Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced new guidelines to fight opioid addiction. In a new study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers found that meditation can reduce pain.
Researchers from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina divided 78 healthy, pain-free subjects into four treatment groups and then induced pain with a 120.2 °F thermal probe. In addition to meditation, patients were treated with a drug called naloxone that blocks the pain-reducing effects of opioids or a saline placebo. Patients then rated their pain levels on a sliding scale.
Research showed that patients in the meditation group that received the naloxone experienced pain ratings that were reduced by 24 percent from the baseline measurement. Participants in the non-meditation control groups reported increases in pain, whether they received the naloxone or placebo.
“These findings are especially significant to those who have built up a tolerance to opiate-based drugs and are looking for a non-addictive way to reduce their pain,” says lead researcher Fadel Zeidan. “Meditation could be used in conjunction with other traditional drug therapies to enhance pain relief without it producing the addictive side effects and other consequences that may arise from opiate drugs.”