Painting intensively is the strongest painkiller.
Oil on canvas, 60 H x 50 W cm / 23.6 H x 19.7 W in.
Created by Ofir Hirsh under the Wakona identity in 2011

After 26 years of painting, I’m not surprised, but still quite overwhelmed, by the physical effect that the action of painting has on my body.
Ever since my military service as a paratrooper, I carry with me the back pain wherever I go. On top of that, 14 years of free diving, with a weight belt over my waist, just made it worst. At times, I can barely stand up straight, because of a severe lower back pain attack, but when I start painting, I simply forget about it.
Like many other people, I have a headache sometimes. But once in a while, I get a crazy migraine that resists most standard painkillers. If I start painting intensively, the pain disappears.
What sort of drug painting is? What is the physical mechanism that makes the pain go away?
Yes, I admit that I enjoy painting very much, however, I do not profoundly comprehend how doing something which I enjoy, kills real physical pain. I heard a few explanations about endorphin which the body produces when we make love, and that endorphin reduces pain and improves our general mood. But making love, at least for regular people like me who do not practice Tantra, unfortunately, has a time limit. Painting doesn’t.
Does it prove that it’s all in our head? Does the pain represent a mental state of mind that can be manipulated? Can we avoid pain by changing the way we think?
I have read recently about the Opioid epidemic in the USA. Too many people are becoming addicted to those terrible painkillers which destroy their lives.
I would have liked to suggest painting therapies to the masses. Much like Yoga which became so popular in treating both psychical and mental problems, I wish painting would have spread too.
But unfortunately, we still live in a competitive and criticizing society. Whenever someone around me complains about a chronic pain, I automatically recommend her or him to paint. But in most cases, I get answers like: “I do not know how to paint”, “I am not talented”, or “Whenever I paint, it comes out ugly”.  I try to explain them that painting is not about ugly or beautiful, but more about taking your guts out, or cleansing your soul. But the perception most people receive from their parents, educators, and the society during their life time is difficult to change. Nevertheless, as a natural born optimist and someone who had witnessed change before, I intend to actively contribute to the change in perception regarding the essence, role, and benefits of painting.