Health Benefits Of Meditation
Close your eyes, relax your shoulders and take a deep breath…
According to Herbert Benson, MD, a cardiologist, stress can be relieved through meditation. Through extensive research over the past three decades, he proved well enough the numerous health benefits of meditation such as improving stress, anxiety, chronic pain, heart condition, mood, pregnancy problems and immunity. The solid evidence from studies encouraged him to build the Mind/Body Institute at Harvard Medical School’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
Relaxation offers everyone many benefits. With meditation, the tension built from the muscles and even including what the mind worries eventually cease to exist. Researchers from Harvard Medical School discovered awesome health benefits from people who practice long-term meditation resulting to various genetic changes in the body. As a result, the genes are more active compared to those who didn’t practice relaxation or meditation at all.
The Relaxation Effect
Benson noted that the relaxation response from meditation also helps in reducing the blood pressure and metabolism while improving the brain waves, breathing and heart rate. Stiffness and rigidity tend to loosen up when the brain signals the body to relax. This phenomenon is referred to as “The Relaxation Effect” wherein the effects are as effective as the therapies and drugs without eliciting side effects. Genes begin to boost the immunity from pain, infertility and even rheumatoid arthritis.
Also an associate professor of medicine, Benson confirmed this by stating that the disease-fighting genes are found in dynamic practitioners but not active in the control cluster. Good thing, the research continued for people with less active participation in meditation. This not-so-little experiment displayed the ease of genes’ responsiveness to different moods, behavior and environment. However, as easy as it could be activated, the genes could also be disabled straightforwardly with the right approach.
Scientific Evidence and Applications
Magnetic Resonance Imaging brain scans were performed on people who regularly meditate showing a progressive activity in brain areas assigned for controlling heart rate and metabolism. Further testing was done on Buddhist monks who had been practitioners of meditation for a long time. Enhanced working memory which includes conscious perception, enriched learning and attention showed more of the solid evidences from the studies. This action is termed as gamma wave activity that is also associated with positive emotions like happiness.
A psychologist from Emory Healthcare in Atlanta, Stan Chapman, slipped details about mentioning a mantra which contains serene words or phrase over and over to absorb the soothing period. Meditation focuses at the calming power of repetition whereby the breathing circulation creates a biological response of relaxation through blocking negative thoughts.
As Chapman mentioned this, he emphasized that meditation is not hard to learn yet constant practice is needed to develop the skill of acquiring a relaxed state rapidly. People who tend to meditate a number of times within the day turn out to be more relaxed throughout the day.
Jake Toby, a hypnotherapist at London’s Body Mind Medicine Centre, began teaching his clients about the secret of meditation to induce a relaxation outcome. After that, the control group started practising the methods daily for two consecutive months. Surprisingly, the genes work in an amazing way to kill diseased cells and aid in inflammation by protecting the body from harmful radicals known to cause grave diseases and even cancer.
How to Determine
Despite all the studies and hearsays, how to really determine that meditation is actually working on your body? Chapman associated this with warm and peaceful feelings wherein a person went deep enough to reach that state of serenity. However, if you still couldn’t feel the difference, he recommends the person to enroll in a meditation class for guidance from the experts. With the right supervision, one would realize and eventually appreciate the progress.
On the other hand, Benson suggested that individuals who do not feel any progress at all should shift to another form of relaxation. He quoted that any form of relaxation such as yoga, breathing exercises and repetitive prayer could also induce a positive benefit to the practitioner. Toby backed this up by explaining that relaxation could be enriched through learning a specific technique that appears effective on you, like the guided imagery or self-hypnosis. With deep relaxation, one could definitely sow the rewards through constant practice.
For some, relaxation is defined as a state of rest and enjoyment. Always remember that repetition is the main key to master the forms and every form is similar to each other in a way. Various outcomes have been extracted from practitioners ranging from little improvement to lives completely changed for the better.