Meditation has analgesic benefits associated with creating a relaxed state of mind and enhancing the ability to moderate reactions to pain, according to new research published in The Journal of Pain.
Researchers from the University of North Carolina measured pain ratings in students interested in learning meditation. Subjects were trained in meditation for 3 consecutive days and were given experimental pain stimuli.
Results of the trial showed that relaxed states promoted by the brief mindfulness meditation sessions reduced the reported pain ratings. Participants had less pain to both low and high pain intensities and showed significant reductions in anxiety after each meditation stimulation. The authors concluded that decreases in anxiety and increases in the ability to sustain personal focus can attenuate the feeling of pain.
In assessing their findings, the authors noted that the analgesic effects of meditation can be realized even after a short period of time learning the technique. Also, the results provide additional validation of the benefits of cognitive techniques for controlling pain.