This module outlines the importance of meditation and to induce a meditative state to enhance both physical and emotional
Meditation Calms the Mind, Lengthens Life: Study
Reuters HealthN EW YORK (Reuters Health)
- Increasing evidence suggests that transcendental meditation may not only reduce stress, but also may help adults with
high blood pressure to live longer, according to a new study. "There are many non-drug techniques for reducing blood
pressure, but none...extend life," study author Dr. Robert H. Schneider, of the Maharishi University of Management in
Iowa, told Reuters Health. He added that the current study shows that "you can live longer with a mind-body intervention."
Transcendental meditation is a technique for calming the body and mind, to allow individuals to enter a state of "restful
alertness," in which the body is awake but the mind is not engaged in conscious thought. It is a method of "waking
up the body's own self-repair mechanisms,"
Schneider said. The new report, published in this month's American Journal of Cardiology, is based on a review of data
from two studies that showed that transcendental meditation helped decrease blood pressure among white and African-American
adults, respectively. Schneider and his team evaluated the association between the meditation technique and risk of death
among the study participants. The two studies included 202 men and women, about 72 years old on average, who had pre-hypertension
or mild hypertension.
They were assigned to a transcendental meditation group, or to various comparison groups of other relaxation techniques.
Participants in the two studies were followed for about eight years on average -- a maximum of nearly 19 years -- during which
101 individuals died.
Overall, men and women who practiced transcendental meditation not only had lower blood pressures than those in the other
groups, but were also 23 percent less likely to die from any cause, Schneider and his team report. In particular, they were
30 percent less likely to die from cardiovascular disease and 49 percent less likely to die from cancer.
The "integrated holistic" transcendental meditation technique does not have any harmful side effects, Schneider
said. Schneider is the director of the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention, funded by the National Institutes of
Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. SOURCE: American Journal of Cardiology, May 2, 2005.
How Stressed Are You?
Rate yourself as to how you typically react in each of the situations listed below.
There are no right or wrong answers.
Enter a number in the box for each question.
When you complete the questionnaire, add up you total number of points and type it in the box.
An answer key is provided below.
1. Do you try to do as much as possible in the least amount of time?
2. Do you become impatient with delays or interruptions?
3. Do you always have to win at games to enjoy yourself?
4. Do you find yourself speeding up the car to beat the red light?
5. Are you unlikely to ask for or indicate you need help with a problem?
6. Do you constantly seek the respect and admiration of others?
7. Are you overly critical of the way others do their work?
8.Do you have the habit of looking at your watch or clock often?
9.Do you constantly strive to better your position and achievements?
10. Do you spread yourself "too thin" in terms of your time?
11. Do you have the habit of doing more than one thing at a time?
12. Do you frequently get angry or irritable?
13. Do you have little time for hobbies or time by yourself?
14. Do you have a tendency to talk quickly or hasten conversations?
15. Do you consider yourself hard-driving? 1
16. Do your friends or relatives consider you hard-driving?
17. Do you have a tendency to get involved in multiple projects?
18. Do you have a lot of deadlines in your work?
19. Do you feel vaguely guilty if you relax and do nothing during leisure?
20. Do you take on too many responsibilities?
If your score is between 20 and 30, chances are you are non-productive or your life lacks stimulation.
A score between 31 and 50 designates a good balance in your ability to handle and control stress.
If you tallied up a score ranging between 51 and 60, your stress level is marginal and you are bordering on being excessively
tense. If your total number of points exceeds 60, you may be a candidate for heart disease.
Listen to the Hot Stone Temple Guided Meditation CD
Health Benefits Of Meditation
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland of the brain. It functions to support the immune system, slow cell
damage, increase energy and aid sleep. Melatonin relieves many symptoms of stress, and may even inhibit growth of cancer cells.
Research has shown that levels of melatonin are increased in individuals who meditate regularly.
