The ABC News video is no longer available with its original embed code. Until we get our hot little hands on a new embed code, you can view the Dancing with Pain class in action on this ABC News page on natural pain relief.
Capital Public Radio — August 30, 2011
On the occasion of the Dancing with Pain launch in Sacramento, CA, method founder Loolwa Khazzoom spoke about her early experience suffering from and trying to get treated for chronic pain. She also shared her strategies for teaching dance for natural pain relief — in a way that is safe, doable, and enjoyable for people in chronic pain. The file is too big to host on this server, so click on that there colored link up above, and you can listen to the interview on the radio station’s website.
Loolwa Khazzoom, the founder and primary blogger of Dancing with Pain®, is a professional journalist, author, creative writer, and editor. Below you will find samples of her writing on chronic pain management and natural pain relief.
|Drug-Free Remedies for Chronic Pain
Complementary and alternative medicine for natural pain relief — including movement-based therapies, mind-body medicine, nutritional and herbal remedies, energy healing, physical manipulation, and lifestyle changes.
|When You Can’t Sink Any Lower
Healing Lifestyles & Spas
A first-person journey to the Dead Sea for some natural pain relief; an investigative report on the healing properties of the natural sea salts and minerals in the region; and information about Dead Sea products available outside Israel.
|Shelter from the Storm
After driving over a land mine in her youth, Tsipi Weiner spent two decades in severe chronic pain. Meeting yoga master BKS Iyengar changed her life. Today Weiner is pain-free and directing the Yoga Now/Iyengar Yoga Center of Tel Aviv, Israel.
Advice for body workers who have clients with chronic pain: Understand the emotional dimension of chronic pain; create a safe space for healing; and help your client utilize other resources. Includes an action plan for clients looking for a chronic pain-friendly physician.
|Blackpool Lights Shine
Kansas City Magazine
Blackpool Lights drummer overcomes cancer pain and leg amputation, recording the band’s best album ever.
Heck on Wheels
The Washington Post
A first-person account of a three-month stint in a wheelchair, including a cross-country book tour. What are some of the trials, tribulations, and triumphs affecting millions of Americans with disabilities?
Women take center stage in Cinderella Classic cycling event
San Francisco Chronicle
A 20-something woman with arthritis takes on the challenge of a 100 kilometer bike ride, in a colorful and entertaining yearly event for women only.
On the Dancing with Pain® blog, you will find a unique mix of personal storytelling, investigative journalism, and political activism, all centered around the theme of living with and healing from chronic pain. Whether revealing the magical powers of dance, exposing common forms of medically negligent behavior, providing nutritional tips for natural pain relief, or getting real about the loss and grief that accompany pain, this blog is raw and uncensored — offering a cutting-edge blend of personal experience, spiritual wisdom, and punk rock attitude.
Loolwa Khazzoom – CEO, Dancing with Pain®
Loolwa Khazzoom is the founder and CEO of Dancing with Pain®, a health & wellness company that offers natural pain relief solutions and that has been featured in media outlets including The New York Times, ABC, Fox, PBS, and the Johnson & Johnson health channel. Loolwa has written about health & wellness in general, and natural pain relief in particular, for media outlets including The Washington Post, CNN, Yoga Journal, Self, BBC News, The Boston Globe, and AARP. In these capacities, she has worked with leading healthcare practitioners and pain specialists, including Andrew Weil, M.D., Martin Rossman, M.D., David Simon, M.D., James Dillard, M.D., and Mark Young, M.D.
Loolwa has lectured at institutions including Harvard University and Brown University on the East Coast and the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Skirball Cultural Center on the West Coast. She also has been a featured expert in numerous documentaries and in interviews on radio, television, the internet, and print media; she has published two books; and she blogs on natural pain relief and numerous other topics. In addition, Loolwa is a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has performed internationally.
Following a hit-and-run, head-on car collision in 1997, Loolwa went from bad to worse in the medical system. In 2005, she discovered dance as a primary modality of healing herself from pain and disability, and in 2006, she began teaching this method to others, along with lifestyle management strategies and patient care techniques. Through Dancing with Pain®, Loolwa now offers a full line of natural pain relief products and services for healthcare consumers and practitioners.
