Mindful Pain Solutions News
Spring 2015 Edition
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“We cannot change our past—we cannot change the fact that people act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play the one string we have, and that is our attitude—I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it."   — Charles Swindoll

2015 Spring Edition:
NeuroNova Centre NEWS

Book Review: 
Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation for Everyday Life  - Kabat-Zinn, J.
An MBCPM Alumni Reflects
Interesting Research on Type 2 Diabetes and Memory
You asked: Is Mindfulness helpful for Insomnia? What evidence is there?
New Publications: NNC Workbooks!

Food for Thought


Did You Know That....

NeuroNova Centre will gradually change during 2015 to become primarily a professional training company for health care professionals to deliver our courses within their own health centres and practices, while remaining the publisher of our courses’ materials. We will not be offering courses to patients directly by Fall of 2015, except as part of facilitator training or within corporations for their personnel.

Book Review


Wherever You Go, There You Are:

Mindfulness Meditation for Everyday Life

Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994)

London and New York: Piatkus and Hyperion

Reviewed by Tom, MBCPM alumni

Kabat-Zinn discusses the concept of mindfulness in various ways. He writes of practicing cultivating pure awareness of the present moment, which is all there ever really is, and is ever-changing, and different for every single being that exists. He uses various anecdotes and quotes to illustrate this as an invaluable practice, and reflects on what it means to actually practice mindfulness.

Kabat-Zinn published this book after his first book, “Full Catastrophe Living” on which the NeuroNova Centre’s Mindfulness-Based Chronic Pain Management (MBCPM) courses are based.  However, I would be reluctant to recommend this to the inexperienced beginner as I had some harsh reactions to some concepts in this book. For highly sensitive people it could be useful to explore this book together with the help of an experienced professional.

In the chapter on “The Bloom of the Present Moment” he discusses how to practice meditation and how simple yet challenging it can be, and ways of working through those challenges. I loved how he likened focusing on the present moment as “blooming”, making me think of a field of flowering trees blooming, fading away and blooming again as seasons rotate. As each moment passes new moments are constantly emerging. 


As I re-read and reflected on what he was saying, I had many epiphanies. Because of that, I feel hesitant that sensitive people need to have already developed some mindful ability to manage some of the concepts in the book without tipping into depressive thinking. Of particular concern to me is the section titled “Stopping” in which he likens mindful meditation to dying. Perhaps this concept can be managed by reminding ourselves that we have a firm anchor to return to—the breath-- and however strong our apprehensive or sad feelings, there will always be hope and breath. 

“Patience”, “non-judging”, and “letting go” are all attitudes that are discussed.  The mundane task of closing doors is suggested to try doing mindfully, and by trying that more often now, it has also helped me to be better able to see myself closing doors on past times of my life and opening doors and windows to new moments to come. 

Posture during formal practice is described as something to be mindful about, even if we are slouching. He discusses placement of the hands, meditation props and postures during formal practice.  He reassures us there is no right way to meditate. Striving and straining and seeing mindfulness as a procedure can be detrimental. The Mountain Meditation, The Lake Meditation, sitting, lying down, standing meditation, mindful movement and loving kindness meditation are all discussed. For walking meditation, Kabat-Zinn even suggests pushing a shopping cart in a grocery store!

Some ideas that came through: “If you miss the here, you’re likely to miss the there”. Navajo: “Walk in beauty wherever you are”. Trees can be helpful to visualize for standing meditation. Sleep may be more restful if you enter it through meditation. I found his discussion on Body Scan helped me to better connect my breathing with parts of my body: “Breathing into areas”.

In the last section of the book, Kabat-Zinn reflects more on the practice and application of mindfulness. The section titled “cat food lessons” illustrates how Kabat-Zinn has been able to transform otherwise annoying behavior of family members into reduced suffering and respectful amusement: beneficial in coping with people doing things that otherwise disturb us!

From Wikipedia:

Jon Kabat-Zinn is Professor of Medicine Emeritus and creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Kabat-Zinn was a student of Buddhist teachers such as Thich Nhat Hanh and Zen Master Seung Sahn and a founding member of Cambridge Zen Center. His practice of yoga and studies with Buddhist teachers led him to integrate their teachings with those of (Western) science. He teaches mindfulness, which he says can help people cope with stress, anxiety, pain, and illness. The stress reduction program created by Kabat-Zinn, called Mindfulness-based stress reduction, is offered by medical centers, hospitals, and health maintenance organizations. [1]  


An MBCPM Alumni reflects

I’ve just finished watching the end of “The West Wind”. It is a privileged account of the great painter: Tom Thompson, a story about his painting, his love for Algonquin Park, and his interpretation of what the land, the trees, the lake meant to him. There was a quote about how what he painted was an “emotional interpretation” of what nature put before him. He is labeled a post-impressionist, but I think him more an impressionist than Degas, Van Gogh...

Thinking about Tom Thompson, his love, his passions, this struck a resonant chord with me and this is why.