The health benefits to be gained when symptoms of stress are relieved are many and varied. Blood pressure drops to healthy
levels and blood flows to all the major organs. Healing abilities are increased, and cell damage decreased. Cardiac problems,
asthma, diabetes, migraines and many other maladies linked to stress can be alleviated.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE A ZEN BUDDHIST TO PRACTICE DEEP MEDITATION
Nor do you have to be part of any religion, belief system, color or creed - it's on offer to us all. And it's one of the
most inexpensive, natural and effective ways to reduce stress, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue. It enhances our mental clarity,
memory and cognition, our ability to effectively cope and find solutions, our capacity to learn, grow, adapt and change things
about us for the better.
If you think about it, most forms of relaxation actually involve a degree of meditation, for example, leisurely reading allows
our conscious mind to focus on something other than our day to day life, giving it rest and rejuvenation.
Walking, pass-times and hobbies gives us a chance to let go of our thoughts and stop instructing our minds to continually
perform tasks it is bored of and overworked with.
Sleep switches off that chattering conscious mind and allows the unconscious mind to process the data into a more efficient
bank - think of how you have to de-fragment a busy computer on a regular basis to ensure optimal performance!
MEDITATION DOES NOT RECOGNIZE STATUS OR MONEY!
We are all born equal where meditation is concerned. What do I mean? Well, you could have billions piled away in the bank
or not a penny to your name but, either way, you can enjoy the same riches that meditation brings to your mental well being.
For all intents and purposes it's a free commodity that no one can deny you or genuinely charge the earth for.
It will not change your circumstances but will change the way you cope with them. It can give you the opportunity to improve
the way you feel, the way you think and, ultimately, the way you live your life!
The effectiveness of meditation comes from the fact that one can achieve a state of deep relaxation in just a few minutes.
When we settle down into a state of deep relaxation, the body and mind are refreshed and revitalized. This gives us many good
effects that are both immediate and long lasting.
Health Benefits of Regular Meditation Include:
Lower Blood PressureBetter SleepAnti-AgingLess AnxietyFaster HealingDecreased Substance AbuseLower CholesterolStronger
Immune Response Meditation, Stress and a Healthy Heart.
The results above have been demonstrated in many rigorous scientific studies, a few of which are mentioned below. Researchers
have found that meditation lowers levels of stress hormones. In fact, by decreasing the level of one such hormone –
epinephrine -- meditation has been shown to reduce the amount of cholesterol in the blood and therefore help arteries to remain
Reduction of stress hormones also supports the healthy functioning of the immune system.
This reduction in stress hormones may be explained by the relaxed state that comes about through meditation. Electroencephalograph
(EEG) studies of the brain in those who are meditating show that meditation boosts the intensity of alpha waves –
associated with quiet, receptive states -- to levels not seen even during sleep.
This relaxed state combats anxiety, and this is confirmed by research which has found lowered levels of lactic acid in
the blood. (High levels of lactic acid are associated with anxiety.) Another effect of meditation is that breathing slows,
so the body uses less oxygen.
Meditation has been found to be particularly helpful for the heart. Meditators have been found to have improved blood
circulation, as well as a lowered heart rate, which places less demands on the heart.
A 1998 study published in Psychosomatic Medicine showed that people who practiced transcendental meditation (TM) had lower
levels of lipid peroxide than those who didn't. Lipid peroxide can contribute to atherosclerosis and other chronic diseases
associated with aging.
A 1999 study published in the same journal showed that people who practiced TM had lower blood pressure immediately after
meditating than did the control group.
Help for Fibromyalgia, Psoriasis, IBS, and More
A 1998 study in Alternative Therapies showed that meditation helped decrease symptoms such as pain and sleeplessness in
patients with fibromyalgia, a disease characterized by muscle pain, fatigue, and mild-to-moderate depression.
In a 1998 study at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, psoriasis patients who listened to a mindfulness meditation
audiotape during their ultraviolet light therapy experienced faster healing than those who had the light therapy alone.
Meditation has also been associated with a longer life span, better quality of life, fewer hospitalizations, and reduced
health-care costs. It has also shown promise as an adjunct therapy in relieving mild depression, insomnia, tension headache,
irritable bowel syndrome, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS), as well as in controlling substance abuse.
Meditation is Easier Than You Think!
With such overwhelming evidence of the benefits of meditation, why isn't everyone meditating?