Meditation and Health

  • 2010-10-06

Nowadays a huge number of people around the world practice meditation, and the concept of the word “meditation” itself is not associated only with yoga or esotericism anymore. This tool can be used for relaxation and concentration, as well as for spiritual development. Moreover, there is a variety of health improvement techniques that include meditation in one form or another.

Multiple scientific studies have been conducted in recent years, which sought to explain how meditation influences a person. It turns out that regular meditation changes brain activity and, consequently, normalizes many physiological processes in the body: sleep, digestion, the functioning of the cardiovascular and nervous systems. Even the composition of blood and saliva can change!

As a result of observations with the use of magnetic resonance imaging of what is going on in the minds of people who practice meditation, it was revealed that meditation increases the thickness of certain areas of the cortex of the brain, which are involved in the processes of attention, working memory and information processing. Given the fact that with age the cortex reduces in thickness and volume, it becomes clear that the practice of meditation actually reverses the aging process!

But back to the studies... in 2006 the American Heart Association published the following data: meditation prolongs life by reducing the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 30% and from cancer - by up to 50%. The data from the behavioral medicine show that a combination of meditation, exercise and appropriate diet can reverse even severe heart disease. Blocked arteries begin to open up without any pills or surgery!

Another aspect of the positive influence of meditation is that it is effective in treating depression. The British Fund for Mental Health recommends that psychiatrists use this method actively in their practice, because its effectiveness is undeniable. One hour of yoga is enough to make the brain begin to produce 30% more of a substance called GABA, the lack of which is observed during depression, chronic states of fear, anxiety and epilepsy.
Stress! It is the scourge of the late 20th - early 21st century! Is there anyone among us who is not affected by it? Probably only a very few people. So, the scientists have discovered that 20 minutes of meditation a day, 4-5 times a week is enough to relax the body and cope with daily stress.

What is crucial for you is to have an understanding of what meditation is. This is not some special posture, not just a set of exercises for the mind. Meditation means concentrating on something (i.e. breathing, body sensations, etc.). Which means that any of your actions (given certain conditions), even sweeping the street can be your meditation if you fully immerse yourself in the process and concentrate on your feelings!

Meditation is the cultivation of attentiveness and the further use of it. You do not need to sit to meditate. You can meditate while washing dishes, you can meditate while taking a shower, skating around on roller skates or typing letters. Meditation is a state of awareness, which should be applied in all the activities in our life.
The ultimate goal of practicing meditation is to bring your focus and awareness to the level of such power that it remains firm even among the pressures of life in modern society. Life offers many challenges and a serious practitioner of meditation feels bored very seldom.