What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a process by which we become fully aware and accepting of the present moment. Jason MacDoney, a fibromyalgia sufferer, asks, “How does mindfulness help with pain relief?”
Mindfulness for pain relief is powerful because it uses all three processes of mindfulness, explains expert Jackie Smith.
- Observing messages from the body ;
- Acceptance of what currently is;
- Action ( and in the case of pain relief, this can be mindful breathing and relaxation)
Philosopher and Last of the Good Emperors, Marcus Aurelius said that “pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment”. Many modern metaphysicans, philosophers, Scientists and psychologists agree that it is not the pain itself, but our perception of it, which causes the problem.
Focusing on pain increases its unpleasantness (Miron et al., 1989) while paying attention to more pleasurable aspects of life can reduce pain pressure (Morone et al 2008).
One of the key concepts of Mindfulness is Neutrality. By not judging your pain as good or bad, but accepting it as temporary, you allow it to pass; directing your attention elsewhere.
Dr Da Costa (Neo) Doctor of metaphysics and pain relief pioneer, confronts pain daily. She helps patients relax the muscles and soften the tissues around afflicted areas, while cooling and calming the mind for pain relief.
Speaking of her own struggle with cancer, Neo says: “I was able to manage my pain, shrink my tumour away and boost my immune system using mindfulness. When the pain was at its worst I would tell myself it’s only pain and experiencing pain is easier than thinking about it. Without thought, would there be any pain? We can’t really know for sure, can we? There would almost certainly be LESS pain without the internal narrative, and that’s the message it’s important to get across.”
I knew that my pain was truly separate from my Self. My ego was in pain, while I myself was essentially at peace.
Another way of looking at this might be that most problems and pain alleviate with elevation from mistaken identification with form and physicality.
Pinkeet, a patient with sciatica, recalls “When I first went to see Neo my neck pain was unbearable and I was reaffirming it without realising it, every day. Neo encouraged me to write down some of my thoughts about pain and I wrote pages and pages. One thought that came up over and over again was ‘I can’t cope with this’. By helping me to see that I could cope with the pain, Neo helped me get to the stage where I could write that thought down and burn it. On scraps of paper, I burnt each one of my thoughts about the pain and committed to not wasting any more of my energy on thinking those thoughts”.
If we can cope with the pain AND the thoughts, then coping with the pain without the thoughts just has to be easier.
Pinkeet is thrilled that her daily average pain scale is now down from 8 to 4 now, and as long as she keeps up the mindful approach she knows that she can lower that even more.”
Pain hardens and tightens the body in a contorted and self-isolating manner and by approaching the pain from a softer, more liquid and lighter position, we can open ourselves out to nature’s own healing.
- Pain may stem from physically rooted memories of past experiences;
- Some pain comes from concerns or worries about the future;
By focusing our attention finely on the NOW, we can eliminate such concerns.
Mindfulness for pain relief is about softening the muscles, nerves and tissues which become inflamed and cause pain.
If a person is in pain, would it be true to say that person’s quality of life is less than someone who is not in pain? Possibly not. For example, somebody who has just had a lumpectomy to remove cancer may be in dreadful pain but may be overjoyed to have a longer life expectancy.
Pain and comfort are measured in degrees, not as absolutes. By staying in the now and assessing the pain on a scale from zero (comfort) to ten (unbearable pain), we can balance out our well-being and acknowledge that perception alters quality of life more profoundly than pain.
For Neo, Mindfulness is about being ON-PURPOSE, which is rather like being on-point with dance, you stay with the beat of your natural desires. Pain has a natural rhythm and by breathing on the beat of the pain you can move the focus from one body and give it to another which does not have pain, or you can notice the beat of the pain and then slow it with the power of your own mind. If your desire is to be free from pain, and you treat your pain with love and compassion, breathing love in to it, endorphins are released, and pain can be let-go.
Mindfulness can slow down the over-active nerves, calm any inflammation and turn down the pain receptors.
Burney, Robert., Kabat-Zinn , Jon., Lipworth, Leslie. The Clinical Use of Mindfulness Meditation for the Self-Regulation of Chronic Pain.“
Journal of Behavioral Medicine 8 (2):163-190.
Miron D, Duncan G H, Bushnell MC (1989) Effects of attention on the intensity and unpleasantness of thermal pain Pain, Volume 39, Issue 3, December 1989
Morone N E.; Greco C M.; Weiner, D K (2008). Pain, Vol. 134 Issue 3,
This recording will assist you to ease your own way, gently out of pain.
As you gently breathe in comfort, you release the pain.
Utilising subtle and soothing colour therapy, you will learn to restore balance and comfort for yourself.
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