Meditation Does a Body Good. ~ Cara Corr

Via on Jan 4, 2013

meditation good good body health beauty Source: healthybodyandmind.tumblr.com via Jennifer on Pinterest[/caption]

Exploring the physical benefits of meditation.

What is meditation anyway and can it really improve my immune function, relieve pain, reduce stress and literally strengthen my brain?

According to the Yale Therapeutic Neuroscience Clinic, the definition of meditation is composed of two complementary elements: the placement of one’s attention on the immediate experience, and adopting an open, curious, and accepting attitude toward that experience.

Can such a simple concept really be the solution to so many chronic health problems?

 Absolutely!

What Buddhist monks have known for thousands of years is finally being substantiated by scientific evidence.

For over 20 years, study after study has proven that excess stress has a detrimental effect on the body’s ability to fight disease. When we stop to examine the typical American lifestyle, it’s easy to understand why 60 percent to 80 percent of all physician visits are for stress-related complaints. An average American wakes up to an alarm clock, jumps out of bed to shout at his kids to hurry up, rushes to work, hurries home, runs to the grocery store and pops a frozen pizza in the oven, then collapses in exhaustion to waste a night in front of a digital screen, just so he can do it all again the next day.

What meditation studies have found in recent years is that when we take as little as 10 minutes out of our day to incorporate meditation into our daily lives, we are likely to reap the rewards in the form of reduced blood pressure, improved immune function, pain reduction, improved ability to focus and our general sense of well-being.

The proof is in the practice!

In July of 2003, a study spearheaded by Richard Davidson, PhD, Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin appeared in the medical journal, Psychosomatic Medicine. Dr. Davidson and his group of research scientists set out to understand how meditation affects us biologically by offering free meditation classes to employees of a biotech company. Researchers found that in as little as eight weeks, participants reported reduced anxiety levels and improved mood. One of the most interesting results of the study however was completely unexpected. At the end of the eight week period, both the group of meditating participants and the control group were immunized for influenza. Researchers drew blood to measure the level of antibodies present in both the meditators and non-meditators prior to receiving the vaccination and then again four and eight weeks after. Remarkably, the meditating group had significantly increased antibody production after four weeks compared to the control group and their antibody count was even higher at the eight week blood draw!

The group that participated in the meditation classes not only reported improved mood and reduced anxiety, they quite literally became healthier and better able to fight off infection.

Meditation is a wonderful tool in building greater consciousness in our daily lives and there are many types of meditation being taught and used today. Many of us are using different types of meditation to cope with our daily stressors without even being aware of it. Have you ever listened to an inspiring bit of music on the drive to or from work or stopped to take a few deep breaths when stressed? Guess what?! You have experienced an audible and mindful meditation! These are just a couple examples of several different forms of meditative practice. The reality is that as we become more mindful and aware of all the methods of stress relief, life simply becomes much more enjoyable and fulfilling.

It really is that easy!

 

 

Cara CorrCara Corr is a wellness activist, dedicated yogini, perpetual student of Eastern philosophy and theology, and an aspiring organic chef. She is an imperfect and devoted mom, passionate about balancing silliness and mindful living.  She is a jack of all trades, medical professional, backyard mechanic, ex-slacker on a mission to change the world through living consciously.  When she’s not OM-ing her way to serenity, she serves as muse and support staff for Namaste Bench Co.  You can find her creative input at NamasteBench.com

 

 

 

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Assistant Ed: Madison Canary

Ed: Kate Bartolotta

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7 Responses to “Meditation Does a Body Good. ~ Cara Corr”

  1. Allen F Mackenzie says:

    It is good that you focus on the SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN benefits of meditation. This approach will help the acceptance of meditation programs to be integrated in society.

    When comparing the effectiveness of stress-relief or human development programs however, not only for oneself but more importantly within a discussion of tools of public policy (since meditation programs can be subsidized by governments in the medical or educational environments), the benefits of the various meditation programs must be evaluated scientifically in order that that government research or subsidies be deemed worthwhile.

    Consequently, it is at this point that we should mention the meditation program which has received the most amount of scientific scrutiny and has proven to be the most effective program.

    And while I understand there may be a reticence to name any particular program because of the commercial interests behind any program, or because subjectively individuals may think one particular program may be more effective than another, it nevertheless important to use objectively evaluate the effectiveness of any program.

    To that end I suggest that any discussion of the scientific effectiveness and benefits of meditation must include a discussion of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) program which has been the subject of more than 600 research studies from around the world. Please find here a link to further your analysis:
    http://www.tm.org/research-on-meditation

    Please accept my highest regards.

    Allen F Mackenzie

    • Cara says:

      Thank you Allen!! I appreciate your input and you're absolutely right. With this article it was my intention to keep it "short and sweet" while sparking further interest in meditation for those of us that like a little scientific backing to our information. I chose to focus on this study because it was the first to prove an increase in immunity as a direct result of meditation. You've inspired me though and I suppose I have more writing to do!

  2. [...] all, ‘studies do show’ it’s good for [...]

  3. [...] all, ‘studies do show’ it’s good for [...]

  4. It sure does. In fact, this combined with the occasional trip to a counselor has helped keep me stress-free for years now.

  5. Excellent Cara. I am always happy to hear more information about how science is proving the benefits of meditation. The antibody portion of that study is news I've never heard before. Thanks. It'll be something else I can pester my clients with… in the good way!

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