Should You Meditate Your Way to Better Health?

Posted by on March 13, 2014 in Healing & Natural Remedies, Health, Prevention with 0 Comments

Dr. K.J. McLaughlin | Naturalblaze 

MeditationMany people suggest that meditation helps them decrease the symptoms of chronic stress and improves their level of relaxation. Meditation has been used for centuries to improve mental focus and concentration in people who are suffering from emotional trauma. Meditation has a calming influence upon people who regularly practice it and has been shown to lower blood pressure and heart rate in research studies.

New research has also indicated that meditation may also be helpful for people who are suffering from anxiety, depression, and pain. The new research involved a systematic review of previous published work and a meta-analysis of the combined findings.

“I think people should be aware that the average person going through a mindfulness-based meditation program can expect small to moderate reductions of multiple negative dimensions of psychological stress, as well as of chronic pain,” said one of the study’s authors.

The researchers reviewed 47 randomized studies involving 3,515 participants and found that meditation significantly reduced stress, anxiety, depression and pain after being performed for eight weeks and after three to six months.

However, the researchers were unable to establish a strong or substantial relationship between meditation and emotional distress, improvements in quality of life, mood, attention, or substance abuse and sleep quality. The effects of meditation were also compared with other methods of stress management like exercise, cognitive therapy, and progressive muscle relaxation. There were no real differences that could be demonstrated between meditation and these other activities.

This study found that there was no difference between the effects of meditation versus drugs or active treatment in the management of mental health issues.

The study author commented, “It could be that mindfulness programs teach individuals to reduce the way they react to negative emotions or symptoms, and this may lessen the effect that those negative emotions or symptoms have on them.”

Mindfulness meditation is a process whereby the person develops a much greater connection with themselves by focusing on breathing, sounds, sensations, or mental images. The form of meditation mostly considered in this study was mindfulness-based stress reduction which can be taught in an eight-week course. There are other forms of meditation which were not even considered in this research. In addition, the trials considered in this analysis were extremely short and the results from these must be cautiously interpreted.

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