Pain is an inevitable part of life. Chronic pain disorders like chronic lower back pain, migraines /headaches, injuries, neuralgia, and fibromyalgia are a major source of suffering and disability, affecting tens of millions of people in the USA alone. Buddhism has the metaphor of the “two arrows” – the pain caused by any misfortune is the first arrow – which is pretty much unavoidable. But the second arrow, the suffering caused by our reaction to the first arrow, we can sometimes do something about that. Meditation cannot make pain go away, but major medical centers across the world have been using mindfulness meditation as a means to help people manage chronic pain and the stress and suffering it brings. Clinical trials of mindfulness meditation interventions have demonstrated that mindfulness has a significant but “medium” effect size on chronic pain disorders – one that is often helpful (and sometimes as large as widely accepted medical treatments). Furthermore, laboratory and neuroscience research has found some fascinating effects of meditation on the neural effects of pain and pain perception, including effects seen in expert Zen and Tibetan Buddhist meditators with decades of experience, as well as ordinary folks who take an 8-week mindfulness class, and surprisingly even just a couple hours of practice can have measurable effects.
This day-long experiential workshop will provide instruction, guided practice, and opportunity for discussion and feedback in using several forms of mindfulness and mind-body meditation practices, commonly used in programs like Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction, that have been shown to be helpful for managing pain. It will also provide an up-to-date and accessible review of the psychology and neuroscience of meditation and pain perception, and how meditation might affect the brain, our thoughts, and our emotions, and possibly even our sensory perception, in ways to make the experience of pain more manageable and less suffering. We will discuss cutting-edge human neuroimaging work as well as large-scale clinical trials to share the “state-of-the-art” and the state of the science in meditation and pain management.
Saturday, October 23, 2021
10:00 am – 1:00 pm and 2:00 – 5:00 pm Eastern
Anthony King is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health and the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research (IBMR) at The Ohio State University, and Director of the OSU Program for Resilience. He is also an adjunct faculty of The University of Michigan Medical School and Institute for Social Research. He is a licensed clinical psychologist, and certified teacher of Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), and led the MBCT program for Anxiety and Depression at UM for several years. He currently directs the OSU Laboratory for Mindfulness and Compassion in Psychotherapy at IBMR, and conducts NIH-funded clinical neuroscience research on Mindfulness and Compassion-based psychotherapy for PTSD, anxiety, and depression, and their effects on neural networks using functional MRI neuroimaging. He is also leading the “mindfulness meditation” arm of a large clinical trial at UM comparing the effects of mindfulness (MBSR) to the medication duloxetine (Cymbalta), physical therapy, and Acupressure for chronic lower back pain..
Tony has been a student of Kyabje Gelek Rimpoche Dorjechang for over 30 years, and an instructor of Jewel Heart Tibetan Buddhist Centers since the mid-1990s.
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