Meditation: Better Than Morphine

Little more than one hour reduces pain dramatically
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2011 12:12 PM CDT
This could reduce your pain even more than morphine would.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – In pain? Before you reach for the hard drugs, reach for ... your meditation cushion. Researchers found that a little more than one hour of meditation training was enough to "dramatically reduce" pain, the Telegraph reports. Fifteen newbie meditators attended four 20-minute training classes on mindfulness meditation as researchers induced pain via heat and studied their brain activity. After meditating, pain ratings were reduced for every participant, anywhere from 11% to 93%.

In addition, brain activity in the area that is involved with processing pain fell from very high levels before the class to undetectable levels during meditation. Brain activity in other areas, where coping mechanisms are stored, increased during meditation. "We found a big effect—about a 40% reduction in pain intensity and a 57% reduction in pain unpleasantness," says one researcher. This is greater "than even morphine or other pain-relieving drugs, which typically reduce pain ratings by about 25%." (Click to find out what it's like to meditate ... for 10 days.)

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