Pain relief: meditation better than drugs, study finds

A place to discuss health and fitness, healthy diets. A fit body makes for a fit mind.

Pain relief: meditation better than drugs, study finds

Postby Ben » Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:37 am

Pain relief: meditation better than drugs, study finds

Recently, the 5000 year old intuitive teachings of meditation were given the backing of science. A report from the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center states that meditation can be more effective than morphine...

...As a result of the study, Wake Forest recommended meditation be used as standard clinical practice to deal with pain.
This scientific endorsement came as a welcome, but not unexpected result for those in the profession.

Read more

Cited report from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre:
Demystifying Meditation – Brain Imaging Illustrates How Meditation Reduces Pain
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 16292
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: Pain relief: meditation better than drugs, study finds

Postby danieLion » Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:47 am

Ben wrote:Pain relief: meditation better than drugs, study finds

Recently, the 5000 year old intuitive teachings of meditation were given the backing of science. A report from the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center states that meditation can be more effective than morphine...

...As a result of the study, Wake Forest recommended meditation be used as standard clinical practice to deal with pain.
This scientific endorsement came as a welcome, but not unexpected result for those in the profession.

Read more

Cited report from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre:
Demystifying Meditation – Brain Imaging Illustrates How Meditation Reduces Pain

It's true. I speak from personal experience. I have serious chronic pain, but am glad to say that if it were not for bhavana I would not be several years free from using opioid pain-killers. Even when it doesn't relieve the pain, it properly adjusts my attitude toward it.

I'm a little puzzled why the link shows a beautiful woman meditating in her underwear? Is meditation really that sexy? ;)
Goodwill,
Daniel
Last edited by danieLion on Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
danieLion
 
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: Pain relief: meditation better than drugs, study finds

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:51 am

There is a discussion of this in Kelly McGonigal's talk here:
http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2012/02/bg ... -practice/
She first discusses how in some studies meditators are able to be mindful of the pain without getting caught up in thinking about it:
So this is the front of the brain. And what you see here, the blue parts, those are the areas of the brain that are more active in non-meditators. OK. And you’re seeing, this is essentially looking like that default network that I showed you earlier. Meditators on the other hand, what you see is the only area of the brain that is more active are the areas that are listening to pain. The areas of the brain like the insula or the thalamus that are just waiting to feel the pain that is happening, that are giving you perfect information about what is happening in your body.

And yet, meditators were able to tolerate much more pain, even as they carefully attended to it. And I think those of you who have a strong practice will immediately recognize this is how we dissociate pain from suffering that when we attend directly to the experience and turn off that inner chatter, suddenly the experience of suffering that seems to arise from pain starts to dissolve.

And within the meditator’s group, the greater the decoupling, the functional decoupling between these two brain systems, paying attention to the feeling of pain and making a commentary about it, the greater they were dissociated, the higher the meditator’s pain tolerance was.

Then she goes on to this study of less-experienced meditators:
OK now, it is really important I think as a teacher of meditation to notice that this is what happens in experienced meditators.

This is the study lead by researchers at Wake Forest University that took brand new meditators. They’d only been meditating for four days. Mindfulness meditation. And when they were brought into the laboratory and given the exact same pain test, the heat stimulations to the leg, turns out that the successful meditators, those who could tolerate greater levels of pain or found the pain less unpleasant, that they were doing exactly the opposite in their brain than what experienced practitioners too.

They were inhibiting sensory information that somehow they were shifting their attention to ignore what was happening in the present moment. And that was giving rise to less suffering, inhibiting awareness rather than carefully attending to. And I think those of you who teach recognize this as something that often happens when we start to practice. We accidentally end up doing exactly the opposite of what the practice is asking of us. And sometimes we experience what seems to be pretty good results. And I think studies like this can really give teachers insight into how that process is happening in the mind and in the brain so that we can better guide people thru and beyond that.

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10654
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Pain relief: meditation better than drugs, study finds

Postby Ben » Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:02 am

Hi Daniel and Mike,

Yes, I have verified this myself as well by direct experience. A number of visits to hospital I was able to experience pain without pain killers or greatly reduced dosage to the great surprise and interest of doctors and nurses. However, the dentist still freaks me out!

I'm a little puzzled why the link shows a beautiful woman meditating in underwear?

No doubt the sub-editor was looking for an interesting picture to go with the story and the chick in the undies probably fit the bill (for him/her).
Is meditation really that sexy?
Hmmm....I would say - no.

