Left to right, Antoine Lutz, Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard and Richard J. Davidson
Photo by: Jeff Miller
Meditation Expertise Changes the Experience of Pain
Research into meditation and pain relief has been ongoing for a number of years. Two of the champions of this kind of research, as well as research into the neurological benefits of meditation, are Dr. Richard Davidson and his colleague, Dr. Antoine Lutz.
Together these two explorers on the boundaries of medicine and the mind have pieced together extraordinary research projects highlighting meditation’s ability to – literally – rewire the brain.
In homage to the great work that they’ve done, I’d like to provide you with an excerpt from and a link to an article on how meditation can change the experience of pain.
Here’s an excerpt from the article:
Meditation can change the way a person experiences pain, according to a new study by UW–Madison neuroscientists.
The researchers found that during a pain experiment, expert meditators felt the discomfort as intensely as novice meditators, but the experience wasn’t as unpleasant for them.
Images of brain regions linked to pain and anxiety may explain why. Compared to novice meditators, experts had less activity in the anxiety regions.
Not only did the experts feel less anxiety immediately before pain stimulation, they also became accustomed to the pain more quickly after being exposed repeatedly to it. Read more here…
(From the University of Wisconsin- Madison News, Nov.15, 2012)
Meditation is More Powerful Than Morphine
Think that only seasoned meditators can gain benefit from meditation? Think again…
In a study that I had previously shared in a post titled, Meditation is More Powerful Than Morphine, researchers at Wake Forest found that with just four sessions of meditation, each session lasting 20 minutes, novice meditators were able to reduce the range of their pain experience by 11 – 93%. And that was with just four sessions! Imagine how much you’d be able to change your experience and perception in daily life if you practiced intensively!
Science Proves the Benefits of Meditation
Science continues to prove the benefits of meditation and mindfulness. And there have been numerous…hundreds of posts on this site sharing stories about how meditation can be easily integrated into your life…once you’ve got a practice as the support and foundation to integrating it.
I know that even as a long-time practitioner there are times when I can get distracted by the busy-ness of my life. And then I remember why I meditate.
I’m going to say this with the surety that I’m right; the more that you meditate, the more that you’ll find that its benefits will help you. Whether it’s in the form of relief from pain, less perceived stress in your life, or less problems with sleep, meditation’s benefits can work for you!
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for the four-part series on How the Intensive Practice of Meditation Can Change Your Life!
So, How Do You Meditate?
I usually end the post asking the question of how do you meditate? If you’ve got a practice, please share your ideas, secrets, successes, and challenges with others in the comment section below. And feel free to use all of the content from this site to support you in your efforts.
If you haven’t started to meditate, begin now.
Many people don’t meditate because they believe that they need to do “something special” in order to meditate, maybe you’re one of them. “Doing something” special isn’t the case. All you need is your breath, and a few minutes of time set aside to begin your practice.
Here are some tools to get you started:
- Meditation audio for using your breath as the anchor of your attention during meditation.
- Download the FREE ebook, How to Work with the Four Distractions to Meditation. It’s basic info on how to work with the obstacles that can occur when you first learn to meditate. It’s real handy, and…it’s free!
- Ebook and two chapters from the book, Minding the Bedside: Nursing from the Heart of the Awakened Mind, on how to meditate.
- And of course, buy the book, Minding the Bedside: Nursing from the Heart of the Awakened Mind. Even though it’s written for nurses, it can be read by anyone. I’ve had feedback from many people who aren’t nurses that it changed how they viewed and worked in the world. You can even buy it in a Kindle version!
This site has tons of tools for learning how to meditate and be compassionate.
Check out the Related Mindfulness and Meditation Articles below. I also encourage you to look through the HUNDREDS of articles that I’ve written and especially check out my weekly meditation tips and other useful meditation materials provided for your health and well being. And please let me know if you’d like to discuss anything with me, have any questions or need clarification regarding anything that I’ve written about.
Thanks for visiting and have a mindful day.