If you suffer from headaches, migraines or other pains, there’s good news: you can use pain meditation techniques for relief. The scripts below will help you to get started.

In an article medically reviewed by Deborah Weatherspoon, Ph.D., R.N., CRNA, Adam Felman explains that, “People feel pain when a signal travels through nerve fibers to the brain for interpretation.” [1]. When part of the body is damaged, communication is send to the brain and the brain responds part producing the sensation of pain. This sensation may be different in different people because of the efficiency of the communication between the nociceptors and the brain.

The way how meditation helps pain is that it activates and reinforces certain areas of the brain used in the processing of pain. This can decrease the intensity of pain. A Wake Forest University study showed that meditation reduce pain by up to 40% (based on perceived pain).

Cleveland Clinic states that, “Meditation shifts your focus to something quiet and calm, reducing inflammation and pain.”

During some meditation techniques, pain decrease significantly. I have personally experience this for myself several times. For instance, when I have a migraine I will meditate on my breath and the relaxation will help me to feel less intense pain.

Some methods are more effective than others. So let’s take a look at some of the best meditations for pain relief.

3 Pain Meditation Techniques To Relieve Your Aches [with scripts]

Let’s look at some of the best pain meditation techniques for headaches, migraines and other pains.

1: Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is essentially the practice of focusing the mind on the present moment in a nonjudgmental way [READ: Mindfulness for beginners, which contains the meditation script].

In one study, participants were subjected to hot temperatures and tested to see how they responded to the pain. The study revealed that people who practice mindfulness meditation react to pain less than those who do not.

There is a reason for this. The majority of the time, when we experience pain, we dwell on it. The mind sinks into the feeling of pain and the symptoms amplify. When we are mindful, we simply observe the pain nonjudgmentally. This helps us to accept the discomfort and not to dwell on it.

2: MBSR Meditation For Headaches

Scientific research has proven that we can indeed use Mind-body techniques, including mindfulness, for headaches, migraines, and other pains. One of the best pain meditation techniques is the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program designed by Jon Kabat Zinn.

A report in Psychosomatic Medicine magazine recently revealed that for people who often meditate, headaches are rare.

Especially helpful is mindfulness-based stress reduction,  which was created by spiritual guru Jon Kabat Zinn, a doctor and meditation teacher.

Kabat Zinn’s studies reveal that individuals who practise Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction have 1.4 fewer migraines per month than the average individual. For people who meditate, headaches and migraines tend to be shorter and less intense.

Here’s how it works:

When we perform Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, we nonjudgmentally accept the pain we are experiencing. The aim is to perceive the pain precisely as it is: as pure energy. This acceptance of pain has been proven to significantly reduce suffering. It relieves the stress, which reduces the pain, and it also reduces the psychosomatic aspects of pain.

One of the best types of meditation for pain relief is body scan meditation.  

Arthritis And Muscular Discomfort

If you suffer from muscular pains there’s good news too: Taoist meditations help.

Taoist meditations are all about self-acceptance and harmony. They are designed to cultivate the flow of chi (prana) around the body.

Especially useful for muscular pains and arthritis are tai chi and Qigong. These are slow movement meditations that improve coordination and help to reduce inflammation.

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The Science Of Pain Meditation Techniques

Scientific research has highlighted the benefits of meditation for pain relief.

Here’s how meditation helps with pain:

Pain is mostly in the mind. The feeling of pain is generated by the brain, which interprets electrical signals sent from the body. There have been cases of people having intense pain even though there is nothing wrong with them. And there have been cases of serious trauma for which the sufferer did not feel pain. Both of these are examples of pain being created or ignored by the mind. That is why controlling the mind helps to control physical discomfort. And it is also why meditation helps: It gives us control of the mind, which helps us to manage pain.

It has been proven that there are more than 100 benefits of meditation. Among them is the fact that meditation stops pains like headaches and migraines. 

As Buddha said:

“Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.”


Pain affects you both physically and mentally. Even a type of pain that seems wholly physical (like a broken arm) will have psychological manifestations.

That is precisely why placebos work.

In World War II, Dr Harry Beescher was treating soldiers for wounds. One day he ran out of morphine, so he switched to a saline solution. It was a switch that should have been obvious. Saline solution should not possibly be as effective as morphine. Otherwise, why would doctors in hospitals give you morphine when you’re in discomfort…?

But 40% of the soldiers that Dr Beescher treated said they didn’t feel the pain after being treated. [1]

This wasn’t magic. And it wasn’t some miracle salt that Dr Beescher was using in his saline solutions. It was the power of placebo.

A placebo is when you are healed simply because you think you are being healed.

If, for instance, your mother tells you that chicken soup will get rid of your cold and it works, it has worked because you believed it would (because chicken soup does nothing for a cold).

Science has proven that placebos are as effective as medication. What matters when you are medicated is that you believe you are being healed.

This is how we know that pain is mostly in the mind. And because pain is in the mind we can use meditation for pain relief. Migraines. Headaches. Shingles. Back pain. Meditation works with all of them. And you can also compliment meditation with yoga for even better results.

How Meditation Stops Pain By Altering Your Mindset

Pain is made worse by negative emotions.

Physical pain is the direct results of what is happening in the subconscious mind.

In the 1960s, Russian scientists discovered that every thought and every feeling produces chemical responses in the body.

Thoughts and feeling cause chemicals called neuropeptides to be released.