Areas of Expertise:
1. Natural pain relief methods
2. Chronic pain lifestyle management skills
3. Pain patient empowerment strategies
4. Pain practitioner treatment strategies
5. Healthcare reform and the politics of pain
Background on Expertise:
Following a series of accidents in the late 1990s, most significantly, a hit-and-run, head-on car collision in 1997, Loolwa Khazzoom joined the ranks of 76 million Americans suffering from pain. As is common for those with chronic health conditions, Loolwa’s life came crashing down, domino-style: Pain caused limited mobility that led to work loss, which triggered a financial crisis that led to depression — resulting in weight gain that diminished self-esteem, triggering isolation that exacerbated depression…
Over the course of a decade, Loolwa bounced around from doctor to doctor, desperately seeking help. More often than not, she was misdiagnosed, refused tests, dismissed as a hypochondriac, physically injured, emotionally traumatized, and financially drained instead. Through this experience, she gained first-hand insight into the power, politics, and psychology of the medical system and came to understand why it often fails those with chronic conditions.
During this time, Loolwa also dove head-first into the world of complementary and alternative medicine, exploring a wide range of treatment options for chronic pain. As such, she became intimately acquainted with the strengths and weaknesses of holistic healthcare – among other things, recognizing key attributes that make a practitioner helpful or harmful and identifying the fine line between patient empowerment and patient blame.
The wisdom Loolwa gained over the years empowered her to begin navigating skillfully through the healthcare system and creating a new life transcending her pain and limited mobility. Ultimately, though, Loolwa reclaimed her body and spirit by trusting her intuition and pioneering a unique dance method, through which she began to dramatically self-heal. Over the next five years, she not only reduced or altogether eliminated her own pain but also helped others reduce or eliminate theirs – whether the pain was caused by arthritis, fibromyalgia, degenerative disc disease, or a host of other conditions.
Curious how it was possible for people to self-heal from conditions stumping doctors, moreover with a tool as simple as dance, Loolwa put her journalistic skills to use and interviewed leading integrative medicine practitioners, such as Andrew Weil MD and David Simon MD — exploring and writing about the science that explained the Dancing with Pain® method success. Through these conversations, Loolwa became well-acquainted not only with the cutting-edge field of mind-body medicine, but also with the politics of science – including how conventional approaches to research may be obfuscating the most significant discoveries in chronic pain treatment.
Meanwhile, Loolwa launched informal, preliminary trials on the Dancing with Pain® method and found that it has a 96% rate of efficacy in treating pain. Dancing with Pain® is now looking for a medical center or university to sponsor formal clinical trials. Loolwa’s ultimate goal is to create the Dancing with Pain® Institute, through which she will team up with integrative medicine experts in teaching the Dancing with Pain® method and guiding healthcare practitioners on how to work effectively with chronic pain patients.
1. Don’t fight your pain. Dance with it!
Most people in pain are victim to their pain or are actively engaged in “the war on pain.” But there is a third approach that is proving to be more effective: dancing with pain. The Dancing with Pain® method organically and synergistically blends numerous techniques already known to be effective in natural pain relief — including breath work, meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy, and physical movement. The Dancing with Pain® method has proven to offer dramatic results in as little as a one-hour session; it is a technique that is available 24/7, free of charge; and it can be done anywhere — even in bed, and even if someone is significantly disabled from physical pain.
2. Less pain, more gain.
The most determined of those in pain refuse to let pain run, or ruin, their lives. They heroically push through pain, living active lives despite their condition. The Dancing with Pain® method, however, demonstrates that by gently focusing on and “filling up” the parts of the body that feel comfort and ease, by dancing up to the edge of pain but staying on the pain-free side, we organically enable the nervous system to rewire itself – effectively pushing out the pain edge farther and farther, as our body naturally expands its sense of comfort and ease.
3. You can dance if you want to. You can leave your pain behind.
Dancing with Pain® offers not only a physical dance method, but also a psychological approach to pain that puts people in the driver’s seat of their healing process. The “emotional dance” method offers personal empowerment strategies, through which individuals become aware of and begin to act on the myriad of natural pain relief options available to them at any given moment. Just as we positively respond to the changing movement of a dance partner, so can we positively respond to the changing “shape” of pain.
4. You are the healer you’ve been seeking.
Our society conditions us to outsource our healthcare solutions – relying on and deferring to technological diagnostics, medical evaluations, surgical procedures, and pharmaceutical remedies. While it is prudent to be informed of the many healthcare options available to us; while it is judicious to receive expert feedback on the appropriate course of action for our ailments; and while there are cases where it is in our interest to turn to “the big guns” for help, our externally-oriented approach to recovery may cause us to overlook the primary, and in many cases, the most powerful source of healing: ourselves.
