Pain Ain’t Nothing Even For Beginning Meditators

When I’m in pain, I don’t like it. Plain and simple. That said, all of us at some point in our lives experience this less than pleasant feeling. Whether it be physical or emotional, the last thing most people want to go through is pain. So when it comes to it, what is one helpful thing that a person can do? That’s right, meditate.

Adam Cole, in this NPR post, covers the results of a recent study from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in which it was found that even beginning meditators using a focusing meditation meant to acknowledge and let go of the distraction of pain had positive results when employing the practice in the face of it. And they have the science to back it up: brain imaging.

Sounds a bit mystical, we know, but researchers using a special type of brain imaging were also able to see changes in the brain activity of newbies. Their conclusion? “A little over an hour of meditation training can dramatically reduce both the experience of pain and pain-related brain activation,” Fadel Zeidan, a neuroscientist and the study’s lead author, tells Shots. That finding’s a first, Zeidan says.

In the study, a small group of healthy medical students attended four 20-minute training sessions on “mindfulness meditation” — a technique adapted from a Tibetan Buddhist form of meditation called samatha. It’s all about acknowledging and letting go of distraction.

Read more from Cole on this fascinating meditation study here.

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