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What is the study about?

A study investigating the effect of Mindfulness Meditation and EEG-NF Neurofeedback Training for Pain Relief in People with Knee Osteoarthritis.

Mindfulness meditation training (MMT) effectively reduces chronic pain, in general, but its effect is unknown to reduce pain in knee osteoarthritis. MMT involves focussed attention to the changing sensations of the body (usually the breath) and non-reactive monitoring of arising sensory events. MM training can positively change brain and psychological functions that can result in improving pain.

Neurofeedback (Brainwave) Training can help learn to self-control activity of a brain region responsible for suppressing sensory signals from the body. The training procedure involves recording the real-time electrical activity of a selected brain region using an electroencephalogram (EEG) electrode cap linked to a computer software system. Then the computer provides sound feedback as a reward every time the brain activity reaches a set threshold. Training brainwaves can help an individual to learn to self-control the brain activity responsible for pain relief.

Am I eligible to participate in the study?

We are seeking adults (aged 45-85 years) with a clinical diagnosis of knee osteoarthritis and with significant pain (present daily) and functional difficulties for a minimum duration of three months. A link to our eligibility screening questionnaire follows the participant information sheets.

What will I be asked to do?

You will be required to attend the following four study phases and time commitment for each phase at the School of Physiotherapy, 325 Great King Street, University of Otago.

If you are eligible, you will be randomly assigned to one of three groups:

  • Mindfulness Meditation
  • Brainwave Training
  • Usual Care

Time commitment: 20 hrs for the training group and 8 hrs for the no training (usual care) group. We will guide you through each phase and send you reminders.

Please read the information sheets for further details of the study procedure:

Participant information sheet

For Māori: PDF copy of the participant information sheet

There will be no costs to you for participating in the study. You will receive in total $200 gift vouchers ($10 per hour of session) at the end of the study as a reimbursement for your travel and parking expenses. If you are in the usual care group, you will receive in total $80 vouchers ($10 per hour of session) at the end of the study as a reimbursement for your travel and parking expenses.

This study has been reviewed and approved by the Health and Disability Ethics Committee (HDEC). 2021 EXP 11367.

This study is funded by the New Zealand Health Research Council.

What are the possible benefits of participating in this study?

You may perceive a reduction in the symptoms (e.g., pain) following training.

You will be able to understand your sensitivity to pain; the extent of your natural pain inhibitory functions and your patterns of brain activity that are related to pain processing.

I am eligible and interested, what do I do next?

Please follow this link to the preliminary screening form to check your eligibility.
Check your eligibility

You also have the option to be screened by the researcher by phone or by email to determine your eligibility to participate in the study.
Call 0800 687 489 or email

Do you have any further queries?

Please contact:
Project manager
Call 0800 687 489 or

To contact the Māori investigator:
Dr Sharon Awatere (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu)
TXT: 0211 836 894.

Key investigators

Associate Professor Ramakrishnan Mani, Principal investigator. School of Physiotherapy, University of Otago, Dunedin. Phone number: 0800 687 489

Dr Sharon Awatere (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu) Co-principal investigator. The Health Boutique Ltd, New Zealand. Phone number: 06 844 6678

Professor Dirk De Ridder, Neurosurgery, Co-principal investigator. Department of Surgical Sciences, University of Otago

Dr Divya Adhia, Research Fellow, Co-investigator

Dr Nicola Swain, Associate Professor, Co-investigator. School of Physiotherapy,

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