The Power of the Mind

Episode 47,   Nov 06, 2013, 01:57 PM

Investigating ancient and futuristic techniques to reduce pain using the power of the mind: from mindfulness to neuro-engineering.

This edition has been funded by a grant from the Scottish Government. 

In this edition of Airing Pain Paul Evans explores the possibility of controlling pain through techniques that focus on the brain and the mind.

Paul meets Aleksandra Vuckovic, a rehabilitation engineer at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow, who is conducting research into the use of neuro-engineering techniques to control chronic pain in those with injuries to the central nervous system. She explains that neuro-engineering works through patients training themselves to identify the part of their brain that controls their pain and then reducing it using brain waves. One of her patients, Andy Nisbet, shares his own experience of the technique and discusses the potential for future advancements in this method. 

Paul also speaks to Vidyamala Burch, founder and director of Manchester-based organisation Breathworks, which offers training for healthcare professionals and individuals in mindfulness-based approaches to chronic pain. She introduces us to the mindfulness technique, which fuses modern medicine with age-old eastern practices, and talks about the advantages of becoming aware of emotional and physical states as they occur. Burch explains that mindfulness allows people to identify the behaviour patterns related to their suffering and to make a conscious choice about that behaviour. This technique impacts on all areas of a person’s life: allowing them to reduce stress, maintain good relationships with those around them and increase their self-esteem.


  • Aleksandra Vuckovic – rehabilitation engineer, Southern General Hospital, Glasgow
  • Andy Nisbet – patient undergoing neuro-engineering
  • Vidyamala Burch – founder and director of mindfulness organisation Breathworks.
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