Millions suffer from chronic conditions, such as IBS, fibromyalgia and
Crohn’s disease, for which there are no easy solutions.
One of them is Andrea Neufeld, a 50-year-old mother and grandmother who
has suffered from Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS since she was a teenager.
“It takes over your life,” she explains. “Symptoms like
severe constipation and gas aren’t something you can talk about
with friends and family. Pain and isolation are just two of the consequences
of living with something that has no cure.”
Fortunately, more and more research is documenting the significant benefits
of a holistic approach for many chronic conditions, including nutritional
strategies, yoga therapy, and mindfulness-based stress reduction. A new
program is utilizing these evidence-based therapies to improve the lives
of those with
issues as diverse as insomnia, chronic pain, and functional bowel disorders.
“The mind-body and gut-brain connection is particularly important
for those living with chronic conditions,” explains Martin Carr,
MD, a boardcertified gastroenterologist at St. Jude who helped create
the program. “Stress, anxiety, and depression all worsen symptoms,
gentle exercise, relaxation and emotional resilience
can significantly improve them.”
The unique program doesn’t replace the medical care of a physician,
but instead provides the coaching, instruction, therapies, and support
that isn’t possible to provide in a regular doctor’s visit.
“To be given a toolkit of techniques and strategies that can help
you regain your quality of life is very empowering for someone living
with an issue like IBS or chronic pain,” explains Kimson Johnston,
LMFT, a psychotherapist and certified wellness coach who teaches participants
mindfulnessbased stress reduction. “We help people learn how to
better control their symptoms, feel more confident, avoid constant doctor
and hospital visits, and live their lives more fully.”
For participants, one of the unexpected benefits is discovering how healing
the camaraderie and support of others facing the same battle can be. “The
program was phenomenal,” Andrea explains, who finished the classes
last fall. “After years of feeling alone, having the support and
encouragement of others who know exactly what you are going through was
an amazing bonus.” To learn more, please call (714) 578-8724.