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Interview with Louis Zantema about his new book “Bevrijd van pijn”

Enough of “coping with pain”. Heal your body without medication. “Bevrijd van pijn” will show you how.

1.5 billion people worldwide suffer from chronic pain. The number one treatment for chronic pain is medication, and many people with pain complaints are treated medically for years. More often than not, medical treatment alone is not enough. The problem is often not to be found in the body but in our brain. It is our brain that creates pain, and in the case of chronic pain has become too sensitive. Yet few people with long-term pain complaints learn about the role of our brain in pain and what you yourself can do to reduce your experience of pain.

At Reducept, we are committed to making chronic pain treatment accessible by anyone who needs it and ultimately freeing the world from pain. To contribute further to this mission, Louis Zantema is putting together his 10 years of research and practice in the field of psychology and chronic pain in a new book, “Bevrijd van pijn”.

In this book, Louis explains how pain works, and which strategies and techniques can help patients influence and reduce pain by training their brain. He offers readers not just “learn to cope” advice, but literally tells how to retrain your brain to have less pain. 

We’ve asked Louis to tell us more about his new book.

book Bevrijd van pijn

Louis, why did you write this book?

Louis: With prolonged pain, we often immediately think that there is something wrong with our bodies. Many people with pain complaints are treated physically for years. In reality, our brain plays a major role in the pain we experience. Yet few people with long-term pain complaints learn about the role of our brain in pain and what you yourself can do to reduce your experience of pain. In practice, I have seen so many people recover from years of pain thanks to this knowledge and strategies that I hope this book will help more people get started at an earlier stage.

When I started working as a psychologist with people who suffer from chronic pain, I found it very difficult to treat them at first. Our image of pain is that it is something in our body that will always be there. Gradually, I learned more about pain and began to apply treatment methods that really helped patients. Because the knowledge in this book is still so difficult to access for anyone in pain, I now focus entirely on making pain treatment accessible. Both with this book and with innovative treatment methods such as VR and apps. 

What's the main goal of the book?

Louis: In this book, you will learn what you can do to get a grip on your pain. You will understand the ways in which you can influence pain and how you can organise your life in such a way that pain gets less and less chance. 

What are the key questions you're trying to address with this book?

Louis: In this book, I answer the questions 'How does pain work?', 'How is it possible that you can have a lot of pain when doctors cannot explain it?' and 'What can I do myself to influence my pain?'. 

For whom is this book beneficial?

Louis: This book is primarily written for people who experience pain themselves. It is a very practical book, full of exercises and tips for people in pain. For pain therapists, it is interesting to refer to, or to get exercises from, that you can add to your treatment.

When you have pain, you want to get rid of it as soon as possible. For many people, medical treatment alone is not enough. If you have already been told by your therapists that you have to 'learn to cope', this book tells you literally how to do so.

What's the research behind the book?

Louis: The book is based on my many years of (treatment) experience in the field of long term pain. In it, I apply treatment methods that we call 'evidence based' - namely treatments that have been the subject of thorough scientific research, such as cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness. 

How is the book organised?

Louis: The book begins with an explanation of pain. Once you know how pain works, you understand better what you can do about it. Then you learn how you can train your own behaviour, feelings, thoughts and attention to influence your experience of pain. 

Does it have some special actionable elements? (recommendations, exercises, tools...)

The book is full of exercises and tips that you can do when in pain. Just reading a book will not change your pain - doing the exercises will train your brain to deal with the pain differently.

How is the book connected to the Reducept method?

Louis: Reducept is using the same principles as "freeing yourself from pain". In VR you train your brain to come to the conclusion that less pain should be created. The Reducept method is therefore a good supplement to reading the book if you want to train your brain even more intensively.

The book is available for purchase on Bol.com, Amazon and at all major bookstores in the Netherlands from July 6, 2021.



Interview with Louis Zantema about his new book “Bevrijd van pijn”