From The Blog

Dissolve Your Chronic Pain with Open Focus

Are you suffering in pain? Is your pain long lasting or chronic? Do you lose sleep because your pain is so intense that you cannot easily drift off to sleep? Are you avoiding certain activities due to your pain? Is your pain negatively affecting your mood or emotional state? Would you like to know or learn how you can reduce or dissolve your chronic pain?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should know that you are not alone. Did you know that in a 2006 study conducted by the American Pain Foundation, 86% of participants reported that chronic pain prevented them from getting a good night’s sleep, 77% reported feeling depressed, and 70% had trouble concentrating due to their pain? Likewise, a 2011 report by Global Industry Analysts, Inc. concluded that over 1.5 Billion people worldwide suffer from some form of chronic pain.

Did you know that according to a recent Institute of Medicine report, more Americans suffer from chronic pain than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined? Did you know that this same report showed that over 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, and that in addition to the cost in human suffering, chronic pain costs Americans more than half a trillion dollars annually in direct medical expenses and lost productivity?

What is chronic pain? According to the Academy of Pain Medicine, chronic pain is pain which persists—after injury such as a strained back or serious infection—for weeks, months or years. The sources of some types of chronic pain can also be unknown. Common chronic pain complaints include headache, neck and low back pain, and arthritis pain. The main point is that pain hurts and when we address it, our quality of life is improved.

Open Focus is an amazingly effective stress management technique which dissolves chronic pain, stress and anxiety by shifting your attention. Although you may have never heard of it, Open Focus was created over 40 years ago by Dr. Les Fehmi of the Princeton Biofeedback Centre. While working with biofeedback and neurofeedback equipment with clients, Dr. Fehmi discovered that the most intense stress, anxiety and pain relief that clients experienced could be achieved without using equipment. He called this state Open Focus.

When you are in an Open Focus state, your attention becomes more flexible, shifting you out of a “normal” narrow focused attentional style into one that’s wider and more global. Although being in a narrow focused attentional style is helpful for goal attainment, remaining and maintaining a narrow focus for too long, often results in unnecessary stress, anxiety and chronic pain. You can easily begin to diminish your chronic pain by learning and using Open Focus.

According to Dr. Allan Basbaum and Dr. Carole Chrvala, the source of pain is in the brain. Although to some this may seem like a controversial finding, fMRI scans and other forms of neuroimaging confirm Dr. Fehmi’s view that when we change the way we pay attention, doing so, can profoundly modify the way we experience the world. Of course, this includes whether and how we recognize our own pain.

Open Focus uses the concept of space to break up habitual rigidity in our attentional processes. This increases brain plasticity while simultaneously reducing our chronic pain. An important feature that distinguishes Open Focus from other stress management techniques is that it changes you from the inside out. Dr. Fehmi has discovered that by not resisting your pain and going right into the heart of your pain, i.e. “resting” in your pain, has the capacity to dissolve your pain. The amazing thing about this counter-intuitive approach is that it works!

If you’d like to learn more about Open Focus and how you can experience the benefits of having your chronic pain reduced, diminished or dissolved, consider contacting the Princeton Biofeedback Centre, Princeton, NJ or me, a certified Open Focus trainer.