Can Meditation Improve Health?
Is there a relationship between meditation and reduced risk of chronic diseases? This is one of the most important questions raised by recent research. In the past, meditation has been used for a variety of purposes including to enhance spirituality and to address stress and anxiety. Many of these same benefits have now been discovered through modern scientific research. The biological health related benefits occur due to mindfulness meditation practice fundamentally altering the brain’s neural network patterns and that changes statistically reflect the improvements in both chronic inflammation and mental states.
At this point we’ve known for about 20 minutes that regular meditation practice helps the mind and body to focus. However, research now reveals another vital component to meditation. It seems to offer some very real advantages to health problems such as chronic pain, depression, and diabetes. As previously mentioned, the improvement in brain function and increased structural connectivity with the brain reflect improvements in symptoms and improved quality of life. But the improvements do seem to last longer and even come with fewer health problems associated with meditating regularly.
In order to better understand how meditation improves health, we must look at the nature of gauthier’s model of the mind-body relationship. Gauthier believed that when the mind and body are integrated, disease is prevented, or at least delayed, from taking place. This means that if you meditate regularly, you will find that you experience less pain, have greater strength, and higher well-being.
The science behind this work relies on the principle of Epigenetics
This refers to the study of molecular processes that are beyond the scope of traditional biology. For example, Epigenetics can explain why obesity is controlled by genes but not controlled by diet. In fact, Epigenetics can explain why some people live longer than others due to methylation of their hypothalamic acetylcholine receptor. In general, Epigenetics provides a framework for understanding the complex interactions between the mind and body that controls physiological functions and well-being.
In order to understand how meditation improves health, it is important to look at research done on the connection between the mind and body. During the last decade, there has been research that has looked at how the mind affects the physical body. For instance, it has been found that participants who meditate show less anxiety and stress than non-meditators. More research is looking at how meditation affects the body’s response to stressful situations. The results so far show that those who meditate show less stress and anxiety than those who don’t meditate.
In addition to the research looking at how meditation improves health, there is also research looking at the physical effects of meditation. The goal of this research is to understand how mediation affects the body. One of the areas of interest is the way stress affects the immune system as well as the regulation of inflammatory hormones. Other areas of interest are the regulation of blood pressure and endorphins. In addition, other areas of research are investigating how the mind affects the mood of individuals as well as the well-being of individuals after they leave home for the first time and return to their typical stress-filled lives. Overall, the research is finding that the effects of stress on the body are positive.
One study that was conducted by Dr. David A Goyal
Department of Psychological and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Illinois at Champaign/Rocket Science Center, found that individuals in a traditional situation, such as a stressful job interview, were able to tolerate greater psychological stress than those in a controlled situation, such as a quiet meditation practice. Furthermore, participants who meditated had greater ability to tolerate potential health risks associated with high intensity psychological stress. Additionally, in a laboratory situation, participants who practiced a week-long “flow” or guided imagery had lower heart rates, showed an improvement in sleep and showed increased mental flexibility. The participants also demonstrated an improvement in their immune function.
Based on the results of this research, Dr. Gauthier says there is a “lack of robust science” supporting the claims that meditation improves overall health. However, he says that this lack of research may be due to the “lack of specific measures” in previous research. For instance, in the aforementioned study, the scientists only asked the participants to report on how they felt during the week. They did not ask them to describe the specific meditation sessions that they took part in. For these reasons, Dr. Gauthier says the findings of his studies are inconclusive.