Changing the conversation about health

Introducing the Bodymind Faculty at The College of Medicine

Welcome to the Bodymind Faculty (BMF), we are pleased you are here! Below, our Bodymind Faculty Lead, Simon Lewis, explains exactly what our ambitions are for our newest College of Medicine faculty…

What is the BMF?
We think that taking a Bodymind approach is central to everything we do at The College of
Medicine, and as the joined individuals we all are.

Our main aims for the Bodymind Faculty:

  • To promote Bodymind ways of thinking and approaches within and beyond The College of Medicine
  • To work with colleagues to reform medical student education
  • To promote holistic approaches to health/salutogenesis through the offer of regular practitioner sessions to College of Medicine members

What do we mean by Bodymind?
Why this word Bodymind? We choose to join the words body and mind as one because of our belief that body and mind are neither separate nor connected, rather they are one thing: we are one thing!

We recognise that at the moment the word Bodymind probably feels odd or clunky to use. Our medicine and lexicon are unhelpfully split in terms of body and mind so the word, Bodymind, and all it can mean, will take time to find its place: it is an attempt to heal a false separation.

Language, which represents our thoughts and feelings, changes over time. By comprehending and using the word Bodymind, we hope it will become incorporated and change how we construct our sentences and so how we think. And this could lead to a genuine questioning and curiosity that may contribute to the necessary rethinking our embodied world needs.

It’s early days and there is much to do. We are determined to push forwards as compassionately but firmly as possible to embrace the complexity of our over-simplified, highly complex world and contribute to a better one! Please join us.

Our Bodymind practitioners

As part of our BMF offer to College of Medicine members, please see below details of a wide variety of practitioners who have kindly offered their time for free, or at reduced rates. We hope you enjoy them!

Louise Carmi – Havening Techniques

After history taking and calibration of presenting distress/concern levels, the use of specific ‘Havening Touch’ creates a Delta brain wave state. This, combined with a variety of easy distractions, and re-calibration, enables a process of de-linking the negative effects from both mind and body. 

The Havening Techniques is a psychosensory technique based on research evidence that engages our inherent biological systems to alleviate the consequences of traumatic or stressful events and enables increased resilience. It can also improve performance e.g. in sports, education, coaching or public speaking.

As an example, I saw a 58-year-old man who needed urgent investigations under anaesthetic. With a history of overwhelming needle phobia, he recalled a tooth extraction which caused him distress calibrated at 10/10. This significantly diminished to 0/10 within 20 minutes, using Havening Touch and distractions.

Havening can be self or Practitioner applied and may be used ‘content free’ for people who may find it hard to disclose their traumatic experiences.

MORE INFO: louisecarmi.com

Mark Chambers – Generative Coaching

Generative Coaching is an approach to conversational change.

Generative Coaching has a methodology but is much more concerned with attitude and process than content and technique. Case studies are not an appropriate descriptive medium because the work is concerned with process more than outcome. Direction more than destination. 

The essential premise is that generativity means something new is created by the interaction of two or more people. This new reality is a product of consciousness; a conversation between the creative non-verbal world of infinite possibilities and the conscious singularity of the “real”, verbally expressed, world.

This approach is ideally suited to challenges where all other approaches have been exhausted. When the existing maps need updating or replacing. What to do when we don’t know what to do.

MORE INFO: generative-change.com

Stephan Hein – Yoga Nidra

Since July 2022 I have conducted a pioneering study about the healing effects of singing for integrated well-being, called “Music as Medicine”.

Set in a UK charity that supports patients affected by HIV/AIDS in the management of their illness, I offer monthly online group singing sessions of “Nada Yoga” (Yoga of Sound), concluded by “Yoga Nidra” (Yogic sleep), an immersion into deep and harmonising rest. 

Results surprised, showing self-nurturing and healing effect for physical and mental well-being. Participants (60) felt empowered and commented: “I can cope better with my anxiety”, “feeling peaceful and calm”, “My migraine disappeared, I couldn’t believe it”, “The company of others”. Attendants reported feeling more “hopeful, restful, energized, finding strength, sleeping well, happy, restored.” 

Evidence shows that the practice of (communal) singing and practices like Yoga Nidra can have deeply relaxing, balancing effect on the ANS, causing release of “happiness hormones” incl. dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins.

MORE INFO: haleclinic.com/stephan-hein

Professor David Peters: A webinar about ‘resilience’ and flourishing in healthcare work

How are we to sustain the enthusiasm and effort we need to maintain a high standard of clinical care in a time when the NHS is riven by austerity and industrialisation?

This introductory webinar,  gathering together some facts about emotions,  stress and flourishing, offers insights and new skills. The assumption is that working in healthcare is inherently stressful.  However, evolved stress ,responses can interfere with key professional  faculties: decision-making, empathy and communication. Burnout begins when persistent stress undermines performance and self-esteem. 

As capacity to recover deteriorates  irritability and exhaustion set in. Unless the slide can be halted, cynicism and dissociation follow as overload and declining job satisfaction make an already difficult job feel impossible.

Neuroscience throws light on ways of reducing burnout risks, for staying sharp under pressure and for regaining the resilience and energy we need to sustain a long professional life, and the enthusiasm needed for creating necessary change in our overloaded and often dysfunctional workplaces.

MORE INFO: Email infoprofpeters@gmail.com with subject line ‘CoM webinar’ to book a place

READ MORE: The neurobiology of resilience 

Dr Jo Waddell

Dr Jo Waddell describes herself as a catalyst for change, trained in highly effective techniques since 2006, complementing medical expertise of over 30 years as a former GP.  

