Mindfulness Meditation for Pain Workshop

Tree Meditation for Pain

Studies have shown that meditation calms the brain patterns underlying pain. Medical professionals are prescribing meditation to ease suffering due to a range of illnesses including: cancer, arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraines, and labor pain. Mindfulness meditation can help improve mood and quality of life in chronic pain sufferers; reduce the likelihood of experiencing psychological problems, addictive or self-destructive behavior; enhance the ability to cope with stress, the immune system, emotional intelligence, working memory, and overall brain function.

When Tom Bassarear came here to 99R Main Street in Keene to lead a mindfulness meditation workshop for the Deep Roots team, Mark Rebillard was surprised by what happened.

“To see how we all could benefit, each in our own unique, positive way, was pretty amazing,” said Mark, Deep Roots’ owner. “And I could see how these concepts could help our clients who live with chronic pain.”

While the rest of the team was having their coffee after the workshop, Mark told Tom he thought there might be a role for the mindfulness tools they’d talked about in Deep Roots’ practice. Without hesitation, Tom agreed. Research has been done, he said, into mindfulness for mitigating pain, and the results were quite positive. Tom has taught mindful meditation extensively, and often hears from students that his classes have made a dramatic improvement in how they cope with pain.

After some discussion, Tom agreed to offer a course on mindfulness meditation, geared toward coping with pain, that could be shared community-wide.

The eight-week class is based on Mindfulness-Based Pain Management (MBPM), a method stemming from the work of Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center and developed by Vidyamala Burch. Since its inception, the program has been shown in clinical trials to rival drugs and counseling in the relief of anxiety and depression, and to meet or beat commonly prescribed painkillers in dealing with pain.

The studies have shown that meditation accomplishes these healthy responses, in part, by calming the brain patterns underlying pain. This effect can reduce the intensity of pain as well as the dominance it holds over the person experiencing it.

Medical professionals have recognized its effectiveness, now prescribing meditation to ease suffering due to a range of illnesses including cancer, arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraines, and even from labor pain. More broadly, studies have found that mindfulness meditation can help:

  • Improve mood and quality of life in chronic pain sufferers
  • Make practitioners less likely to suffer from psychological problems
  • Reduce addictive/self-destructive behavior
  • Enhance the ability to cope with stress
  • Improve immune system function
  • Enhance emotional intelligence, working memory, and overall brain function

And these effects have been quantified: In one example, trials showed that “pain unpleasantness levels” could be reduced by 57 percent in those new to meditation, and by 93 percent in accomplished meditators. In another, meditation grew the part of the brain associated with self-awareness, attention, and self-control.

“By learning and practicing various mindfulness and compassion practices, participants are literally rewiring how their brain experiences and processes pain, resulting in significantly less suffering from chronic pain,” said Tom.

He brings to the course dual callings: Tom co-founded the Monadnock Mindfulness Practice Center in Keene after decades of study, practice, and teaching, and he recently retired after 30 years as an Education professor at Keene State College.

The class will consist of guided instruction in mindfulness meditation practices and discussion of practical ways to integrate mindfulness into everyday life. Participants will be invited to try various mindfulness practices each week, discovering the practices that best suit them over the course of the eight weeks.

To read more about Tom Bassarear, check out his website at www.TomBassarear.com.

The finer points

  • WHO? People suffering from chronic pain will benefit. Anyone in the local community who wants to sign up, can.
  • WHAT? Mindfulness Meditation for Pain course
  • WHERE? Deep Roots Massage, 99R Main Street, Keene
  • WHEN? Each Thursday from April 5 to May 25, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
  • WHY? For your health and happiness, silly!
  • HOW? Call Deep Roots at 352-0734. Payment will be due at sign-up.
  • HOW MUCH? $300. A limited number of scholarships are available (with demonstrated need).
  • PERKS! Deep Roots members get a 20% discount. Yeah, members!

Deep Roots therapists are licensed professionals who practice, study, and train together in the science and art of massage therapy. 99R Main Street Keene, NH. 603.352.0734. info@deeprootsmb.com