Meditation really does relieve pain, study shows

A new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience found that participants who practiced mindfulness meditation experienced greater pain relief than their placebo-receiving counterparts. This is especially significant because placebo trials are the gold standard when it comes to determining the efficacy of clinical and pharmacological treatments.

Fadel Zeidan, PhD., assistant professor at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center – where the study was conducted – said, “We were completely surprised by the findings.” Most conventional medicine proponents are often surprised by the power of natural healing. Zeidan also noted that the findings from the study provided objective evidence that meditation has unique pain reduction capabilities.

During the study, the mindfulness meditation group reported an average of 27% less physical pain and 44% less emotional pain in response to the stimuli, while the placebo group reported 11% less physical pain and 13% less emotional pain. MRI scans also showed that meditation actually produced effects on the brain different from those produced by the placebo cream.

Though the study was conducted on healthy patients, researchers hope that mindfulness mediation could be used as an alternative or complementary therapy for patients suffering from chronic pain.


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