Meditation techniques just may be stronger than pain killing drugs
In this new study led by Dr. Fadel Zeidan, PhD, postdoctoral researcher at the Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston- , North Carolina, had revealed astounding results.
For the study, fifteen men and women had participated. Researchers had mildly burned on two occasions, once before and then after they had attended four twenty minute meditation sessions over a period of four days. During the second time participants had been instructed to meditate. They had rated the exact pain stimulus which was a 120 degree heat on their calves, rating was 57% less unpleasant and 40% less intensity on a average.
Dr. Zeidan notes these outcomes as pretty dramatic. The decrease in pain was remarkably greater than those observed in similar studies using placebo pills, hypnosis, morphine and other pain killers.
The results of this study are printed in the April 6th issue of the Journal of Neuroscience. Previous research has demonstrated that meditation also referred to as “mindless meditation” can aide people in handling pain, anxiety and other physical and mental health issues. Usually training takes weeks and not just a few days.
Dr. Robert Bonakdar, director of pain management at the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine in San Diego, California, stated the results as “spectacular” considering researchers had achieved these results with just eighty minutes of meditation training.
Dr. Zeidan notes that even though the full benefits of meditation are realized after extensive training their study shows that the average person just may realize some of the benefits.
For this study the meditation type Shamatha or focused attention had been used. It involves learning how to observe what is going on in a persons mind and body without judgment and keeping focused on breathing or chanted mantra.
During pain experiments brain scans taken had shown that this technique seems to a number of changes in the participants brain as how they react to pain.
Dr. Katherine MacLean, PhD, meditation researcher and postdoctoral fellow in psychology atUniversity in Baltimore remarks that everyday wisdom has been that meditation decreases pain and not by diminishing sensation but by aiding people in consciously controlling their view of pain. Dr. MacLean does note that meditation does alter the nature of pain before it is realized and allows for people to handle it better.
One vital question brought up in the study is whether meditation would have the same result on “real life” pain especially chronic pain in which Dr. Bonakdar points out is more complex in the “real world” than in a laboratory because it can involve trauma and depression along with other physical and mental processes.
Meditation is believed to result in a state of greater calmness and physical relaxation along with psychological balance.
People have used meditation for a variety of health problems including anxiety, depression and insomnia.
Meditation is considered safe for healthy people. There have been rare reports that meditation could cause or make worse symptoms in people with psychiatric problems. As with any alternative therapy talk to your health care practitioner before starting.