'Mindfulness Meditation' Is Good For Pain Reduction

Nov 16, 2015 10:00 AM EST | By Myraine Carluen Policarpio

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A new study at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center revealed that mindfulness meditation, when actively and properly practiced, can increase pain reduction benefit for up to 44 percent, better than placebo. 

According to the research published in the Nov.11 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, brain scans and imagin technology showed that mindfulness meditation produced very different patterns of activity than those produced by placebo to reduce pain

Lead researcher Fadel Zaidan, PhD and colleagues have previously taken notes of "the effect of expectation, distraction, attention, beliefs, placebo, hypnosis, stress, anxiety, mood, and emotional state on pain". Likewise, mindfulness meditation plays a vital role in obtaining enhanced cognitive and emotional control. 

"Based on our findings, we believe that as little as four 20-minute daily sessions of mindfulness meditation could enhance pain treatment in a clinical setting," Dr. Zaidan explained.

Medical News Today defined mindfulness as a "regulated, sustained attention to the moment-to-moment quality and character of sensory, emotional and cognitive events, recognition of such events as momentary, fleeting and changeable, a consequent lack of emotional or cognitive appraisal and/or reactions to these events, and the ability of the humans to perceive momentary experience as a lasting perception". 

Meditative practices encompass on two categories: focused attention (FA) and open monitoring (OM). The former is linked with maintaining such focus on a specific object, where OM involves "an indirect acknowledgment of any sensory, emotional or cognitive event that arises in the mind". 

Mindfulness meditation has been found to improve a range of cognitive and health outcomes, including anxiety, depression and stress. It is associated with enhanced cognitive control, emotion regulation, positive mood and acceptance.

In the previous studies on the effect of mindfulness training, three days of training for 20 minutes a day significantly decrease level of pains. Thus, this cannot be generalized among patients who are experiencing chronic pains. Further through investigation for this matter is therefore advised.

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