Advertisement

The Effects of Brief Mindfulness Meditation Training on Experimentally Induced Pain

Published:October 23, 2009DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpain.2009.07.015

      Abstract

      This study investigated the effects of brief mindfulness meditation training on ratings of painful electrical stimulation. In Experiment 1, we used a 3-day (20 min/d) mindfulness meditation intervention and measured pain ratings before and after the intervention. Participants' numerical ratings of pain to “low” and “high” electrical stimulation significantly decreased after meditation training. Pain sensitivity, measured by change in stimulus intensity thresholds, also decreased after training. We investigated, in Experiment 2, how well relaxation and a math distraction task attenuated experimental pain. Math distraction but not relaxation reduced high pain ratings. There was no reduction in pain sensitivity in these participants. In Experiment 3, we directly compared the effects of meditation with math distraction and relaxation conditions. Our findings indicated significant effects of both meditation and math distraction. Consistent with what was observed in Experiment 1, these participants also demonstrated a decrease in pain sensitivity after meditation training. Changes in the mindfulness and anxiety assessments suggest that meditation's analgesic effects are related to reduced anxiety and the enhanced ability to focus on the present moment.

      Perspective

      Our findings indicate that a brief 3-day mindfulness meditation intervention was effective at reducing pain ratings and anxiety scores when compared with baseline testing and other cognitive manipulations. The brief meditation training was also effective at increasing mindfulness skills.

      Key words

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'

      Subscribe:

      Subscribe to The Journal of Pain
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      References

