Image Credit: topnews.net.nz
Meditation is fast becoming a healthy activity not only in the East where it originated from but also in the Western World and other countries, which were skeptical of the method at first. Yoga is one type of meditation that most people prefer.
It was only in the 20th century; however, that the rest of the world became truly aware of the healing values of meditation and Yoga, and adapted this as one of their alternative healing treatment.
Researches have proven that meditation is useful if done properly under the supervision of an expert or able guide. Its healing value should not be disregarded and should be researched on continuously.
But first what is meditation? What are the types of meditation?
Meditation is a mind-body intervention that has the purpose of creating a restful state in the person thereby allowing his body to heal and enhancing the proper occurrence of biochemical processes in his body. This would relieve the person of stress and contributes to his well being. There are four general methods of meditation:
1. Transcendental meditation (TM)
This is usually done with the appropriate mantra for the person. The common position for this and the other three methods is a lotus position, but you can adapt any position that you feel most comfortable with, as long as the back is straight and you could maintain a good posture. The eyes should be closed to attain more focus and concentration.
2. Respiratory One Method (ROM) by Herbert Benson
This concentrates on the word “one” as you go on with the breathing exercise.
A word can be combined to act as the mantra.
3. Clinically Standardized Meditation (CSM)
This is considered the easiest by beginners to perform because the person is allowed leeway to select the mantra and not to follow the structured ones.
4. Mindfulness Meditation (MM)
This method does not encourage the person to maintain the “blank-out” state of the mind but allows “thoughts” instead.
What exactly are the beneficial effects of meditation?
1. Although meditation is not for everyone, Dr. Robert H. Schneider, Dean College of Maharishi Vedic Medicine, Iowa who leads the research on transcendental meditation’s effect on hypertension and cardiovascular diseases said that: “those individuals who practiced TM had regression of left ventricular mass and improvements in the function of their heart or essentially a reversal of the damage to the heart caused by hypertension. ” (From: Mosby’s Complementary and Alternative Medicine by: Freeman Lawlis). He went on to say that health care professionals could work in collaboration with a TM class for patients who have elevated blood pressures and those with heart diseases.
2. The level of anxiety is significantly reduced and thereby there is decreased heart rate, respiration rates (RR), cortisol and lactate concentrations (substances which are elevated during stress).
3. Meditation, (because of the state of relaxation that you undergo) also desensitizes the mind of anxious thoughts and fears and therefore promotes balance in the body and the subsequent proper functioning of the vital organs.
4. The regular rhythm obtained from the meditation creates a balance between the right and left hemispheres of the brain. It is believed that when the left brain’s workload is lessened, negative thoughts are also decreased.
5. It reduces health care cost because meditation decreases the propensity to diseases caused by a stressful lifestyle; like late nights out, improper diet, and lack of exercise.
6. When undertaken on a regular basis, it could also be utilized to treat mood disorders. The patient should be receptive; however, to the concentration technique needed in the procedure so that the beneficial calming effects would be maximized.
7. It is also effective in decreasing the attacks for asthma, psoriasis and menopausal syndromes.
8. It is useful as a complementary treatment for addictive behaviors. Persons who undergo meditation had decreased drug cravings, less propensity for drug usage, due to the calming effects of meditation.
Up to this day, researches and controlled trials are still being conducted to determine the healing effects of meditation on humans. It would be wise to realize that meditation is a procedure that should be utilized according to each individual’s needs and preferences. As always, an expert or doctor should be consulted before initiating treatment with meditation.