Research Continues on Meditation’s Health Benefits

Research Continues on Meditation's Health Benefits

© GLOW IMAGES Model used for illustrative purposes

by Don Ingwerson

No one wants to be in pain, and few like to talk about it. But I do want to write about what many are now finding to be one of the most effective pain medicines: meditation. Although there are many meditation studies and reports that indicate it’s helpful in alleviating pain, there isn’t yet sufficient evidence of its efficacy to cure pain. But, because it has such a potent effect on pain, in many instances this holistic practice is replacing narcotics.

The research is continuing, with researchers asking if meditation helps and how meditation helps. A Wake Forest University study found a forty-percent reduction in pain intensity for those who were meditating as compared to those who weren’t meditating. Meditation also reduced stress, which can be tied closely to pain. One of the most encouraging aspects of the study was that the time it took to see results from meditating was less than originally expected.

Progress into looking at how meditation works by studying nerves, pain centers, and connections to the brain has been slow but steady. Technological advancements have brought new insights and many more questions. One compelling question is whether pain triggers, as well as relief from pain, reside in the human brain or in consciousness. This in turn leads to more questions about the link between the brain, consciousness, and spirituality.

Meditation has usually had a spiritual component, instead of being just about the brain, the nervous system, and the body. Likewise, the link between meditation and health is not a new idea. When the author of Science and Health experienced a healing by reading a passage from the Bible after a near-fatal accident, she spent the next three years meditating and studying the Bible. She went on to share her ideas about meditating on the Divine and healed many people – and her own lifespan was double the norm of her day.

Researchers have not yet proved that meditation can prevent pain, but the evidence is definitely growing that meditation helps to control pain and improve health. Future exploration into consciousness and meditation will prove what is possible.

Article first published in Blogcritics.

About the author

Don Ingwerson Don regularly blogs on health and spirituality and lives in Laguna Beach with his wife - both Christian Science practitioners. He brings his years serving the public in education to his work as a liaison of Christian Science, where he maintains contacts with the media and legislative offices.

Comments

  1. Belle says

    Meditation vs. medication….folks are beginning to see which has the least harmful side effects.

  2. Pamela says

    Thanks Don, this was really helpful. People need to know that medicine has never been as effective as meditation because meditation quiets fear and fear is one of the causes of sickness and pain (physical or emotional). Meditation is getting thought quiet and when we are quiet, we became calm. Christ Jesus taught us to get quiet by telling us to go into our closet to pray to the Father. Going into our mental closet shuts out such thoughts of fear, pain and stress. This teaching of Christ Jesus is in his most famous speech called the Sermon on the Mount. This sermon is said to be the blueprint for a man’s character and I can see why. If people read this sermon once each week and tried to live by it, they would find their lives more harmonious. It can be found in the book of Matthew, chapters 5, 6 & 7. Talk about meditating on something…this is it!

  3. Evelyn Brookins says

    Such an important message, Don. I’ve had many proofs of the value of making thought peaceful. I suffered from migraine headaches many years ago. I learned that getting absolutely still and filling my thoughts with peaceful ideas brought amazing results. During a family activity of spring cleaning I spent a couple of hours inhaling ammonia. But also there were family tensions and disagreements. Next day I couldn’t eat and suffered from a violent headache. I lay down and turned my thoughts to peaceful scenes in mountain lakes and green pastures. My thoughts became restful and uplifted. The tensions and conflicts washed right away and within half an hour I was able to go back to work, enjoy a lovely lunch. I was completely free of pain and anxiety. The work was finished harmoniously. No amount of medicated could have had the same result. And there were no after effects. Singing hymns, quiet prayers are restful and healing.

  4. Mary Lou MacKenzie says

    It is wonderful to hear that the thought in the medical community is beginning to open up to other ideas. All of humanity will be blessed.

  5. Anne Hughes says

    Just last night I experienced the helpful results of meditation and prayer. About an hour after we had gone to bed, we received a phone call that left me unable to go back to sleep. I dimmed the brightness of my iPad and went to the JSH-online website and found a most wonderful poem by Peter Henniker-Heaton assuring me that God’s blessing is there for me both in the morning and in the evening. Still awake, I got up and read passages from the Bible and Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy that my husband had prepared for a Wednesday evening service at our church. That quieting meditation allowed me several hours of uninterrupted rest until morning. The only after effect was peace and assurance.

  6. Anne says

    I especially loved everyone’s comments on this blog. I too am very big on the message in the Sermon of the Mount. I think it’s the very heart of Christ Jesus’ teachings, and it has lifted many over the centuries to a higher and more spiritual outlook on life.

    I took a walk last evening and one foot started to feel very painful. I almost came home but then decided to pray about it, as Jesus did about every human condition. He told us, “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” I reasoned that it was good to take a walk and it was right to feel comfortable and free in doing so. As I continued walking, the pain lessoned with each step. I felt dominion over my life. It was wonderful to be free from caving in to the suggestion of pain. I made the clear decision to complete my walk rather than let the pain control the outcome. Now that’s a freedom worthy of comment!

    The “spiritual component” mentioned in this post is all important for healing the stress and pain in daily living. Thank you for bringing this out.

  7. sue says

    Thank you for sharing how thought is opening up to meditation and prayer to find peace, harmony and freedom from pain and stress. I have used this method many times often thinking about the ideas in Psalms 23– the idea of being cared for by a gentle Shepherd, to walk–think about green pastures and still waters [calming & peaceful mental concepts], to knowing that I am cared for and lead though difficult circumstances to a sense of well being , to feel encompassed by a Divine sense of love and peace. I have used these ideas since I was a teenager and felt the power of these ideas bring change, calmness and freedom from many painful situations.

  8. Rube says

    Having been a Christian Scientist all my life the expectation of having NO PAIN was
    normal. Immediately when pain presented itself when there was a broken bone or a
    circumstance of third degree burns the statement of GOD IS LOVE was immediately
    declared and the PAIN immediately disappeared. The healing of the so called accidents
    followed. There should be no “time line” for relief from the suggestion of PAIN.

    PAIN is not from God and has no substamce. It is a false suggestion that we do not have to accept and entertain. Many athletes who are not Christian Scientists compete
    without allowing the suggestion of pain limiting their performance.

    I am so grateful for Mrs. Eddy’s loving direction and instructions guiding us thru the
    Truth’s that Christ Jesus taught us. It is God’s Love for us that protects and corrects
    and heals any and all false suggestions and evidence of error, be it pain or disease.