Mind-body practices, interoception and pain: a scoping review of behavioral and neural correlates

Stephanie Voss, Daniel A. Boachie, Norberto Nieves, Neha P. Gothe

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objective: Chronic pain is a significant source of suffering in the United States, and many individuals increasingly turn towards yoga for pain relief. However, little is known regarding how yoga improves pain. Herein we seek to examine the scope of the literature linking mind-body practices, pain and interoception; an emerging mechanism by which yoga may improve chronic pain. Methods: This scoping review followed the five-stage methodological framework proposed by Arksey and O’Malley to examine behavioral and neural correlates of interoception in mind-body practices and pain. A broad search of the Pubmed, CINAHL, SportDiscus, Scopus, PsychInfo, and SocIndex databases was conducted, utilizing three clusters of search terms: (1) interoceptive terms, (2) mind-body terms, and (3) pain terms. Results: A combined total of 690 articles were screened, and 24 findings included for analysis. Sixteen studies examined interoceptive outcomes in response to mind-body practices for chronic pain, and 8 studies examined interoceptive outcomes in response to evoked-pain tasks in experienced mind-body practitioners. Only three studies linked yoga, interoception and pain. Conclusion: This review relied on the broader mind-body literature to inform our analyses as the literature examining yoga, pain and interoception remains limited. Interoceptive techniques including attending to and acceptance of bodily sensations, appear to be key therapeutic mechanisms in mind-body practices for chronic pain. Future yoga-based interventions would benefit examining interoceptive outcomes and integrating interoceptive strategies to facilitate the pain-modulating benefits of yoga.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2275661
JournalAnnals of Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2023


  • Yoga
  • chronic pain
  • interoception
  • mind-body practices
  • mindfulness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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