What is Meditation?
Meditation is a mind and body practice that has a long history of use for increasing calmness and physical relaxation, improving psychological balance, coping with illness, and enhancing overall health and well-being. Mind and body practices focus on the interactions among the brain, mind, body, and behavior.
There are many types of meditation, but most have four elements in common:
- a quiet location with as few distractions as possible
- a specific, comfortable posture (sitting, lying down, walking, or in other positions)
- a focus of attention (a specially chosen word or set of words, an object, or the sensations of the breath)
- an open attitude (letting distractions come and go naturally without judging them)
Many studies have investigated meditation for different conditions, and there’s evidence that it may reduce blood pressure as well as symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and flare-ups in people who have had ulcerative colitis. It may ease symptoms of anxiety and depression and may help people with insomnia.
Research about meditation’s ability to reduce pain has produced mixed results. However, in some studies, scientists suggest that meditation activates certain areas of the brain in response to pain
Some research suggests that meditation may physically change the brain and body and could potentially help to improve many health problems and promote healthy behaviors.
In a 2012 study, researchers compared brain images from 50 adults who meditate and 50 adults who don’t meditate. Results suggested that people who practiced meditation for many years have more folds in the outer layer of the brain. This process (called gyrification) may increase the brain’s ability to process information. A 2013 review of three studies suggests that meditation may slow, stall, or even reverse changes that take place in the brain due to normal aging. Research about meditation’s ability to reduce pain has produced mixed results. However, in some studies, scientists suggest that this practice activates certain areas of the brain in response to pain.
High Blood Pressure
According to some researches, Transcendental Meditation may lower the blood pressure of people at increased risk of developing high blood pressure.
Anxiety, Depression, and Insomnia
A 2014 literature review of 47 trials in 3,515 participants suggests that mindfulness meditation programs show moderate evidence of improving anxiety and depression. But the researchers found no evidence that meditation changed health-related behaviors affected by stress, such as substance abuse and sleep.
A 2012 review of 36 trials found that 25 of them reported better outcomes for symptoms of anxiety in the meditation groups compared to control groups.
The results of 13 studies of mindfulness-based interventions for stopping smoking had promising results regarding craving, smoking cessation, and relapse prevention, a 2015 research review found. However, the studies had many limitations.
Safety and Side Effects of Meditation
According to science meditation is generally considered to be safe for healthy people. However, people with physical limitations may not be able to participate in certain meditative practices involving movement. There have been rare reports that this practice could cause or worsen symptoms in people with certain psychiatric problems like anxiety and depression. People with existing mental health conditions should speak with their health care providers before starting a meditative practice, and make their meditation instructor aware of their condition.
If you wish to learn more you can take a look at: Meditation: In Depth
This web site is for information purpose only, not advice or guarantee of outcome.