March 20, 2012

Zen Meditation = Forget Pain?

Filed under: News / Events — Jennifer @ 8:19 am

According to Time Healthland, “living without pain may not require potent drugs, according to the medical journal “Pain” – all you need is a fusion, quiet corner, and a mantra.  Research has found that people who practice Zen meditation are less sensitive to pain.  The University to Montreal exposed 13 Zen masters and 13 comparable non-practictioners to equal degrees of painful heat while measuring their brain activity in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner.”

The meditators reported feeling less pain then the control group, in fact they reported feelings of pain levels below what the output was from fMRI. They were able to find that while they were aware of the pain, the sensation wasn’t processed in the part of their brains responsible for feeling it.  They feel the sensations, but they cut the process short, refraining from interpreting it as painful.

An ancient Eastern text describes two temporally distinct aspects of pain perception, the direct experience of the sensation and habitual, negative, mentioned which follows.  It was suggested that the so-called “second dart’ of pain could be removed via meditative training, obliterating the suffering associated with noxious stimulation. Remarkably, the first claim parallels modern science which has demonstrated that cognitive and affective factors can greatly influence painful experience.