essential tremor, some people have found that focused breathing and meditation are effective practices for calming the mind and body. In the cover story of our most recent Tremor Talk magazine, Dr. Monique Giroux writes that employing such mindfulness strategies can reduce the negative impact of stress and sharpen the mind’s potential for personal healing.

Dr. Giroux is co-founder of the Movement and Neuroperformance Center of Colorado in Englewood, Colo., and medical director of movement disorders for Swedish Medical Center.

“It is a way to stay in the present moment, engaging in life and living life as fully as you can,” she says. “Mindfulness can be a helpful tool to enhance the effect of medicine and surgery on tremor control. The next time your tremor feels ‘out of control,’ take a moment to reflect, and know that you have control in how you respond.”

Is mindfulness part of your regimen to regulate ET’s impact on your life? What has your personal experience been? Please share: inquiring minds want to know!

The Mysteries of the Mind

Mind Body MedicineI watched a program on The Science Channel the other night: Through the Wormhole: Mysteries of the Subconscious. Part of the program discussed the work being done at The Benson-Henry Institute of Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. With more than 35 years of research and clinical practice, Herbert Benson, MD and his colleagues at the Institute have proven the effectiveness of mind/body medicine in helping thousands of men and women reduce the stress that can cause or exacerbate their medical conditions. And as any ET patient will tell you, stress and anxiety do exacerbate essential tremor.

Mind/body medicine takes into account that physical health is influenced by thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and conversely, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors can be influenced by physical symptoms. It teaches individuals how to take control of their lives, use their own power to reduce stress and other negative behaviors and thoughts, and thus maintain or regain health.

Dr. Benson found that there is a counter-mechanism to stress which he calls the “relaxation response.” The relaxation response is a physical state of deep rest that changes ?normal? physical and emotional responses to stress (e.g., decreases in heart rate, blood pressure, rate of breathing, and muscle tension). If practiced regularly, it can have lasting effects.

For more information on how to elicit the relaxation response in you, visit The Benson-Henry Institute of Mind Body Medicine website for the basics.

Do you meditate? What technique works for you? What other strategies or Coping Tips do you use to manage stress and anxiety?