Understanding Meditation And It’s Health Benefits
Meditation has its origins in Eastern culture, but it has been practiced for centuries in cultures all over the world. Meditation refers to a large variety of practices and techniques and includes guided meditation, transcendental meditation and mindful meditation practice. Many different techniques can be used, such as the focus of the mind on certain objects or words, or on the breath. Sometimes a particular posture can be used but isn’t necessary.
It’s easy to learn meditation, there’s no special equipment involved, and it can be done almost anyplace. The benefit of stress reduction may be experienced after only one session. Most research has found that just 20 minutes a day can result in the long-term benefits attributed to meditation. In fact, only 10 minutes of practice a few times a week can create the same effect.
Psychological and physiological health can be improved by regularly practicing meditation. Meditation can induce the pattern of brainwaves to achieve the alpha state, which is the state of consciousness that encourages healing to take place. Meditation can be a way to relax, to promote mental clarity, to bring about psychological health, to assist in treating many different diseases and maladies, and for general health of mind and body.
It’s been found in studies that meditation activates the part of the brain that controls the autonomic nervous system, controlling the body functions like digestion and blood pressure. Stress has a powerful negative impact on these functions, so meditation can help relieve the causes of stress-related disease, like digestive disorders or heart conditions.
In one study that was published in Psychosomatic Medicine, there were 90 cancer patients who practiced mindful meditation for a period of seven weeks. At the end of this time, the patients in the study reported that they had much less depression, confusion, anxiety and anger. They also reported having higher energy levels and not as many heart and gastrointestinal issues.
At the Maharishi School of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, researchers studied a group or people who meditated for four months. They discovered that the participants had lower levels of cortisol, which is also known as the stress hormone, and were able to deal with stress in their lives better.
Research can help confirm some of what we know about, but there are obviously many benefits we can claim without research. Meditation offers benefits to almost everyone, and has no reported ill effects.