Hi Mike,

That is interesting, thanks for reposting thwe link to McGonikal's talk.
kind regards,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 16292
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: Pain relief: meditation better than drugs, study finds

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:08 am

Ben wrote:
I'm a little puzzled why the link shows a beautiful woman meditating in underwear?

No doubt the sub-editor was looking for an interesting picture to go with the story and the chick in the undies probably fit the bill (for him/her).
I'm not complaining.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19882
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Pain relief: meditation better than drugs, study finds

Postby pilgrim » Mon Feb 20, 2012 1:19 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Ben wrote:
I'm a little puzzled why the link shows a beautiful woman meditating in underwear?

No doubt the sub-editor was looking for an interesting picture to go with the story and the chick in the undies probably fit the bill (for him/her).
I'm not complaining.

The next retreat, I'm keeping my eyes open..
User avatar
pilgrim
 
Posts: 970
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 2:56 pm

Re: Pain relief: meditation better than drugs, study finds

Postby Justsit » Mon Feb 20, 2012 1:56 pm

Any documentation for better pain relief during a migraine headache using meditation vs. drugs?
Justsit
 
Posts: 257
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 6:41 pm

Re: Pain relief: meditation better than drugs, study finds

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:22 pm

Bhikkhu Bodhi speaks about his pain problems in a talk here:
http://www.audiodharma.org/teacher/19/

However, he was unable to completely fix the problems with meditation (or anything else).

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10654
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Pain relief: meditation better than drugs, study finds

Postby Justsit » Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:25 pm

Thanks, I'll check it out.
That has been my experience as well. :cry:
Justsit
 
Posts: 257
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 6:41 pm

Re: Pain relief: meditation better than drugs, study finds

Postby Ben » Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:48 pm

Hi Justsit,
Justsit wrote:Any documentation for better pain relief during a migraine headache using meditation vs. drugs?


Actually, SN Goenka, talks about his own experience suffering from migranes back before he discovered Dhamma. The story is that he was on morphine and was getting treatment from doctors in the US and Europe but nothign helped. Then after meeting U Ba Khin and started practicing vipassana his symptoms went away.
kind regards,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 16292
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: Pain relief: meditation better than drugs, study finds

Postby Justsit » Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:07 pm

Interesting! Thanks, I'll check that out as well.
Justsit
 
Posts: 257
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 6:41 pm

Re: Pain relief: meditation better than drugs, study finds

Postby Monkey Mind » Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:30 am

Not migraines, but I was prone to outrageous headaches before I attended my first 10-day retreat. I have not had any of those since that retreat, 2.5 years later.
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710
User avatar
Monkey Mind
 
Posts: 538
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 8:56 pm
Location: Pacific Northwest, USA

Re: Pain relief: meditation better than drugs, study finds

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Feb 23, 2012 8:26 am

mikenz66 wrote:There is a discussion of this in Kelly McGonigal's talk here:
http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2012/02/bg ... -practice/
She first discusses how in some studies meditators are able to be mindful of the pain without getting caught up in thinking about it: ...

The video can be seen here: http://kellymcgonigal.com/2011/08/01/61/

Patrick Kearney has made a couple of interesting comments at the end of the transcript.
... But maybe what we are seeing here is simply that, for most people in the early stages of the practice, the mental factor of concentration or unification (samadhi), associated with serenity (samatha), prevails over the mental factor of mindfulness (sati), associated with insight (vipassana). This is not a problem that teachers need to be concerned about, but an illustration of the relationship between serenity and insight.

And perhaps this indicates how the tradition can inform the reading of the results of scientific tests, rather than speaking only of science informing the tradition.

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10654
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Pain relief: meditation better than drugs, study finds

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Feb 23, 2012 8:47 am

Greetings,

In terms of headaches, I suspect the effectiveness of meditation as prevention/cure probably depends on the underlying cause behind the headache. For example, if you're prone to tension headaches, and through a Dhamma practice inclusive of meditation, you reduce the underlying tension, goodbye tension headaches.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14768
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Pain relief: meditation better than drugs, study finds

Postby danieLion » Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:22 am

mikenz66 wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:There is a discussion of this in Kelly McGonigal's talk here:
http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2012/02/bg ... -practice/
She first discusses how in some studies meditators are able to be mindful of the pain without getting caught up in thinking about it: ...

