Author: Patricia Bratianu RN PhD RH-AHG
Meditation has been a part of Ayurveda, the healing tradition of India, for over two thousand years. Other religious and healing practices have long histories of meditative and contemplative practices as well. Meditation offers amazing health benefits.
Modern research demonstrates that meditation may promote longevity as it reduces stress. Science shows that stress is a factor in the development of the most common killers today. These include heart attack, stroke and some cancers.
Meditation reduces age related changes within the brain. Shrinkage of the brain can occur as people age. Meditation diminishes the shrinkage. Structure of the brain is improved, resulting in improved thinking skills and better transmission of messages within the brain.
A study indicated that women who meditated had improved sexual lives.
Pain is reduced. Most programs that focus on relieving chronic pain teach meditation techniques as meditation is one of the best strategies for decreasing pain without or in addition to pharmaceuticals.
Depression, feelings of isolation and anxiety are diminished with regular meditative practices. Meditation breaks cycles of negative thinking which are common among mood disorders.
Inflammation is reduced. Inflammation is a factor in the development of most illnesses. Decreased inflammation can help to prevent or reduce the severity of a wide variety of illnesses.
Pulse rates and blood pressure are reduced. These diminish chances of developing circulatory problems which may be deadly.
Meditators develop resilience to stress and have improved insight to what is important to them. They are able to make healthier life choices which work for them. Meditators are happier people.
Meditation helps people to achieve goals. Professional athletes and some Marines find that they can achieve difficult goals easier and more effectively if they meditate. Meditative practices are beneficial for people dealing with substance abuse, overeating and smoking. Several programs that address addictions teach meditation strategies.
Breathing is enhanced. Endorphins, feel good compounds, are released. Meditation improves oxygenation throughout the body. Oxygenation is essential for proper functioning of every cell within the body. Some researchers report that allergies and asthma may be relieved with meditation practice.
Meditation can relieve fatigue and promote healthy sleep patterns.
Meditation is easy to learn. Sometimes people say: “I can’t meditate. I have tried and my mind wanders.” Everyone’s mind wanders. With practice, you will find that wandering diminishes.
Meditation offers a multitude of benefits. It’s free and can be done anyplace. Techniques can be learned online, in classes or using DVDs. There are several meditative techniques. Find one that appeals to you.
The simplest technique is the following:
- Sit or lie down in a comfortable quiet place.
- Close your eyes.
- Slowly inhale and exhale deeply three times.
- Breathe normally. Just observe your breath for a few minutes.
- That’s all there is to this simple meditation technique. You may have thoughts that wander. Do not try to eliminate them. Just return your focus to your breath.
- You may fall asleep. That’s ok.
- Your breathing pattern may change. Try not to form an opinion about it or anything else. Just breathe.
- With a little practice, you will see how great meditation feels. You will begin to reap the healing benefits of this time honored tradition.