New research shows that people who meditate regularly find pain less unpleasant. According to the LiveScience website, scientists recently recruited 12 volunteers with a diverse range of meditation experience in mindfulness meditation, which emphasizes focusing on the present.
The researchers used a laser to zap the skin on the right forearm and induce pain in each participant. They found those with more meditation experience found the pain less unpleasant than meditators with less experience, while no corresponding age effect was seen among non-meditators.
“The results suggest that meditation doesn't change the raw sensory experience of pain, but rather reduces the emotional response that occurs when pain is anticipated,” researcher Christopher Brown, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Manchester in England, told LiveScience. “This in itself appears to be enough to reduce the unpleasantness of the experienced pain, even though the sensory experience is unchanged.”
“Meditation trains the brain to be more present-focused and therefore to spend less time anticipating future negative events," Brown added. "This may be why meditation is effective at reducing the recurrence of depression, which makes chronic pain considerably worse."
Click here for the complete LiveScience article.