Meditation is one of the top-10 alternative therapies used by the U. S. population. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine reports that 8% of Americans use meditation as a health tool. No longer just for Buddhist monks and New-Age types, meditation is now appealing to mainstream business professionals, medical doctors and even health care companies. This is a result of the growing evidence which supports that meditation can promote physical healing.
Meditation may be spiritual for some, but the practice is not necessarily religious in nature. There are many meditative approaches but regardless of the technique, medical research indicates that the practice of meditation tends to evoke a state of physiological relaxation: blood pressure drops, heart beats slower and breathing is quieter, other biochemical changes can also occur. Scientists do not understand why the changes happen but understanding the physical effects can explain the potential health benefits of meditation.
Twenty minutes of daily meditation can provide relief for ailments such as low back pain, headaches, depression and anxiety. Suffers of these chronic conditions should attempt to incorporate the meditation practice into their daily routine. If meditation can lower blood pressure, it could be a useful tool in helping patients with hypertension. If scientists uncover exactly how meditation works to relieve these symptoms, they may be able to apply that understanding to treat a variety of other disorders.
Research on meditation began back in the late 1960s. Herbert Benson, MD, began studying the physiological impact of Transcendental Meditation on individuals. In recent years, the scope of studies has focused on how the practice can reduce symptoms of chronic illnesses from cardiovascular disease to cancer. Critics indicate some of the research is been on small study populations and has not had adequate control groups for comparison. But some studies have shown promising results.
Meditation can relax the body. Promote more restful sleep and boost the body’s immune system. This will help fight illness and better manage the symptoms of chronic conditions. Meditation can relax the mind and help us better deal with the stress of our daily lives. The popular interest in meditation and its health benefits may help drive more research in the future.