Biologist Candace Pert learned that cells produce hundreds of neuropeptides, including endorphins, cortisol, hormones and adrenalin.

Different emotions produces difference frequencies that cause different neuropeptides to be released. [2]

Prolonged negative emotions will cause an overabundance of stress hormones, which will damage the body.

This is why experiencing a wide range of happy emotions helps reduce pain and inflammation.

Physical pain is caused by emotional suffering. And that means that emotional healing can cure physical discomfort.

Kathleen Oheeny [6] says, “both negative and positive affective states play a role in pain… [For instance], sadness may worsen the pain experience and influence cortical activity.”.

If you have mood swings or continual negative emotions, you can turn negative emotions to positive emotions, which in turn will reduce pain and inflammation and help with headaches, migraines, sore muscles, and other issues.

One of the best ways to heal emotional pain is by meditating.

When you meditate, you silence the mind and give your mind a chance to heal itself. This cures emotional suffering and in turn, alleviates physical discomfort.

This is why meditation has been proven to help with pain relief.

Essentially, the healing powers of meditation start from the mind and extend to the body.

This is perhaps why meditation can even help relieve discomfort for cancer patients.

When we use meditation for pain relief, we balance the emotions, and this reduces the psychosomatic factors.

Better than medicine?

When you actually are in discomfort, you’re not likely to use meditation for your headache. You’re more likely to grab pills, right? Because you just want the headache to go away fast.

Because of our pill-popping culture, opioids (medications that relieve discomfort) have become one of the most abused drugs in the country.

Researchers at Stanford University Medical Center investigated the truth behind prescription pain killers after it surfaced that more than 52 million people over the age of 12 are taking the medication.

The researchers investigated precisely how pain killers are made available to people. They made some shocking discoveries.

“The bulk of opioid prescriptions are distributed by the large population of general practitioners,” said Dr. Jonathan Chen, the study’s lead author. “Being a physician myself, I am acutely aware of the emotional angst that can occur when deciding whether to prescribe opioids to a patient who may have simultaneously developed a chronic pain and substance-dependence problem.” [7]

The researchers discovered that many general practitioners are intentionally overprescribing the medication. They discovered that 10 percent of opioid prescribers accounted for 57 percent of opioid prescriptions and 63 percent of all types of drug prescriptions. Bear that in mind if your doctor prescribed painkillers.

Wouldn’t you rather use meditation for pain relief than go on pain killers unnecessarily? Doesn’t it sound better to use meditation for headaches than to pop a pill?

This news is particularly concerning because of the nature of opioids, which serve to reduce the brain’s interpretation of pain signals. This makes them highly addictive. It also means that they are one of the main drugs that the pharmaceutical industry sells. More than $3 billion is made through sales of opioids every year. And there is mounting evidence that shows that not only are opioids addictive but highly dangerous too.

About 45 people a day, more than 16,600 people a year, die from overdosing on these drugs, including methadone, morphine, and oxycodone (OxyContin) and hydrocodone combined with acetaminophen (Lortab and Vicodin). And for every death, more than 30 others are admitted to the emergency room.

If your doctor prescribed painkillers they’re not alone. Doctors are overprescribing opioids across the country.

A Rising Trend

The World Health Organisation’s official statistics show that 47% of the world’s population suffers from at least one headache per year.

Headaches are one of the most common pain disorders.

Migraines are on the rise too, with more than 11% of people suffering from them.

Perhaps it’s should be no surprise that headaches and migraines are becoming more and more common.

After all, one of the most common causes of headaches is tension and stress, and the causes for stress and tension seem to become more and more every year.

No doubt you’ve experienced a tension headache at least once in your lifetime. But the good news is that if you have headaches or migraines, you can use pain meditation techniques.


The world is finally beginning to awaken to the power of the mind. And with the combined strength of science and spirituality, we are learning that there are natural remedies for pain relief.

The world of Ayurveda is also coming on strong and offering yet another healthy way to stop pain.  

In 100 years, we will all wonder why we ever used medication when nature has a cure.

For now, the enlightened among us can find relief by using pain meditation techniques.

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1: What is pain, and how do you treat it?, by Deborah Weatherspoon & Adam Felman, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/145750

2: The Effects of Brief Mindfulness Meditation Training on Experimentally Induced Pain, Fadel Zeidan, Nakia S. Gordon, Junaid Merchant, and Paula Goolkasian, Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina, Charlotte  http://www.psych.uncc.edu/pagoolka/seminar/jofpain2009.pdf

3: How You Can Ease Your Aches and Pain With Meditation,  https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-you-can-ease-your-aches-and-pain-with-meditation/

4: Antidote to pain and negativity? Let it be, Bill Hathaway, Yale, https://news.yale.edu/2020/02/19/antidote-pain-and-negativity-let-it-be

5: Effect of Different Meditation Types on Migraine Headache Medication Use, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4600642/

6: The Interactions of Emotions and Chronic Pain,  Kathleen Doheny, Afton Hassett, PsyD, and Burel Goodin, PhD https://www.practicalpainmanagement.com/meeting-summary/interactions-emotions-chronic-pain

7: Overprescribing of opioids is not limited to a few bad apples, Stafford University, https://biox.stanford.edu/highlight/overprescribing-opioids-not-limited-few-bad-apples

Written by Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a qualified meditation teacher and writer with more than 15 years experience in meditation and mindfulness. He studied meditation in Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential through mindfulness, yoga and meditation.

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