Looking to Meditation: Health Benefits Understand the Mind

wellbeing-narrative-looking-to-meditation

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart.  Who looks outside, dreams.  Who looks inside, awakens. – Carl Jung

Whether looking to sharpen focus, maximize creativity, reduce stress, or gain peace of mind–meditation can be transformative.  But did you know meditation can also have profound effects on your body?

First, a little video from Headspace* introducing the concept of meditation…

Now…some of the proven health benefits of meditation

  • One study followed 201 African American patients with coronary heart disease for 5 years.  Researchers discovered that regular practice of transcendental meditation reduced their risk of heart attack, stroke and death by 47%.  The group that meditated also experienced a decrease in systolic blood pressure by 4.9 mm Hg.
  • A UCLA study found that mindfulness meditation slowed the progression of HIV.  The HIV virus slowly destroys CD4 T cells in patients, which weakens their immune systems.  Meditation reduced stress and stopped the decline of CD4 T cells.
  • Research has shown meditation reduces stress, blood pressure, and heart rates of patients with various anxiety disorders.
  • A recent study suggests meditation–coupled with dietary changes–may slow the progression of prostate cancer.
  • Doctors at Columbian Presbyterian Medical Center offer a program comprised of meditation, yoga, massage, and calming audiotapes to patients undergoing heart surgery.  They have found that those who participate in the program fare better in managing pain and anxiety after surgery.
  • Other studies have concluded that meditation can benefit patients suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue, and even Psoriasis.

*Headpsace provides a wonderful series on meditation for beginners.  If you’re interested in learning more about meditation and perhaps trying it for yourself, take a look at their website.

Sources
-Blue, Laura.  “Strongest Study Yet Shows Meditation Can Lower Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke.”  Time. November 14 2012.  http://healthland.time.com/2012/11/14/mind-over-matter-strongest-study-yet-shows-meditation-can-lower-risk-of-heart-attack-and-stroke/.
-Gaylord, Susan & Whitehead, William.  “Mindfulness for Stress and Pain Management: Implications for IBS.” UNC Center for Functional FI and Motility Disorders.  http://www.med.unc.edu/ibs/files/educational-gi-handouts/Mindfulness.pdf. 
Headspace.  http://www.getsomeheadspace.com/.
-“Meditation for Wellbeing.”  Headspace.  2012.  http://www.getsomeheadspace.com/wellbeing-meditation.aspx.
-“Mindfulness Meditation Slows Progression of HIV, Study Shows.” Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.  January 27 2010. http://www.semel.ucla.edu/news/mindfulness-meditation-slows-progression-hiv-study-shows.
-Oz, Mehmet.  “Medical Meditation: Say Om Before Surgery.” Time Magazine. January 20, 2003.  http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1004086-1,00.html.