Welcome to the first post on the Bamboo’S TALK, the blog for Bamboo Whole Health, our multidisciplinary health centre facilitating balance, flexibility, and resilience in your whole person.
Over the next few posts we will take a look at some healing methods and the evidence that suggests that they are beneficial to our mind body spirit health.
Recently, I watched a docuseries called “Proven; Healing breakthroughs backed by science”. I learned about the efficacy of many modalities and how they calm the nervous system and stimulate healing in the bodymind. Over the past 30 years there has been an explosion of research into healing methods like massage, mindfulness meditation, acupuncture, biofeedback, EFT, Tai Chi, Chi Gong, Yoga and herbs to name a few. The docuseries covered topics such as stress, anxiety, chronic pain, and cancer, and named the researchers’ top 5 modalities to help treat these based on the quality of research, accessibility (cost) and effectiveness. Tai Chi, Yoga, Massage and other modalities ranked high as being beneficial to reduce stress and anxiety and manage chronic pain.
One healing method that wasn’t covered in the docuseries is what I want to explore today: Journaling. I started journaling when I was 7 years old, and have benefited from the practice since then. Now I want to take a look at the research that suggests that it is a tool to aid in managing chronic pain, and letting go of physical and emotional trauma.
Journaling is a tool I use to unpack my mind, process worries and other thoughts, plan for the future, sort out the past. I jot down my day, make a list, mull over a conversation, summon the courage to have a conversation. I find that journaling lessens anxiety, grief, and calms and lifts my spirit.
I like the stream of consciousness style of journaling described by Julia Cameron in “The Artist’s Way” She popularized the “morning pages” https://juliacameronlive.com/2019/09/24/the-bedrock-tool-of-the-artists-way-morning-pages/
Morning pages are done, if possible, first thing in the morning, and are three handwritten 8.5 X11 pages ideally, taking 20-25 minutes. There is no right way to do them, and the idea is not to think too much about what you are writing. You certainly don’t have to be a writer to do the morning pages. They are a great way to get in touch with yourself and get your inner critic out of the way.
Some of the research around journaling as a healing tool has been done with Expressive Writing, introduced by James Pennebaker PhD, a professor of Psychology at the University of Texas in Austin. He began studies in the 1980’s on the impact of expressive writing on physical and emotional health. His study on the immune response highlights that writing about emotional upheavals can improve immune function.
His method of writing involves 15-20 minutes per day for 3-5 consecutive days. People are asked to let go and write down their deepest thoughts about an event that they have been thinking excessively about, and worrying about. A paper written by Baikie and Wilhelm in 2005 identifies the many benefits of expressive writing discovered over the years by Pennebaker and others including: reduced blood pressure, improved mood, improved lung function, improved sporting performance, reduced pain and improved physical health in patients with cancer.
(download the pdf for full article)
Daily journaling as a tool for emotional and physical recovery remains, for me, one of my most effective healing methods. I recommend it to my Physiotherapy and Life Coaching clients as one way to unblock the body mind spirit and help find balance, flexibility and resilience in life.
What is your experience with journaling, what do you think, and how does it make you feel?
Felicity Goldring, BScPsych, BScPT, Registered Physiotherapist, Holistic Life and Wellness Coach
The contents of this website and blog are for informational purposes and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care practitioner with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any mind or body exercise or other health program.
Neither Felicity Goldring, Kay Shore, or Bamboo Whole Health is responsible for any adverse effects resulting from your use of or reliance on any information contained in any website or blog post.