Meditation and the Media Part III

September 23, 2010 at 1:44 pm (Uncategorized)

This article will finish the one started last week and will deal with the effects of meditation on pain as reported in the article ay Dr. Oz and Dr Roizen in my local paper.

Two aspects of pain

Pain has both physical and mental dimensions. The physical dimension is the actual nerve reaction to a particular stimulus. Externally, this might be a cut or abrasion or a broken bone. Internally this might be some tissue damage or some organ malfunction. Whatever it is, some physical thing is out of order and the nerve endings are responding with a message of pain to the brain.

This part of pain is fairly straightforward and consists of the neural message to the brain that something is out of order.

The mental aspect of pain is by far the most complicated. It starts when the physical stimulus comes and then is interpreted by the brain according to the nature of the pain, past experiences, sensitivity to pain and a host of other mental and emotional parts of the exerience.

While meditation does not heal the abrasion, it is very important and effective at mitigating and managing the mental aspects of the pain experience. The next blog entry will deal more extensively with the mental and emotional aspects of pain as a separate topic. For the rest of this blog post, I will list three ways suggested by the article to use meditation skills to help ease pain.

Three Quick Pain Relief Tips

First is mindfulness meditation. We have talked about that in previous posts. Mindfulness is letting your mind focus on the present. Breathe slowly and deeply and focus your attention on the breath. Feel each breath go in and out of your lungs and fill all parts of your body.

This focus tends to increase blood flow, and lowers pulse and respiratory rate and will reduce the sensation of pain in your mind.

The second quick tip is to use guided imagery. This technique suggests that you focus your mind on a pleasant and happy scene or situation from your past. Remember a beach, or a park or a pleasant place that brings good feelings or memories. Live the memory as completely and fully as possible with all the sights, sounds and emotions.

The third quick tip is muscle relaxation. Close your eyes and focus your mind on a particular muscle group. Start with your fists. Clench them for 7 seconds or so, and then abruptly let them relax, and feel all the tension drain away out of your hands and arms. Repeat this cycle with every muscle group in your body. Arms, toes, calves, thighs, buttocks, stomach etc. and feel all the tension drain away from your body.

These three quick techniques are useful to divert your attention from the pain that you may be experiencing and help you manage your immediate circumstance.

They are also tools for beginning to learn to meditate. Go to the website for greater detail and I will see you next post.

Have a great and relaxing day!!


Permalink Leave a Comment

Meditation and Media Attention Part II

September 7, 2010 at 10:55 am (Benefits of Meditation, Meditation Basics, Why do we meditate?)

More in the Newspaper

This article reports on another long article that I found in the newspaper from Dr. Oz and Dr. Roiden. It was titled “Got Meditation? Calming technique can ease pain, too.’

It was a long article and had a number of pieces of useful information so I will treat it in two blog posts. This first post will be the findings that they reported as reasons to practice meditation to control pain, and the second part will be the suggested techniques.

Your brain’s supwerpowers can help conquer the most stubborn of miseries in the pain department. Research at one university shows that people who meditate for just 20 minutes a day saw their pain tolerance increase in just 4 days.

Volunteers tested their pain threshholds to an electric shock, and after 4 days of practicing meditation, a shock that was considered ‘high pain’ earlier was now relatively mild. No such change was evidenced in the control group that did not meditate.

This is not to say that the pain that you experience is ‘all in your head.’ Pain, particularly chronic pain is all too real. Meditation changes how we understand pain, and how we deal with it.

The relaxation and calming associated with the practice of meditation allows you to change the way you feel about pain, reduce its effect on your mind and body and minimize or eliminate the debilitating effects it can have on your life.

In a different university study, one of the changes was to teach your mind to stop anticipating the pain, and thereby reduce the stress associated with the onset or anticipated onset of pain.

The act of anticipating the pain increases it intensity and its debilitating effects tremendously. Reducing stress and pain means better sleep, more alertness, more focus and a better and more productive day.

The best part of this message is that you can have these beneficial effects without expensive lessons, without wierd postures or long hours of practice in a cave on the mountain.

Simple meditation techniques you can do in you own room for a few minutes per day will give you the relief you need and open the door to a lifelong practice that will heal your body and calm and empower your mind.

In the next post I will outline the three suggestions that they gave for beginning your own simple meditation practice. In the meantime, if you can’t wait, go on over to to learn right now,

Permalink Leave a Comment

Meditation and Media Attention

September 1, 2010 at 2:50 pm (Benefits of Meditation, Meditation Basics, Why do we meditate?)

Media Attention

More and more frequently, I notice media articles and stories about meditation. Just recently I clipped an article about meditation and stress reduction in the USA Today weekend edition.

It was a short article about a book titled ‘Fully Present: The Sceince, Art and Practice of Mindfulness’ by Susan L. Smalley and Diana Winston.

The author of the newspaper article focused on a few things from the book and on the benefits of ‘paying attention with openness and curiosito to the present moment.’ She also reported on findings that mindfulness reduces stress, increases attention span, boosts creativity and strengthens the immune system.

I have not read this particular book, but I have read many like it and I am grateful that there is more research and discussion of meditation in all its forms and benefits.

What is ‘mindfulness?’

Mindfulness is a concentration on the present moment. Separate yourself from you busy thoughts and pay attention to everything around you. What colors do you see, what do you hear, what do you smell, right now? Exactly what are you feeling in your body?

Sense each physical feeling in your body without thinking about it. For example you could feel a breeze on your face without further thinking about the weather or your hair, or anything else.

You can notice the landscaping around you, the trees, bushes or grass and just fully look at them, taking in the color and shape of each one individually.

You might realize that there is a bird chirping nearby that you hadn’t noticed. Remember in the old ‘Kung-Fu’ series, the young Caine at the end of his training was asked by the master, ‘do you hear the grasshopper at your feet?’¬†

Take you thoughts away from everything except the present moment. For example, what sensations are in your body, right now? Can you feel your feet in your shoes, or on the floor or can you sense the shirt or blouse on your shoulders and what does it feel like?

Taking time to do this, even for 3 minutes, and cleaning out all other thoughts will slow your heartbeat, lower your blood pressure and calm you mind. You will create a space around your heart that will give you time to breathe calmly inside.

Permalink Leave a Comment