For the last couple of years I’ve been attending therapy sessions where chronic pain is being subdued by mindfulness meditation. Meditation techniques are not intended to be a cure for chronic pain, rather to facilitate a state of mind that makes it easier to deal with chronic pain, to lessen its domination over existence, to use the mind/body connection to help lessen the debilitating stranglehold that chronic pain can wield.


This therapy has meant a lot to me. It has taught me how to focus my thinking, not only towards the reality of the pain, but also towards other aspects of my life that otherwise would become casualties: thoughts and actions that would become distorted, to make me someone who I don’t want to be. Meditation has embodied values that I value beyond all others - humility, tolerance, and being non-judgmental. I fall very short of all of these but they are a Shangri La of existence that I will forever strive to achieve.


Coming together in these group therapy sessions creates an opportunity to share my twenty plus-year old “jailer” which is my pain with others who experience the same state of being, although not necessarily the same journey there.


Meditation encourages creativity, an “emotional interpretation” of what nature puts before you. I want to paint again, to express my “emotional interpretation” of my experiences. I want to capture that inspiration that Tom Thompson harnessed, to recapture the expressive abilities I lost so many years ago.

I want to achieve what I thought was the unachievable, not despite my pain, and all the baggage  that comes with it, but because of it.


on Type 2 Diabetes and Memory

Zhang YW, Zhang JQ, Liu C, Wei P, Zhang X, Yuan QY, Yin XT, Wei LQ, Cui JG, Wang J. Memory Dysfunction in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Correlates with Reduced Hippocampal CA1 and Subiculum Volumes. Chin Med J 2015;128:465-71


This Chinese research group used MRI technology to study the memory centres in the hippocampus of the brain in those with Type 2 diabetes (T2DM), comparing them to controls: those who did not have diabetes. Their study demonstrated that T2DM patients presented significantly reduced memory scores compared to matched controls, and that poorer blood sugar control was significantly associated with poorer memory performance and hippocampal atrophy (brain tissue loss) among T2DM patients.  This also affects learning. 


Mindfulness practice has been shown to be helpful with reducing memory impairment.


Is Mindfulness Helpful for Insomnia?
What Evidence is There?

A randomized clinical trial, the “gold standard” of studies, was recently published on this topic for older adults:


Mindfulness Meditation and Improvement in Sleep Quality and Daytime Impairment Among Older Adults With Sleep Disturbances: A Randomized Clinical Trial. David S. Black, PhD, MPH; Gillian A. O’Reilly, BS; Richard Olmstead, PhD; Elizabeth C. Breen, PhD; Michael R. Irwin, MD.  JAMA Intern Med. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.8081, Published on line February 16th 2015


In this study a Californian research group compared Mindfulness, delivered as a 2 hour per week, six week course with a highly structured and active Sleep Hygiene Education programme, also delivered for 2 hours per week over 6 weeks, to adults with insomnia who were 55 or older. The Mindfulness programme significantly improved sleep more than the sleep hygiene program, and also improved daytime fatigue and depression.

For a link to a media article about this study:


New Publications: NNC Workbooks!

We have just published another workbook (in addition to our MBCPMâ„¢ Level 3 Emotional Skills Workbook published during 2014) to complement the level 1 and 2 courses of MBCPM, called: The Mindfulness-Based Chronic Pain Management (MBCPMâ„¢) Level1/2 Workbook. This is not a compulsory addition to the course materials: The Mindfulness Solution to Pain” and the meditation CDs, but the level 2 course participants are using it and have suggested it would be helpful in level 1 also. We will be making the Workbook level/1/2 available on our website. 


The Emotional Skills workbook will only be available in conjunction with the Emotional Skills course and not through the website unless special arrangements are made with our office.



NNC Emotional Skills MBCPMâ„¢ Level 3 Courses: Starts Monday April 20th 2015 from 9:30 to 11:50 am, running ten weeks (not consecutive) throughout Spring. The course will be offered via telemedicine at the Brampton, North Bay, Picton, Port Hope, Timmins and Victoria Park sites (Host site: Port Hope). Also, on Thursdays starting April 23rd 2015 1:00pm – 3:50 pm. The course will be offered at the Aurora, Carleton Place, Cobourg, Peterborough, Cochrane, Orangeville, Toronto East and West sites (Host Site: Cobourg).  Facilitator: Dr. Jackie Gardner-Nix

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MBCPMâ„¢ Facilitator and Health Care Professional Training: Saturday June 6th, Sunday June 7th and Saturday June 13th,  9.30 to 4.30 at the NeuroNova Centre, Toronto.

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Five day Level 1 MBCPMâ„¢ Patient Course Practicum: (Facilitators in training (FITS) and health care professionals (HCPs) participate in this course with patients. FITS and HCPs participate for full five days). Toronto location only. Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, behind St Michael's Hospital. August 10th to 15th. Patients: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 9:30 to 4:30 pm; Wednesday and  Friday 9:30 to 1:00 pm. Facilitators: Dr. Jackie Gardner-Nix and Dr. Trudy Lynn Mahood. 

