Mindfulness meditation popular with celebs including Jennifer Aniston DOES ease chronic pain

The psychological technique encourages people to slow down, “feel the moment” and better accept their feelings and emotions.

Hollywood stars say it helps them cope with stress, anxiety and depression. But its effectiveness against chronic pain has been disputed.

A new study looked at its impact on people with pain — largely caused by musculoskeletal problems, and lasting at least three months.

The review also studied how effective cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) — another psychological technique — was in treating chronic pain.

Researchers trawled a series of databases for relevant clinical trials looking at both CBT and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR).

They narrowed the study to 21 trials involving nearly 2,000 people.

POPULAR WITH MUMS AND CELEBS

Most were women and aged 35 to 65.

Some had endured pain for more than a decade.

Experts concluded both CBT and MBSR significantly improved physical functioning and lessened pain severity — compared with usual or no care.

CBT is the most widely used psychological technique for treating chronic pain — but not every sufferer finds it helpful. Lead author Dr Patricia Poulin said: “An additional solution may be to offer patients MBSR since it shows promise in improving pain severity and reducing pain interference and psychological distress.”

The Canadian team sounded a note of caution as only one of the 21 trials directly compared CBT with MBSR.

Prof Poulin added: “Additional research using consistent measures is required to guide decisions about providing CBT or MBSR.”


What is mindfulness?

ACCORDING to Ed, a simple way to think of mindfulness is “being aware of what is going on inside of us – thoughts and feelings – and learning how to pay attention”.

He adds: “Practising meditation is a way of doing that.

“I would say it’s very similar to going to the gym. If you want to condition your body and get in good shape you need to exercise regularly.

“Meditation is exercise for the mind. It’s mental fitness.

“We get caught on automatic ways of thinking and behaving and the exercise of meditation trains us to relate differently to what’s going on.

"It helps us to learn how to look at, understand and manage our thoughts and feelings without getting overpowered by them.

“It’s like we cultivate a mental resilience. It’s mind training.”


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