Meditation Benefits For Health, Brain, and Body: What the newest research shows. How meditation changes the brain and body.
The meditation benefits for health as defined by the National Institutes of Health National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) is a useful resource for learning more about the scientific research that has been conducted in relation to the effectiveness of practical ‘traditional’ medical practices such as Ayurveda, acupuncture, acupressure and so on.
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) along with esoteric meditation has become an increasing area of interest because, as the name suggests, doctors and patients have discovered that there is no one path to healing, and no “one-size fits all” approach to treating disease.
Let’s stop for just a moment and look at the “practical vs esoteric” meditation principles for a better understanding of the health and mental aspects of meditation.
In the first lesson of this training, I outlined the common myths that tend to hold people back from adopting a personal meditation practice. It really all boils down to a sense that meditation is, somehow, someway, religious, mystical or is some sort of superstitious practice.
We live in a very secular time. We’d like to believe that we are guided by reason and science. Given this context, it is entirely understandable why people have second thoughts about meditation. A lot of this really flows from the dichotomy between practical and esoteric meditation.
Esoteric meditation is really the historic practice of meditation. In this context, meditation is practiced in connection with some sort of higher religious goal or some sort of mystical objective. If anything, meditation is not the centerpiece. Rather, it’s just a side practice to what should be the primary goal, which is to attain some sort of enlightenment or some sort of spiritual release.
Esoteric meditation is rooted in Eastern philosophy
The whole idea of Eastern philosophy is that life is suffering or that there is such a thing as karma and eternal rebirths. The whole point of any kind of spiritual exercise is to gain a perspective that enables people to break out of this eternal series of birth, suffering, death, and rebirth.
Meditation has historically been associated with this thinking because meditation is one practice that enables people to start seeing life from a completely different perspective. This would enable them to think, talk and behave differently enough for them to break the pattern of karma or the attachment that keeps them trapped in that mystical cycle of birth and rebirth.
As you can tell, this involves a tremendous amount of religious and spiritual concepts. There is chanting. People who practice meditation in this context say “om om” or they use some sort of spiritual mantra. They also engage in yoga and other physical exercises that have spiritual connotations.
Practical meditation simply strips away all the esoteric, religious, spiritual and mystical layers of meditation
Instead, it looks at the meditative practice based on the core mental processes that enable people to self-repair to such an extent that they do not go crazy.
In other words, instead of dwelling on the surface differences, practical meditation goes to the structural components of the meditative act itself and strips away anything that is unnecessary. It also focuses on one nonreligious, non-spiritual or non-mystical goal, which is to achieve focus in the present moment.
We’re not even talking about peace. We’re not even talking about some sort of inner serenity, harmony and what have you. Although those emotional states and experiences can and do happen, practical and fully secular meditation is all about achieving some sense of mental clarity in the here and now. There’s no past to worry about, and no future to obsess over.
The Bottom Line with Practical Meditation
Practical meditation basically strips away all that is “extra” or “historic” and “cultural” about meditation. It goes to the basics.
The basics really boil down to learning how to focus on the present moment. Nothing before, nothing after. It’s all about right here, right now. Using that, we get a tremendous amount of benefits as outlined in lesson 3.
VIDEO: Meditation Benefits For Health – Good for the mind… meditation also provides physical health benefits… Jim Morelli from CNN
Meditation can complement existing medical treatments, or be used as an alternative in some cases. Meditation is considered to be safe, with no side effects.
The best meditation benefits for health make our mind peaceful and happy is to train in meditation. Meditation doesn’t just offer a calmer mind. Its proven health benefits include:
• Lowered high blood pressure
• Improved heart health
• Effective pain relief, especially chronic pain, such as from arthritis
• A stronger immune system
• Better focus and concentration
• Increased optimism, happier moods
The NCCIH website outlines the results of studies on the meditation benefits for health have shown to treat the following conditions:
• Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
• Ulcerative Colitis
• Smoking Cessation
• Weight Loss
• Menopausal Symptoms
The meditation benefits for health have also been shown to reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation is thought to be a causal factor in a range of health conditions, including arthritis and heart disease.
Meditation has also been used to improve the quality of life and reduce pain, stress, and anxiety in patients with lung cancer.
With more and more research coming out all the time with regard to the health benefits of meditation, it’s time to stop viewing it as a ‘weird’ habit and start looking at it as a powerful healing tool.
The mind, heart, and body can improve with regular meditation. “The relaxation response from meditation helps to decrease metabolism, lower blood pressure, and improves heart rate, breathing, and brain waves,”. Tension and tightness seep from muscles as the body receives a quiet message to relax.
Relaxing The Mind – What is relaxation?
In common terminology, relaxation means that we leave ourselves free of tension. Relaxing the mind may mean that the mind is not under stress or activity. In today’s lifestyle, this looks difficult. Isn’t it?
