Looking to supplement prescribing pain pills, some doctors are suggesting mindfulness and meditation apps to prevent misuse before it begins. Rex Marco, an orthopedic surgeon in Houston, recommends meditation apps such as Stop, Breathe, & Think to his patients suffering from chronic pain. And for good reason—in clinical trials mindfulness meditation has been shown to reduce it by 57 percent.
Meditation apps may help curb addiction, too. In a recent study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, researchers at the University of Southern California found that eight weeks of mindfulness training led to decreases in cravings and relapses among adults in rehab—even six months later. Apps are an easy, accessible way to practice at home, and several new ones targeting addiction are going beyond simple meditations with features such as trigger tracking, motivational messages, medication and mindfulness reminders, and on-demand group therapy.