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Mindfulness Meditation Better Than Placebo At Reducing Pain


Sometimes it really is just in your head.

Wake Forest researchers have found that mindfulness meditation has a significant impact on pain relief compared to using a placebo.

At Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, they used pain ratings and brain imaging to determine how effective mindfulness meditation is. Basically, study participants sat upright, focused on their breathing and learned to regulate their emotions. 

Dr. FadelZeidan was the lead investigator.

"We were surprised that mindfulness meditation produced a different pattern of brain activity than a placebo cream condition, and mindfulness meditation was significantly more effective at reducing pain than those other conditions," he says.

It reduced the unpleasant aspect of pain by 44 percent, compared to only 13 percent with the placebo.

Zeidan notes that the participants in this study were healthy. Wake Forest has already started another study to see how effective mindfulness meditation is for people struggling with chronic pain.