Meditate The Pain Away
When we think of meditation, we think of chanting 'ohm' while surrounded by candles to relieve stress, relaxing after a rough day or getting focused before our day begins.
New studies show that meditation, of the focused kind, can relieve pain.
This new meditation is called "Shamatha" or "focused attention" and it works. After all, the mind can only consciously focus on one thing at a time. This explains why when our mates are watching their favorite sport on television, they fail to hear us call them from the kitchen seven times.
The study, which totaled four twenty minute meditation training sessions over the course of four days, mildly burned fifteen men and women on their calves with 120-degree heat (ouch!). During the second session, participants were told to meditate during the stimulus. The average pain stimulus was 57 percent less unpleasant and 40 percent less intense.
This result was achieved by the lead author of the study, Fadel Zeidan, Ph.D. after eighty minutes of training. However, most cases require weeks of training.
According to Health.com, Zeidan says, "Although the benefits of mindful meditation can be realized after long-term training, our study suggests that some effects can be realized just for your average Joe."
Mindful meditation involves focusing on breathing or chanting a mantra while observing what is going on in one's body.
An important question raised by the study is if mindful meditation can help with trauma, depression and other physical and mental processes.
Perhaps meditation is just what the doctor ordered.
Photo: Darlene Steelman