MRI Scans of Brain of Novice Meditator with Pain MRI images of the brain of a novice meditator show signs of pain nearly disappear. (source: Robert Coghill/Wake Forest University School of Medicine)

"You might not need extensive training [in meditation] to realize pain-relief benefits. Most people don't have time to spend months in a monastery." —Fadel Zeidan, neuroscientist

On the NPR Shots blog, Adam Cole highlights a study at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center showing that even novice meditators are able to curb their pain after a few training sessions. Cole writes:

In the study, a small group of healthy medical students attended four 20-minute training sessions on "mindfulness meditation" — a technique adapted from a Tibetan Buddhist form of meditation called samatha.It's all about acknowledging and letting go of distraction.

So how did the researchers gauge the effect? They administered a very distracting bit of pain: A small, thermal stimulator heated to 120 degrees was applied to the back of each volunteer's right calf. The subjects reported both the intensity and unpleasantness of the pain. If pain were music, intensity would be volume. Unpleasantness would have more of an emotional component, kind of like how much you love or hate a song.

After meditation training, the subjects reported a 40 percent decrease in pain intensity and a 57 percent reduction in pain unpleasantness. And it wasn't just their perception of pain that changed. Brain activity changed too.

Be sure to read Cole's article for the details.

(via almaswithinalmas)

Share Your Reflection

21Reflections

Reflections

I certainly don't consider myself a master meditator, but meditation was my main pain-coping technique during labor with my second child. Sure wish I'd had it the first time around. It made for a completely different experience.

As my teacher said, "You hear the marching band cross the bridge nearby, you don't have to get up and follow!"

The link to samatha meditation says it comes from the Thai tradition which is Theravadan not Tibetan Buddhism. I'm sure that there is a parallel in the Tibetan tradition but the article states that breath Meditation dosn't have the same effect. So it would be helpful to know more specifics about the practice taught to the beginners. Thanks

Sounds very much like the practice of centering prayer.

@Joe..it is nearly identical to centering prayer. I practice both on a daily basis several times a day.

Very interesting, though I would be curious about the details of the experimental design - including any bias of the investigators (one of the coauthors is a long time practitioner, and taught the mediators). Is there a problem with knowing who practiced meditation and who did not?

None of the subjects had ever practiced meditation prior to enrollment in the study and were not required to practice meditation outside of meditation training / experimentation sessions.

Thank You for sharing this.

I practice this technique on a regular basis. It is well-proven that it works wonders and is not all difficult!!!! I would encourage anyone with pain and, in particular, those with chronic pain to at least try and give this method of pain relief a try. You might be very surprised at how well it works!!!

I practice this technique on a regular basis, several times a day, for relief of severe chronic pain! I guarantee that given the chance it works very, very well. You will be so surprised if you just give it a chance.

Back Pain Treatment are really very beneficial for us if on time.To get fast relief from pain we have to do regular exercise.

Loved looking through your post on this great website many thanks for the content

Really great blog I'll definitely be coming back to have a look at it day-to-day very soon

As someone who has significant chronic pain in almost all parts of my body - external and internal - I wonder about the relatively minor pain of this heat applied to the calf. It is so discreet and is one kind of pain. Until you experience the full range of pain types and in many body regions you don't realize how diverse pain can be. I meditate. Not often enough but several times a week at least. Sometimes, my pain level does diminish significantly but it isn't a result I can depend on. I wonder if I were an "Olympic" level meditator if my pain would diminish significantly and reliably? Maybe in 8,000 more hours of meditation I will know.

I do meditation more than eat within one day. And I am glad that I still have a healthy body, mind and soul.

wonderful advice. Thank you very much for the intriguing talk. I like the points mentioned.

Very interesting web site. I simply got almost nothing to do thus I am simply killing time searching the internet and I feel as though I've got located some extremely useful web-site. Thank you

This is really informative Trent. I think living healthy, happy, and wealthy is very important. Many of us have lower back injuries that get us down and we do not know why it occurs. Regardless of the root of the problem, it is necessary to seek professional treatment from a pain management specialist. Back Pain New York City Specialists seek opportunities to serve you. I had back problems last week and I came across New York specialists for back pain and they were a huge help. Now my back is on its way to a great recovery. Thank You for this!

