If you’re constantly in pain, you don’t have to take pain-relieving drugs every so often. Studies show that it can relieve pain by around 25%, but did you know that there’s a more effective method that can reduce pain by 40%? Believe it or not, meditation is a much better pain-reliever than any other drug you’ve taken. And if you’re worried about how it will make you look as a guy, don’t worry; there’s meditation for men.
A study by Fadel Zeidan of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine showed that meditation, indeed, is better than meds in pain relief. Zeidan taught participants in his study to meditate in four 20-minute sessions. During meditation, the participants had a 120-degree pad placed atop their right calves for 6 minutes as they underwent PASL MRI scans (a brain scan that tests brain processes).
The brain scans showed that they felt less pain when meditating than they did before the activity. In fact, Zeidan found that a little over an hour’s worth of meditation can successfully reduce a person’s pain. And if you meditate for a while longer, the pain relief will last even longer.
Meditation for Men: It works wonders!
If you continue meditating regularly, the pain relief effects last even longer. “The incredible thing about proper meditation is that the more you do it, the more it becomes a part of you,” he continues. “There were prior studies on monks who had incredible amounts of meditation training, and they didn’t even have to meditate to reduce pain. It had become automatic.”
The PASL MRI scans showed meditation works by affecting the brain on multiple levels. “It shuts off the primary somatosensory cortex, which is responsible for feeling sensation, while at the same time activating other parts of the brain responsible for attention, mood, emotions and reward processing,” Zeidan says. “We don’t know 100 percent how meditation shuts off the primary somatosensory cortex, but we think the activity of the other brain regions lowers its activation.” Previous research has also found that meditation actually changed the makeup of your mind. (Read more here)
While Zeidan stops short of recommending meditation as a lone painkiller, he does not that it lowers costs and has no ill side effects.
When meditating, you can start by assuming a comfortable position, whether it’s by lying down, walking, sitting, or even eating. After this, follow your breath and focus on how it feels. Divert you attention to how your breath enters through your nose and goes through your body’s senses. Feel your breath, and follow its rhythm.
You may get distracted every now and then, but you don’t have to feel guilty about it. Acknowledge these, and let them pass. As long as you go back to your center, everything should be alright.