Researchers have found that people who practice Transcendental Meditation have increased pain tolerance. In a research conducted among 12 healthy long-term transcendental meditators and 12 healthy controls, researchers found that the people practicing meditation had 40-50% lower brain response to pain than the healthy controls not practicing meditation. They also found that when these healthy controls practiced Transcendental Meditation for 5 months they too showed a similar brain response to pain.
Transcendental Meditation could reduce the brain's response to pain because neuroimaging and autonomic studies indicate that it produces a physiological state capable of modifying various kinds of pain. In time it reduces trait anxiety, improves stress reactivity and decreases distress from acute pain.
According to Orme-Johnson, lead author of this research, "Prior research indicates that Transcendental Meditation creates a more balanced outlook on life and greater equanimity in reacting to stress. This study suggests that this is not just an attitudinal change, but also a fundamental change in how the brain functions".
Pain is part of everyone's experience and 50 million people worldwide suffer from chronic pain. Transcendental Meditation would have a long-term effect in reducing responses in the affective component of the pain matrix. Future research could focus on other areas of the pain matrix and the possible effects of other meditation techniques to relieve pain.