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Module 1: Estados de conciencia

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Descripción del dolor

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Psychology -> Area of Study 3 - States of Consciousness -> Altered States of Consciousness -> Description of pain

Description of pain

Meditation can take many forms. Whichever method is used, the aim is to modify physiological functions in order to control pain. Some of the physiological changes resulting from meditation are:
lower heart rate, blood pressure and respiration rate
less oxygen consumption
less carbon dioxide exhaled
less muscle tension
an alteration in brain wave patterns showing more alpha waves


Some people choose to deal with and control pain using meditation. Click on the question marks to discover the physiological changes that result from this practice.
A description of pain as an altered state of consciousness: experiencing and controlling pain.
Extreme pain can cause a person to enter an altered state of consciousness where the individual's thoughts, feelings and sensations are different in some way to when they are in normal waking consciousness.

In order to deal with and control pain, some people use treatments which deliberately induce an altered state of consciousness such as meditation and biofeedback.

Meditation is a deliberate attempt to bring on an altered state of consciousness in order to experience deep relaxation.

Meditation can take many forms, from concentrating one's attention on an external object or repeating a mantra to allowing the mind to be open and receptive to the surrounding environment. Whichever technique is used, the aim is to modify physiological functions in order to control pain. Some physiological changes resulting from meditation are:

an alteration in brain wave patterns showing more alpha waves
less oxygen consumption
less carbon dioxide exhaled
less muscle tension
lowered heart rate, blood pressure and respiration rate

These physiological changes help the person achieve a sense of calm and well being. Meditation helps the person to focus on something else other than the pain and it helps to reduce the stress in the body. It serves as a beneficial non-medicinal pain reliever.

Biofeedback is where an individual is given external feedback about bodily functions such as blood pressure, pulse rate and muscle tension to bring an automatic physiological function under voluntary control. The individual is wired to a machine which displays immediate feedback about physiological activity. The individual then learns how to change and control these physiological responses by using mental or physical means in response to the biofeedback. Subjects can become so skilled at controlling bodily functions that they eventually do away with the biofeedback device and focus on the technique alone.

Biofeedback can be successfully used to treat migraines, asthma and other stress related illnesses. It gives the person some control over their bodily functions and, like meditation, helps the person to focus on something else other than the pain.