Is meditation better than painkillers?

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It’s no secret that meditation boasts tremendous benefits, from boosting our brains and skin to actually making us nicer. And now, a new study has found that mindfulness meditation can offer drug-free pain relief, CBS News reports.

“These findings are of critical importance to the millions of chronic pain patients seeking a non-opiate pain therapy that is fast-acting and effective,” study author Fadel Zeidan, assistant professor of neurobiology and anatomy at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, told CBS News.

About 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, according to the Institute of Medicine. And with new guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control this week, the government is trying to discourage reliance on painkillers to deal with it (since, according to the CDC, more than 40 people die every day from overdoses involving prescription opioids).

“We are hopeful that for some with chronic pain, [meditation] will work,” Zeidan told CBS News, adding that his researchers plan to continue investigating how mindfulness meditation affects a variety of chronic pain conditions.

So, before popping a pill, think about taking a seat, taking a breath, and taking 20 minutes for yourself. It’s certainly cheaper than meds—and it may work just as well.

Not sure that you’re the “meditation type”? Neither did ABC anchor Dan Harris, before he started. Here, he debunks the three biggest myths about the practice

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