For centuries meditation has been a widespread practice in many cultures throughout the world, and originated in the East. The word meditation can describe any number of methods and practices, including transcendental meditation, mindful meditation, or guided meditation. Many different techniques are used, whether it’s following the breath, or focusing the attention on a particular word or object. Sometimes people use a special posture while meditating, but not always.
It’s easy to learn meditation, there’s no special equipment involved, and it can be done almost anyplace. The benefit of stress reduction may be experienced after only one session. Most research has found that just 20 minutes a day can result in the long-term benefits attributed to meditation. In fact, only 10 minutes of practice a few times a week can create the same effect.
Regular meditation can have positive impact on both physiological and psychological health. The alpha state can be achieved through meditation, and this is the brainwave state associated with the level of consciousness that encourages healing. Meditation can be used as a relaxation technique, but it also enhances mental sharpness, psychological health, the treatment of diseases, and overall health of mind and body.
It’s been found in studies that meditation activates the part of the brain that controls the autonomic nervous system, controlling the body functions like digestion and blood pressure. Stress has a powerful negative impact on these functions, so meditation can help relieve the causes of stress-related disease, like digestive disorders or heart conditions.
A study reported in Psychosomatic Medicine described 90 cancer patients who practiced mindful meditation for seven weeks. At the conclusion of this study, patients said they experienced less depression, confusion, anger or anxiety. They reported having more energy and fewer gastrointestinal or heart problems.
A group of people who had meditated for four months was studied by researchers at the Maharishi School of Management in Fairfield, Iowa. The people participating in this study had a lower level of cortisol, the “stress hormone” in their systems and they said they felt better prepared to meet the challenges of stress in their lives.
While research findings are helpful, it’s not necessary to wait for science to validate all claims. Meditation has many benefits to offer and there are no negative health impacts from it.