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Mind and Matter: Reducing Pain Through Meditation
Posted: 6/9/2011 | Wellness Comments
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Ever had a headache that seemed like it wouldn’t go away?

Everyone feels mild pain occasionally, and many of us suffer from chronic symptoms we need to manage over time. Whatever our experience, there’s good news! Recent studies show that by practicing meditation, the experience of pain subsides and importantly, our reaction to the symptoms improve dramatically.

According to an April, 2011 article by CNN a recent study at Wake Forest University School of Medicine found that meditation “changes the nature of pain before its perceived and also allows people to better handle it.” Meditation proved better treatment than studies with placebos, hypnosis and even pain medications like morphine.

And meditation helps with more than pain. Research shows that hot flashes related to menopause can be reduced or eliminated through meditation practice, and meditation was found to be as effective as hormone replacement therapy in reducing insomnia. Women in labor benefit from meditative techniques, and meditation is proven beneficial for many other physical maladies.

How does this work, exactly? According to researchers in the article, “Meditation reduces pain by reducing the actual sensation.” A mindfulness practice has us relax, let go of our distracting thoughts and turn inward. As we focus on our breathe or a mantra, we quiet our minds, release emotional and physical tension and observe our thoughts and sensations without judgement. This practice provides a different experience of pain, and alters our reactions to pain.

In my meditation practice I’ve found that various ailments were helped tremendously. As I allow myself to experience the spaciousness that is the truth about me, I can allow my body to enter this spaciousness. The stuff I hold on to, whether it’s pain, stress or mental clutter, relaxes. It melts away, no longer in the driver’s seat.

And anyone can do it, not just the experienced practioner. A long-term meditation practice provides great and lasting benefits, but even the novice can get immediate relief. Volunteers in the Wake Forest University study experienced pain differently after only 20 minutes of meditation, four days in a row.

How’s that headache?

Follow these steps to a simple meditation:

  1. Sit comfortably in a quiet space.
  2. With eyes closed, breathe deeply through your nose. Feel the breath move in and out.
  3. Notice your breath, and as a thought arises, just allow it to go.
  4. As another thought, sensation or feeling arises, just for now, let it go.
  5. Go back to your breath and repeat #4. Try this for ten or fifteen minutes.
     

Sometimes painful sensations in our body can be caused by our own attachment to pain as well as our physical ailments.  A meditation practice can help us release our attachments to different thoughts, feelings and sensations helping us observe our relationship to pain.

A few minutes a day provide real benefits, and we don’t need to head to a Buddhist retreat (but that’s not a bad idea.) We can meditate nearly anywhere, any time. With practice and a little guidance, we really can experience greater peace, joy and wellness then we ever thought possible!

I look forward to your own thoughts, stories and experiences. We’re all on this human journey together, and your comments support us all.




Comments:

Musa    http://musa23.blogspot.com    Posted: 6/16/2011 11:59:12 PM

It does work!

My thinking pace slows down as I take my focus away from things external and focus on my slow, deliberate breathing.

I can''t find the words to explain the feeling.

It''s one of those things you have to experience yourself.

I''m an addict ]

Thank you for this post ^_^

Hugs,

Musa


Linda Lauren    www.lindalauren.com    Posted: 7/3/2011 5:02:45 PM

I have been teaching meditation for over 30 years and find it''s a life saver. Thanks for a great article!





  
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