19 Mindfulness-Based Interventions

What are Mindfulness-Based Interventions?

Mindfulness-based interventions include slow controlled breathing, mindfulness meditation, cognitive–behavioral therapies, biofeedback, guided imagery and physical activities such as yoga, tai chi, and qigong. These activities may be used to increase self-awareness, relieve stress, and improve interoception. Interoception refers to the representation of the internal world, and includes the processes by which an organism senses, interprets, integrates, and regulates signals from within itself (Chen et al., 2021; Weng et al., 2021).

Mindfulness-Based Interventions and Pain Management

There are many ways that people can practice mindfulness-based interventions, some common ways are through yoga classes, meditation classes, exercise and even mindful coloring. The practice of mindfulness has been around for a long time, but the practice has not received much scientific attention. New research into mindfulness-based interventions show that it can be a helpful adjunct in managing pain and other stress related noncommunicable diseases by fostering resilience through self-care (Shires et al., 2020; Skelly et al., 2020). Preliminary findings also suggest that integrating these tools into the health care system may reduce health care utilization and may be cost-effective (Stahl et al., 2015).

Research describing various neurological and physiological changes associated with mindfulness-based interventions, including activation of specific brain regions, increased heart-rate variability, and suppression of stress-induced inflammatory pathways (Dossett et al., 2020; Wells et al., 2020). Mindfulness is not a panacea, but it is an evidence-based option for patients who are willing to explore non-pharmacological options for pain management (Cherkin et al., 2016; Shires et al., 2020; Skelly et al., 2020).

Key Takeaways

Increasingly people are looking for alternative pain management strategies. The difficulty with mindfulness-based interventions is that it is not a one size fits all, what works for one person may not work for another, so it is important to try different approaches. The next step for researchers is to investigate what sort of dosage and duration would be needed to optimize the effects of this non-pharmacological approach.

References and Sources

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Chen, W. G., Schloesser, D., Arensdorf, A. M., Simmons, J. M., Cui, C., Valentino, R., Gnadt, J. W., Nielsen, L., Hillaire-Clarke, C. S., Spruance, V., Horowitz, T. S., Vallejo, Y. F., & Langevin, H. M. (2021). The Emerging Science of Interoception: Sensing, Integrating, Interpreting, and Regulating Signals within the Self. Trends in neurosciences, 44(1), 3–16. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tins.2020.10.007

Cherkin, D. C., Sherman, K. J., Balderson, B. H., Cook, A. J., Anderson, M. L., Hawkes, R. J., Hansen, K. E., & Turner, J. A. (2016). Effect of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction vs Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Usual Care on Back Pain and Functional Limitations in Adults With Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA, 315(12), 1240–1249. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2016.2323

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Wells, R. E., Collier, J., Posey, G., Morgan, A., Auman, T., Strittmatter, B., Magalhaes, R., Adler-Neal, A., McHaffie, J. G., & Zeidan, F. (2020). Attention to breath sensations does not engage endogenous opioids to reduce pain. Pain, 161(8), 1884–1893. https://doi.org/10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001865

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