Benefits of Meditation

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What is meditation?
There are different ways to meditate, and since it’s such a personal practice there are probably more than any of us know about. There are a couple that are usually focused on heavily in scientific research, though. These are focused-attention, or mindful meditation, which is where you focus on one specific thing—it could be your breathing, a sensation in your body or a particular object outside of you. The point of this type of meditation is to focus strongly on one point and continually bring your attention back to that focal point when it wanders.
The other type of meditation that’s often used in research is open-monitoring meditation. This is where you pay attention to all of the things happening around you—you simply notice everything without reacting.
Meditation therapy is a technique or tool to look within to increase the conscious state. Meditation has been practiced for over 5000 years by Rishis, Yogis, medical practitioners, practitioners of Alternative medicine (Healers) such as Reiki, yoga, pranic healing and even lay people.
what-is-meditation-and-mindfulness
Meditation rejuvenates the body and mind and enables practitioners to rise to higher spiritual levels. It pulls the mind away from distractions, unwanted worries, anxieties and increases the inner strength. Meditation prepares a person mentally and physically for all challenges in life. It is the best method for students to increase their concentration and memory power.

Meditation is one of the best Alternative Therapies. It is a Mind-Body Medicine. It is a safe and simple method to balance a person’s physical, emotional and mental state. More and more doctors are prescribing meditation therapy along with their treatment to enhance and quicken the healing process.

Meditation therapy was predominantly an Eastern practice but is now popular even in the West. Meditation gives a chance to the practitioners to look within, conduct self-analysis and self-inquiry. If done well, meditation guides a person to fulfillment, atonement and salvation.

The benefits of meditation / meditation therapy are manifold. Meditation is a mental exercise, in which one focuses on breath or object or sound, in order to increase awareness of the present, to enhance one’s personality and bring about spiritual growth.

The English word ‘Meditation’ is derived from the Latin ‘meditatio’, which originally indicated all types of physical and intellectual exercise. Another version points to Indo-European root “med”, meaning ‘to measure’ from which English words such as ‘medicine’, ‘modest’, ‘mete’ and ‘moderate’ are derived.

“Reading makes a full man, meditation a profound man, discourse a clear man.” Benjamin Franklin 
“When meditation is mastered, the mind is unwavering like the flame of a lamp in a windless place.” – Bhagavad-Gita
Some major health benefits of regular meditation include:
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Better sleep
  • Less anxiety
  • Faster healing
  • Decreased use of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Stronger immune response
Reduction of stress hormones brings many benefits
The results above have been demonstrated in many rigorous scientific studies, a few of which are mentioned below. Researchers have found that meditation lowers levels of stress hormones. In fact, by decreasing the level of one such hormone – epinephrine — meditation has been shown to reduce the amount of cholesterol in the blood and therefore help arteries to remain clear. Reduction of stress hormones also supports the healthy functioning of the immune system.
Alpha waves and deep relaxation
This reduction in stress hormones may be explained by the relaxed state that comes about through meditation. Electroencephalograph (EEG) studies of the brain in those who are meditating show that meditation boosts the intensity of alpha waves – associated with quiet, receptive states — to levels not seen even during sleep. This relaxed state combats anxiety, and this is confirmed by research which has found lowered levels of lactic acid in the blood. (High levels of lactic acid are associated with anxiety.) Another effect of meditation is that breathing slows, so the body uses less oxygen.
Meditation helps the heart
Meditation has been found to be particularly helpful for the heart. Meditators have been found to have improved blood circulation, as well as a lowered heart rate, which places less demands on the heart. A 1998 study published in Psychosomatic Medicine showed that people who practiced transcendental meditation (TM) had lower levels of lipid peroxide than those who didn’t. Lipid peroxide can contribute to atherosclerosis and other chronic diseases associated with aging. A 1999 study published in the same journal showed that people who practiced TM had lower blood pressure immediately after meditating than did the control group.
Help for Fibromyalgia, Psoriasis, IBS, and More
A 1998 study in Alternative Therapies showed that meditation helped decrease symptoms such as pain and sleeplessness in patients with fibromyalgia, a disease characterized by muscle pain, fatigue, and mild-to-moderate depression.
In a 1998 study at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, psoriasis patients who listened to a mindfulness meditation audiotape during their ultraviolet light therapy experienced faster healing than those who had the light therapy alone.
Meditation has also been associated with a longer life span, better quality of life, fewer hospitalizations, and reduced health-care costs. It has also shown promise as an adjunct therapy in relieving mild depression, insomnia, tension headache, irritable bowel syndrome, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS), as well as in controlling substance abuse.

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