Meet the Instructor of the New Meditation and Pain Neuroscience course

Nari Clemons

This fall, Herman & Wallace will be debuting a brand new course, Integrating Meditation and Neuropsych Principles to Maximize Physical Therapy Interventions, in Winfield, IL. We sat down with the course instructor, Nari Clemons, PT, to learn more about this brand new offering.

What inspired you to create this course?

There is so much more to pain management than just manual techniques, and with meditation we can help patients with a mental shift to facilitate healing. Everyone is always telling patients to work on stress management, but so few people are really able to give patients usable, practical, useful tools to do so. We all know those patients who come in so keyed up or so caught up in playing the same tape in their heads, that we are not sure what we can do to help them. I meditate every day, and it has helped my life (and my patients) beyond measure. I know how many times I use meditation as a way for patients to benefit more from their treatment. In most of the Herman Wallace courses, we talk about using down training and stress management for conditions like overactive pelvic floor, constipation, urinary urge, dyspareunia etc. (even for Interstitial cystitis, the first line of treatment is now relaxation training) but, so few practitioners have access to these tools or this knowledge, so how are they able to help patients? I want to help bridge that gap.

What can you tell us about this course not mention in the description and objectives?

This course is, above all, extremely practical. It takes away the mystery and lack of approachability of meditation, by taking the idea of centering, self-care, healing, and balancing the mind from something esoteric, vague and mystical to step-by-step tools that therapists can use. I hope attendees will use these simple techniques in their own lives and with their patients to help manage conditions of pain, tension, and anxiety. Because the aspects of health for this course border on both the realm of mental health and physical therapy, this course will be co-instructed by Dr. Shawn Sidhu, psychiatrist and meditator, who will provide info on current mental health perspectives.

Can you describe the clinical/treatment approach/techniques covered in this course?

These are all techniques that the clinician can use with the patient and the patient can use on their own. This is the piece you can give a patient to do at home. Most of these techniques can also be used as a part of treatment (ther act or neuro re-ed) to retrain muscle resting levels. I will have a CD that comes with the course that can also be used for patients at home, if the patient needs more guidance. There will be a variety of techniques, all within the realm of mind/body. Centering, observation, visualization, using mantras, affirmations, grounding, breath counting, breath control will all be addressed in a very practical and usable format.

What resources and research were used when writing this course?

I have been meditating: both learning and practicing techniques for decades, as has Shawn. I can’t tell you how many meditation and yoga workshops, books, videos and classes I have experienced over the years. I pulled heavily from that experience and my experience in the clinic and as a yoga teacher. I also bought a book that had 20 plus years of catalogued research in the fields of health and meditation to find the most clinically relevant research for PT’s. Also, I used the typical sources: pub med, medical journals. Finally, I bought all kinds of cd’s to see what was currently available. Again, I chose what I found most practical, usable (not annoying), and clinically relevant, as well as choosing a variety of styles to match different personality types/mind types.

Why should a therapist take this course? How can these skill sets benefit his/her practice?

I feel any therapist can benefit from this course because of the strength of the mind/body connection. Research has shown us that pain perception is not directly correlated with degree of injury or dysfunction. By helping your patient be in the present, rather than reacting to the past or anticipating future issues, your outcomes with your already existing manual skill set will be maximized. Similarly, as a therapist, if you can be in the present, really hear your patients, notice more with your hands, and be fully present, your interventions are certainly more directed than when you are distracted or stressed yourself. Above all, as a therapist practicing these skills, you may find yourself leading a more balanced life and less stressed by work. Certainly, not “taking our patients home with us” benefits our own health and our own families. Staying in the present moment in our own work days and our own lives ( as providers), allows us to enjoy our own lives and work days more…and who of us does not want to enjoy life more?

Want to learn more from Nari and Shawn? Join us in September for this cutting-edge course!

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