A recently released study has discovered a concept that could minimise the usage of painkillers. The study was carried out by a team of researchers at Leeds Beckett University. They found that just ten minutes of calming meditation can help to improve your pain tolerance. It also found that the practice increased the pain threshold as well as reducing levels of anxiety towards pain.
Painkillers, such as ibuprofen and paracetamol, are known as extremely common, over-the-counter medications. There are typically used to treat or mask the symptoms of back pain, toothache and other minor ailments. However, it’s becoming common knowledge that these painkillers can be harmful to your health if consumed over extended periods of time.
The study at the University was conducted among 24 individuals. In the study, the group was split into two groups. A control group and a mindfulness group. Each one of the individuals was subject to a cold-pressor task, causing them pain. The task began by an individual placing their hand in warm water for two minutes. After the two minutes, the hand was then plunged into ice water for as long as they could handle. They were told to remove their hands when the pain became unbearable.
Then, the groups either meditated for ten minutes or were medicated before repeating the cold pressor task. According to the study, the first round of results didn’t yield any major differences. On the second test, however, the meditation group saw dramatic improvements in pain thresholds and pain tolerances.
Although more research is needed to prove the quality of the results, these initial tests clearly show that mindfulness meditation has physical health benefits as well as mental. With this in mind and with further research, forms of meditation could be used, when refined, to treat back pain and arthritic pain in the future.
It’s worth noting that the research was carried out by a novice meditator. With practice and repeat testing with practised meditators, the results can become more solid and beneficial. The official guidelines, from institutions such as the NHS, still recommend painkillers as the go-to method for pain relief.
Let us know what you think! Would you be happy to be prescribed a routine of meditation as your pain relief? Do you want to see more research carried out? Let us know in the comments below!