Transcendental meditation and the response to acute pain

WebMD and CBS News (which uses WebMD news releases) used a little common sense when summarizing the results of a new study on transcendental meditation (T M). The article appears in the August issue of NeuroReport.

Other medical news sources opted for more hype than substance. The offenders include EurekAlert, MedicineNet.com, MedlinePlus, HealthCentral.com, BrightSurf.com, Science Blog, and MedicineWorld.org.

I could make the list longer, but it’s getting late.

Here is what everyone reported.

  • Experienced TM practitioners had a 40% to 50% lower brain response to pain than people in a control group who did not practice TM.
  • After the control group learned and practiced TM for five months, their brains’ responses to pain also decreased by 40% to 50%.

But wait, there’s more to the study that only WebMD and CBS News reported.

  • Pain ratings, when measured on a scale ranging from “no pain” to “worst possible pain” were similar for all participants (TMs and non TM practitioners).

The bottom line: TM may change how your brain waves respond to pain, but it still hurts.

Logo: Transcendental Meditation

8/14/06 13:58 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.