Good news all ye meditaters! Not only will you have a calmer, clearer mind, you’ll have less pain. Or so a study on the effects of meditation and pain relieving suggests.
The study, conducted at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina, took 15 healthy volunteers completely new to meditation and had them attend four, 20-minute classes learning “focused attention” technique, or mindfulness. The individuals were given special brain scans (called arterial spin labeling magnetic resonance imaging – ASL MRI) to monitor brain activity before and after the training.
To test pain, these lucky volunteers were treated to a “heating device” on their legs while scientists laughed maniacally recorded the data. Fortunately, the meditation training helped! Every participant’s pain ratings were reduced, with decreases ranging from 11-93 percent. Oh, and to get even more science-y, meditation “significantly reduced brain activity in the primary somatosensory cortex” an area of your noggin with a major role in creating the sensation of where and how intense you’re feeling painful stimuli.
So how powerful was the meditation on easing pain?
“We found a big effect – about a 40 per cent reduction in pain intensity and a 57 per cent reduction in pain unpleasantness,” said [lead study author Dr. Fadel] Zeidan.
“Meditation produced a greater reduction in pain than even morphine or other pain-relieving drugs, which typically reduce pain ratings by about 25 per cent.”
Wow. If you have a meditation practice you may already recognize the effects of relieving emotional distress, but this is a whole new elbow to the ribs. Now don’t go all Little Shop of Horrors and start testing this out on people.
ps. we love when things like this make it to Gawker. tickled, really.
[Via Telegraph UK]
*PHOTO above from the YogaDork Gallery!