Benefits of Meditation for Aching Joints

Got a creaky knee or a sore neck? Take a deep breath and say "Om."

Yep, research suggests that people who practice Zen meditation not only are far less sensitive to pain but also are better at coping with it.

Not feeling so hot

In a study, pain thresholds seemed to be much higher for Zen meditators than for nonmeditators. When exposed to a heat source, the Zen meditators could tolerate higher temps. What's more, the meditators did not find the pain as unpleasant or as intense as the control group did. Talk about tolerance! Here are some other ways you can tap the power of your mind to relieve pain.

A placebo, or the real deal?

Although more research is needed to confirm these findings, there may be both a psychological and physiological component behind meditation-as-coping-mechanism. Just by virtue of the fact that meditation helps people feel more relaxed and less reactive, it makes a good candidate as a natural pain reliever. Meditation may also increase pain tolerance by triggering the release of pain-squelching feel-good hormones in the brain and by decreasing stress hormones.

More On

How does progressive muscle relaxation reduce stress?

video

How does progressive muscle relaxation reduce stress?
Progressive muscle relaxation is a simple exercise that allows your muscles to get rid of tension, but it does much more than that. In this video, psy...
Feeling Alone? Here's Why Veterans Need to Connect

article

Feeling Alone? Here's Why Veterans Need to Connect
It improves your mental and physical health—and can help prevent issues like depression down the line.
When do you decide if a child should go on a psychiatric medication?

video

When do you decide if a child should go on a psychiatric medication?
Certain mental disorders always require medication in addition to therapy, says Roy Boorady, MD, child psychiatrist. In this video he explains the ind...
What Can I Do to Cope with Toxic Worrying?

video

What Can I Do to Cope with Toxic Worrying?
To cope with toxic worrying, you need to take back control of the worry by postponing the worry, or rationalizing the worry. In this video, clinical p...
What are obstacles in the diagnosis of schizophrenia?

video

What are obstacles in the diagnosis of schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia symptoms first emerge gradually and may not be clearly expressed. In this video HealthMaker Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, director, New York St...