Depending upon who you talk to, meditation is either the greatest thing since sliced bread or a complete waste of time. That said, if you’re reading this post, I’m going to assume that you fall into the former category or slide somewhere down to the middle of that scale.
Like it or not, meditation is effective. The question is, effective with what? Sure, it helps to calm you down and even works wonders on a person’s self confidence. Luckily, science has jumped into the meditation mix and is now beginning to offer its take on how a meditation practice can be medically beneficial to your health.
Dr. Kathleen Hall pens this recent Intent post on an article written by James Hixon that outlines 10 diseases and how meditation has proven to be beneficial by science. Below is a partial list:
Stress: The term meditation is also referred to as the “relaxation response.” This term was coined by Dr. Herbert Benson of Harvard in his seminal studies on stress in 1967. Dr. Benson measured the heart rate, blood pressure, skin temperature, and rectal temperature of 36 meditators. He discovered they used 17% less oxygen, lowered their heart rates by three beats a minute and increased their theta brain waves, the relaxing ones that appear right before sleep.
Hypertension: J. Stuart Lesserman, M.D., Harvard, Patients with hypertension for at least 10 years went through 10 weeks of the relaxation response. Diastolic and systolic blood pressure decreased and patients maintained their lower blood pressure throughout later follow-ups.
Insomnia: G. Jacobs, Harvard, Ph.D., had 100 patients with insomnia practice the relaxation response for 10 weeks. 100% of patients reported some type of improvement in sleep and 91% stopped or decreased their sleep medication use.
Infertility: Alice Domar, Ph.D., Harvard, Worked with women with infertility for over three and one half years who were severely depressed. They practiced 10 weeks of the relaxation response which resulted in significant decrease in depression and anxiety. One third of women, who averaged three and one half years of infertility, became pregnant.
Read more on how science is proving meditation beneficial in the treatment of a variety of diseases here.