Meditation is gaining mainstream acceptance as a valuable preventative health plan. Once thought of as only for southern monks practicing in remote caves in the hills of India, now everyone from busy executives to pupils are enjoying the practical outcomes of daily meditation. Meditation is one of those better-studied alternative therapies, and it’s been shown to give a wide selection of health benefits.
An increasing number of physicians and hospitals are advocating meditation as an effective stress buster and useful aid for patients of cardiovascular disease and many other chronic and acute ailments. Meditation can help you “Take a 20 Minute Vacation” without going anywhere. The efficacy of meditation comes from the fact that you can attain a state of deep relaxation in just a couple minutes.
When we settle down into a state of profound relaxation, the mind and body are refreshed and revitalized. This gives us many great effects which are both immediate and enduring. The results above have been shown in several rigorous scientific studies, some of which are mentioned below. Researchers have found that meditation reduces levels of stress hormones.
In actuality, by decreasing the amount of one hormone – epinephrine — meditation was shown to reduce the quantity of cholesterol in the blood and so help arteries to stay clear. Reduction of stress hormones also supports the healthy functioning of the immune system. This decrease in stress hormones may be clarified by the relaxed condition that comes about through meditation. Electroencephalograph (EEG) studies of the brain in those that are meditating show that meditation boosts the level of alpha waves – correlated with silent, receptive countries — to levels not seen even during sleep.
This relaxed state combats anxiety, and this is supported by research that has found lowered levels of lactic acid in the blood. Another effect of meditation is that breathing slows, so the body uses less oxygen. Meditation has been shown to be particularly valuable for the heart. Meditators are found to have improved blood flow, in addition to a lowered heart rate, which places less demands on the heart. A 1998 study published in Psychosomatic Medicine showed that people who practiced transcendental meditation (TM) had lower levels of lipid peroxide compared to those who did not.
It can promote atherosclerosis and other chronic diseases related to aging. A 1999 study published in the same journal showed that people who practiced TM had reduced blood pressure instantly after meditating than did the control group. A 1998 study in Alternative Therapies demonstrated that meditation aids reduce symptoms like pain and insomnia in patients with fibromyalgia, a disorder characterized by muscle pain, fatigue, and mild-to-moderate depression.
In a 1998 study at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, psoriasis patients who listened to a mindfulness meditation audiotape during their ultraviolet light treatment experienced faster recovery than those who had the light treatment alone. Meditation has also been associated with a longer life span, better quality of life, fewer hospitalizations, and reduced health-care expenses. It has also shown promise as an adjunct treatment in relieving mild depression, insomnia, tension headache, irritable bowel syndrome, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS), in addition to in controlling substance abuse.
Meditation Is Simpler Than You Think! With such overwhelming evidence of the benefits of meditation, why is not everyone meditating? Often the barrier is that meditation is believed to be difficult and requiring years of training to become “good at it” The truth is that there are lots of distinct styles of meditation and several are very simple to learn and bring benefits from the beginning. Some people even find ways to meditate by themselves, setting aside a quiet time to sit down and “simply be.”
Usually, however, some schooling is necessary. You will find books, CDs, courses, and sites that provide instruction in meditation. There are lots of different kinds of meditation, and finding the ideal meditation for you may take some trial and error. It’s important to find a method which feels natural, relaxing and easy. An exceptional way to experience the benefits of meditation without needing to learn a particular practice is to use a guided meditation CD.
Tested and recommended by members of the National Health & Wellness Club, this highly acclaimed CD has given many people a simple way to relax. The heart of successful meditation is comfort. The health benefits can easily be seen to result from a state of comfort in body and mind. Anything which you could do that calms you intensely can be thought of as meditation. Whatever way you choose, we invite you to start and wish you peace of mind and the very best of health!