Nowadays, most of us believe to be being under stress during most of the week and relax only on the weekends. This is considered a common way of life. Is this the right way of living? Is living a relaxed life all the time, not our right? Let us reclaim it.
Bad stress – If you ask anyone why is he/she under stress most of the week, what answer do you expect to get? I have so much work to do, deadlines to meet, tasks to be completed, prepare for the new launch, etc. Don’t you think that something like this will be the response?
Let us discuss why most of us are stressed all the time
At some time in our life, while we are chasing the dreams we lose our habit of sitting back and reflecting. We begin giving auto-responses. If we are held up in a traffic jam, our response is – either to worry about the work ahead or blame the system or some such negative thought.
Not many of us relax at all
If the traffic is not moving, let me relax, listen to some good music, or go back to some childhood memories, remember good friends, let me make the best use of the time to relax and enjoy life. Not many of us respond in this way. We respond in a stressed way whenever we come across any similar situation. This habit is taking a big toll on our quality of life.
Stress – A new way of life?
We have taken stress as a way of life. Very few of us think about why they are trying to work at such a hectic pace and if ultimately, we are going to leave this world with a lot of incomplete work, why not at least work in a relaxed way? What is the use of working so much, if we kill all the joy? In search of a better tomorrow, we kill the present. Isn’t it?
Stressed work environment, stressed family life, no time to just walk around doing nothing but watch nature…Why?
It is as if we want to achieve most in the shortest possible time and therefore has no time to relax Working non-stop all week is a way of life for a large majority. The increase in cardiac attacks, depression, etc, are all the results of this stressed lifestyle. When we get stressed, we look around for the latest stress busters, latest therapies, etc. to counter the stress.
And then by the time its the weekend, we again go out somewhere to relax. Sometimes holidays also tire us, don’t they? Why not lead a relaxed life all throughout the week? Why not work in a relaxed frame of mind? Why get stressed?
Reflection about our own life is very essential if we want to reclaim our right to live peacefully. Will it help, if we bring some beautiful scenes of nature on our computers? Will it help, if we find time to watch a butterfly flying on our screens? The beauty of a colorful flower. Can it make us a little relaxed?
If your answer is yes, download screensavers and find time to watch them whenever you find time while working. Look at them, wonder about the beauty of nature, think of their perfection and just relax.
Brainwave Meditation – The New Way Of Meditating
Meditation has been practiced since ancient times, but today, in the busy and dynamic, even agitated modern world, meditation or taking time for ourselves is almost a must.
And since more and more people are interested to benefit from the positive effects of relaxation and meditation, scientists and specialists have become more interested in studying all the aspects of meditation, how it works and how it can have maximum efficiency. And one of the most recent results of these researches is the brainwave meditation.
How Can You Benefit from the Brainwave Meditation?
The results of the brainwave meditation are the same as in the case of other forms of meditation, but some might say that they are even more intense and specific. There is a great selection of products in today’s market, products that you can use in order to test this new meditation technology and discover its results.
The most popular products are “psychoacoustic” MP3’s with a wide range of relaxation and meditation messages that are mainly based on the concept of visualization.
There are very specialized MP3’s or audio formats that are focused on various ranges, such as alpha, beta or delta or there are some which are destined to stimulate all these at the same time.
Basically, the role of these brainwave meditation sessions is to travel with your thought and mind, to improve your perception of various stimulants, to develop your awareness, and to be able to conduct an accurate introspection.
Besides the musical MP3’s with relaxing audio signals, there are various audio formats that are focused on breathing patterns that are meant to relax the listener, based on the same frequency principle.
Basically, these breathing sessions that are assisted by an audio format have the purpose to relax the body, the muscles and to slow down the heartbeats, together with releasing the tension.
How Does the Brainwave Meditation Actually Work?
What is the scientific concept that this type of meditating is based on? It all starts with the binaural beats. But what are these binaural beats? Basically, the brainwave meditation or, also called, brainwave entertainment, presupposes the fact that the brain receives various audio stimulants or signals with a certain frequency and reacts, responds to these signals.
The binaural beats have more roles besides the role they play in brainwave meditation – they are used in the treatment of certain mental disorders and other medical conditions.
Brainwave meditation is gaining more and more supporters. Until its appearance and until the appearance of the wide range of products that promote this type of meditation, there were many skeptics that doubted the positive effects of meditation upon one’s mind, psychological life, spirituality, and general health.
But nowadays, these effects can be maximized and measured, they can be scientifically proven – and this explains the fact that meditation is gaining more and more supporters.
The trouble is that there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about meditation benefits for health is that often prevent people from trying it. Let’s look at the myths, and the true acts, in the next lesson.