The video can be seen here: http://kellymcgonigal.com/2011/08/01/61/

Patrick Kearney has made a couple of interesting comments at the end of the transcript.
... But maybe what we are seeing here is simply that, for most people in the early stages of the practice, the mental factor of concentration or unification (samadhi), associated with serenity (samatha), prevails over the mental factor of mindfulness (sati), associated with insight (vipassana). This is not a problem that teachers need to be concerned about, but an illustration of the relationship between serenity and insight.

And perhaps this indicates how the tradition can inform the reading of the results of scientific tests, rather than speaking only of science informing the tradition.

:anjali:
Mike

Well, if your going to mention MCGonigal, you might as well mention Dr. Daniel J. Siegel, too. He's authored a books like Mindsight and The Mindful Brain and has a talk on dharmaseed.org and probably more if you Google him.
Goodwill
Daniel
danieLion
 
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: Pain relief: meditation better than drugs, study finds

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:54 am

Hi Daniel,

Certainly there is a lot of activity in this area. The more the merrier!

I mentioned Kelly McGonigal's talk because she specifically addressed the research in the OP, and had an interpretation of it that I thought was particular interesting. The comments by Patrick Kearney were also very intriguing. Those interpretations, whether they are correct in detail or not, are interesting because they involve an analysis of terms of the Buddha-Dhamma of issues that are relevant to the goals of meditation from a Buddhist perspective rather than meditation only as pain relief.

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10654
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Pain relief: meditation better than drugs, study finds

Postby Vepacitta » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:52 am

Well, meditation is certainly helpful - but having just been through an operation and about to undergo another particularly nasty operation very soon - I will be grateful for the painkillers and muscle relaxers I will be getting. I have also been through years of chronic dental pain (misdiagnoses - it's now all over thankfully) and can tell you that at a certain point I was in such pain that I in a state of dementia - hearing voices - etc - this was due to a badly septic wisdom tooth - I was told it was my 'imagination' - was lucky I didn't go into septic shock when I finally found a good oral surgeon - a woman by the way.

I am for giving adequate pain relief - which isn't done very well in the United States. My friend's Swiss girlfriend can't believe how barbaric we are in the US when it comes to pain control - even for terminal patients. Character buidling my arse ...

Just my two cantankerous cents from Mt Meru,

V.
I'm your friendly, neighbourhood Asura
User avatar
Vepacitta
 
Posts: 299
Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 3:58 pm
Location: Somewhere on the slopes of Mt. Meru

Re: Pain relief: meditation better than drugs, study finds

Postby danieLion » Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:46 am

Vepacitta wrote:I am for giving adequate pain relief - which isn't done very well in the United States. My friend's Swiss girlfriend can't believe how barbaric we are in the US when it comes to pain control - even for terminal patients. Character buidling my arse ...

Just my two cantankerous cents from Mt Meru,

V.

However, according to some sources, we've an opiate abuse epidemic in this country. Yet I suspect if we legalized it, it would be demoted from an epidemic to a problem.
Goodwill
Daniel
danieLion
 
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: Pain relief: meditation better than drugs, study finds

Postby Vepacitta » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:11 pm

Indeed, Daniel.
V.
I'm your friendly, neighbourhood Asura
User avatar
Vepacitta
 
Posts: 299
Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 3:58 pm
Location: Somewhere on the slopes of Mt. Meru

Re: Pain relief: meditation better than drugs, study finds

Postby Akuma » Tue Apr 24, 2012 12:15 pm

Justsit wrote:Any documentation for better pain relief during a migraine headache using meditation vs. drugs?

Justsit


From migraine forum I am in it seems apparent that there is not any effect of meditation on migraine whatsoever and from my own experience I know that an attack itself makes concentration impossible. So without trying to be negative I am very doubtful about Goenkas information, not only because morphine is not a migraine medication, he shouldve been using anti-inflammants or triptanes or ergotamine obviously combined with an anti-emetic.
There are masses of people trying to make a buck with migraine patients, exactly because the causes are so far not exactly (enough) known and because its a neurological illness that at this point cannot be healed.
There are whatsoever all sorts of prophylactic measures you can work out with your specialist - some being really hard meds, some being additives like f.e. high dose magnesium, riboflavine or something. But there too the effects are rather limited and I myself am unsure if what the pros wanna sell there really has effect beyond the placebo range.
Akuma
 
Posts: 147
Joined: Tue Mar 30, 2010 4:56 pm
Location: NRW, Germany

Next

Return to Wellness, Diet & Fitness

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests