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Focusing is a mind-body based therapy. It can be used for psychological wellbeing as well as improving learning and physical function.

Focusing has been used to improve stress and well-being in patients with anxiety disorders, chronic pain, and other conditions. However, there is no reliable scientific evidence to support the use of focusing for any condition.

Is It Effective?

Effectiveness header

Natural Medicines rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.

Insufficient evidence
  • Cancer. Early research shows that practicing focusing might improve depression and improve well-being in people with cancer.
  • Child development. Early research shows that, in addition to standard training, focusing practice does not seem to further improve basketball free-throw performance in children.
  • Learning disabilities. Early research shows that focusing on the activity rather than on themselves seems to improve the learning of movement in children with learning disabilities.
  • Muscle strength. Early research shows that focusing on the muscle contraction during weight training seems to increase muscle size when compared to focusing on the results of the exercise.
  • Chronic pain. Early research shows that practicing focusing might improve pain in people with chronic pain.
  • Parkinson disease. Early research shows that adding focusing to a 4-week balance training does not seem to improve balance or walking in people with Parkinson disease.
  • A type of anxiety marked by fear in some or all social settings (social anxiety disorder). Early research shows that practicing focusing might reduce anxiety in people with social anxiety disorder.
  • Sprains. Early research shows that external focusing seems to be better than internal focusing for improving stability in people with a sprained ankle.
  • Stroke. Early research shows that different focusing practices might benefit patients recovering from stroke.
  • Aging.
  • Depression.
  • Quality of life.
  • Schizophrenia.
  • Stress.
  • Other conditions.

More evidence is needed to rate focusing for these uses.

Is it Safe?


It is not known how focusing works. In psychotherapy, focusing is meant to help a person develop coping mechanisms for various issues and troubles. "External" focusing, or focusing on aspects outside the body, is thought to improve learning and performance of movements. "Internal" focusing, or focusing on a body part or personal thought, is thought to disrupt the flow of an activity.


Focusing is LIKELY SAFE when performed correctly and for a short period of time. Focusing has not been linked with any side effects.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if focusing is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. However, there is no reason to suspect safety issues when used appropriately.

Drug interactions

There are no known interactions with medications. Before taking this product, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.

Herb interactions

There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.

Food interactions

There are no known interactions with foods.


The appropriate or safe use of focusing depends on several factors such as the condition being treated or the person administering the treatment. Be sure to seek and follow relevant directions from your physician or other healthcare professional before using this treatment.

Other names

Attentional Focus, Attentional Focus and Symptom Management Intervention (AFSMI), Body-State Focusing, External Focusing, Focusing-Oriented Therapy, Focusing Process, Focusing Therapy, Interactive Focusing Therapy, Internal Focusing.


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