MEDITATION Overview Information
Meditation is a practice used to free the mind of cluttered thoughts and focus on a relaxed mental and physical state.
Meditation is used for stress, fatigue, depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia, anger management, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), congestive heart failure (CHF), back pain, and many other conditions.
How does it work?
Meditation is used to free the mind of cluttered thoughts and focus on a relaxed mental and physical state. There are several types of meditation. “Concentrative meditation” uses an object of focus such as breathing or a sound to help clear the mind. “Mindfulness meditation” allows the mind to experience what is going on outside the mind, but there is no reaction to these external things. “Transcendental meditation” involves deep physical relaxation while maintaining a highly alert mind.
Through meditation, the brain is thought to switch from resting brain waves (called alpha waves) to relaxing brain waves (called theta waves). This switch is thought to increase release of pain-killing chemicals called endorphins, slow breathing and heart rate, decrease blood pressure, and decrease metabolism.
Some researchers suggest that psychological stress and fatigue significantly contribute to many disease processes. Therefore, it is thought that meditation, by reducing stress and fatigue, might be helpful for treating and preventing a variety of conditions.
Possibly Effective for:
- Stress reduction.
- Anxiety. There is some evidence that meditation can significantly improve symptoms of anxiety disorder when used in combination with drug therapy.
- Back pain. Early research shows that meditation for 8 weeks can significantly reduce low back pain in people with moderate, ongoing (chronic) low back pain.
- Congestive heart failure (CHF). There is some evidence that a certain kind of meditation called transcendental meditation is better than health education at improving exercise capacity, quality of life, and re-hospitalization rates in African Americans with mild to moderate heart failure.
- Diabetes. Developing research suggests that practicing meditation for one month can modestly decrease hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C), a measure of blood sugar control. Meditation also seems to decrease blood pressure in people with type 2 diabetes. It also decreases depression, anxiety, and feelings of distress.
- Fibromyalgia. Some early research shows that meditation can reduce symptoms of depression in women with fibromyalgia.
- High blood pressure. There is some evidence that meditation for 8 weeks reduces blood pressure and heart rate in people with high blood pressure.
- Lowered ability to pay attention. Developing research shows that meditation can improve measures of attentiveness in college students and others.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Early research shows that meditation does not significantly affect the disease process in people with rheumatoid arthritis disease. However, meditation might improve feelings of well-being and decrease feelings of distress in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus). There is some evidence that meditation in combination with cognitive-behavioral therapy can reduce ringing in the ears for up to 6 months.
- Social anxiety disorder. Early research suggests that a certain kind of meditation called mindfulness meditation might reduce social anxiety. However, it isn’t as effective as cognitive-behavioral therapy.
- Anger management.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
- Other conditions.
MEDITATION Side Effects & Safety
There are no known safety concerns. Meditation has been safely used in research and there is no known reason to expect any harmful side effects.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn’t enough information to know how practicing meditation might affect pregnancy and breast-feeding, but so far there is no reason to expect it would do any harm.
The appropriate or safe use of meditation depends on several factors such as the condition being treated or the person administering the treatment. Be sure to seek and follow relevant directions from your physician or other healthcare professional before using this treatment.