Is mindfulness the new paracetamol?

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    in collaboration with

    Dr. Marc Lévêque (Neurosurgery – Pain)

    Medical validation:
    August 03, 2022

    According to a new study published in “The American Journal of Psychiatry”, mindfulness meditation can regulate the sensation of pain without resorting to medication.

    Mindfulness consists of focusing all your attention in the present moment, in order to dispel stress and anxiety. But this technique, which comes from Buddhism, could have many other benefits… such as reducing pain.

    Mindfulness would alter brain activity

    To reach this conclusion, the researchers subjected about thirty healthy Americans to collective mindfulness classes for nearly eight weeks, then compared them to a control group.

    To measure the volunteers’ neural response to pain, their brains were scanned before and after the class, while receiving a “heat” stimulus on their forearm.

    According to the results, participants who practiced mindfulness meditation showed less brain activity in areas responsible for pain, compared to the control group.

    Our finding suggests that mindfulness meditation training directly affects how the body’s sensory signals are converted into a brain response.“, thus revealed Joseph Wielgosz, lead author of the study and postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University.

    The study also looked at the effects of this technique over the longer term, during intensive meditation retreats.

    Result: again, the practice showed positive results in the neural signature of consciousness.

    Just as an experienced athlete practices a sport differently than a beginner, experienced mindfulness practitioners seem to use their mental “muscles” differently in response to pain than novice meditators.“, specifies the principal researcher.

    Mindfulness meditation: positive long-term effects

    For the authors, these results are therefore very encouraging. They pave the way for new complementary approaches – allowing pain to be treated without opioids or analgesics – especially in people suffering from chronic pain.

    A practice, approved by Dr. Lévèque, neurosurgeon and author of the book “Free us from pain”.

    “Rather than fighting the pain psychically (…) the patient will reclaim his body and learn to reinvest his psychic energy in a different way. More generally, meditation is a good tool for dealing with the suffering inherent in life.“.

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    Is mindfulness the new paracetamol?

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