How meditation reduces the risk of inflammation and disease
(NaturalHealth365) Meditation has been linked with numerous health benefits and measurable positive physical changes. While some criticize it as “navel-gazing,” calling it too “new-age” or a waste of time, the truth is that meditation brings a range of benefits to the body, mind and spirit.
Mindfulness meditation, in particular, seems to have the ability to prevent disease and the internal inflammation that gives rise to it. Studies have shown that persons under stress who meditate regularly show a marked reduction in Interleukin-6, a known inflammation biomarker. This type of inflammation is linked with cancer, autoimmune conditions, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Meditation has a remarkable affect on our brain and overall health
In addition to the reduction in inflammation, brain scans of stressed out adults before and after a meditation retreat showed increased functional connectivity in the areas responsible for attention and overall control. The positive results persisted even four months later, indicating that a sort of “retraining” of the brain and other biological processes had occurred.
The meditators’ health improvements were far superior to that of another stressed out group who attended a more general relaxation retreat with no meditation. Meditation seems to contribute to an enhanced ability to handle stress and avoid inflammation and related diseases. The study results were published in Biological Psychiatry.
Prevent disease and boost the immune system with meditation
Another study showed that when biotech workers did weekly meditations for 8 weeks, they showed significantly higher levels of antibodies than coworkers who did not meditate. Antibodies are crucial in the removal of invaders like bacteria and viruses.
Meditation increases electrical activity in the areas of the brain that control anxiety and positive emotions. These areas also happen to be the command center of the immune system, and meditation stimulates it to function more effectively. While science isn’t yet sure why, the immune system is linked to thoughts both positive and negative. And, meditation paves the way for fewer stressful thoughts and more positive, peaceful ones – thereby boosting immune function.
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In truth, your entire physiology can change with regular meditation. Blood pressure is reduced, as is blood lactate, which is connected to the feeling of anxiety. Serotonin production is increased, which boosts mood and reduces physical pain.
As an added bonus, energy levels – throughout the day – are enhanced by a regular meditation practice.
Health benefits from meditation have been reported from as little as 10 minutes per day. In addition to all the physical benefits, a regular meditation practice can help to create a more peaceful and even-keeled baseline state of mind.
Get started with this basic mindfulness meditation technique
Sit in a comfortable position in a quiet space. Place your awareness on the flow of air as you breathe mindfully. Allow thoughts and emotions to just come and go if they arise; don’t react to them.
Merge with the “pure awareness” part of your consciousness that transcends any thought, emotion or perceived problem. Allow that transcendent “you” to grow stronger each time you meditate. Strive to carry that connection forward into your day even when you are not meditating. The rewards will be worth the effort.
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