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August 2015 MBCPMâ„¢ Facilitator Training: August 10th to 20th. Change in venue for The August facilitator training:  It will remain in Toronto from August 14th to 20th and not move to last year’s venue just outside Cobourg.

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Fall 2015 Lumina Level 4 Weekend Course:  Will also change venue to Toronto. Dates to be determined.

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Health Care Professional Training in MBCPMâ„¢: Starting in 2015, this has now been blended with the five day patient practicum in August, or any of the MBCPMâ„¢ facilitator training sessions. Individual health facilities may enquire about trainings for their staff which may be arranged separately.


Kingston (plus telemedicine sites)

Dr. Ruth Dubin and Evelyn Bowering’s MBCPMâ„¢ Level 1 Course will be offered at the Kingston Community Health Centre on Wednesdays for 13 weeks from March 25th, 1:15 – 3:45pm.  This course will run simultaneously, linked by telemedicine with Belleville, Picton and Wellington.  For more information please contact Danielle Deptuck at 613-542-2949 x 1179 or email at

Haliburton  (on-site only)

Barb Fraser’s MBCPMâ„¢ Level 1 Course will begin on Tuesday March 31st, from 1:15 – 3:45 pm in Haliburton.  For information or to register please call 705-455-9220 x 312 or email 

Barb Fraser’s MBCPMâ„¢ Level 3 Course (Emotional Skills) will begin Thursday April 2nd, from 1:15 – 3:45 pm. For information or to register please call 705-455-9220 x 312 or email


Orillia  (plus telemedicine sites)


Dr. Kim McKenzie’s MBCPMâ„¢ Level 1 Course is being offered Mondays starting April 20th, from 1:15 – 3:45 pm in Orillia, Ontario. This course will run simultaneously, linked by telemedicine with North Bay. Physician referral required. Please send an email to  or phone 705-795-7629 to register. 

Dr. Kim McKenzie’s MBCPMâ„¢ Level 3 Course Emotional Skills (on-site only) is being offered Wednesdays starting April 22nd, from 1:15 – 3:45 pm in Orillia, Ontario.  Physician referral required. Please send an email to or phone 705-795-7629 to register.

Noelville  (plus telemedicine sites)


Annie Hebert’s MBCPMâ„¢ Level 2 Course (Level 1 revision) is being offered in the Sudbury East Community Health Centre at Noeville location on Thursdays starting April 23rd from 9:30 – 11:45 am.  This course will run simultaneously, linked by telemedicine with Sudbury, Mindemoya, Parry Sound and St. Charles. Please contact Annie at 705-898-2594 to register.

Thunder Bay  (on-site only)

Dr. Trudy Lynn Mahood’s MBCPMâ„¢ Level 3 Course (Emotional Skills) is being offered at Clinical Institute in Thunder Bay.  Please contact Dr. Trudy Lynn Mahood via email at to find out dates, times and to register.

St. Michael's Toronto: for patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS)  (on-site only)

Cecilia Wan’s MBCPMâ„¢ Level 1 Course will be held at St. Michael’s Hospital starting on Thursday April 2nd, from 1:00 - 3:00pm.  For more information please contact Cecilia Wan at 416-864-6060 x 4026.

Vaughan  (on-site only)


Louisa Mailis’s MBCPMâ„¢ Level 1 Course will be offered at the Pain and Wellness Centre in Vaughan. The dates and times have not been finalized yet.  For more information please contact 1-800-597-5733 or

East York  (on-site only)


Dr. Adam Bletsoe’s MBCPM™ Level 1 Course is being offered in East York, Toronto from Tuesday April 14th, 6.30 to 8.30 pm. Please contact his office at 416-694-4800 ext 1 for cost and enrolment, or register at

Please note that now MBCPMâ„¢ courses are being offered more widely, they may not be covered by OHIP where facilitators are not MDs or being funded within a Health Care Facility budget. If you have extended benefits your facilitator may be an eligible health care professional covered under your plan.


One on One MBCPMâ„¢ training, outside of a group setting:  The publication of the level 1/2 workbook may allow someone who is unable to attend group classes to do the course, using all the materials, and with guidance of a personal “coach” trained by NNC in MBCPMâ„¢ facilitator training, if one is available. The facilitator would connect by phone or other means such as Skype about 5 times during the process of working through the materials. This would not be covered by OHIP but can be priced depending on the facilitator’s fee. If interested, you may contact the NNC office by email or on 416 461 4333 to enquire about this availability.


Sunrise in Cobourg, Ontario

As always, we welcome your submissions! Please send any articles, book reviews, or contributions for the Newsletter to:


All previous issues of our Newsletter are available at


Mindful Pain Solutions News is published by The NeuroNova Centre for Mindfulness-Based Chronic Pain Management


Newsletter Staff

Dr. Jackie Gardner-Nix MB.BS., Ph.D., MRCP(UK), Editor-In-Chief

ITRM Consulting Inc. Publisher

Dawn Friesen, Graphic Designer


Copyright © 2015 NeuroNova Centre for Mindful Solutions Inc., All rights reserved.

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