The Mindfulness-Based Chronic Pain Management (MBCPMTM) course is a modification of the Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction courses established by Jon Kabat-Zinn which are now world-wide.
When challenging or unwanted thoughts, emotions or behaviors arise most of us want to avoid or distract ourselves. We may use food, drugs, work or exercise to temporarily sooth, comfort or numb the difficult internal experience. Unfortunately, repeatedly coping in this way creates a habituated pattern that carries with it more shame and fear, and the hope of change slips further away into a seemingly endless out-of-control cycle.
Mindfulness has been shown in numerous studies to effectively attenuate pain, but a new study about to be published suggested that the way in which this reduction happens is much different than other, more typical coping mechanisms. These findings go to the heart of the difference between pain and suffering, by elucidating the different patterns of brain activation associated with each and showing how suffering is reduced throughout the practice of mindfulness, even when the sensation of pain is present.
Mindfulness-based Contemplative Training Reduces Avoidance and Facilitates Disengagement from Threat in Women Diagnosed with Fibromyalgia
I can remember that day. I was home from college for Thanksgiving break. I had picked up my best friend for lunch; we were going shopping, and then later, out for the evening. We had quite the day planned…
Shauna Shapiro and her colleagues (reference below) wrote about the mechanisms of mindfulness and highlighted "reperceiving" as a fundamental shift in perspective that arises out of the practice of mindfulness. This is not just an interesting theoretical point, it has real consequences.
The journal Pain has scheduled an article for publication in a future issue: "A non-elaborative mental stance and decoupling of executive and pain-related cortices predicts low pain sensitivity in Zen meditators." The authors are Joshua A. Grant, Jerome Courtemanche, and Pierre Rainville.
This study provides some insight into how pain is experienced in the brain and the potential power of mindfulness practice in impacting that experience. We often talk about distinguishing between sensation and distress when it comes to pain, and this study provides some insight into how that works and how mindfulness might play a role in reducing distress and thereby improving the quality of life of those in pain. Check it out!