Jo offers a blend of therapies tailored to an individual and their circumstances to create a bespoke and long-lasting solution. Her passion and specialty is getting rid of people’s gremlins, and helping them to create the best version of themselves. One-to-one sessions are available to College of Medicine members at a discounted rate of 50% off.  Jo offers a free 20 minute video call to see if she is the right person to help you.

MORE INFO: drjowaddell.co.uk

Deniah Pachai – Lu Jong

If you would like to feel more connected to your body, emotions and nature, then Lu Jong is definitely worth exploring. 

These once-secret mind-body-breath techniques have their origins in Tibetan Tantrayana Buddhism and a time when people lived in close connection with nature. They understood the natural rhythms of the body and nature, and how to optimise health by maintaining this synchronicity while tapping into the subtle body and mind, where disease, illness and unhappiness first manifests. 

We start with specifically designed gentle movement and breathing techniques merged with emotional awareness using the Five Elements of Nature as a metaphor. We learn how to transform everyday emotions like jealousy and anger to reduce their impact on our mental and physical health. It will help to improve the balance, strength and flexibility of your body.

This practice will connect you to your own true nature of love, joy and compassion and help you to discover it in other people and the world around you. It can be learned as a self practice, further empowering you to take charge of your health and wellness

MORE INFO: lujongliving.co.uk

Sara Kay – Laughter Yoga

Since 2017, I have delivered Laughter Yoga to over 12,000 people in online and in-person sessions, helping them all enjoy a happiness boost and stress relief, amongst many other wellbeing and health benefits. I myself have struggled with depression and ADHD.

What people say? “Feeling happier, more energised”, “It might take you out of your comfort zone if you just let yourself go with it you’ll really reap the rewards”, “everyone had more energy and stress was reduced.”

From my own research through analysis surveys, the average stress reduction in one session is 45%. Laughter Yoga exercises can feel uncomfortable because simulated laughter is unusual to us. Unlike comedy, we prolong the hearty laughter for at least 10-15 minutes with the help of Yogic deep breathing to produce happy hormones within a few minutes, including serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin and endorphins.

Based in Manchester, I offer online and in-person Laughter Yoga sessions to the public, community groups, businesses and universities.
MORE INFO: seriouslaughter.co.uk

EVENT INFO: Sessions are held monthly on Saturday mornings at 9.00am for 30 minutes (for details see Eventbrite – bit.ly/eventsly). Members £3.00. Use code COMED.

CATRIONA ALDERTON

I am a qualified BACP accredited Therapist / Creative Facilitator, based in London. I work with counselling, art therapy,the Havening Techniques®, and the Emmett Technique.  I use these techniques separately, or in combination. 

The Emmett Technique – an effective complementary muscle release therapy, which  uses light pressure to rebalance, and release pain and stiffness throughout the body. The results can be instantaneous. Post-session, clients report physical improvements which can also a beneficial effect on their wellbeing. I also teach the one day Emmett workshop, suitable for all.

Sessions last an hour, session frequency is determined by the nature of the condition being treated. 

The Havening Techniques® – a psychosensory technique, rooted in neuroscience.   

Havening Touch generates Delta Waves in the brain which induces a state of relaxation. Combining the touch with distractions makes it possible to work with adverse life events and trauma, de-linking them from the body and mind. A benefit of these techniques is that it is possible to work content-free, linking directly with the emotions.

The Havening Techniques®  can be used: 

  • to clear trauma, fears, anxieties, compulsions etc
  • for wellbeing/as a self-help tool
  • to enhance performance and personal growth

Art Therapy – combines art-making and counselling. Different mediums and themes may be worked with. Art therapy can be used in many ways, from trauma resolution to supporting life-limiting conditions.

I work in a way which is holistic, drawing upon more than a decade of experience, integrating theory with practice in a safe and nurturing environment.

Art Journeys (Co-Founder): created in 2020, short, creative well-being sessions, suitable for all, aimed at reducing stress, developing creativity and enhancing wellbeing.

MORE INFO: Art for Healthartforhealth.org.uk 

Art Journeys: artjourneys.weebly.com

EMAIL: catrionaalderton@gmail.com or artforhealth.ca@gmail.com

Janet Thomson – Transformational Therapeutic Life Coach

Thought Field Therapy is the original “Tapping” technique from which all other adaptations are derived. It works using the principles established in TCM (traditional Chinese Medicine) of energy pathways, i.e. meridians, not only directing energy but also holding information. The creator Dr Roger Callahan observed that when a traumatic event (emotional or physical) occurs there can often be a “perturbation” in the energy field.

An interconnected way of looking at personal development is the starting point for transforming all areas of your life. Whatever’s holding you back, we’ll work to find solutions that set you free and inspire you to live life to the full.

MORE INFO: powertochange.me.uk

Dr Toh Wong

As a full-time senior partner in an average-sized general practice, I see firsthand the limitations of conventional medicine alone. While it excels in addressing acute issues, it often neglects the mind-body connection, crucial for true and holistic health and healing.

This is why I champion integrative healthcare, combining the best of both worlds for holistic healing.
My journey began with my own experience with Bell’s Palsy. Traditional treatments offered no relief in this particular case, but exploring mind-body techniques like neurolinguistic programming (NLP) and hypnosis led to a remarkable recovery.

This ignited my passion for understanding the power of unconscious communication in shaping health and well-being. We are always communicating with our unconscious and when we are aware of the way we communicate, we are able to leverage healing to the next level.

Today, I wear several hats. I work full-time as an acupuncture-practising GP, co-organise the Integrative Health Convention, and run Neurolinguistic Healthcare, where I offer courses and talks on leveraging advanced communication skills for effective health and healing.

MORE INFO: neurolinguistichealthcare.co.uk