BBC: Mindfulness Meditation for Pain Relief

An audio version of this report was featured on Radio 4’s Today Programme, this morning. Thought other folks might be interested:

I’ve always thought meditation had potential as a self-help technique - I’ve even got the books & CDs.

Functional MRI suggests it really can dampen down pain response, so now all I’ve got to do is put it into practice, and stop thinking buying a book and never looking at it is enough. :wink:


I haven’t looked at it yet Tina, but I agree with you - meditation can help pain. Pain is just one of thooosands of things that are processed by the brain. If we get the brain interested in other things, it doesn’t have the capacity to focus on the pain any more.

I watched Limitless on DVD the other night. Your post has made me realise that if we could use 100% of our brains at the same time, we’d also not be able to ignore the bad things and the painful things. Not so good after all! Maybe Mother Nature got it right after all…

Karen x

Hi Tina and Karen, saw this article on the BBC website this morning but yes, I too believe meditation may help, afltough have to say I don’t suffer from pain. On a similar theme (I think) in the past I used hypnosis to get over a dog phobia ( I consulted a hypnotherapist), and then for a while after that I tried self hypnosis. Cheryl:)

Hi Karen & Cheryl,

I don’t really know how meditation works - whether it’s really just a glorified “distraction” tactic. But if it works, who cares! I also don’t know how (if at all) it relates to hypnosis - whether they’re essentially the same thing, with different terminology.

Yes - I’ve tried hypnosis CDs as well, and in lots of ways, they’re very similar to the meditation ones.

I think the radio article was slightly more in-depth than the web version, because I’m sure they mentioned a monk, who was supposedly “the happiest man alive”, based on functional MRI - although I’m not sure there’s a dedicated “happiness centre” of the brain, so I’m not sure how they reached that conclusion.

I’m not really awake at that time in the morning - I was still stumbling around, trying to get my land-legs, so I only got the very rough gist.

Will check it out later, on i-player.

As the lady herself said, to see that there was actual dampening of pain-related brain activity, during meditation, must be very encouraging. With some of these things, it’s so hard to tell if any benefit is just wishful thinking, isn’t it? If you can see a change, rather than just feel there’s been one, it’s a lot more persuasive, isn’t it?