By now, most people are aware that taking any type of medication includes some potential risks of side effects. These side effects could have a major impact on your health. People have been known to experience stomach pain, digestive issues, liver problems, and other serious medical concerns by taking over-the-counter and prescription medications.
According to some of the latest studies, quiet reflection may be more effective than pain medication. Using relaxation techniques and quiet reflection you can train yourself to relax and allow the pain to slowly slip away. Learn more about these techniques and how they can help you deal with pain without having to rely on medications.
Researchers Explore The Benefits Of Breathing Techniques
To determine if breathing techniques could help people manage pain, researchers divided participants into different groups.
One group was given a placebo cream and “sham” meditation techniques. Another group was instructed to follow breathing techniques. The group that practiced breathing techniques experienced the least amount of pain.
At the conclusion of the study, researchers concluded that just 20 minutes of quiet reflection or breathing techniques could help reduce pain more effectively than using powerful pain medications—including morphine.
Seventy-five people volunteered for the study. Everyone in the group was healthy and pain-free. Researchers then tested their pain responses. Overall, there were four categories of participants. Along with the placebo and “sham” meditation group and the breathing technique group, there was a group that only used a placebo cream and a control group that received no treatment.
The participants had their brains scanned while a heated probe was pressed to their skin. The volunteers were instructed to rate the intensity, sensation, and unpleasantness of the pain. By looking at the brain scans, researchers could see the calming of various regions of the brain, when examining volunteers that used the breathing techniques.
It is already known that meditation could help calm regions of the brain that are responsible for responding to pain. Previous research suggested that meditation could reduce physical pain by 22 percent. With the breathing technique study, researchers found that the group that used breathing exercises reported 27 percent less pain intensity and 44 percent less unpleasantness.
To give you an idea of how positive these results are—the placebo cream group only noted a reduction in pain by 11 percent and a drop in emotional trauma by 13 percent.
Researchers were particularly proud that this is the first study to directly conclude that mindfulness meditation and breathing techniques can help reduce pain.
How Can You Use Breathing Techniques To Reduce Pain?
So how can you use the results of these studies to reduce your pain? Breathing techniques are relatively simple and there are multiple ways to practice them. The easiest is to lay on your back and close your eyes. Focus on an image as you slowly breathe in your nose and out through your mouth. Allow your mind to drift away as you continue focusing on the image in your mind.
Researchers suggest that you include at least four twenty-minute sessions to reduce pain. The next time you experience moderate pain from a toothache, a headache, a cut or wound, or any other reason, then you should try using a simple breathing technique instead of reaching for a bottle of aspirin or any other pain reliever.