For some people, practicing relaxation techniques and meditation can help not only relieve chronic pain but also reduce stress by turning the mind’s focus away from the feelings of discomfort. Hypnosis, meditation, and relaxation/breathing exercises may help certain individuals manage pain.
A person can practice meditation anywhere and at any time. It just takes a few moments of clearing the mind and focusing on breathing techniques or words and thoughts that relax you. According to the NCCIH, there are four elements of meditation:
- A quiet location with few distractions
- A comfortable posture or position
- Focused attention
- An open attitude
Some studies indicate that meditation may reduce blood pressure as well as symptoms of anxiety, depression, and pain.
Watch this meditation video from the Mayo Clinic to try your hand at this technique: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/multimedia/meditation/vid-20084741
Relaxation techniques are also focused on reducing stress as well as muscle tension that can lead to pain. The NCCIH categorizes relaxation techniques as a number of practices including:
- Progressive relaxation
- Guided imagery or visualization
- Deep breathing exercises.
The goal is to enter a state of relaxation by slowing breathing, lowering blood pressure, and increasing feelings of well-being. Many stress management programs incorporate relaxation techniques, also suggesting that these techniques benefit people with chronic pain conditions.
Yoga, meditation, Tai Chi and deep breathing are all forms of relaxation that help connect the mind and the body for increased mindfulness, presence and stress relief. All of these techniques may help reduce chronic pain in people who incorporate these practices into health and wellness programs.