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Even Brief Mindfulness Meditation Training Can Help

May 14th, 2010 · No Comments

In the time it takes to watch a 1-hour TV show, you could learn a technique that helps with pain!

Researchers in the Department of Psychology at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, taught participants mindfulness meditation for 20 minutes each day, over 3 days. They then tested how using this type of meditation helped people tolerate painful electrical stimulation. After learning mindfulness meditation, people rated the same electrical shock lower on a pain scale. As well, people could tolerate higher level shocks when using mindfulness exercises.

Mindfulness meditation worked better in these 2 areas than did relaxation exercises. Math distraction (doing math problems in your head) also resulted in people rating pain lower on a pain scale,but it didn’t help study participants tolerate higher shocks. This type of “experimental” pain is different from experiencing chronic pain, so this particular study doesn’t prove that mindfulness exercises help in chronic pain. But these results are consistent with other studies showing the benefits of mindfulness meditation for pain.

The article appeared in The Journal of Pain, Volume 11, March 2010, pages 199-209.

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