Nature’s Best Painkiller
By Michael Roizen, M.D., and Mehmet Oz, M.D.


If creaky knees and back pain aren’t bad enough, the pain pills designed to blunt the hurt can carry nasty side effects and/or require monthly trips to the pharmacy. So try this no-cost way to decrease the pain: Take a deep breath and say “Om.” Or “Chocolate” or “breathe.” Any word that focuses you works.

People who practice Zen meditation have been shown to be far less sensitive to pain than nonmeditators, and they are better at coping with it. Meditating really isn’t that much harder than medicating. The goal isn’t to suppress emotions, but to identify how they arise and how they influence you. In the Zen study, when a “heat source,” was applied to volunteers’ calves, meditators simply noticed what they were feeling and observed it without judging it. They tolerated higher temps and did not find the pain as unpleasant or as intense as nonmeditators did.

Meditation may help in a few ways: It may distract your mind so you react less to that idiot who almost cut you off or other hot buttons. It also may help you tolerate pain by helping you bypass a blame-and-stress cycle in your brain. This bypass helps decrease stress hormones and increase pain-squelching ones.
You don’t have to go to a monastery to get started. Simply close your eyes and help clear your mind by repeating a simple word to yourself. When your mind wanders, focus on the word again. Try to squirrel away 5 minutes to do this every day. The bathroom works well — few people will disturb you there.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 8th Oct 2009


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