Mindfulness & Meditation: A Personal Experience in Chronic Pain Reduction

Submitted by: lalapancakes 1 year ago in Science
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My ultimate goal as a writer has always been to challenge and reduce people’s suffering. Because I ultimately care about humanity, I am sharing this purely anecdotal story on meditation.

Some time last year I assigned myself to a UCLA health study because A. I like money and B. it was a drug-free study regarding symptoms related to my digestive disorder. The study dealt with meditation’s influence on health of which I had no faith in. It all sounded like a bunch of hippy dippy nonsense to me, but you know, money. The prereq for participation required my thoughts on meditation. They asked me if I thought it was going to help and I was like, 'nope – but I'm happy to give input to science for $400.'

Fast-forward four-weeks into the course and my GI symptoms reduced easily by 60%. I was definitely surprised. Admittedly I did look at other studies before committing to the one I signed up for and saw summaries on the National Institute of Health's site showing 30-minutes of daily meditation has shown a thickening of the cortex in war veterans living with PTSD, in cancer patients, and in people who suffer from rheumatic arthritis. The studies seemed to indicate this thickening correlated with how one handles daily stress and registers chronic pain, less.

The study I participated in wanted to apply itself in relation to autoimmune issues with the GI system the same way it’s been applied for the aforementioned issues. The official results for my group is still out as the study is constantly grappling for funding - but I can definitely say without a doubt that daily mindfulness has improved my quality of life.

Feel free to directly message me for any other questions relating to my experience and the course I took. Also here's a link to free guided meditations from the UCLA center.

There are 6 comments:
Female 7,874
i'll give it a crack- I'm pretty sure I take way too many opiates for safety. Problem is I find it pretty hard to do this stuff- I am a terrible subject for hypnosis too.
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Male 1,255
I'm pretty bad at sticking with it, as well. The link to the free UCLA recordings for guided meditation help keep the focus, a lot.
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Male 1,353
what does mindfulness mean?
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Male 1,255
@casaledana - It's taking the time to pay attention to yourself in the physical and emotional form. When you are anxietied, take 30-seconds and focus on that feeling of anxiety. Try to focus on it for 30-seconds more. Follow it. Does it intensify or dissipate? What does it do to your physical body? Does it cause tension? Where at? What happens when you take a deep breath at that moment? How does it feel? That sort of thing is practicing mindfulness. If you're truly interested in the subject the course UCLA runs is based off Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn's book 'Full Catastrophic Living.' That is their whole course in that book. You could buy it for $20-30 and go at the practice at your own pace instead of paying $500 a class to the neurology department at a research med school. ;)
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Male 49
Thanks for telling us your experience. Informative as always I gave it a shot a while ago when I was under heavy stress and depressed. I was skeptical like yourself but it did help me a bit
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Male 48
Thanks for sharing this, very interesting. And, congrats on being willing to try something you were skeptical of (even if it was mostly for the money), and getting significant relief on your GI issues!
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