Evidences that meditation works

Health Care 205 Comments

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.

Chronic pain: Margaret Caudill, M.D., Harvard had 109 patients suffering with chronic pain for 6.5 years practice the relaxation response for 10 weeks. It resulted in improved symptoms and 36% reduction in HMO visits in a one year follow up, and increased to a 50% reduction by the second year.

Longevity: Robert H. Schneider, M.D., Maharishi University Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention. Research showed two studies of meditation groups, who had normal to high blood pressure, were 23% less likely to die than people who did not. The meditation groups studied had a 30% decrease in the rate of deaths due to heart disease and stroke and a 50% reduced rate of cancer deaths.

Immune Function: Meditation, or the relaxation response, has demonstrated effects on the immune function and the brain and reveals the biological consequences of this mind–body intervention. Dr. Richard Davidson, Ph.D. of the University of Wisconsin and his colleagues discovered individuals who underwent eight weeks of meditation training produced more antibodies to a flu vaccine and showed signs of increased electrical activity in areas of the brain related to positive emotions than the individuals who did not meditate. Employees at a biotechnology company participated in this study with half receiving weekly meditation training and the other half not receiving training.

Memory: The Journal of Memory and Cognition reported college students meditating displayed significant improvements in memory performance over a two week period on a perceptual and short term memory y reduction of blood pressure, and better near point vision and auditory discrimination. Short term meditators were physiologically five years younger than their chronological age. The study controlled for the effect of diet and exercise.

Cholesterol: The Journal of Social Behavior and Personality published a longitudinal study showing that cholesterol levels significantly decreased through meditation in patients with elevated cholesterol, compared to match controls, over an eleven month period.

Addiction: Addiction takes one of the greatest tolls in our lives in terms of the costs of suffering of families, the costs to our prison system, costs to our health care system, and the cost of lost productivity of human potential. The Journal of Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly and the International Journal of the Addictions report that meditation can even decrease cigarette, alcohol and drug abuse. An analysis of 198 independent treatment outcomes found that meditation produced a significantly larger reduction in tobacco, alcohol and illicit drug use than either standard substance abuse treatments (including counseling, pharmacological treatments, relaxation training and Twelve Step programs) or prevention.

(Source: Mallika Chopra: Love this!! Medical Benefits Of Meditation by James Hixon, M.D., Internal Medicine, Gastroenterology @ http://www.intent.com/kathleenhall/blog/medical–benefits–meditation)

Dr KK Aggarwal
Editor in Chief