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To Reduce Pain, Meditation Works better than Placebo Treatment

Update Date: Nov 16, 2015 12:56 PM EST

The recent study conducted by Scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have revealed evidence that mindfulness meditation is more helpful in treating pain than placebo. This research was published in the Journal of Neuroscience showed that the participants that used the process of mindfulness meditation were able to alleviate their pain woes more effectively than placebo. Fadel Zeidan, Ph.D., assistant professor of neurobiology and anatomy at Wake Forest Baptist and lead author of the study said, "We were completely surprised by the findings. While we thought that there would be some overlap in brain regions between meditation and placebo, the findings from this study provide novel and objective evidence that mindfulness meditation reduces pain in a unique fashion", reports Science Daily.

In the study, the scientists used two-pronged based on brain imaging and pain ratings, to understand if meditation is in fact just a placebo effect. For this purpose, 75 healthy and pain free participants were assigned randomly to one of four study groups: placebo meditation, placebo analgesic cream, control or mindfulness meditation. The pain in the participants was induced with the help of thermal probe to overheat an area of the skin up to 45 degrees Centigrade, a heat level considered by many as intense and painful. The participants of the study then rated their experience in terms of unpleasantness and pain intensity. After the activity, the brains of the participants were scanned using the arterial spin labeling magnetic resonance imaging (ASL MRI) before and after their group exercise over a period of 4 days. The group that belonged to the mindfulness meditation reported pain intensity was reduced by 27% and the emotional intensity by 44%. On the other hand, the placebo group reported reduced pain by only 11% and emotional aspect by 13%, says Science Daily.

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