Meditation for Chronic Pain

August 19, 2018 Joe Brady

Taoist meditation for chronic pain is different from most types of meditation in that it emphasizes focusing on the pain sensation itself rather than trying to ignore the pain or distract from it. In a sense instead of the pain acting as a distraction to the meditation, the pain now becomes the object of the meditation itself. Scientists are finding that this approach causes changes in both how we respond to pain and the brain’s ability to deal with it.

In an NCCIH video interview with Dr. Richard Davidson, founder of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, research has found that focusing on specific pain sensations—such as tingling, pressure, or heat—seems to diminish the anxiety and fear of the pain, and that helps people cope with the pain they’re experiencing.

Watch the Video

Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

of Mindfulness Meditation for Chronic Pain:


Trying to avoid addictive opioid drugs many people increasingly seek treatment for chronic pain through mindfulness meditation.

A systematic review of 38 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with meta-analyses, statistically significant effects was found for reducing pain, depression and improving quality of life compared with all types of controls.

For more information on meditation for pain see:

Mindfulness Meditation for Chronic Pain: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Lara Hilton, MPH,pastedGraphic.png Susanne Hempel, Ph.D., Brett A. Ewing, MS, Eric Apaydin, MPP, Lea Xenakis, MPA, Sydne Newberry, PhD, Ben Colaiaco, MA, Alicia Ruelaz Maher, MD, Roberta M. Shanman, MS, Melony E. Sorbero, PhD, and Margaret A. Maglione, MPP