If you or someone you know is struggling with pain and you want to learn how to use mindfulness to cope with chronic pain and managing pain then keep on reading.
I have used Mindfulness and Meditation to aid with my PTSD episodes and ever since I started seeing results I became a huge advocate of using meditation to managing pain and trauma.
Please know that I am no doctor and this article is by no shape or mean is medical advice. Whenever in doubt please seek professional help.
Now that we got the boring disclaimer out of the way, let me share with you guys my latest finding on how to use mindfulness as a mean to cope with and managing pain.
Managing Pain With Mindfulness
Scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have found new evidence that mindfulness meditation reduces pain more effectively than a placebo.
I find this quite thrilling as this simply means they just by understanding how our mind works, we can influence our internal biology. Now, let’s see what the scientists are saying about this!
Scientists are saying that this is significant because placebo-controlled trials are the recognized standard for demonstrating the efficacy of clinical and pharmacological treatments.
The research, published in the Nov.11 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, showed that study participants who practiced mindfulness meditation reported greater pain relief than placebo. Significantly, brain scans showed that mindfulness meditation produced very different patterns of activity than those produced by placebo to reduce pain.
“We were completely surprised by the findings,” said Fadel Zeidan, Ph.D., assistant professor of neurobiology and anatomy at Wake Forest Baptist and lead investigator of the study.
“While we thought that there would be some overlap in brain regions between meditation and placebo, the findings from this study provide novel and objective evidence that mindfulness meditation reduces pain in a unique fashion.” Zeidan affirms.
How The Study Was Conducted?
The study used a two-pronged approach of pain ratings and brain imaging to determine whether mindfulness meditation is merely a placebo effect.
75 healthy, pain-free participants were randomly assigned to one of four main groups:
- Mindfulness meditation group
- Placebo meditation (“sham” meditation) group
- Analgesic cream (petroleum jelly) placebo group
- Control group
The pain was induced by using a thermal probe to heat a small area of the participants’ skin to 49 degrees Centigrade (120.2 degrees Fahrenheit), a level of heat most people find very painful.
Study participants then rated pain intensity (physical sensation) and pain unpleasantness (emotional response). The participants’ brains were scanned with arterial spin labeling magnetic resonance imaging (ASL MRI) before and after their respective four-day group interventions.
The mindfulness meditation group reported that pain intensity was reduced by 27 percent and by 44 percent for the emotional aspect of pain. In contrast, the placebo cream reduced the sensation of pain by 11 percent and the emotional aspect of pain by 13 percent.
“The MRI scans showed for the first time that mindfulness meditation produced patterns of brain activity that are different than those produced by the placebo cream,” Zeidan said.
This is magical! I am no scientist, so when I see findings like what Zeidan, Ph.D. is affirming about the power of a mindfulness meditation practice, my heart starts to sing!
And speaking of mindfulness meditation, if you haven’t got your hand on my brand-new Mindfulness Meditation MP3 and Guide – please grab your copy below:
Now back to the study!
The study confirmed that another brain region, the thalamus, was deactivated during mindfulness meditation, but was activated during all other conditions. The thalamus serves as a gateway that determines if sensory information is allowed to reach higher brain centers. By deactivating this area, mindfulness meditation may have caused signals about pain to simply fade away, Zeidan said.
Mindfulness meditation also was significantly better at reducing pain intensity and pain unpleasantness than the placebo meditation.
The placebo-meditation group had relatively small decreases in pain intensity (9 percent) and pain unpleasantness (24 percent).
The study findings suggest that placebo meditation may have reduced pain through a relaxation effect that was associated with slower breathing.
“This study is the first to show that mindfulness meditation is mechanistically distinct and produces pain relief above and beyond the analgesic effects seen with either placebo cream or sham meditation,” Zeidan said.
The Final Takeaway!
“Based on our findings, we believe that as little as four 20-minute daily sessions of mindfulness meditation could enhance pain treatment in a clinical setting. However, given that the present study examined healthy, pain-free volunteers, we cannot generalize our findings to chronic pain patients at this time.”
Related Article: 31 Ways to Achieve Mindfulness: How to Live in the Present Moment
If you want to start learning about the Art of Mindfulness, then grab our brand new 60 Minutes Meditation MP3 & Guide Below:
Story Source & Citation:
The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “Mindfulness meditation trumps placebo in pain reduction.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 November 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151110171600.htm>.
I hope you truly enjoyed learning about how managing pain with mindfulness works! If you found this article helpful, please share it with your friends and family!
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