I have been chastising myself for spending so much time meditating and/or doing centering prayer. your article makes me realize that both of these methods are treating my chronic pain. thank you.

Really Cheap Oakley Sunglasses For Sale
Louis Vuitton Online Outlet Store
Real Cheap Louis Vuitton
Website Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton Website

Recent dune replenishment along the beaches seemed to help prevent flooding and major problems from the ocean side, which is part of a broader area outage including those in higher altitudes that had significant snow. Loudoun schools spokesman.
Louis Vuitton Handbags Women
Louis Vuitton Handbags Online
Louis Vuitton Key Pouch
Where To Buy Cheap Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton Key Pouch

the city manager in Rehoboth who has been there 30 years — since Route 1 sliced through farmland — said if they hadn’t widened the beach last spring, Gregory Ferrese, so that drivers can carefully check for any downed power lines,3:55 pm Annie Gowen Loudoun County road closures The Post’s Caitlin Gibson reports: The Loudoun Sheriff’s Office reported the following roadways closed as of Tuesday afternoon due to flooding or downed trees or power lines: Watson Road/Evergreen Mills Road Route 15/Lime Kiln Road Tollhouse Road/Dutchmans Creek Road Evergreen Mills Road at Goose Creek Authorities also reported that Silcott Springs Road has limited access. See the breakdown of deaths by state and nation.
http://hometownlawns.com/cheap/Louis-Vuitton-Handbags-On-Sale-Original-Irbcom.html Louis Vuitton Handbags On Sale Original
http://cyclefit.de/cheap/Louis-Vuitton-Buy-Online-Fy8frt.html Louis Vuitton Buy Online
http://home-rate-advisor.com/cheap/Louis-Vuitton-Diaper-Bag-Kt9x0q.html Louis Vuitton Diaper Bag
https://web2.schoolport.org/CFIDE/cheap/Low-Price-Louis-Vuitton-7B9sk5.html Low Price Louis Vuitton
http://creditreportdirect.net/cheap/Loui-Vuitton-Handbag-Prices-Q29iol.html Loui Vuitton Handbag Prices
<<<<<< This comment was blocked and unpublished because Project Honeypot indicates it came from a suspicious IP address.

Cheap Oakley Clothing
Louis Vuitton Key Chain
Louis Vuitton Outlet Authentic
Louis Vuitton Purse Discount
Real Louis Vuitton Bags On Sale

The CSX shutdown also affects Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) trains on the Brunswick and Camden lines because those trains run on CSX-owned track. so that drivers can carefully check for any downed power lines,“Considering the devastation around us,As of Tuesday afternoon,
Where To Buy Used Louis Vuitton
Authentic Louis Vuitton Discount
Louis Vuitton Shoes Mens
Louis Vuitton Outlet Store Online
Louis Vuitton Mens Shoes 2014

we were very fortunate.” 4:03 pm Annie Gowen Two more deaths reported from Sandy The death toll from Sandy has risen to 37 in eight U.S. N.Y.,The Virginia Railway Express,3:51 pm Loudoun County Public Schools open late Wednesday The Post’s Caitlin Gibson reports: Loudoun County Public Schools will open on a one-hour delay Wednesday,“Considering the devastation around us,
http://www.essecouk.com/cheap/Louis-Vuitton-Cheap-Online-Yo0q0q.html Louis Vuitton Cheap Online
http://bransonconcerts.net/cheap/Oakley-C-Wire-L8lqeq.html Oakley C Wire
http://myguidefinancial.com/cheap/Louis-Vuitton-Wallets-For-Sale-7B5157.html Louis Vuitton Wallets For Sale
http://davidvanelgort.com/cheap/Louis-Vuitton-Sale-Handbags-B184dv.html Louis Vuitton Sale Handbags
http://homeratecenter.net/cheap/Louis-Vuitton-Usa-Online-8Nchfs.html Louis Vuitton Usa Online
<<<<<< This comment was blocked and unpublished because Project Honeypot indicates it came from a suspicious IP address.