The meditation behind bars reduces the pills

The head of Solomon, tattooed arms, chest and shoulders of the bodybuilder's beefy, there has been a shift after a decade and a half behind bars: “I would rath

The meditation behind bars reduces the pills

The head of Solomon, tattooed arms, chest and shoulders of the bodybuilder's beefy, there has been a shift after a decade and a half behind bars: “I would rather be with the lions, had no fear, and I fought every two days because it was liberating. The sparks in the gym were continuous. I've eaten 15 years in prison for theft and fighting, was very impulsive”. Two workshops in the prison of Huelva of mindfulness —psychotherapy, also called mindfulness— we have helped to breathe deeply before you pick up the cuffs. “I found peace at the age of 42. The impulse and the bad roll does not let me enjoy anything,” he adds satisfied.


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Eighty inmates volunteers of this small town of 1,200 inmates have followed the last three years and six workshops that seek another therapeutic approach to reduce stress and anxiety, so common among the chabolo and the patio. The margin of their testimony, praising seamless this practice, glow clinical results. “There has been a drastic reduction of the drugs to get to sleep, consume less anxiety and are happier. Prevention is always more economical to treat”, explains Maria Esther, assistant director of the medical prison of huelva. To his side, his patient, Antonio —who, as all requests to omit his last name— confirms the decline of pills: “Before I had a bag of drugs and for a year none!!! To see me locked up, the psychiatrist I medical with 20 pills a day, but I realized that it was a zombie with 40 years (...) Being a man is not to finish a fight, but to evade them,” illustrates.

mindfulness is a technique to focus on the present moment and accept what happens without judgment. Applied to mental health is a psychotherapy based on the dialogue that is sometimes truffle with yoga exercises and meditation. The practice of mindfulness was born in the U.S. three decades ago and has soared in Spain in recent years. It is taught at companies that want to improve the performance and the job satisfaction of their employees, but especially in schools and hospitals, since studies have shown benefits for patients who suffer from severe depression, cancer, and chronic pain or anxiety.

last Wednesday, 20 men and one woman gathered in the courtyard of the prison of Huelva, next to the corral where they sang the roosters, with cold but under a hot sun, to dismiss the last workshop of 2019. Listing the changes in your fast-paced routines, health, mental health, and how the course has encouraged them to embrace each other and break the internal code to maintain a certain physical distance in the modules. “It is important to value our selves and return to love us,” says one of them. “Before I would drink the coca-cola of a crop, now the taste and I know how to reassure, and I empathize with the people. To be both time-locked, the rope is loose, we have a bad day and look for the excuse to jump,” says another. “This has changed us to not be so aggressive and think things, there has been a beginning and an end”, remacha a third party.

Spanish prisons slowly begin to probe alternatives to the approach traditional to improve the mental health of inmates and to reduce their tendency to despair, suicide and violence. A third of the almost 60,000 inmates will recidivate after release, according to Penitentiary Institutions. And while increasing the economic and social costs, the cuts will affect health care in prisons. The Huelva is a good example, and in the last five years the doctors of the prison have gone from nine to only five, that serve as you can“, and at the expense of their health and effort”, as stressed Mary Esther, its 1,200 inmates.

“The scope of the prisons is especially interesting for the re-education and restore their dignity, because they lack the life project. It is spectacular how mindfulness decreases stress and how to stop ruminating about the past or the future. Always be thinking of is a disaster,” says Javier García Condition, a professor of Psychiatry at the University of Zaragoza. A key is how the inmates identify the stress through physiological sensations, easier to detect thoughts.

The college Medical Organisation (WTO) avoids ruling on mindfulness had not been evaluated with studies of their own, like the Ministry of Health, which has not been included in your list of 138 techniques to analyze in the Plan of Protection of Health against the Pseudoterapias, despite the fact that critical voices have drawn attention to adverse effects in some patients. Universities such as Harvard, Oxford or Cambridge have institutes dedicated to the research of this therapy.

“Mindfulness is a natural ability of the mind with a lot of very serious research behind it. It is not a panacea, but a practice well established for anxiety and depression,” argues Beatriz Rodríguez, chief of the section of Psychiatry of the Hospital La Paz —downtown, which was introduced by the practice in 2009— and director of the master of mindfulness in the Autonomous University of Madrid. William Myro, director of the expert course for clinical intervention and social of the College of Psychologists of Madrid, abounds: “The patient tends to be a lot in the past, linked to regrets, and in the future, that we can govern and we drag. Generated scenarios that have not occurred but stressed”.

Alejandro Moreno, extrabajador banking for 40 years, is the volunteer instructor and the engine for these workshops. “My son tells me it resets, turns off and turns on the head, because it is saturated with information and thoughts and it is a punishment towards myself. You have something with the justice, but also with yourselves”, influenced during the workshop. The director of the prison, Raul Beard, matizaba: “If we want to return another type of inmates to the street, these workshops are necessary, because the patio is the worst.” This winter Moreno taught the same workshop to executives of a company in seville, with the same sessions. “Just change a little the language,” he says.

Updated Date: 13 January 2020, 09:00



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