Meditation actually HEALS by producing powerful pain-relieving effects in the brain (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show, as well as to a wonderful talk with Echo's interviewer, psychic medium Marla Frees). Nearly one in 3 Americans suffers from chronic pain, which costs more than $600 billion in medical bills every year (back pain alone coasts $90 billion). Rsearchers have found that specific regions in the brains of long-term meditators were larger and had more gray matter than the brains of individuals in a control group. This suggests that meditation may indeed be good for all of us since, alas, our brains shrink naturally with age.
Studies have shown that meditating regularly can help relieve symptoms in people who suffer from chronic pain. Many people find the side effects of pain medication to be a problem, but in the July 9-10 edition of the Wall Street Journal, Jonah Lehrer reports on a new study showing that after only a few days of meditation training, teaching people to focus their attention away from the pain, participants reported a 57% reduction in the "unpleasantness" of their pain. This is the same result as morphine WITHOUT the side effects.
Learning to meditate altered brain activity in the regions which are targeted by pain medications. In other words, the patients created their own painkillers. When it comes to healing, researcher Fadel Zeidan says, "Only a little over an hour of meditation training can dramatically reduce both the experience of pain and pain-related brain activation. We found a big effect--about a 40% reduction in pain intensity and a 57% reduction in pain unpleasantness. Meditation produced a greater reduction in pain than even morphine or other pain-relieving drugs, which typically reduce pain ratings by about 25%."
Brain scans were done on patients before and after meditation. Zeidan says, "The scans taken after meditation training showed that every participant’s pain ratings were reduced, with decreases ranging from 11 to 93%." Even medical marijuana can't beat this!
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