New Research on Mindfulness Meditation

February 23, 2020 Joe Brady

Mindfulness meditation encompasses a wide variety of meditation practices. Everything from formal meditations like prayer, Zen or transcendental meditation to active meditations like tai chi and yoga are forms of mindful meditation. Even reading a good book is meditation at a very simple and enjoyable level. Anything that forces us to focus the mind on a single thing to the exclusion of all of our problems acts as a meditation. With all the problems we have to think about in the modern world the brain needs to take a break once in a while and just focus on being in the world. This acts as a recharge state for the mind and allows the immune system among many other systems in the body to reboot themselves to better handle the rest of the day. Extensive research is being done on mindfulness-based interventions for a variety of health purposes. Let’s look at what some NCCIH-funded studies of mindfulness have shown:

Read more about the latest research on meditation and some great App's and aides to make it easier.

Latest Research Findings on Mindfulness Meditation

  • Mindfulness practices may be helpful in treating opioid use disorder. A recent NCCIH-funded study provided preliminary evidence that mindfulness-oriented recovery enhancement (MORE)—an integrative behavioral group therapy that involves training in mindfulness, reappraisal, and savoring skills—may be a useful addition to methadone maintenance therapy for people with opioid use disorder and chronic pain.

  • People who are naturally more mindful report less pain and show lower activation of a specific region of the brain in response to an unpleasant heat stimulus, according to an NCCIH-funded study. The innate ability to be mindful—that is, to pay attention to the present moment without reacting to it—differs among individuals. 

  • Group sessions of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) or cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can provide cost-effective treatment for chronic low-back pain, according to NCCIH-funded research

  • A study partially funded by NCCIH showed that mindfulness meditation helps relieve pain by a mechanism that’s independent of opioid neurotransmitter mechanisms in the body. This finding is important because it suggests that mindfulness may act synergistically with other forms of treatment that do rely on opioid signaling. 

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