Meditation for Managing Chronic Pain
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on June 8, 2011 by Paulina Nelega, RH
By practicing meditation, we can enhance our body-mind connection and support our ability to manage pain, naturally. Research has shown that it’s possible to achieve significant results in pain regulation, by ‘turning off’ certain areas in our brain.
Using MRIs on 13 Zen meditators exposed to a painful heat stimulus, researchers demonstrated that they had the ability, with training, to decrease their sensation of pain. As compared to non-meditators, there was less activity measured in those parts of the brain that are linked to our thinking (cognitive) processes, emotion, and memory – the regions that process and interpret stimuli, and then label and store it for future reference.
Though still aware of their pain, the sensation wasn’t processed to the point where interpretation and labeling of it as “painful” occurred. Essentially, they were able to cut the process short, which created a lower pain sensitivity.
Meditation is a great tool for helping to stay grounded, balanced, and energized. And, if you suffer from chronic pain, it can help to make it more manageable – an important consideration for improving quality of life!
After all, it’s quality that matters, right?
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan