Researchers have shown that meditation can reduce pain by as much as half. In fact, it can have a more powerful effect than some of the most powerful painkillers, including morphine.
In their experiments, 15 health volunteers who had never meditated before were trained for 20 minutes a day, for four days. After the training they were exposed to a painful high temperature stimulus on the skin and observed their MRI scans. During the scan the participants were introduced to a pain heat device which was placed on the participant’s right legs. This device heated a small area of their skin to 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48 °C) over a five-minute period.
Every participant reported the highest a 93 per cent drop in reduction in pain. The scans revealed that meditation considerably reduced brain activity in an area involved in creating the feeling and intensity of pain.
The technique applied by the research group is also called mindfulness meditation and uses methods similar to traditional techniques that emerged more than 2,000 years ago in India.
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