-:BENEFITS:-

Archive for ‘physical benefits’

Decreases Menopause Symptoms in Women

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

meditation-image-11A study conducted by researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Florida State University found that mindfulness meditation reduces the symptoms of menopause in women. Participants who practiced mindfulness meditation regularly for a period of 8 weeks demonstrated a lower rate of menopausal symptoms, including fewer and less intense hot flashes. Other symptoms that were reduced include quality of sleep, mood stability, muscle pain, and stress. Mindfulness meditation is just one of several types of mind-body treatments that are associated with women’s improved well-being during menopause, which include yoga, tai chi, and other meditative techniques.

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Improves Neuroplasticity

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

meditation-image-14According to a study conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, practicing meditation can cause beneficial neuroplastic changes in the brain. These changes are caused by external environmental factors; while social stressors can harm the brain’s neuroplasticity, positive practices like meditation can improve its neuroplasticity, leading to enhanced emotional well-being. The brain’s neuroplasticity is measured by the number of cell connections it has. With regular meditation practice, the brain’s number of cell connections increases, improving the overall function of its neural networks and neuroplasticity. This strengthens certain areas of the brain associated with positive behaviors such as empathy, altruism, and kindness.

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Decreases the Risk of Stroke

Monday, February 10th, 2014

meditation-image-15According to a study published in the American Journal of Hypertension, Transcendental Meditation can help reduce the risk of stroke. High blood pressure rates and poor mental health can contribute to one’s risk for developing a stroke. Researchers found, however, that practicing Transcendental Meditation can help lower individuals’ blood pressure while improving their mental health, therefore reducing their likelihood for experiencing a stroke. High blood pressure begins in youth, so practicing Transcendental Meditation as early as possible will decrease one’s chances of experiencing a stroke during adulthood. Psychological stressors can also lead to a stroke, but are similarly reduced through regular practice of Transcendental Meditation.

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Improves Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

meditation-image-28A study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology reported that mindfulness meditation can be used to improve the symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome. Mindfulness meditation helps treat stress-related problems and physical pain, including the pain experienced from IBS-related symptoms. The study, conducted by researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Florida State University, followed participants suffering from IBS who practiced mindfulness meditation techniques over a three-month treatment period. At the completion of treatment, participants saw significant improvements in their IBS symptoms, including reduced pain and better quality of life. Over time, mindfulness meditation is expected to have long-lasting benefits on those diagnosed with IBS.

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Reduce The Risk of Developing Shingles

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

meditation-image-29Researchers from UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute reported that practicing Tai Chi improves areas of the immune system that help reduce the risk of developing shingles. Certain types of behavior such as Tai Chi can positively impact the immunity that helps protect against shingles. With age, the immune system weakens and becomes more susceptible to diseases such as shingles. The immunity-boosting effects of Tai Chi were tested in a study where participants practiced Tai Chi in a 15-week program. At the end of the program, researchers found that the immunity factors involved in preventing shingles had increased by fifty percent among the participants, proving Tai Chi an effective method to help prevent shingles.

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Strengthens Immune System of Older Adults

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

meditation-image-30According to one UCLA study, meditative Tai Chi noticeably improved the immune systems of older adults, helping protect against shingles. Participants in the age range of 59 to 86 practiced Tai Chi for twenty-five weeks and received a vaccine against the shingles-causing varicella zoster virus. Together, Tai Chi and the vaccine were effective in improving the immunity of these participants. At the end of the program, the immunities of these participants reflected those of a much younger, middle-aged group. By practicing Tai Chi, older adults can strengthen the areas of their immune system associated with protecting against shingles, potentially avoiding shingles-related health complications later in life.

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Promotes Cellular Health

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

Man-Meditating-at-SunsetResearchers at the University of California at Davis and the University of California at San Francisco have established a link between increased cellular health and meditation. Theirs is the first study to suggest such a link, indicating that the positive well-being derived from regular meditation causes an increase in the enzyme that contributes to cellular health. By learning how to better cope with stress and maintain a sense of well-being, meditators seem to trigger the growth of the telomerase enzyme, which is associated with the prolonged health of cells. Researchers were able to trace this increased enzyme growth to meditation’s effects on individuals’ levels of neuroticism and perceived self-control through enhanced mindfulness.

