Consumer Health Blog

Meditating for Health

Monday, May 18th, 2015

The term meditation refers to a broad variety of practices that include techniques designed to promote relaxation, build internal energy or life force and develop compassion, love, patience, generosity and forgiveness. Meditation has long been wrapped up in a religious and spiritual context but what about meditation that affects the physical being? Can it be an alternative to medication, ease pain, improve health? Many say YES.

Meditation Studies are increasingly in the news, giving us scientific proof of its ancient benefits. A review last year at Johns Hopkins looked at the connection between mindfulness meditation and its ability to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and pain. Researcher Madhav Goyal and his team found that the effect size of meditation was moderate, at 0.3. The effect size for antidepressants is also 0.3, which makes them appear to be equal. Meditation is, after all, a conscious form of brain training. Goyal had some advice for the skeptics as well. “A lot of people have this idea that meditation means sitting down and doing nothing,” says Goyal. “But that’s not true. Meditation is an active training of the mind to increase awareness, and different meditation programs approach this in different ways.”

Meditation, as with any treatment, is not a magic remedy. It takes practice to learn and you may not notice its benefits immediately. But, when used in combination with other treatment options, it is a safe and effective tool. Its side effects include mental clarity, better focus, brain health and less stress. Risks you can live with!

APP to try: Headspace (IOS & Android)
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