Yes you read that correctly, meditation helps lower back pain. This is a heading that some will find surprising, but to some of us it is absolutely no surprise at all.

Pain management is a complex issue that varies from person to person. No two people experience pain the same way. But a recent study suggests that training the brain to respond differently to pain signals may be an effective pain relief tool.

Researchers examined mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and compared it to cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) which is a typical care for back pain. 342 patients in the US trial aged between 20 and 70 were divided into three groups. The scientists from the Group Health Research Institute in Washington found that MBSRΒ  led to “meaningful improvements” in patient’s pain.

After six months, 61% of patients who received MBSR and 58% who had CBT showed improvements in their functional limitations, compared to 44% who only had usual care including pysiotherapy. Interestingly, the improvements in the MBSR group persisted a year later.

The study concluded something that we have all known for a long time, and one of the main reasons that I created my system PilatesEVO several years ago; that the mind and body are intimately intertwined, and this includes how we sense and respond to pain. So meditation helps lower back pain. And PilatesEVO teaches how to apply meditation techniques.

These findings are totally inline with my experience as a Pilates teacher, and this is why I introduced Mindfulness Meditation into my system, PilatesEVO. I am convinced that teaching mindfulness incorporated with traditional Pilates methods give me results that far exceed the results I got from teaching Pilates in the more traditional way.

A small minority of people critisize me for including mindfulness in PilatesEVO, saying that Joseph Pilates did not include meditation in this original system. My answer is that science is moving forwards, and to ignore new evidence is ignorant and does a disservice to our clients, the people we are trying to help. I respect the principles of Pilates (although these were only classified after Joseph’s death) but I will do all I can to give my rehabilitation clients the best possible chance of making a full recovery. It has been my opinion for many years even before I created PilatesEVO that mindfulness meditation sits perfectly within a Pilates environment and new research such as this reinforces my opinion. And I know that my PilatesEVO clients and teachers agree too.

If you want to learn more about mindfulness meditation and PilatesEVO then please contact me by emailing chris@pilatesevo.com.

Let’s keep an open mind, and let’s keep learning.

Chris Hunt
Creator of PilatesEVO
www.pilatesevo.com