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Slows HIV Progression

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

meditation-image-32UCLA researchers found that practicing mindfulness meditation slowed the progression of HIV in a group of HIV-positive patients. The AIDS-causing virus, HIV, targets CD4 T cells, the cells that make up the immune system. HIV gradually kills these cells, therefore weakening the immune system. HIV patients are also particularly susceptible to stress, which contributes to the loss of CD4 T cells. Mindfulness meditation helps reduce stress in HIV patients by teaching them to focus on the present moment, as opposed to dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Through improving HIV patients’ stress-coping capabilities, mindfulness meditation can slow the progression of HIV and promote a healthy mental outlook.

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Prevents Cancer by Strengthening DNA structures

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

meditation-image-33According to Dr. Isaac Eliaz, a medical doctor and mind-body expert, regularly practicing meditation is an effective way to reduce the risk of developing cancer. Meditating on a regular basis is one of the easiest and most natural ways to protect against developing cancer. Regularly practicing meditation helps to repair a part of DNA structure called telomeres, which becomes shortened with age, chronic stress, and poor health. Regular meditation improves the ability to handle stressful situations and promotes psychological stability, causing increased DNA activity in the corresponding zone that protects the ends of telomeres from weakening and shortening. As a result, this reduces the risk of developing cancer and other health-related issues. Regular meditation further enhances this cancer prevention process.

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Helps Cancer Patients Stay Resilient during Treatment

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

meditation-image-34American Cancer Society journal CANCER reported that many cancer patients practice complementary methods such as meditation during treatment. In one study, cancer survivors were asked if they had used any of the nineteen complementary methods during their treatment. According to the survey, one of the complementary methods patients found effective was meditation. 15% of participants in the study reported using meditation to help them get through the cancer treatment process, with prayer and spiritual practice, relaxation, and nutritional supplements among the methods used. The effectiveness of complementary methods could be associated with the cancer type being treated, as breast and ovarian cancer survivors appeared to benefit more from these methods.

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Promotes Health in Breast Cancer Survivors

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

meditation-image-35The American Cancer Society found that Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) has improved the health of breast cancer survivors. MBSR combines techniques from meditation, yoga, and physical awareness methods to promote a healthy lifestyle among breast cancer survivors. In the study, breast cancer survivors practiced MBSR techniques, showing lower blood pressure, heart, and respiratory rates in their test results upon completion of the MBSR program. Participants, who were often inactive and dispirited post diagnosis, felt more in control of themselves – physically and mentally – after practicing MBSR. Researchers concluded that regularly practicing MBSR and other forms of meditation significantly improves the health and outlook of breast cancer patients and survivors.

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Increases Immune System Health

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

meditation-image-36The Mayo Clinic reported findings from a recent study indicating that meditative techniques associated with Tai Chi and yoga positively affect immune system health. Researchers note that the benefits of these mind-body approaches stem from their combination of key exercise elements and mindfulness techniques. The positive benefits of these mind-body treatments range widely from stress-reduction to improved sleep, better digestive health, and slowing the aging process. The stress-reduction qualities in particular, as well as lowered blood pressure, also result in the enhanced overall health and functioning of the immune system. The common elements in both yoga and tai chi include meditation, breathing, and different physical movements.

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Enhances Production of Antibodies

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

meditation-image-37A recent study at the University of Wisconsin reported several benefits of meditation, among which was the increased production of antibodies to fight the flu. Participants in the study received weekly meditation training in the workplace, and also practiced meditation at home for an hour each day. Along with a more robust production of antibodies against the flu vaccine, researchers also documented increased brain activity among meditating participants. One of the important aspects of the study is the fact that the level of intervention into participants’ lives was relatively minimum, suggesting that one need only alter their life slightly and practice meditation for a brief period in order to reap the rewards.

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Stronger Immune System

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

meditation-image-38A study led by Dr. Richard Davidson at the University of Wisconsin at Madison indicated that mindfulness meditation can have lasting positive effects on people’s health, including a strengthened immune system. While this form of meditation has long been recommended as a stress-reducing activity, Dr. Davidson’s study is one of the first to suggest a link between meditation and immune health. Compared to non-meditators, participants who received regular instruction in mindfulness meditation produced higher levels of antibodies after receiving a flu vaccine. This increased antibody production is associated with a stronger immune system and the ability for the body to fight off other types of illness and infection more easily.

