Sheila has worked for 30 years as a National Health physiotherapist, mainly treating patients in pain. She has always been interested in the connection between the body and the mind.
The mind can have a strong effect on the body and and on occasions it can even seem to work against the body.
For example, when we have a painful joint, our minds can make our muscles tense to prevent movement and protect the joint. However, holding a joint still can make it stiff, and keeping muscles tense can make them ache.
So, some of the stiffness and pain can actually be due to the action of our mind, rather than the original injury to the joint.
Sheila first came across Mindfulness on a course for physiotherapists, aimed at helping people with complex back pain. One patient, who had severe sciatic pain and could not take weight comfortably on his affected leg, was helped considerably by a simple breathing exercise, involving the instructions ‘gently breathe into your leg’. The physiotherapy professor leading the course informed her that this was ‘just a bit of mindfulness’.
I was intrigued by this and went on to research Mindfulness to find out exactly what it was and what it could offer. My research took me to a Breathworks Mindfulness week-long retreat, aimed at those who were considering becoming Mindfulness Teachers.
A number of people on the retreat wanted to teach Mindfulness because they had personally been helped by Mindfulness. Some gave moving testimonies as to how their lives had been turned around by Mindfulness.
I was so impressed by the research evidence around Mindfulness and the personal experiences of those who had been helped, that I embarked upon the full Mindfulness Training and left the National Health Service to set up Living Well Mindfulness.
Sheila’s mission for Living Well Mindfulness is that by teaching high quality Mindfulness courses, she can ease the suffering caused by pain, stress and illness and really improve people’s quality of life.