Monday, April 11, 2011


PAIN RELIEF THAN POWERFUL MEDICATION - Practicing meditation can ease pain better than powerful drugs such as morphine, according to researchers from North Carolina and Wisconsin.  Findings showed that just 80 minutes of meditation training could provide fast and effective pain relief.  Meditation involves a cessation of the thought process. It can be described as a state of consciousness in which the mind is free of scattered thoughts and various patterns, providing for a heightened awareness.  “This is the first study to show that only a little over an hour of meditation training can dramatically reduce both the experience of pain and pain-related brain activation,” said Fadel Zeidan, research fellow at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre, who led the study.  For the study, a group of healthy volunteers who had never meditated attended four, 20-minute classes to learn a meditation technique known as focused attention, which is a form of mindfulness meditation where people are taught to attend to the breath and let go of distracting thoughts and emotions. 

In the study, the researchers used a heated probe that was pressed against one leg of fifteen male and female participants both before and after providing meditation training. The probe gradually raised the skin temperature to a painful 32C (120F).  In addition, brain scans with a special type of imaging were taken during the procedure.  
“We found a big effect - about a 40 percent reduction in pain intensity and a 57 percent reduction in pain unpleasantness,” added Zeidan.  “Meditation produced a greater reduction in pain than even morphine or other pain-relieving drugs, which typically reduce pain ratings by about 25 percent.”  The details of the new research were published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Researchers at Wake Forest University, USA, have found that meditating can reduce pain intensity by almost twice as much as morphine or other pain-relieving drugs.  Dr. Fadel Zeidan says that meditation affects parts of the brain that are related to the way we react to pain and the way we experience pain in our bodies. The sages from the ancient Vedic times practiced meditation techniques and gradually identified themselves more with the soul, atman, than with the pains of the body.  Intense and sustained mental concentration on higher spiritual thoughts liberated them from any physical afflictions.

The ancient yogis and saints of India practiced these techniques by doing deep meditations and finally merging themselves into the Divine.  They would fix their attention on the Divine and become completely unaware of their own bodies and senses. ... Modern medicine has endorsed the beneficial effects of many of these meditation techniques in countering the harmful effects of stress on the human system.  Many leading medical authorities now recognize that through the practice of meditation and yoga, one can regulate heart rate, blood pressure, and other vital phenomenon, hitherto considered as beyond the influence of voluntary control. ... There are even reports of brain changes, as observed by MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) techniques, after meditation.  Scientists have discovered palpable thickening of some critical areas of the brain cortex in monks who perform meditation over prolonged periods.

Dr. Hiro Badlani:
“Hinduism - Path of the Ancient Wisdom”
Chapter 14 - “Consciousness: Cosmic Intelligence of the Divine”
Chapter 44 - “Meditation: The Spiritual Practice”

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