Fibromyalgia and Meditation
Mediation is used as an alternative therapy looking at the perception and management of pain in the body. The ability to deal with thoughts around the pain is crucial in managing and reducing it.
Taking the time to think, breathe and focus on how you are feeling can really help your pain? Experts are saying yes, that these meditation techniques
I would love to try meditation, but I do not know how…
Before we get into more about the research of meditation, most people have no idea where to start! Luckily there are a few free apps to get you off on the right foot and guide you through your meditation journey.
- Smiling Mind
We used headspace and it was fantastic, all you need is 10 minutes out of your day. Simply download the app, put headphones on and let the relaxation begin. The first 10 days are free and we highly recommend trying it out!
What is Meditation?
Meditation is an umbrella term for many different mind-body practices that use contemplative thought and relaxation techniques to ease anxiety, pain, stress or insomnia. Some 20 million Americans now practice some form of meditation, according to a 2007 National Institutes of Health survey.
Mindfulness/meditation practices can be done either alone or in groups led by a health care professional. Techniques include:
- Deep-breathing exercises to boost relaxation
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (talking to a therapist about emotional issues) to help you focus on positive thoughts
- Body scanning or focused attention on your body’s physical sensations
- Yoga-based meditation
- Chanting or use of mantras (repeated words or phrases)
- Guided imagery or concentration on positive visual images or scenes
- Contemplative walking, common in Japan and in Buddhist traditions
* Like we mentioned above….if you have no experience meditating, downloading an app will be a great place to start
How Does Meditation Work?
Through meditation, people with fibromyalgia can come to terms with their pain and realize that their experience of life can be wider than pain.
Meditation’s goal is to relax the mind and body, engage feelings about pain or other challenges, release tension and tap into a positive outlook – despite a chronic illness like fibromyalgia. Focusing on negativity, especially on feelings of loss of health and well-being, only exacerbates pain. Meditation helps bring things into present-moment awareness, to see where we are, and assess things in that moment.
It’s easy for someone with a fibromyalgia to give into the feelings of victimization.
A Scientific Approach to Meditation
Many in the medical community believe that mindfulness/meditation practice can help people with fibromyalgia take control of their pain and emotions and manage them more successfully. Scientific studies are showing the positive results of meditation practice for people with fibromyalgia pain.
Meditation or mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy can interrupt that vicious cycle. With pain, tension can begin to arise in points of the body even distant from the point where the pain is originating. So we can attend to the body, make adjustments and relax certain areas before escalation to a crisis point.
Benefits of Meditation
Meditation allows a person to become aware of and come to terms with all of their feelings about their disease. It helps you see and feel all of your emotions, not just the painful ones.
Whether formal or informal, mediation is something a person with fibromyalgia can practice regularly to cope more effectively with pain or to build a positive attitude about life.
The benefits come with regular, sustained meditation, she notes. It won’t replace medications, healthy diet and physical activity, or surgery, but meditation can be a powerful complement to those treatments and healthy behaviors – because pain really starts in the mind.