Meditation: mindfulness better than drugs to reduce chronic pain, the new confirmation

You don’t have to be an expert meditator to enjoy the benefits of the practice even against physical pain, as demonstrated by this American study

Practicing meditation in our daily lives, even for a few minutes every day, can bring many benefits to our lives – such as improving the quality of our sleep, making us more focused and concentrated on our goals, decreasing our stress levels, teaching us to listen to our body.

Mindfulness, or being in the here and now, leads us to move away from our worries and anxieties, to detach ourselves from them and see them with detachment, without letting ourselves be overwhelmed by emotions that make us impulsive and often lead us to act inconsistently with our true IO.

Now a new study conducted byUniversity of California – San Diego has shown that mindfulness can help not only in reducing psychological problems, but also in alleviating chronic pain – and you don’t need to be an expert meditator to see the first benefits of the practice in reducing pain.

The awareness that can be achieved thanks to meditation allows us to influence the activity of our brain but also our perception of pain. This is because the practice of meditation interrupts communication between the parts of the brain responsible for pain and those that generate self-awareness.

One of the objectives of mindfulness is precisely to detach oneself from one’s emotions and experiences – even physically painful ones. Meditating means training yourself to experience thoughts and sensations without becoming attached to them, and this can have very positive implications in tolerating acute pain.

Read also: Meditation: how 10 minutes a day can change your life for the better

The Californian researchers involved forty volunteers in their study, who underwent magnetic resonance imaging of the brain while experiencing a very intense (almost painful) sensation of heat in their legs. After exposure to the painful experience, volunteers were asked to rate the pain they experienced.

In the second phase of the experiment, the volunteers were divided into two groups. One of the two groups was offered a small training course on mindfulness (four sessions of twenty minutes each), which covered the topics of conscious breathing and letting go of emotions and feelings without judging them or reacting to them.

After the short training period, the first experiment was repeated with both the participants in the mindfulness course and the sample group. The results that emerged from the MRI and from the questionnaires given to the volunteers were surprising: the participants who practiced meditation during exposure to heat saw a 32% reduction in the intensity of pain and a 33% reduction in the unpleasantness of the pain. ache.

MR images demonstrated that pain reduction was associated with a reduced synchronization between the thalamus (an area of ​​the brain that transmits incoming sensory information to the rest of the brain) and brain areas involved in self-awareness processes, consciousness and re-elaboration of experiences. The less synchronized these areas were, the greater the pain relief the participant reported.

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Source: Pain

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