It’s hard enough to live with pain or another long-term health condition, let alone earn a living, look after ourselves and take care of others.

Breathworks specialises in helping people to:

  • self manage any health condition(s) they may have
  • reduce the suffering associated with their health condition(s)
  • return to work after periods of sickness
  • transition back into activity, creativity and productivity.

We also help people to:

  • stay at work with greater resilience and better self awareness
  • return to work happily, willingly and voluntarily

How can mindfulness help?

Mindfulness is an attitude to life can help people with long-term conditions come to terms with their situation, not by changing the condition itself but by changing their relationship to it. In a sense, the person becomes larger than their condition. The pain, illness or other symptoms may be just as unpleasant but held with kindness and acceptance rather than rejection and resistance.

Evaluation of Breathworks mindfulness for health programmes have shown significant reductions in pain intensity, interference with daily life, distress caused by pain as well as improvements in a range of quality of life indicators. 

Neural scans show mindfulness calms the brain’s pain response network. It is associated with a substantial boost in immune function, still evident 6 months after training. 

"With mindfulness, experiences don’t overwhelm us and we can remain steady through life’s ups and downs."

Our Mindfulness-based Health Intervention Programmes

Breathworks Mindfulness for Health programmes (MBPM) apply a mindfulness framework to key elements of pain management including the self-management of cognitive or subjective distress, mobility and movement, and pacing.

Our delivery methods include:

  • mindfulness taster sessions
  • bespoke training
  • online courses
  • face-to-face courses
  • one-to-one coaching
  • staff training
  • follow on sessions

Clients and Partners

We have worked with the NHS and health organisations across the UK, to see a list of our clients and partners, please click here.

Mindfulness for pain, illness and stress management is remarkably affordable as a long-term, low cost treatment for chronic conditions. Once learnt, people can self manage their condition which leads to a more creative and productive approach to life, work and other responsibilities.

A few alarming facts around chronic illness, stress and injury

  • More than 300,000 people in the UK leave employment due to illness or injury every year.
  • One in seven people suffer from chronic back pain.
  • Workers off sick cost UK £6.5bn a year.
  • Up to 500,000 people in UK have work related stress often resulting in illness.
  • Long term sickness absence is on the increase.
  • People not taking sick leave leads to presenteeism and therefore lower productivity.

How is mindfulness used in health, education and business?

Mindfulness is being used in many different settings. From National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) approved interventions for the treatment of depression to leadership programmes for executives, many thousands of organisations and individuals are seeing the benefits of mindfulness-based approaches.

There are many intervention acronyms used, including Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Mindfulness Based Pain and Illness Management (MBPM). Most programmes take fundamental mindfulness practices and include additional components for specific conditions, circumstances or issues.

Mindfulness-based interventions are now being integrated into the management of problems associated with a range of medical conditions including cancer, chronic pain, HIV, diabetes, arthritis, Parkinson's disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome/ME, multiple sclerosis and heart conditions and a range of psychiatric conditions including depression, anxiety, suicidality, head injury, dementia, drug and alcohol dependence, obsessive–compulsive disorder, eating disorders, and personality disorder (Baer 2003, 2005; Grossman et al. 2004).

Mindfulness and Work Preparedness Pilot Programme

Breathworks worked in collaboration with the Department of Health North West and North West NHS to deliver an innovative public health programme using mindfulness approaches to help people in recovery from addiction to return to well-being and make sustainable and appropriate moves towards community involvement and employment, with all the social and mental health benefits this has been shown to provide.

The pilot programme was delivered in early 2011 in Manchester and evaluated by a team from the Policy Evaluation and Research Unit at Manchester Metropolitan University. Results suggest that the project has been extremely successful.

The project was funded under Public Service Agreement PSA16, supporting vulnerable and socially excluded adults.


Breathworks recognises the importance of evaluation in the delivery of mindfulness training. This helps determine not only the individual benefits that participants typically experience but the impact at a group/ organisational level.

Measurement can be agreed in advance e.g. Breathworks can provide a range of established evaluation tools to assess levels of employee wellbeing and stress before and after intervention. We are also happy to collaborate with HR teams in assessing pre- and post- levels of productivity, sickness absence and so on.

To read more about our research and evaluation, please click here.

"I would like to thank you very much for giving me my life back"

CT, unemployed for 18 years due to chronic spinal and neck pain, co-running a toddler group since completing the programme.

"The programme opened my eyes to how I was managing and being 'managed 
by' my illness...Today, I am more active and feel more in control, responding better to day-to-day difficulties, which also benefits my family and work."

SJ, 54, diabetes and peripheral neuropathy.

"The skills and insights I learnt really came to the fore when I had a stroke. They helped me deal with the shock and trauma of having a stroke and to adjust to the life changes a stroke brings."

FR, 65, arthritis and stroke victim.

"Incorporating what I have learnt from the ‘Mindfulness for Health’ course has literally changed my life. I’ve learned that listening to my body and taking regular rest periods is not the same as ‘giving in’ as I’d feared. In fact I can actually do a lot more and enjoy what I am doing. I’ve also learned to accept help rather than stubbornly battling on which has made life a lot easier, both for me and others – I am a much nicer person to be around now I am practising mindfulness!"

SO’B 46, Rheumatoid Arthritis & Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

"Following a diagnosis of Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2003, I underwent four years of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, a stem cell transplant and deteriorating health. I felt as though my life was spiralling out of control. Last year I was informed of more complications.....I am amazed at how I am coping with this new round of treatment. Now that I am more able to be present with my experience as it is, I feel more peaceful, more confident, and can enjoy being alive right now. My attitude is profoundly different. In fact, I would say I am no longer waiting for light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks to Breathworks the tunnel has fallen away."

AG, 32, Recovery from bone marrow transplant & chronic fatigue syndrome.

"Although referred by my GP I was wary at the beginning having no understanding of mindfulness or meditation. The course was great; it has given me tools to help me manage pain and associated anxiety much more effectively."

CC, 58 , hyper mobility and fibromyalgia

"Although I didn’t have physical illness, I booked on the Breathworks course because I hoped it would help me deal with the myriad of physical effects I experienced as a result of stress and anger difficulties. It has enabled me to take hold of the reins of my life again and make a new start – to live again...I have learned to like and look after myself as well as developing compassion for others. I now feel a profound and reassuring peace is starting to blossom in my life."

AS, anger and stress management

"I experience wider gaps between hospital admissions, less reliance on orthodox drugs, decreased stress levels and don't have the high blood pressure often associated with, and a risk factor of, my condition."

FY, chronic renal failure

"I have been living with back pain since a lifting accident (aged 16), followed by a diagnosis 
of spondylolisthesis and a spinal fusion operation (aged 18)...The Breathworks course has been very instrumental in my recovery and in my ability to cope with pressures and deadlines...What made the course unique was its philosophical stance towards pain and suffering being less about 'resisting', 'fighting', or 'removing' the pain and instead to foster an awareness and acceptance of the pain in any given moment...Rather than feeling all consumed by pain, the methods and approaches which this course provides, can be positively utilised as a means of coping in one’s everyday life."

Dr NJD, 34, spondylolisthesis and post-operative pain

Other Research into mindfulness-based intervention

Over the last thirty years a substantial body of research has been conducted into mindfulness-based interventions for health care.

The links below are to external sites:

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