Meditation is the practice of
focusing your attention to help you feel calm and give you a clear awareness
about your life. Eastern philosophies have recognized the health benefits of
meditation for thousands of years. Meditation is now widely practiced in the
West, with the belief that it has positive effects on health.
meditation techniques are most commonly used: concentrative and mindful.
Serotonin acts as a neurotransmitter, a type of chemical that helps relay signals from one area of the brain to another. Although serotonin is manufactured in the brain, where it performs its primary functions, some 90% of our serotonin supply is found in the digestive tract and in blood platelets.
Concentrative meditation, such as
transcendental meditation (TM), focuses on a single image, sound, or mantra
(words spoken or sung in a pattern), or on your own breathing.
Mindful meditation, such as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), does not
focus on a single purpose. Rather, you are aware of all thoughts, feelings,
sounds, or images that pass through your mind.
Meditation usually involves slow, regular breathing and
sitting quietly for at least 15 to 20 minutes.
What is meditation used for?
People use meditation
to help treat a wide range of physical and mental problems, including:
Addictive behaviors, such as drug, nicotine,
and alcohol use.
Meditation is not thought to have any
negative side effects or complications alone or when combined with conventional
medical treatment, but it is not considered appropriate or safe for acute,
Always tell your doctor if you are
using an alternative therapy or if you are thinking about combining an
alternative therapy with your conventional medical treatment. It may not be
safe to forgo your conventional medical treatment and rely only on an
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
June 11, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this