Mindfulness Meditation Can Relieve Pain | Wild at the wild

People have used mindfulness meditation to relieve pain for centuries.

But it was only recently that neuroscientists were able to test whether and how this works. By measuring the effects of meditation on brain activity and pain perception, a University of California research teamSan Diego, found that meditation disrupts communication between the brain areas that mediate the sensation of pain and those that produce the sense of self.

While meditating, pain signals continue to be transmitted from the body to the brain, but those affected feel less responsible for those pain sensations, so their pain and suffering are significantly less.

One of the central tenets of mindfulness is that you are not your experiencessaid the study’s lead author, Fadel Zeidan, an associate professor of anesthesiology at UC San Diego. “One practices experiencing thoughts and sensations without connecting one’s ego or sense of self to them, and we are finally seeing how this works in the brain during the experience of acute pain„.

Professor Zeidan and his colleagues took 40 participants whose brains were scanned while painful heat was placed on their legs and who had to rate their average pain perception during the experiment. They were then divided into two groups: one had to complete four separate 20-minute mindfulness training sessions, while the other spent four sessions listening to an audio book.

On the last day of the experiment, all participants had their brain activity measured again, and participants in the mindfulness group were instructed to meditate while the pain stimulus was applied to their leg. Participants who actively meditated reported a 32 percent reduction in pain intensity and a 33 percent reduction in pain perception.

We were very pleased to confirm that you don’t need to be a meditation expert to experience these pain relieving effects‘ said Professor Zeidan. “This is a truly important finding for the millions of people looking for a fast-acting, non-pharmacological treatment for pain.”

The brain scans showed that mindfulness-induced pain relief was associated with a reduced association between the thalamus, an area of ​​the brain that relays incoming sensory information to the rest of the brain, and some regions of the default mode network, a collection of brain areas responsible for the responsible for self-perception. The more these brain areas were decoupled or deactivated, the less pain participants reported.

Mindfulness meditation could therefore be a free and innovative method for pain management that could be easily integrated into standard outpatient procedures.

We feel that we are on the verge of discovering a new non-opioid pain mechanism in which the default mode network plays a crucial role in the generation of analgesia. We look forward to further exploring the neurobiology of mindfulness and its clinical potential in various disorders“, Professor Zeidan concluded.

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