Chronic pain often has an unknown cause, and many patients with chronic pain learn to accept that their pain is incurable and pharmacologic treatments are only temporarily effective. Complementary and integrative health approaches for pain are thus in high demand. One such approach is soft touch, e.g., adhesion of pyramidal thorn patches in a pain region. The effects of patch adhesion on pain relief have been confirmed in patients with various types of pain. A recent study using near-infrared spectroscopy revealed that the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), especially the left side, is likely to be inactivated in patients experiencing pain relief during patch treatment. Mindfulness meditation is another well-known complementary and integrative approach for achieving pain relief. The relation between pain relief due to mindfulness meditation and changes in brain regions, including the DLPFC, has long been examined. In the present review article, we survey the literature describing the effects of the above-mentioned complementary and integrative treatments on pain relief, and outline the important brain regions, including the DLPFC, that are involved in analgesia. We hope that the present article will provide clues to researchers who hope to advance neurosensory treatments for pain relief without medication.
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