5. Your science is giving me a headache.
Our mind is so powerful that if we simply think we are taking a drug, our body may respond identically to that of someone who is in fact taking it. For decades, conventional medicine has poured millions of dollars into controlling this well-known “placebo effect.” The idea was to effectively study the power of pharmaceutical remedies by getting rid of any potential interference. The most interesting and revolutionary discovery, however, was the one being straight-jacketed in studies: the power of the mind-body connection. We rely on scientific evidence to help us distinguish between effective and ineffective treatments. The politics of science, however — often motivated by money, power, and fear — may in fact lead us to trust that which can hurt us and mistrust that which can heal us.
6. The Good Patient Syndrome
In the healthcare world, as in the world in general, it takes all kinds. Somewhere in this mix floats a set of charming, intelligent, and empowered chronic pain patients who have found themselves in a trap: When they have spoken up about their health care needs and treatment plans, they have been labeled as “crazy” or “difficult” patients – effectively undermining medical response to their cases. When they have not spoken up, they have fallen victim to misdiagnoses, improper medication, and active or passive forms of medical negligence. Months and years into their quest, these patients have become too tired and sick to fight anymore. They have thrown their hands up in despair, become complacent, and effectively fallen prey to the Good Patient Syndrome.
7. Health insurance is just half the battle.
Just because chronic pain patients have access to health care does not mean we have access to health care we need. And just because practitioners are good (replete with prestigious degrees and excellent referrals) does not mean they are good for us. Those with chronic pain and hypersensitivity need to listen to our guts and be extra careful about whom we choose for our healthcare team. The wrong practitioners can be worse than no practitioners at all: They may not listen or respond appropriately to critical information we share, thereby running the risk of misdiagnosing or physically injuring us. Fortunately, as with the beginning of any relationship, there are questions to ask and cues to notice, to ensure that we end up in the right hands and get the care we need.
8. Practitioner tips for working with chronic pain patients
As well-intentioned and well-informed as healthcare practitioners may be, they still may need guidance on physical techniques and bedside manners for working effectively with chronic pain patients — understanding the life context of patients’ pain conditions and the power practitioners have as gatekeepers for patient lives; receiving strategic tips on facilitating successful patient-doctor partnerships, by acting as doceres (teachers); learning how to effectively adapt various methods and styles to patient needs; and understanding how to create healthy relationships and expectations, by being honest about limitations as practitioners and human beings.
9. Everything happens for a reason. Usually a stupid one.
Many of us seek a reason for pain and suffering. It helps us feel safe — secure in the assumption that there is some kind of benevolent justice in the world. If we do not blame a victim of a trauma or extol the virtues of a horrific experience, we may end up feeling terrified by the randomness and chaos of the world. We may even begin to wonder if we’re next on the list. And here’s the thing: We might be. Earthquakes, fire, disease, poverty, muggings…Anything can happen to anyone at any time. So why do we get personally offended (“Why me?”) when it does? Moreover, who is to decide the significance of what hits us and how many times? Perhaps the storyline is not what happens to us or why, but what we do with the hand we are dealt. Perhaps the storyline is about how one tiny little match has the power to light a flame against otherwise engulfing darkness.
10. Chronic pain lifestyle management strategies
Healthcare professionals are finally beginning to recognize the bio-psycho-social dimensions of chronic pain. With chronic pain come not just physical symptoms of discomfort or agony, but also a chain-reaction of life-altering problems stemming from that one root cause, including any or all of the following: disability, unemployment, financial crisis, isolation, depression, eating disorder, alcohol or drug abuse, chronic fatigue, sexual dysfunction, personality change, dependency, and abandonment. Only someone who has been through the wringer of, intimately experienced, and hoisted herself out of the vicious cycle of chronic pain can indentify the complex factors involved and draw the roadmap out of chronic pain hell.
1. It seems counter-intuitive to dance for pain relief. Won’t dancing make pain worse, not better?
2. What’s the difference between dancing despite pain and dancing to heal pain?
3. Where do you draw the line between “dance” and “movement”?
4. What is the Dancing with Pain® method, and what is the science behind it?
5. What was your life like before pain?
6. How did you end up living with chronic pain, and how did it affect your life?
7. How did you come about developing the Dancing with Pain® method?
8. How has the Dancing with Pain® method affected your own pain levels?
9. How can someone in pain stay safe when practicing the Dancing with Pain® method?
9. What kind of music should people play when they dance?
10. What is the spiritual component of dancing with pain?