People who practice yoga have stronger and sturdier brain networks according to new research by Maastricht University in the Netherlands. This contributes to better managing the sensation of pain, says PhD student Tim Gard.
“Yoga and meditation can positively influence our brains and our psyches, and thus can lead to increased wellbeing,” he says.
An fMRI scan was used to measure the test and control groups who were administered an electric shock on the forearm to cause pain. The pain perception of mindfulness and yoga practitioners was reduced by 22 percent and their anticipatory anxiety was reduced by 29 percent during a mindful state compared to the control group, who were equally healthy but did not practice yoga or meditation.
The research contributes to better understanding the way the brain processes pain.
In March 2015, Gard defended his PhD dissertation,The neural and psychological mechanisms of yoga and mindfulness meditation.