Meditation for Pain Management
In over 1,000 published research studies, various methods of
meditation have been linked
to changes in
metabolism, blood pressure,
brain activation, and other bodily processes. Now, meditation has been used in
clinical settings as a method of
stress and pain
reduction. A recent study shows that only a little over an hour of meditation
training can dramatically reduce both the experience of pain and pain-related
Fadel Zeidan, Ph.D., lead author of the study and post-doctoral research fellow
at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, was quoted as saying. "We
found a big effect -- about a 40-percent reduction in pain intensity and a
57-percent reduction in pain unpleasantness. Meditation produced a greater
reduction in pain than even morphine or other pain-relieving drugs, which
typically reduce pain ratings by about 25-percent."
According to David E. Yocum, MD, director of the Arizona Arthritis Center in
Tucson. “Relaxing and quieting your mind by focusing on your breathing can
reduce stress – even
the stress that comes with arthritis
Both before and after
meditation training, study participants' brain activity was examined using a
special type of imaging -- arterial spin labeling 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° Fahrenheit, a temperature that
most people find painful, over a 5-minute period.
The scans taken after meditation training demonstrated that each
participant's pain ratings were reduced, with decreases ranging from 11 to 93
percent, Zeidan said. At the same time, meditation drastically reduced brain
activity in the primary somatosensory cortex -- an area that is
significantly involved in creating the feeling of where and how extreme a
painful stimulus is. The scans taken before meditation training showed activity
in this area was exceedingly high. Nevertheless, when participants were
meditating during the scans, activity in this vital pain-processing region could
not be detected.
The research moreover illustrated that meditation improved brain activity in
areas including the anterior cingulate cortex, anterior insula and the
Suggesting Some Meditation Techniques
Each morning and evening, start and end your day with a two-minute
session of focused
breathing. Sit in a comfortable chair that supports your back, relax,
inhale for four seconds and then exhale for six seconds.
on your body movement while walking or doing any physical activity.
Visualize your “helper” cells healing your joints. Focus on a word,
phrase, prayer, sound or piece of music. Meditate for a few minutes but aim
to work up to 20 minutes per session and two sessions per day.
Love is the one element that heals all things. If you are looking to
heal your mind and restore yourself to that quiet place within, relate to
yourself, your mind, and everything you become aware of with Love, and watch
the miracles unfold.
Practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Begin
by tensing all the muscles in your face. Make a tight grimace, close your
eyes as tightly as possible, clench your teeth, even move your ears up if
you can. Hold this for the count of eight as you inhale. Exhale and relax
completely. Let your face go completely relax, as though you were sleeping.
Feel the tension seep from your facial muscles, and enjoy the feeling. Next,
completely tense your neck and shoulders, again inhaling and counting to
eight. Then exhale and relax. Continue down your body, repeating the
The more that these areas in the brain are activated by meditation the more
pain was reduced. One of the reasons that meditation may have been so
effective in blocking pain was that it did not work at just one place in the
brain, but instead reduced pain at multiple levels of processing.
Dated 02 May 2012