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First off, you may have noticed that things have been kind of quiet around the blog lately. Elizabeth’s computer is on the fritz. So expect more postings from her when her computer has recovered.

In the meantime, yoga, which is a form of meditation, has been in the news again, this time for its power to diminish pain. According to a  study published April 6th in the Journal of Neuroscience, people who were exposed to a pain (in the form of a painful heat source) experienced 40-57% less pain by two different pain ratings if they were meditating during exposure than if they were not. Morphine typically reduces pain ratings by about 25%.

And these were not expert meditators. They were 15 healthy volunteers who had received four twenty minute long classes in mindfulness meditation. The volunteers were taught to focus on their breath and let thoughts pass, just as we do during savasana.

In the study, the researchers from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina found that meditation reduced every participant’s pain ratings, with the reduction ranging from 11 to 93 percent. And brain activity went from very high to undetectable in an area involved in feelings of pain localization and pain intensity known as  the primary somatosensory cortex.

To read more about the study in an article in the UK newspaper known as the Telegraph go here. If you want to see an abstract of the original study go here.

(photo credit: pickthebrain.com)