Meditation Might Reduce Pain’s Emotional Affect

According to a new study, meditation helps in making pain less unpleasant and decreases its emotional affect.

To arrive at the conclusion, scientists from The University of Manchester hired individuals into the study who had a different range of experience with meditation, straddling anything from months to decades.

It was only the more superior meditators whose expectation and experience of pain varied from non-meditators.

The kind of meditation practised also differed from individual to individual, but all comprised ''mindfulness meditation'' acts, such as those that outline the basis of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), suggested for persistent depression by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in 2004.

Dr. Christopher Brown, who carried out the research, said, "Meditation is becoming increasingly popular as a way to treat chronic illness such as the pain caused by arthritis".

The study that is to appear in the journal Pain, discovered that specific sections of the brain were less lively as meditators expected pain, as stimulated by a laser machine.

Those with an extensive meditation experience (up to 35 years) exhibited the minimum expectation of the laser pain.

Dr. Brown, who is based in Manchester's School of Translational Medicine, discerned that people who meditate also exhibited strange activity during expectancy of pain in part of the prefrontal cortex, a brain area known to be engaged in managing attention and thought processes when possible dangers are recognized.