Meditation can be profoundly relaxing as most know, but it can also be an effective way to relax patterns of unconscious tension in the body.
Many of us hold our stress, anxiety or emotions in various places in our body. Whether conscious or unconscious, somatic meditation in particular can help identify these places of holding. When these places are identified, this unconscious tension often relaxes just through the process of becoming aware that these places exist. Becoming aware of where you are holding tension in your body is the first step to relaxing it and letting go.
Somatic meditation can also be highly effective for releasing trauma of any kind. Many of us store trauma in our bodies from past incidents which continue to affect us in ways we may be unaware of. This can put our bodies in "fight or flight" mode which can keep us in patterns of chronic pain, as our body is still holding onto the experience. One example is highlighted in the book "Waking the TIger" by Peter Levine: "Traumatic symptoms are not caused by the "triggering" event itself. They stem from the frozen residue of energy that has not been resolved and discharged..." This is to say that the trauma from a car accident five years ago could still be effecting you today. There could be certain musculoskeletal issues which need to be addressed from something like whiplash. However, just the trauma of the accident itself could have a significant effect on your nervous system. The neuromuscular connection could be causing low back pain as an example.
There are many styles of meditation out there and I would suggest exploring which one works for you. Some examples are Yoga Nidra and Somatic Guided Meditation.
To get you started, here is a free audio track on Somatic Meditation by Dharma Ocean:
If your needing the support and guidance of a therapist to address chronic pain or trauma, please see my links page for more resources .