Over an hour of meditation reduces pain
November 7th, 2011 by admin
Over an Hour of Meditation Reduces Pain – source : Deccan Herald
A little over an hour of meditation produces powerful pain-relieving effects in the brain, a new study shows.
“This is the first study to show that only a little over an hour of meditation training can dramatically reduce both the experience of pain and pain-related brain activation,” said Fadel Zeidan, who led the study.
“We found a big effect – about a 40 percent reduction in pain intensity and a 57 percent reduction in pain unpleasantness,” added Zeidan, post-doctoral research fellow at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre.
“Meditation produced a greater reduction in pain than even morphine or other pain-relieving drugs, which typically reduce pain ratings by about 25 percent,” said Zeidan, reports the Journal of Neuroscience.
For the study, a group of healthy volunteers who had never meditated attended four, 20-minute classes to learn a meditation technique known as focused attention, according to a Wake Forest statement.
Focused attention is a form of mindfulness meditation where people are taught to attend to the breath and let go of distracting thoughts and emotions. Both before and after meditation training, participants’ brain activity was examined using a special type of imaging — arterial spin labelling magnetic resonance imaging (ASL MRI) — that captures longer duration brain processes, such as meditation, better than a standard MRI scan of brain function.
During these scans, a pain-inducing heat device was placed on the participants’ right legs. This device heated a small area of their skin to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, a temperature that most people find painful, over a five-minute period.
The scans taken after meditation training showed that every participant’s pain ratings were reduced, with decreases ranging from 11 to 93 percent, Zeidan said.