Mindfulness for Pain Relief, Health & Wellbeing

PainIs your life ruled by pain or illness?

Do you live with a long-term health condition?

Are you seeking pain relief or chronic pain management?

Mindfulness offers natural pain management and can literally change your life.

Perhaps you have had many treatments for your condition, such as physiotherapy, injections, surgery and medication.

Perhaps your doctor has said that nothing more can be done, you will have to ‘learn to live with it’.

Our course provides you with a wide range of mindfulness techniques to ease the suffering associated with chronic pain, fatigue and ill health – whatever the cause may be.

  • You will learn to live in the present moment and breathe into your experience, rather than tensing against it.
  • You will learn to respond rather than react to your life’s circumstances

Mindfulness for Health has been developed by Breathworks, a leading mindfulness training and development company in the UK. The course is based on the book Mindfulness for Health, by Vidyamala Burch and Danny Penman. Mindfulness for Health won the British Medical Association 2014 award for Best Popular Medicine book.

Who can Mindfulness for Health help?

Mindfulness for Health can help if you suffer from fibromyalgia, arthritis or back pain.

It can help if you have a long-term health condition like multiple sclerosis, Parkinsons or chronic fatigue syndrome/ME.

It can also help all those seeking chronic pain management.

How can Mindfulness for Health help with pain?

Mindfulness helps you to become aware of what’s happening in your body and mind, and in the world around you, in the present moment, as it happens.

This increased awareness brings many benefits, and has been proven in scientific trials to reduce pain, depression and anxiety, and to improve physical functioning.

What does the Mindfulness for Health course cover?

Our course provides you with a wide range of mindfulness techniques to ease the suffering associated with chronic pain, fatigue and ill health – whatever the cause may be.

There are two key principles which underlie all aspects of mindfulness and run through the Mindfulness for Health courses

  • You will learn to live in the present moment and breathe into your experience, rather than tensing against it.
  • You will learn to respond rather than react to your life’s circumstances

Breath Awareness

We begin by investigating our breathing habits, so we can learn to use the natural breath as an aid to managing our pain, illness or stress. We encourage people to develop habits of breathing into their experience, learning how to use the breath to soften resistance to pain or illness and to let go of tension.

Body Awareness

The body scan helps us to develop habits of greater ease and awareness of the body. Adopting a comfortable posture, lying down or sitting, we take our awareness through our whole body, using the breath to help us let go of areas of pain and/or tension. We give course participants a CD to use at home

Mindful Movement

We guide you through some gentle movements, based on yoga and pilates, especially devised for Breathworks by a very experienced yoga teacher. The movements are suitable for all, being easily adapted as necessary so they are appropriate for people suffering from a wide range of physical conditions. We also discuss the importance of keeping our bodies in as good physical condition as possible, in order to stop a cycle of disuse, loss of function and more pain or fatigue.

Mindfulness of Daily Life

By bringing awareness to the activities of daily life you will learn to overcome the very common tendency of overdoing it on good days or collapsing on bad days, with accompanying emotions of unrealistic hope followed by frustration and despair. You will be guided in some detective work about your daily activities, using diaries and symptom scoring, which will enable you to become more aware of what activities cause aggravation. You will learn how to make choices throughout the day, based on your developing awareness, enabling you to have a more balanced approach to life.

3 Minute Breathing Space

This is a very effective way of coming back to an awareness of yourself in the midst of daily life. We will teach you how to take three minute breaks in the midst of whatever activity you are engaged with, when you can simply rest your awareness quietly with the breath. This can be a remarkably effective way of bringing a sense of calm, peace and presence into your experience. Then, feeling refreshed and focused, you can go back to what you were doing.

Meditation Practices

During the course you will be introduced to seven different mindfulness meditations that build progressively on one another. These are all about 10 minutes long:

  1. Body Scan Meditation
  2. Breathing Anchor Meditation
  3. Mindful Movement Meditation
  4. Acceptance and Self-Compassion Meditation
  5. The Treasure of Pleasure Meditation
  6. Open Heart Meditation
  7. Connection Meditation

How long is the Mindfulness for Health course?

The course runs weekly for 8 weeks. Each session lasts 2.5 hours, with a tea break.

Where does the Mindfulness for Health course take place?

Our Mindfulness for Health courses are run in Newbury, Midgham and Reading.

How many people are on a Mindfulness for Health course?

Mindfulness for Health works well in small groups of 8-10.

It is also offered individually on a 1:1 basis.

How much the Mindfulness for Health course cost and what does it include?

The course costs £220, plus £20 for materials, which includes a handbook and four audio CDs or a flash drive.

You will be provided with audio CDs or MP3 downloads of the meditations so that you can practice at home and you will also receive a course workbook.

There are a limited number of concessionary places at £190 available. Please contact us before booking to enquire about availability.

There are a limited number of payment plans, available upon request. Please contact us before booking to enquire about availability.

Do I need to do anything else as part of the Mindfulness for Health course?

Home practice is a very important part of the programme.

For best results from the course we suggest that you set aside 20 to 40 minutes, on 6 days out of 7.