        • Austin J.H.
        Zen and the brain: Toward an understanding of meditation and consciousness.
        MIT Press, Cambridge, MA1998
        • Baer R.
        • Smith G.
        • Hopkins J.
        • Krietemeyer J.
        • Toney L.
        Using self report assessment methods to explore facets of mindfulness.
        Assessment. 2006; 13: 27-45
        • Buchheld N.
        • Grossman P.
        • Walach H.
        Measuring mindfulness in insight meditation (vipassana) and meditation-based psychotherapy: The development of the Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory (FMI).
        J Meditation Meditation Res. 2008; 1: 11-34
        • Baron G.C.
        • Irving G.A.
        Effects of tourniquet ischemia on current perception thresholds in healthy volunteers.
        Pain Pract. 2002; 2: 129-133
        • Brefczynski-Lewis J.A.
        • Lutz A.
        • Schaefer H.S.
        • Levinson D.B.
        • Davidson R.J.
        Neural correlates of attentional expertise in long-term meditation practitioners.
        Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2007; 104: 11483-11488
        • Cioffi D.
        • Hoolaway J.
        Delayed costs of suppressed pain.
        J Pers Soc Psych. 1993; 64: 274-282
        • Cahn B.R.
        • Polich J.
        Meditation states and traits: EEG, ERP, and neuroimaging studies.
        Psychol Bull. 2006; 132: 180-211
        • Coghill R.C.
        • McHaffie J.G.
        • Ye-Fen Y.
        Neural correlates of interindividual differences in the subjective experience of pain.
        Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2003; 100: 8538-8542
        • Creswell J.D.
        • Way B.M.
        • Eisenberger N.I.
        • Lieberman M.D.
        Neural correlates of dispositional mindfulness during affect labeling.
        Psychosom Med. 2007; 69: 560-565
        • Del Percio C.
        • Le Pera D.
        • Arendt-Nielsen L.
        • Babiloni C.
        • Brancucci A.
        • Chen A.C.
        • De Armas L.
        • Miliucci R.
        • Restuccia D.
        • Valeriani M.
        • Rossini P.M.
        Distraction affects frontal alpha rhythms related to expectancy to pain: An EEG study.
        Neuroimage. 2006; 31: 1268-1277
        • Dowman R.
        Electrophysiological indices of orienting attention toward pain.
        Psychophysiology. 2004; 41: 749-761
        • Dowman R.
        Attentional set effects on spinal and supraspinal response to pain.
        Psychophysiology. 2004; 38: 451-464
        • Dowman R.
        • Schell S.
        Evidence that the anterior cingulated and supplementary cortices generate the pain related negative difference potential.
        Clin Neurophysiol. 1999; 110: 2117-2126
        • Eccleston C.
        • Crombez G.
        • Aldrich S.
        • Stannard C.
        Attention and somatic awareness in chronic pain.
        Pain. 1997; 72: 209-215
        • Hölzel B.K.
        • Ott U.
        • Hempel H.
        • Hackl A.
        • Wolf K.
        • Stark R.
        • Vaitl D.
        Differential engagement of anterior cingulate and adjacent medial frontal cortex in adept meditators and non-meditators.
        Neurosci Lett. 2007; 421: 16-21
        • Grant J.A.
        • Rainville P.
        Sensitivity and analgesic effects of mindful states in Zen meditators: A cross-sectional study.
        Psychosom Med. 2009; 71: 106-114
        • Grossman P.
        • Niemann L.
        • Schmidt S.
        • Walach H.
        Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits: A meta-analysis.
        J Psychosom Res. 2004; 57: 35-43
        • Jain S.
        • Shapiro S.
        • Swanick S.
        • Roesch S.
        • Mills P.
        • Bell I.
        • Schwartz G.
        A randomized controlled trial of mindfulness meditation versus relaxation training: Effects of distress positive states of mind, rumination, and distraction.
        Ann Behav Med. 2007; 33: 11-21
        • Kabat-Zinn J.
        An outpatient program in behavioral medicine for chronic pain patients based on the practice of mindfulness meditation: Theoretical considerations and preliminary results.
        Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 1982; 4: 33-47
        • Kabat-Zinn J.
        • Lipworth L.
        • Burney R.
        The clinical use of mindfulness meditation for the self-regulation of chronic pain.
        J Behav Med. 1985; 8: 163-190
        • Kabat-Zinn J.
        • Massion A.O.
        • Kristeller J.
        • Peterson L.G.
        • Fletcher K.E.
        • Pbert L.
        • Lenderking W.R.
        • Santorelli S.F.
        Effectiveness of a meditation-based stress reduction program in the treatment of anxiety disorders.
        Am J Psychiatry. 1992; 149: 936-943
        • Kakigi R.
        • Nakata H.
        • Inui K.
        • Hiroe N.
        • Nagata O.
        • Honda M.
        • Tanaka S.
        • Sadato N.
        • Kawakimi M.
        Intracerebral pain processing in a yoga master who claims not to feel pain during meditation.
        Eur J Pain. 2005; 9: 581-589
        • Kingston J.
        • Chadwick D.
        • Meron C.
        • Skinner T.C.
        A pilot randomized control trial investigating the effect of mindfulness practice on pain tolerance, psychological well-being, and physiological activity.
        J Psychosom Res. 2007; 62: 297-300
        • Kirwillian S.S.
        • Derbyshire S.W.G.
        Increased bias to report heat or pain following emotional priming of pain-related fear.
        Pain. 2004; 137: 60-65
        • Koyoma T.
        • McHaffie J.G.
        • Laurienti P.J.
        • Coghill R.C.
        The subjective experience of pain: Where expectations become reality.
        Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2005; 102: 12950-12955
        • Lane J.
        • Seskevich J.
        • Peiper C.
        Brief meditation training can improve perceived stress and negative mood.
        Altern Ther Health Med. 2007; 13: 38-44
        • Lazar S.W.
        • Bush G.
        • Gollub R.L.
        • Fricchione G.L.
        • Khalsa G.
        • Benson H.
        Functional brain mapping of the relaxation response and meditation.
        Neuroreport. 2000; 11: 1581-1585
        • Lutz A.
        • Slagter H.A.
        • Dunne J.D.
        • Davidson R.J.
        Attention regulation and monitoring in meditation.
        Trends Cogn Sci. 2008; 12: 163-169
        • McCaul K.D.
        • Monson N.
        • Maki R.H.
        Does distraction reduce pain-produced distress among college students?.
        Health Psychol. 1992; 11: 210-217
        • Mills W.W.
        • Farrow J.T.
        The transcendental meditation technique and acute experimental pain.
        Psychosom Med. 1981; 43: 157-164
        • Morone N.E.
        • Greco C.M.
        Mind-body interventions for chronic pain in older adults: A structured review.
        Pain. 2007; 8: 359-375
        • Morone N.E.
        • Lynch C.S.
        • Greco C.M.
        • Tindle H.A.
        • Weiner D.K.
        I felt like a new person: The effects of mindfulness meditation on older adults with chronic pain: Qualitative narrative analysis of diary entries.
        J Pain. 2008; 9: 841-848
        • Orme-Johnson D.W.
        • Schneider R.H.
        • Son Y.D.
        • Nidich S.
        • Cho Z.-H.
        Neuroimaging of meditation's effect on brain reactivity to pain.
        Neuroreport. 2006; 17: 1359-1363
        • Peyron R.
        • Garcia-Larrea L.
        • Gregoire M.C.
        • Costes N.
        • Convers P.
        • Lavenne F.
        • Mauguiere F.
        • Michel D.
        • Laurent B.
        Hemodynamic brain responses to acute pain in humans: Sensory and attentional networks.
        Brain. 1999; 122: 1765-1779
        • Pulliam C.
        • Gatchel R.J.
        • Robinson R.C.
        Challenges to early prevention and intervention: Personal experiences with adherence.
        Clin J Pain. 2003; 19: 114-120
        • Kenntner-Mabiala R.
        • Andreatta M.
        • Wieser M.
        • Muhlberger A.
        • Pauli P.
        Distinct effects of attention and affect on pain perception and somatosensory potentials.
        Biol Psychol. 2008; 78: 114-122
        • Spielberger C.D.
        Manual for the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI-form Y).
        Consulting Psychologists Press, Palo Alto, CA1983
        • Shapiro S.L.
        • Schwartz G.E.
        Intentional systemic mindfulness: An integrative model for self-regulation and health.
        Adv Mind Body Med. 2000; 16: 128-134
        • Tang Y.Y.
        • Ma Y.
        • Wang J.
        • Fan Y.
        • Feng S.
        • Lu Q.
        • Yu Q.
        • Sui D.
        • Rothbart M.K.
        • Fan M.
        • Posner MI..
        Short term meditation training improves attention and self-regulation.
        Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2007; 104: 17152-17156
        • Teixeira M.E.
        Meditation as an intervention for chronic pain: An integrative review.
        Holist Nurs Pract. 2008; 22: 225-334
        • Walach H.
        • Bucheld N.
        • Buttenmuller V.
        • Kleinkeht N.
        • Schmidt S.
        Measuring mindfulness: The Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory.
        Pers Individ Dif. 2006; 40: 1543-1555
        • Wallace A.
        The Attention Revolution: Unlocking the Power of the Focused Mind.
        Wisdom Publications, Boston, MA2006
        • Van Damme S.
        • Crombez G.
        • Eccleston C.
        Disengagement from pain: The role of catastrophic thinking about pain.
        Pain. 2004; 107: 70-76
        • Villemure C.
        • Bushnell C.
        Mood influences supraspinal pain processing separately from attention.
        J Neurosci. 2009; 29: 705-715