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Fights Insomnia

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

meditation-image-40In a study conducted at India’s National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, researchers discovered that meditation can help fight insomnia. Researchers focused on vipassana meditation, a type of meditation that involves deep mind-body focus and insight. Male participants ranging from age 30 to 60 who practiced vipassana meditation before sleep displayed heightened slow wave and REM sleep, which are associated with deep sleep. Older participants who did not practice meditation showed decreased slow wave sleep, proving deterioration in sleep quality among older men. Practicing meditation that incorporates deep focusing techniques such as vipassana helps improve sleep quality and fights insomnia.

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Improve Sleep Quality

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

meditation-image-41Researchers from the insomnia program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Evanston, Illinois determined that meditation can improve sleep quality. Participants who practiced deep relaxation exercises during the day were able to sleep more soundly at night. Insomnia is caused by elevated levels of activity or excitement during the day, preventing insomnia sufferers from sleeping soundly during the night. Practicing meditation reduces these levels of excitement and therefore improves sleep quality. Patients who suffered from chronic insomnia practiced meditation in the insomnia program and reported experiencing better sleep quality, including improvements in sleep latency, total sleep time, total wake time, and other sleep parameters.

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Controls Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

meditation-image-42According to a study published in the American Academy of Neurology’s medical journal, Neurology, meditation can reduce the fatigue and depression that commonly accompany multiple sclerosis. Participants who practiced mindfulness meditation for eight weeks reported reduced depression, fatigue, and anxiety at the end of the program. Multiple sclerosis can be unpredictable at times, the study explains, causing patients to experience dramatic changes in their symptoms after a relatively symptom-free period. Meditation can be very helpful in providing these people with a sense of control when changes in symptoms surface unexpectedly. Six months after the completion of the study, participants continued to feel the benefits of meditation, reporting continued reductions in multiple sclerosis-related symptoms.

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Diminishes Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

meditation-image-43A study at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine’s Center for Integrative Medicine in Baltimore suggests that meditation can be used to alleviate patients’ rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Researchers examined the effects of a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program on participants suffering from this debilitating form of arthritis. The program included the practice of meditation, relaxation, and yoga exercises over an 8 week period. A series of follow-up exams on the meditating participants revealed progressively decreased levels of psychological distress associated with their disease. By the conclusion of the 6 month observation period, those individuals also experienced an 11% decrease in rheumatoid arthritis activity and a 46% decrease in inflammation associated with the disease.

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Improved Well-being for Arthritis Sufferers

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

meditation-image-44A recent study featured in Arthritis Care & Research suggests a promising new treatment for those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (RA). A particularly painful autoimmune disease, RA leads to high levels of depression in patients, as well as other types of psychological distress. A program designed around mindfulness meditation is offering an alternative treatment option that shows promise to ease the toll that RA takes on patients. By the end of the study, those participants who practiced meditation techniques demonstrated a 35% decrease in their mental and emotional distress. Researchers suggest mindfulness meditation as a beneficial compliment to medical management of RA.

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Reduce cardiac risk factors in Patients

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

meditation-image-45A recent study conducted at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California indicated that practicing transcendental meditation can reduce cardiac risk factors in patients suffering from coronary heart disease. In particular, the study’s findings found reduced blood pressure levels and less insulin resistance among those who participated in a 16-week transcendental meditation program. They also evidenced improved function of the autonomic nerve system, researchers reported. They associated these results with the negative effects that chronic stress can have on the cardiovascular system over time resulting from high levels of cortisol and other hormones introduced into the cardiac region. The findings are promising for the development of more non-pharmacological approaches to improving cardiovascular health.

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Reduces Likelihood of Cardiac Events

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

meditation-image-46A study conducted at the Maharishi University’s Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention found that practicing transcendental meditation (TM) can lower African Americans’ risks of various cardiac events. This specific population is known to have high incidence levels of Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD) in particular, which are often caused by cardiac risk factors like hypertension, mental health, and insulin resistance, researchers noted. The study examined the effects of TM versus health education on a high-risk group of African American participants, and entailed 5 years of clinical follow-up. The findings were conclusive, revealing a 43% reduction in risk for cardiac events including stroke, CVD, and myocardial infarction among those who participated in the meditation program.

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