Meditation and Health

For a long time, people who meditated were regarded as otherwordly eccentrics. Fortunately, today we have moved beyond this stage. We finally know about the benefits of meditation and relaxation exercises. Even in the most stressful times, one who can meditate and thus relax has a very effective means of clearing the mind. We can free ourselves from dark thoughts, experience peace and relaxation and, after meditation, feel capable of tackling tasks with a fresh, clear view -- and to solve them successfully.

Meditate yourself healthy and happy

Many research studies confirm the health benefits of meditation:

  • Researchers at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina have found that relaxation and breathing exercises are almost as effective in lowering blood sugar levels as drugs in Type 2 diabetic patients.
  • American scientists have discovered that relaxation exercises can help younger patients in particular manage symptoms of migraines. In eight out of 10 migraine sufferers, the symptoms could be significantly alleviated by relaxation.
  • Scientists at the University of Wisconsin found that people who meditated regularly for just eight weeks significantly strengthened their immune system. They carried considerably more antibodies against influenza in their blood than people who did not meditate.
  • In addition, American long-term studies have shown that people who meditate suffer less frequently from diseases of the cardiovascular system, nerves, neck and lungs, but also less frequently from cancer. Hospital stays are reported less frequent among people who meditate, by 56 percent.

Deep relaxation can relieve pain

Extensive research shows a good meditation can lower brain wave frequency either to the alpha state (rest state) or to the theta state (relaxation state). This sleep-like state also slows down brain activity; as a result, both heartbeat and breathing slow down and blood pressure drops. At the same time, the body releases a large number of endorphins that relieve pain as well as anxiety or depression.

How to get started in meditation

Most importantly, find a place free of disruption. If necessary, turn off the phone. Dress comfortably in loose clothing to avoid constriction.

Four techniques for a successful meditation

For many, the most difficult part of meditation is to ignore distracting thoughts, especially those concerned with daily life. This is not easy. Try these techniques to get started in meditation.

  • Concentrate on breath. Breathe in slowly, accompanying it with the thought of "breathe in." Then let the breath flow out again and think, "breathe out". After some time you will no longer need these two words; rather, you will concentrate only on breath and will feel how you gradually become calmer and more relaxed.
  • Look at an object. For example, choose a plant or a piece of furniture like a chair, and look at it. No need to focus on it; simply let your eyes rest on it.
  • Embark on a journey of thought. Imagine a place that makes you happy or somewhere you would like to be. Immerse yourself in this image.
  • Use the help of a candle. Light a candle and look at candle flame. Observe how the flame reacts to the slightest movement of air. Then close your eyes and let the candle continue to burn in front of your inner eye.

To return from meditation, simply open your eyes or consciously wake up, such as with the phrase, "I am now strengthened again for everyday life."