Can mindfulness meditation provide drug-free pain relief?

New York (IANS) Mindfulness meditation may provide an alternative to usual drug-based pain relieving pills, especially to those suffering from chronic pain, suggests new research.

Mindfulness meditation, an essential element of Buddhist practice, involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing, and bringing your attention to the present moment.

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It is especially useful for those who have built up a tolerance to opiate-based drugs and are looking for a non-addictive way to reduce their pain, the researchers said.

Mindfulness meditation does not employ the endogenous addictive opioid system to reduce pain, rather it uses the body’s naturally made opioids as an alternative therapy.

“Our finding was surprising and could be important for the millions of chronic pain sufferers who are seeking a fast-acting, non-opiate-based therapy to alleviate their pain,” said Fadel Zeidan, assistant professor at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in the US.

The study was published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

The results of the study involving 78 volunteers showed that even when the body’s opioid receptors were chemically blocked, meditation still was able to considerably reduce pain.

Pain ratings also were reduced by 21 percent in the meditation group that those who received the placebo-saline injection.

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