There will also be some course material to read each week.

Why do you offer Mindfulness for Health courses in a group?

When learning mindfulness, it is very helpful to be able to share experience of learning the techniques with others who are at a similar stage in the learning process.

Previous course participants value the kindness and friendship of other people who understand what it is like to live with pain or illness.

You will not be asked to share details of your condition with the group.

What evidence is there that Mindfulness for Health will help me?

Teixeira et al. (2008) reviewed peer-reviewed studies in which meditation was the primary intervention with populations experiencing chronic pain, established by medical history. All programmes in the studies reviewed included a didactic/ educational component, relaxation and a small group format. The majority of studies reviewed based their intervention on the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programme developed by Kabat-Zinn (1982). Teixeira et al. identified ten studies meeting these inclusion criteria: Six studies were randomised controlled trials or quasiexperimental studies and four had no control group.

Teixeira et al. propose that the studies they reviewed are suggestive of health benefits and indicate a potential for mindfulness meditation to result in improvements in both physical and psychological outcome measures. They do however acknowledge limitations of the studies they reviewed and suggest that large RCTs are needed to validate the efficacy of meditation based programmes and that qualitative studies would elucidate the experiences of people living with chronic pain, thus facilitating the use of relevant outcome measures.

Kabat-Zinn et al (1985) assessed mindfulness-based techniques in 90 chronic pain patients. Measures of pain, anxiety and depression were reduced immediately following the 10-week course and most improvements were maintained up to 15 months post-meditation training. Morone et al. (2008) in a trial of Mindfulness for the management of chronic low back pain (CLBP) in adults aged 65 and older demonstrated improved pain acceptance and physical functioning compared to the wait-list control group.

McCracken and colleagues research mindfulness in the context of a programme whose primary treatment principles are based in part on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) developed by Hayes and colleagues (1999). Baer (2003) notes that although ACT does not describe its treatment as mindfulness, its strategies are consistent with mindfulness approaches in that clients are taught to recognize an observing self who is capable of watching their own bodily sensations, thoughts and emotions (p128). Evidence from ACT is thus relevant for the evidence base for mindfulness-based interventions: McCracken et al. (2007) measured mindfulness, pain, emotional distress, disability and medication use in 105 chronic pain patients.

McCracken et al. (2005) studying 108 patients with complex chronic pain trained in mindfulness found that pain and functioning improved and were maintained at 3- month follow-up. Reductions in depression, physical and psychosocial disability and an increased ability to perform simple physical exercise were demonstrated, as were reductions in analgesic use and GP visits, and improved work status at follow-up.

The evidence base for mindfulness-based interventions as part of the repertoire of treatments for managing chronic pain does still require more research. However, as Grossman et al. (2004) in a meta-analysis of mindfulness based interventions for a range of clinical and non-clinical problems comment: “the literature seems to clearly slant toward support for basic hypotheses concerning the effects of mindfulness on mental and physical well-being. Mindfulness training may be an intervention with potential for helping many to learn to deal with chronic disease and stress.” (p 40)

Baer, R. A. (2003). Mindfulness training as a clinical intervention: A conceptual and empirical review. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10(2), 125-143.

Grossman, P., Niemann, L., Schmidt, S., & Walach, H. (2004). Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits: A meta-analysis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 57(1), 35-35.

Hayes, S. C., Strosahl, K., & Wilson, K. G. (1999). Acceptance and commitment therapy: an experiential approach to behavior change. New York, NY: Guildford.

Kabat-Zinn J, Lipworth L, Burney R. The clinical use of mindfulness meditation for self regulation of chronic pain. J Behav Med 1985;8(2):163-190.

Kabat-Zinn, J. (1982). An outpatient program in behavioral medicine for chronic pain patients based on the practice of mindfulness meditation: Theoretical considerations and preliminary results. General Hospital Psychiatry, 4(1), 33-47.

McCracken LM, Gauntlett-Gilbert J, Vowles KE. (2007) The role of mindfulness in a contextual cognitivebehavioral analysis of chronic pain-related suffering and disability. Pain;131(1-2):63-69.

McCracken LM, Vowles KE, Eccleston C. (2005) Acceptance-based treatment for persons with complex, long standing chronic pain: a preliminary analysis of treatment outcome in comparison to a waiting phase. Behaviour Research Therapy 43(10):1335-1346.

Morone NE, Greco CM, Weiner DK. Mindfulness meditation for the treatment of chronic low back pain in older adults: A randomized controlled pilot study. Pain 2008;134(3):310-319

Teixeira, M. E. (2008). Meditation as an intervention for chronic pain: An integrative review. Holistic Nursing Practice, 22(4), 225-234.

Interview with Vidyamala Burch – a Leading Authority on mindfulness and Developer of the Mindfulness for Health course

Upcoming Mindfulness for Health Courses

8 Week Course
Newbury Wellbeing Centre,
6 Pound Street, Newbury, Berkshire, RG14 6AA
Tue 18th September to 6th November 2018, 10.30 – 13.00