Just about all of us are plagued by aches and pains of some sort. Instead of popping an Advil or applying ice/heat, give meditation a chance. Meditation might sound like an odd pain relief idea yet it really works.
The Power of Mindful Meditation
The results of a recent brain imaging study prove that meditation lessens physical pain. Study participants engaged in four mindfulness meditation sessions lasting 20 minutes in length. When exposed to heat sources, the intensity of participants’ pain was minor compared to those who did not participate in meditation sessions.
The evidence of pain reduction was identified in two ways. The brains of study participants were monitored with magnetic resonance imaging to determine how they reacted to intense heat. Secondly, participants reported reductions in pain intensity as a result of engaging in mindful meditation. It was the first ever in-depth study to show that a mere hour of meditation training can greatly reduce physical pain sensation as well as pain-related brain activity.
Additional Evidence of Meditation’s Power to Relieve Pain
Numerous clinical trials have shown that mindful meditation can reduce pain by upwards of 90 percent. Mindful meditation experts believe this exercise reduces pain because of the body’s ability to “unlearn” tension. If mindful meditation is practiced for an uninterrupted 20 minutes or more per day, an individual will tune into his body, improve his breathing and release the majority of built-up tension.
How to Relieve Pain Through Mindful Meditation
The previously mentioned study’s sequence of four 20-minute meditation training sessions were instructional in nature. Study participants were taught a meditation technique referred to as “focused attention”. This form of mindful meditation requires the participant to focus in on his breathing patterns while simultaneously acknowledging and shutting out distracting thoughts.
Those who seek to relieve pain through mindful meditation should also give wrist rotations a chance. Begin by relaxing your shoulders and breathing naturally. Use our left hand to hold your right elbow. Move your right hand in revolutions around the wrist for half a minute. Maintain soft and consistent breathing through the wrist rotations. Then rotate the same wrist in the opposite direction for another half-minute. Repeat the wrist rotations with the opposite hands. Cap off your wrist rotations by letting your arms hang freely at your sides. Close your eyes and lightly shake your arms and hands to cap off the wrist rotations.
Another helpful pain relief meditation exercise is referred to as “hugging arms”. Begin with your arms hanging freely at your sides. Key in on your breathing. As you inhale, move your arms out to the sides so they are parallel with your shoulders. Let your palms face outward. As you exhale, bring your arms in toward your chest, cross them and perform a soft self-hug. Envision warmth spreading across your body. Repeat the movement for a full minute. End the exercise by letting your arms dangle at your sides. Give them a light shake and relish the peacefulness of the moment.