Join my email list

    I respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

    Empowered Relief: Updates and What’s New in 2023

    By |2022-12-30T11:40:28-08:00December 30th, 2022|

    Dear Friends,

    I hope this message finds you in good health and spirits. It’s been a while since I shared a message with you and that’s a reflection of being busy doing the work! As 2022 comes to a close, this update is focused on Empowered Relief.

    Status updates:

    • Empowered Relief is being delivered in 22 countries and in 7 languages.
    • Empowered Relief is being studied in nationally-funded research in the U.S., Canada, and Denmark.
    • Three new Empowered Relief national research grants began in 2022, including two national online studies involving 1400+ participants.
    • Trademark was received in 13 countries.
    • A teen/youth version of Empowered Relief is in development at Stanford University.
    • Empowered Relief is offered as standard care for pain in multiple U.S. healthcare organizations, including Cleveland Clinic Spine Surgery and Cleveland Clinic Comprehensive Neurological Institute (led by Dr. Sara Davin), Lehigh Valley Health Network, Allegheny Health Network, Veterans Affairs Healthcare (Phoenix), and the Canadian VA.
    • We published results of a randomized trial that showed a digital version of Empowered Relief (received by patients on an iPad in the hospital after surgery) reduced pain after orthopedic trauma surgery for up to three months later (led by Dr. Maisa Ziadni). This marks the publication of results for our fourth randomized trial on Empowered Relief.
    • Humana – the third largest health insurance provider in the U.S.—adopts Empowered Relief into its care portfolio.

    On the horizon for 2023:

    • Convenient online Empowered Relief clinician certification process. In response to clinician requests, beginning in mid- to late-2023, we will begin offering asynchronous certification opportunities. Empowered Relief may only be delivered by instructors that are certified by Stanford University. Asynchronous certification will greatly enhance convenience and certification feasibility for our international (and East Coast) colleagues, as well as our ability to rapidly scale certification to thousands of clinicians. We will post updates at the Empowered Relief website as soon as they become available.
    • Digital Empowered Relief. Much of 2022 was spent creating a super-slick version of on-demand Empowered Relief. Unlike prior digital versions that we used in our two surgical randomized trials, the new digital Empowered Relief is enhanced with UI/UX, daily text messaging and Hollywood-level features! This digital version is not meant to replace the live-instructor delivered format; rather, it expands accessibility to more people for whom the live classes would be infeasible. The NIH and the National Institute on Drug Abuse funded creation of digital Empowered Relief that is tailored to people with opioid misuse or opioid use disorder. This was a team effort with Drs. Karlyn Edwards, Maisa Ziadni, and Sophia You. We are excited to be rolling out this slick digital version in a national study that begins Spring 2023!


    Empowered Relief is the 1-session skills-based intervention for acute and chronic pain that was developed at Stanford University. We are excited about the broad adoption of Empowered Relief because it means many people will have rapid access to effective pain management – especially when the intervention is received online and from home. Our goal is to relieve pain and suffering at lowest cost and lowest burden.

    In August 2021 we published results for our NIH-funded randomized trial of 1-session Empowered Relief. In this study we compared Empowered Relief to 8-sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy (the best studied behavioral pain treatment) in people with chronic low back pain. We found that the benefits of Empowered Relief were clinically meaningful and broad, with people reporting reductions in pain intensity, pain-related distress, pain interference, sleep disturbance, depression, anxiety, and fatigue – all from the one-time, two hour group intervention. NIH issued a press release showcasing our study findings, Stanford University featured our study in a top-rated article for 2021, and we received media coverage from multiple outlets including MedPage Today and the NYTimes.

    Next, we wanted to know if Empowered Relief would be effective if it was received online. We conducted a randomized trial of online received Empowered Relief in clinic patients with diverse chronic pain conditions compared to patients receiving usual care. This study was led by Dr. Maisa Ziadni, a Clinical Assistant Professor at Stanford University. Yet again, we found broad and clinically meaningful benefits for Empowered Relief at 3 months post-treatment. This study was important because it suggested that online received Empowered Relief could impart meaningful improvements 3 months later – for people with different types of pain conditions. We could begin to envision that people in rural and underserved areas might benefit from online-received Empowered Relief. This is the exact topic of our new PCORI-funded national clinical trial. We are conducting a comparative effectiveness trial of two evidence-based online delivered behavioral treatments for chronic pain:  1-session Empowered Relief vs. 8-session cognitive behavioral therapy (Dr. Bev Thorn’s LAMP protocol). We are excited to test in real world patients which treatment works best for whom. We are enriching our sample for diversity in race, ethnicity, geography, and types of chronic pain conditions. Our clinical trail launches January 4, 2023 – here we go!!

    Wishing you and yours all the best in 2023.




    Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels

    Go to Top