There seems to be some truth in the saying ‘mind over matter' as US scientists hail meditation as the best form of pain relief
Next time you have a headache or painful back, forget medication and adopt the lotus position instead.
Researchers have found that just one hour of meditation can reduce immediate pain by almost half the intensity and provide long-lasting relief.
The technique works by calming down pain experiencing areas of the brain, while at the same time boosting the coping areas that make you feel as right as rain – no pills required.
‘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,’ says Dr Fadel Zeidan, lead author at Wake Forest Baptist Centre in North Carolina.
The study recorded brain activity in 15 healthy volunteers before and after they attended four 20-minute meditation classes. During the scans, a pain-inducing heat device was placed on the participants right legs.
The scans showed that after meditation the pain threshold of every participant was increased as brain activity that determines where and how intense a painful stimulus is was reduced.
‘We found a 40 per cent reduction in pain intensity and a 57 per cent reduction in pain unpleasantness,’ contines Dr Zeidan. ‘Meditation produces a greater reduction in pain than even morphine, which typically reduce pain ratings by about 25 per cent.’
So why not have a go at meditating the next time a migrane sneaks up on you, and report back to Marie Claire by posting a comment below.