"You Are Not Your Experiences"
A study in the journal of Pain reports the value of mindfulness meditation and its ability to relieve pain. Researchers randomized 40 participants to 4 sessions of mindfulness meditation or book-listening. Compared to controls, responses in behavioral and neural pain were significantly reduced in the mindful meditation group. The meditation disrupted "the communication between brain areas involved in pain sensation and those that produce the sense of self. In the proposed mechanism, pain signals still move from the body to the brain, but the individual does not feel as much ownership over those pain sensations, so their pain and suffering are reduced."
The researchers concluded that, “mindfulness meditation is associated with a novel self-referential-nociceptive gating mechanism to reduce pain.” Senior author Fadel Zeidan, PhD, associate professor of anesthesiology at UC San Diego School of Medicine, stated, “One of the central tenets of mindfulness is the principle that you are not your experiences. You train yourself to experience thoughts and sensations without attaching your ego or sense of self to them, and we’re now finally seeing how this plays out in the brain during the experience of acute pain. This is a really important finding for the millions of people looking for a fast-acting and non-pharmacological treatment for pain.”
Access the journal article.
Read the press release.
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