Learn about the potential
medical benefi ts of meditation
Meditation has long been part of
Eastern practices and recommended
by alternative health practitioners.
With the widespread adoption of
yoga, breathing exercises and general
mindfulness, meditation has become
much more mainstream and something
many traditional physicians
now recommend to their patients.
According to the yoga equipment
supply company Gaiam, meditation is
an approach to training the mind that
is similar to the way athletes train
their bodies. Many meditation techniques
exist, and the term meditation
refers to an overall discipline rather
than one specifi c activity. People who
have been meditating for some time
may be able to rest their brains for
extended periods of time. Some may
need to work up to it. Others practice
focus-specifi c meditation, which
makes them focus on a sensation or
a particular object to tune out other
distractions. Another option is openmonitoring
meditation, which involves
COURIER L 14 IFE, APRIL 3-9, 2020
paying attention to all of one’s
surroundings. Instead of reacting,
you just notice things as they are.
The brand-building company Buffer
says that meditation produces
measurable changes in the brain.
Modern technology like MRI scans
show a decrease in beta waves during
meditation. Those waves normally indicate
that the brain is processing information.
Meditation helps to slow or
stop that processing.
Meditation has been long studied
as a way to induce relaxation and help
alleviate stress. In the 1970s, Herbert
Benson, MD, a researcher at Harvard
University Medical School, coined
the term “relaxation response.” In
Benson’s words, this is “an opposite,
involuntary response that causes a
reduction in the activity of the sympathetic
nervous system.” Meditation
helps achieve that.
Meditation may produce many different
health results. Some are immediate,
and others are cumulative. Here
are some changes a person may see:
• better focus while not meditating
• reduced anxiety
• lower blood pressure
• lower blood cortisol levels
• greater feelings of well-being
• reduced feelings of stress
• ability to cope better with challenging
• potential benefi ts on immune system
Meditation is a skill someone
learns with practice. It’s never too
early or too late to learn how to meditate.
Online courses and neighborhood
studios can help people get on
the road to wellness through meditation.
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