Research into chronic pain and meditation – 3 interesting findings
For many people who live with chronic pain, daily meditation is an important component of their pain management regimen.
What many chronic pain sufferers like about this natural approach is that it is something that they can control, rather than a medical intervention that is done to them by a physician or other type of health practitioner.
Recent research studies have demonstrated the compelling efficacy of meditation as a natural analgesic. What are the findings?
1. Meditation can produce lasting positive effects
One of the surprising outcomes of the study was that individuals who meditated experienced a decreased perception of pain even after meditation was over. This indicated to researchers that meditation reduced the perception of pain generally, not just specifically, during the actual practice of meditation.
2. Small amounts of meditation can be substantially effective
Another interesting observation researchers revealed was that perception of pain was dramatically reduced after only three 20 minute meditation sessions that were conducted over a three day period. This research finding is interesting because it demonstrates that meditation can be an effective, natural pain-reliever even for inexperienced meditators who have just taken up the practice.
It had previously been thought that only hardened meditators, which is to say individuals who have been meditating for substantial periods of time, were the only ones who would experience any significant reduction in pain from their meditative practice. In reality, this opens up a compelling opportunity for chronic pain sufferers to begin a meditation practice and quickly experience positive effects on their pain symptoms.
3. Meditation is more effective for pain management than distraction
The study compared the effects of meditation as well as relaxation techniques and distraction on perception of pain and found that meditation itself was the most effective means of lessening the participants’ perception of pain.
How to begin meditating
If you are suffering from chronic pain and are interested in beginning a meditation practice, there are a wide variety of meditative practices available for you to try. It probably makes most sense to start with guided meditations.
You can find these on YouTube or you can Google for podcasts. A guided meditation is sort of like training wheels for meditators- you will be walked through the process of meditation in this way provided with a framework for advancing your practice as a meditator.
Once you have a daily practice and a foundation to rely upon, then perhaps you can begin to study more advanced methodologies. As we’ve seen, chronic pain can be effectively reduced, or at least the perception of it can be decreased, if you are willing to devote some time during the day to practice meditation.