The Healing Wonders Of Meditation

Wonders Of Meditation
The use of meditation for healing and spiritual enlightenment has been an ancient practice that is common among the world’s great religions and cultures. It is an accepted and proven alternative therapy that is classified under “mind-body medicine.”
Through the years, more and more people have found meditation as an effective way to ease chronic pain, improve heart health, relieve stress and anxiety, boost mood and immunity, and resolve pregnancy problems. Even doctors are already prescribing meditation as a way to lower blood pressure; improve exercise performance in people with angina; help people with asthma breathe easier; and to relieve insomnia. It is a safe and simple way to balance a person’s physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
According to cardiologist Herbert Benson, MD: “Any condition that’s caused or worsened by stress can be alleviated through meditation.” Benson is the founder of the Mind/Body Institute at Harvard Medical School’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He said that the relaxation induced by meditation can help decrease metabolism, lower blood pressure, and improve heart rate, breathing, and brain waves. When the body receives a quiet message to relax, tension and tightness begin to seep from muscles.
Brain scans (or Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI) of people who meditate have been used to show scientific evidence that meditation really works. It shows an increase in activity in areas that control metabolism and heart rate. Other studies on Buddhist monks have shown that meditation produces long-lasting changes in the brain activity in areas involving attention, working memory, learning, and conscious perception.
Meditation is not difficult to learn but it is a skill that needs to be practiced in order to develop the ability to focus on the breathing patterns and the need to ignore distracting thoughts. Meditation is usually accompanied by a mantra, a word or phrase that is repeatedly chanted to produce a biological response such as relaxation.
The soothing power of repetition is at the heart of meditation. Constant practice of meditation allows people to learn anddevelop the ability to produce meditative and relaxed states without difficulty. Meditating several times during the day makes the practitioner feel relaxed throughout the entire day.

Benefits of Meditation

Heart Health: Countless studies have shown that regular practice has significantly helped reduce high blood pressure. A study conducted at the College of Maharishi Vedic Medicine in Fairfield, Iowa, showed significant lowering of blood pressure and heart rate in black adults. Another study conducted by the American Journal of Hypertension showed that teenagers who meditated for 15 minutes twice a day for four months were able to lower their blood pressure a few points.
Immune Booster: In a Psychosomatic Medicine study testing immune function, meditation has bben shown to be useful in warding off illness and infections. Flu shots were given to volunteers who had meditated for eight weeks and to people who didn’t meditate. The result of blood tests from the meditation group had produced higher levels of antibodies against the flu virus.
Women’s Health: Premenstrual syndrome (PMS), infertility problems, and even breastfeeding can be improved when women meditate regularly. In one study, PMS symptoms subsided by 58% when women meditated. Another study found that hot flashes were less intense among women who practiced meditation.
Women struggling with infertility had much less anxiety, depression and fatigue following a 10-week meditation program; 34 percent became pregnant within six months. Also, new mothers who meditated on images of milk flowing from their breasts were able to more than double their production of milk.

Meditation Enhances Brain Activity

Those who practice meditation regularly showed evidence of significantly higher brain activity, called gamma wave activity, in areas associated with learning and happiness compared with those who didn’t practice meditation. Gamma waves involve mental processes including attention, memory, learning and conscious perception.
Many health care providers consider meditation as a key element of an integrated health program. However, when you are having a hard time getting into that meditative state, try to enroll in a class. It will help and guide you with your progress.
Any practice that can evoke the relaxation response can be beneficial, be it through meditation, yoga, breathing, or repetitive prayer. The growing body of research literature on meditation and other alternative therapies gives us no reason to believe that one is better than the other.

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How stressed are you?

Everyone seems to have a view on stress, it has become so popular. Are you stressed or does it not effect you at all? Do you believe that managing stress is important, or do you think that it is a ‘buzz’ word, used as a convenient excuse? Are you living outside your comfort zone? What is stress any way?
Basically stress is caused by our need to adapt to change. The change can be positive or negative. If we feel uncomfortable about any new situation, or challenge, then we begin to experience stress. It is not the circumstances themselves, but our attitude to them, which causes the symptoms. As soon as we are in a situation that we feel is potentially threatening then our ‘fight or flight’ response switches on. Our breathing rate and heart rate increases, muscles tense up, blood pressure rises and adrenaline and cortisol are released into the blood stream.
In other words we are on full alert. This is a natural reaction that has been with us since primitive times to get us out of danger. The difference is that after the danger was over, primitive man would go back to his hut, sit in front of his fire and switch off again. Then all his bodily systems would return to normal. These days we tend to be switched on, tense and rushed, all the time. Because of the pace and intensity of the lives we lead, we suffer from increasing pressure of work and never seem to be able to take time to really relax and let our bodies re-balance.
We are often told how stress is bad for us, and it is true that excessive stress has many negative effects, but if we
experienced a complete absence of stress we may not put in the extra effort needed to attain our personal goals and desires.
In fact we may not even feel motivated enough to get out of bed in the morning! We can accept that some stress is inevitable and it can also be used to a beneficial effect.
We experience many different types and levels of stress in our lives, eu-stress, often described as ‘good’ stress, the type of stress you may experience if you won the lottery for example (you may not think that coming into alot of money would cause stress, but people who have been in that position report significant stress while dealing with major changes). Dis-stress is when we lose something, or someone, important to us. We feel as if our world is coming to an end.
If we constantly experience levels of stress that are too high for us to cope with, then physical, mental, emotional and energetic symptoms will become increasingly apparent.
So what is the cure? First take an honest look at your life with the help of our stress analysis pages. Then decide which areas of your life need attention. Begin to take steps right now to help yourself to a happier, more fulfilling and healthier life.
Decide on your short and long term goals.
Improve your physical health with sports or exercise, this releases stress and improves self esteem.
Manage your time effectively, get properly organised!
Eat a balanced diet; perhaps include a supplement of ‘B’ vitamins.
Avoid or cut down on stimulants like caffeine and nicotine.
Learn to be assertive, not aggressive.
Don’t take everything so personally.
Remember – everything you do does not need to be perfect, you are only human.
Communicate more clearly with others and yourself.
Life isn’t an emergency. Keep a sense of humour and enjoy the little everyday things that make you smile and provide a sense of comfort and ease.
Most important: learn meditation or deep relaxation techniques, often using relaxing music will help you to achieve this. You may need to listen to a CD or DVD which has been developed to help you to relax, or attend meditation or relaxation classes to learn the basics of the techniques and then make time to practise every day and within a few weeks you should begin to see the results.