The Five-Minute Buddhist Books

Recommended Host

Question: Meditation and Medical Conditions

Q&A #14

OK, I said last week that I was done with the questions for a little while, but this one seemed important, and one that I really can’t answer. If any of you have a suggestion or solution to this, please post it on the site or send me an email and I’ll forward it to the right place.


A Reader recently wrote:


Hi,‚Ä®I had a question and thought I might as well give it a go. Lately I’ve been trying to meditate more often and for longer periods of time. However, I have fibromyalgia. (If you’re not familiar with it, basically what that means is chronic pain and especially in my case feeling weird sensations on my skin, almost like there are spiders walking up it or sometimes sudden sharp pain for no real reason). The chronic pain has never been a real problem for me, however, lately I have had a really hard time sitting in meditation for more than five or ten minutes because that’s about the amount of time I can maintain concentration without being severely distracted by sensations on my skin. I was wondering if anyone out there had this problem as well or if anyone knew of ways to help deal with this so I can deepen my meditation practice.


And my response:


I am not an M.D., so I know nothing about fibromyalgia. The first thing I would suggest is to talk your doctor about this. I assume there is some kind of medicine available, but I’m sure you know about that already. Still, if you specifically discuss meditation with your doctor, he may have some advice for you.

After long years of practicing meditation and learning to ‚Äúcontrol‚Äù your senses, you actually may be able to meditate and ignore that kind of distraction. In the meantime however, it’s hard to get into meditation with that kind of thing going on.

I’m hoping one of the readers has more useful advice than that. Does anyone else have a condition that makes meditation difficult, and if so, what do you do?

6 comments to Question: Meditation and Medical Conditions

  • Dharma Atma Raur

    Besides sitting or laying down meditation, there are various other ways to meditate, through walking or washing dishes,yoga. Counting your breaths(1 in~1 out) or saying to yourself~”I am that..I am…” Thanking the greater sources for your health, and other rewards of gracefulness!

    Good Luck

  • [admin posting for Susan]

    when i first started meditating i got itchy all over. My teacher told me to remember that everything is energy and that i should just acknowledge it as energy, say hello to it and let it go on it’s way. Eventually it just stopped. Paying too much attention to these little annoying things gives them more power


  • JR Enthusiast

    Hey everyone. I’m really interested in learning more about meditation. I just read James Ray’s book Harmonic Wealth and have been practicing his four categories of meditation: Focusing/Visualization, Listening/Watching, Static Transcendence, and Mobile Transcendence. He lists a bunch of ways to access each category in his book (page 309), but I’m still having some issues. I have listened to some meditation DVDs in the past and have been able to get into that space pretty easily, but I’m having a much harder time focusing in on my own. Any tips for how to tune in without the help of an audio track?
    I plan on attending Quantum Leap in the fall, so hopefully he’ll teach me some more techniques there, but I’d really like to keep meditating before then and make some progress. If you are interested, check out his website: or


  • I just looked at that James Ray site, and although can’t say I am terribly familiar, I am more than a little doubtful. It looks like he’s one of those self-help gurus. I think it’s completely possible to learn that kind of thing without spending big bucks. But if it works for you, that’s fine too.

    As far as listening to meditation guidance, that’s very helpful in the beginning, but you’ll quickly learn to go through the steps in your mind.

  • michael

    Greetings to all, If my readings are correct there are several ways to meditate other than sitting. I believe in Zen Buddhism one can mediate while gardening or walking while focusing on your breathing. “Light” excercise including yoga and household chores can also be relaxing while again concentrating on ones breathing. Perhaps experiment with sitting for a few minutes then walking…

    Kind regards,

  • Marian

    Hello. I know (from experience) the difficulties fibromyalgia can cause. If you are open to other than “main line” possible solutions, I suggest you “Google” TMS FIBROMYALGIA. Lots of available information — take time to consider it thoroughly.
    Best of luck,