Portrait Martina Egan Moog

Martina Egan Moog

Physiotherapist, NOI instructor

Martina Egan Moog works as a physiotherapist in the interdisciplinary PRECISION ASCEND pain management program in Melbourne and as a tutor in the Musculoskeletal/Sport Master at LaTrobe University. Since 2021 she has had a small private practice for pain patients, where she mainly incorporates psychologically informed pain therapy and yoga into her practical work.

She has been teaching and publishing on pain science topics for 22 years. She is an instructor in the NOI (Neuro-Orthopedic Institute) team and in 2004 translated their "Explain Pain" (book and course) into German ("Understanding Pain"). She is a member of the "Pain and Movement" working group of the German Pain Society and is jointly responsible for the development, teaching and testing of the "Special Pain Physiotherapy" curriculum.

Originally from the Ruhr area, she completed her physiotherapy school at the University Hospital in Essen in 1990. This was followed by several years in physiotherapy practices in the south of Germany, focusing on manual therapy and sports therapy. From 1996-1999 she first completed the 'Postgraduate Diploma in Manipulative Therapy' and then the 'Master of Science' on the subject of 'Pain mechanisms and psychological factors in chronic whiplash patients' at Curtin University in Perth. She then worked for several years in the cognitive-behavioral therapeutic ADAPT pain management program in Sydney, the concept of which she has been following in her daily clinical practice ever since. During this time she also came into contact with yoga philosophy and movement instructions and began to increasingly integrate these into her therapeutic work. In 2019 she completed her yoga training at the Australian Yoga Academy in Melbourne.

She is a mother of three children and two long-haired dachshunds and a passionate cold-water swimmer in Melbourne Bay.

“Embodiment” and “embedment” in pain therapy

The integrative link in the bio-psycho-social model or just a “new wave”?

The overarching theme of the lecture is the dual perspective of the body as object and as subject (the "lived body"). The "lived body" refers to the subjective experience of one's own body and recognizes that individuals are not only anatomical beings, but also actively engage with and interpret their environment through their bodies. In the medical community, an integration of both perspectives is crucial, especially for understanding and managing pain.

The IASP updated its official definition of pain in 2020, adding 6 key observations, including that "individuals learn the concept of pain through their life experiences." This idea is already expressed in the bio-psycho-social model of pain, and offers an explanation for the fact that many different factors can contribute to both the experience of pain and pain relief at any given time.

Every type of pain is expressed through the body. It is embodied, so to speak, but is expressed accordingly (embedded) through the body's interactions with the world. Pain can therefore be understood as a possible protective mechanism that enables an organism to survive, but very often hinders a person's "thriving". Pain, especially after a traumatic experience, can contribute to the affected person no longer knowing their way around their own body and no longer being able to experience themselves as an individual in the world. This "disembodiment" often leads to dysfunction at all levels of the bio-psycho-social system, which manifests itself in homeostatic stress reactions, fears and loss of control in everyday life.

Pain education is suggested as a possible means of helping people to make sense of their lived experiences. However, a viable bridge is often needed so that theoretical understanding can also be applied in practice. Touch, breathing and movement can be the pillars of such a bridge. The lecture suggests that through targeted movement initiation, training and practice, interoceptive and proprioceptive processes can be perceived more consciously on the one hand and overprotective reactions can be influenced in a more targeted manner on the other.

This so-called “re-embodiment” does not primarily aim to reduce pain, but rather to strengthen individual resilience by returning to the body as a resource.