- Published: November 30, 1999
I was watching a program on the Science Channel featuring the Human Body, more specifically, the body's ability to suppress pain. Monks with much practice in meditation are able to endure much more pain than any typical layperson would. Therefore, a patient experiencing chronic pains who had no success with any current medicine was put under a study, in which she observed the blood flow of her brain during an fMRI scan and attempted to mentally suppress the perception of her chronic pain through such visual feedback. Through this method, the patient experienced a remarkable decrease in pain perception, akin to the results of dedicated meditation of monks.
This has incredible implications for both neurology and neurolaw. What if a sex offender were able to learn how to suppress unwanted thoughts in a similar way? He/she could visually view his/her own blood flow while thinking these unwholesome thoughts and determine what mental action would be needed to suppress these thoughts. In this way, fMRI technology has an amazing potential to serve as customized rehabilitation for those with the initiative to improve themselves.