According to a new study, the act of meditation can relax the mind and enhance the body’s ability to react to moderate amounts of pain.
In the study, researchers from the University of North Carolina measured pain ratings in students who were trained in meditation for three consecutive days and were given experimental pain stimuli.
The research team found that subjects who participated in brief meditation sessions reported reduced pain of both low and high intensities. Moreover, they concluded that meditation significantly reduced anxiety and increased the ability to sustain personal focus—two factors related to the body’s ability to tolerate moderate amounts of pain.
The study’s authors noted that the analgesic benefits of meditation can be noticed after only a short period of utilizing the technique.
Meanwhile, in a separate study, Canadian researchers have reportedly found evidence that Zen meditation can reinforce a central brain region that regulates pain.
“Through training, Zen meditators appear to thicken certain areas of their cortex and this appears to underlie their lower sensitivity to pain,” says lead author Joshua Grant, a doctoral student in the University of Montreal’s Department of Physiology.