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  • Writer's picturePauliina Lapio

Can Art and Yoga be part of medical conference?

Last spring, my working partner - occupational health doctor - who specializes in pain, contacted me and asked if we should go to an international conference to speak up about our thoughts? The idea was that non-pharmacological methods could fit into the treatment of chronic pain.

A suitable one was found quite soon when Switzerland’s first conference specializing in pain, anesthesia and palliative care asked the doctor to come in and after a few rounds, my part was also accepted. We recorded our lecture separately but together.

What is the significance of the fact that art or meditation is involved in events in the medical field?

It matters a lot. We are all individuals and healing can be affected by many things. This is what we all know.

Doing art has been studied to reduce stress, increase gray matter in the brain and regulate pain sensitivity. Photo: Pauliina Lapio / Creative Day workshop.

  1. When an art professional is involved in a conference, the methods of art become "more acceptable."

  2. Meditation is an old method that has been studied in various scientific studies. Meditation increases the gray matter in the brain, which in turn has an effect on experiencing pain. The more gray matter, the higher the pain threshold.

  3. Experiencing and making art has the same effect. They add gray matter.

  4. It has been studied that patients with art in their room experience less pain, for example in studies, compared to those without art on the wall.

  5. Meditation, on the other hand, improves sleep, lowers heart rate and blood pressure. Sleep deprivation, stress, and high heart rate, on the other hand, cause pain to be experienced more sensitively.

  6. Electrograms (MRI) of those who meditate for years show a clear difference compared to those who meditated for the first time or never. The pain threshold is higher and tolerance also.

  7. Meditation has been found to have analgesic-like effects and has many therapeutic effects on pain patients.

Pain, on the other hand, causes sick leave, such as back pain and migraines. When chronic, even medication does not help and it directly affects a person’s mood and ability to function. There may be severe depressive states, feelings of worthlessness, and anxiety.

In the future, we will be more human, fewer machines

Over time, in my own work, I have noticed that the more you talk about art and its effects or the impact of meditation and breathing techniques, the more acceptance begins to grow. In my own work, such as the Art of Silence ®️ method, I get to combine these two areas of my own expertise without delimiting or reducing the other. The effects have also been really good. In the future, I will be able to study this topic even more, because the Art of Silence®️ method is rapidly spreading outside Finland as a tool for various organizations to alleviate burnout, depression, various pain conditions and sick leave.

The Swiss Conference on Anesthesia, Pain Management and Palliative Care will be held in October. It is a great honor for me to be involved in doing my own part and to bring out my own perspective with the large medical audience involved.

What am I talking about in conference? I am going to host an Art of Silence®️ demo for those present. Meditation (Dhyan), breathing exercises (pranayam) and making art through literature.

The first Art of Silence®️ session was held in February 2020 in Manchester, just before the corona erupted in Europe.


Art can help us manage pain

Marjatta Reilimo, Leena Kaila-Kangas, Rahman Shiri, Marjukka Laurola, Helena Miranda

The effect of pain management group on chronic pain and pain related co-morbidities and symptoms. A stepped-wedge cluster randomized controlled trial. A study protocol.

Neurological Evidence of a Mind-Body Connection: Mindfulness and Pain Control

Mindfulness Meditation Modulates Pain Through Endogenous Opioids

Pain Attenuation through Mindfulness is Associated with Decreased Cognitive Control and Increased Sensory Processing in the Brain

Mindfulness Meditation and Psychopathology

Neural mechanisms supporting the relationship between dispositional mindfulness and pain

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