Meditation Is Surprisingly Effective In Pain Management

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You probably rarely consider the difference between stubbing your toe and the expletives you utter in reaction to stubbing your toe. The two actions happen nearly instantaneously, so why would there be much of a distinction? Well, the former triggers physical pain, while the latter exhibits the emotional pain you experience in response to being hurt physically. A new study has found unprecedented results about the effects of meditation on both of these kinds of pain.

Related: 17 Powerful Benefits Of Meditation

The study, published last month in the Journal of Neuroscience, tested the effects of meditation and different types of placebos on pain management in 75 participants. All of the participants were healthy and pain-free. They were divided into four groups, some of which were offered various meditation techniques or placebos. The researchers began by applying a hot (120 degrees Fahrenheit) probe to participants' skin; then, they asked participants to rate both their physical sensation and their emotional response. Participants also underwent brain scans before and after this process.

All groups claimed that they experienced decreased physical pain while using meditation or a placebo, though the pain intensity decreased at a greater rate among those who meditated. And, in what the researchers described as a "surprising outcome," the group who meditated had a 44% decrease in emotional pain — compared to only a 13% reduction in one of the placebo groups.

Related: Meditation To Boost Mental & Physical Strength
The brain scans showed that a part of the brain that remains active in the placebo users actually deactivated in the meditators during the probe's application. This led the researchers to believe that the reaction in the brain that pain normally triggers occurred to a far lesser extent, if at all.

This study was conducted mainly to see how meditation could help people with chronic pain, but you can still benefit from the practice, even if your pain is of the stubbed-toe variety.

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