I did a Google search for ‘meditation and pain management’ and got about 500,000 results. In itself this doesn’t really prove that meditation works but it shows a huge interest. A search for ‘magnet therapy for pain’ yielded over 130,000 results, even though magnet therapy has been almost completely discredited by scientific testing. A search […]


The body has always been the main target of our efforts to treat pain. We touch it, rub it, put things into it, manipulate it, stick needles into it, exercise it, cut things out of it and replace parts of it. Throughout history we have looked at, felt, listened to, smelled and even tasted the […]

Chickens, Eggs, Minds, Bodies

The fact that we have a word for mind and another for body makes it seem obvious that mind and body are two different things. People talk about their bodies as if bodies are what we live in. For people with chronic pain, the body may feel like something they’re trapped in. But this view […]

Western Body / Eastern Mind?

The Western medical tradition dates back more than 2,000 years to the time of the Greek physician, Hippocrates. The ancient Roman saying, “Healthy mind in a healthy body” speaks of a long held recognition of an intimate mind-body connection. However, history shows that the majority of Western methods of attaining health and well being were […]


It was in the mid 1990’s when Shifu John P. Painter introduced me to the Chinese art of Jiulong Baguazhang. (Shifu is a term that can be roughly translated as a combination of teacher/father/boss. Jiulong Baguazhang literally means 9 Dragon, 8 Trigram Palm). In the world of Asian martial arts he was and is internationally […]

Gentle Way

The concept of training the mind and body in a coordinated fashion is exemplified in the art of Jiulong Baguazhang. It begins with an emphasis on developing good body mechanics and the ability to reduce unnecessary muscle tension. Exercises include quiet sitting, holding standing postures and moving slowly from one posture to the other. Relaxation […]

Putting it Together

It was in 2005 that my friend and fellow Jiulong instructor, Eric Reynolds and I co-founded a chronic pain group therapy program. We incorporated meditation/relaxation training, mental imaging, body mechanics and gentle exercises modeled after those used in Jiulong Baguazhang. Participants are taught to stay within the limits of their individual tolerances. Staying relaxed takes […]

Belief is Not Enough

There are countless treatments available for pain if the Internet is any indication. Often, the description of a therapy is accompanied by explanations, endorsements and testimonials. When I read some of these things I am often impressed by the stories of relief and the passion with which they are told. I’m convinced that many who […]

Mind or Body – What’s the Difference?

In the research literature on pain and online forums devoted to pain research and treatment, questions about the relationship between mind and body are often raised.  Universities offer degrees in cognitive neurosciences and courses in psychophysiology, underlining our increasing understanding of the mind body connection. Despite this, pain medicine still seems stuck in the notion […]

Is Pain Management a Skill?

On the home page of this website we say pain management is a skill.  It’s a strong statement.  Following such a remark a couple of obvious questions include: what do we really mean and how can one acquire this skill? Our pain group sessions are fairly simple. We talk a bit about pain, practice meditation, […]