the mindfulness solution to pain

an edited version of this book review appeared in the July /August 2009 edition of Off The Shelf
by Jackie Gardner-Nix with Lucie Costin-Hall, MA
reviewed by Barbara Wilkinson, MA, MEd. ACTT

The subject of this gem is near and less than dear to our hearts.  Is there anyone among us who has not felt pain?  Dr. Jackie Gardner-Nix offers solutions. And it is not what you might think.

Statistically, some thirty percent of Canadians experience chronic pain.  The word chronic gives this subject a serious (dare I say, more painful) slant.

Dr. Jackie has specialized in dealing with pain since she started her career as a doctor.  In the year 2001, she sought out respite from the intensity of her work.  She packed up her own stress and took Jon Kabat-Zinn's Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Training.  In finding healing for herself, she found an alternate and complementary solution for her patients.  There is a place for the traditional medical solutions of meds and surgery.  However, it is not always possible to cut out our pain or increase our meds.

Her path was not unlike my own.  I work as a counselor and focus on people's emotional suffering . Years ago, I saw the healing potential of mindfulness for my clients.  The explosion of the field of neuroscientific research has proved mindfulness to be not another fad but scientifically sound, necessary now, and here for the long haul. Better still, it is common sense.  After all, who would not benefit from learning to be less reactive, from becoming more relaxed and less stressed?

Jackie set up classes using the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction curriculum at St. Michael's and Sunnybrook Hospitals in Toronto. She added her own creative insights.  Thousands of folks in pain have benefited since.  And now you too can. Out of her insights and based on her practical experience, has come this book, "The Mindfulness Solution to Pain".

In her book, Dr Jackie offers pain sufferers a program for healing. She describes her curriculum, provides us with meditation ( not medication) scripts and lots of fascinating case studies. She explains pain. Did you know the same area of the brain lights up under brain scans whether it is physical or emotional pain?  Do you have any idea of the impact of our perceptions on pain? You will have more questions answered than you even knew you had!! Check this book out. You can follow the course on your own and incorporate strategies into your daily life.

You might even decide to embark on a mindfulness course in Toronto at the pain clinics with Jackie or in Guelph with me.

This book offers hope. There is life beyond pain. There is wisdom beyond suffering. Mindfulness is about healing - and thriving . And being relaxed. Go for it!!

For her own stress reduction, Barbara practices mindfulness every chance she gets.  She teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction classes in Guelph, ON, as well as Mindful Eating for Health and Wellbeing. She is also a psychotherapist. Check her out at or call her at 519-824-9831.

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