Living Well with Pain and Illness Book


The mindful way to free yourself from suffering

by Vidyamala Burch. Piatkus, 2008

Living Well With Pain and Illness gives a detailed summary of the principles and practice of the Breathworks programme. It is intended for anyone looking for new ways to live with pain and illness or other long-term difficulties. The main focus of the book is physical pain, but the mindfulness techniques are relevant to illness of any sort. They will help with managing energy and fatigue; also improve quality of life. The techniques are also relevant to mental and emotional suffering, such as stress, anxiety and depression.

The book starts with Vidyamala's own story of living with pain. It looks at the nature of pain and describes how we can find a new relationship with it using mindfulness. It explores mindfulness and how it can bring wholeness, even if your body is injured or ill. The book then goes on to practical guidance on how to come home to your body through breath awareness and mindful movement, introduces three formal meditation practices with useful tips, and looks at how you can take mindfulness into your daily life.

The book came about partly in response to requests from people unable to attend a Breathworks course. It was also written with a strong sense of how Vidyamala felt when she first faced the loneliness of disability and chronic pain with few skills to help, in the hope that some of the lessons learned can help others find an easier way through their own journey with pain and illness.

"A friend recommended this book as it was the basis of a Pain Management Clinic she was attending. On the front of the book is a quote 'her approach could save your life - and give it back to you'. According to my friend, the quote is absolutely right; she has just finished the course and really does feel that it has changed her life. For those of us in constant pain, this is just amazing."