The Diane Rehm show had an interesting segment on the power of meditation yesterday (June 22). There isn’t a transcript available at the moment, but you can listen to the podcast on her website.

I should mention first that Jonathan Foust – one of the guests on the show – is a meditation instructor of mine. So I’m rather partial to him anyway. I also emailed a question during the show about chronic pain, mainly asking what medical research there is about meditation’s effect on chronic pain. This was kind of a softball question, but I mainly wanted to see what they had to say about chronic pain.

I was familiar with the guests’ responses. Josephine Briggs (director of the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine) didn’t cite any particular studies, but said that there are a number which have shown that meditation helps with chronic pain. Jonathan mentioned that meditation can help people change their relationships with pain. This is something I’ve written about before, so I won’t go into it in too much detail here.

Overall, the show seems like a good introduction to meditation and medical research related to it. One thing I did find very interesting were some comments from people who had tried meditation and had trouble with it. In particular, one caller said that he has serious concentration issues. How can he then sit down and meditate?

The general consensus of both guests to the show and those who called in are that there are a lot of different kinds of meditation. Some suggested that this gentleman try walking meditation, yoga (kundalini yoga in particular), martial arts, or some other meditation that moves his body. The trick is to find something that works for you.

I’ll be following up with a poll about your own meditation techniques.