Meditation helps anxiety, pain relief

Study shows analgesic benefit

Meditation has been used as a complementary treatment to reduce stress, manage anxiety, and lessen pain in patients with a wide range of illnesses, but a recent study provides scientific support for the use of meditation in pain control.

The analgesic benefits that result from the relaxed state of mind created by meditation enhance a patient's ability to moderate reactions to pain, according to the authors of the study published in The Journal of Pain.1 Researchers measured pain ratings in students interested in learning meditation. Subjects were trained in meditation for three consecutive days and then 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 low and high pain intensities and showed significant reductions in anxiety after each meditation stimulation.

Authors concluded that meditation and the personal focus it provides can lessen pain. Positive results were achieved after a short period of time learning the technique, and the results provide additional validation of the benefits of cognitive techniques for controlling pain.

Reference

1. Zeidan F, Gordon NS, Merchant J, et al. The effects of brief mindfulness meditation training on experimentally induced pain. J Pain 2010; 11:199-209.