I found this article depressing to read, although I was already aware that there are similar high rates of chronic pain across the UK. Indeed, a silent epidemic of chronic pain is sweeping our society; it is associated with an ageing population and the stresses and strains of a modern, sedentary lifestyle so often fuelled by junk food and sugar.

Mindfulness, to me, is clearly one of the ways that the suffering associated with chronic pain can be eased. And this idea isn’t just being promoted by people like myself, who are actively involved in the growing mindful movement, it has even being discussed this week in Parliament as part of an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) looking at how mindfulness can be brought into the NHS – a massive endorsement from the political and medical establishment for mindfulness!

It was a great honour for me to be asked to speak at the APPG, where I spoke on behalf of all people who use mindfulness for pain, and as Director of Breathworks, where we advocate and teach mindfulness to people suffering from pain, illness and stress.

I dream of a day when mindfulness training is offered as standard treatment within health care as it has many benefits, including: 

  • It’s cheap, it can be learned in a group and all you need is a teacher and a room with chairs.
  • It is a ‘self-management’ approach, it teaches those of us who live with pain and suffering how to help ourselves manage as best we can, rather than being passive recipients of treatments and medications.

Mindfulness has been incredibly empowering for me, it has transformed my life, and I have also been privileged to witness similar transformations in the thousands of people I have taught over the past decade.

Vidyamala Burch