You probably already know the usual benefits of meditation, like more focus and easier sleep. But can the same experience that the Beatles used to explore their inner world really be used for treatment of medical conditions? Extensive scientific research from the last 30 years all points to the answer yes. Here is what the medical community has discovered about this practice, from Meditation As Medicine: Activate The Power of Your Natural Healing Force.
• Meditation creates a unique hypometabolic state, in which the metabolism is in an even deeper state of rest than during sleep. During sleep, oxygen consumption drops by 8 percent, but during meditation, it drops by 10 to 20 percent.
• Meditation is the only activity that reduces blood lactate, a marker of stress and anxiety.
• The calming hormones melatonin and serotonin are increased by meditation, and the stress hormone cortisol is decreased.
• Meditation has a profound effect upon three key indicators of aging: hearing ability, blood pressure, and vision of close objects.
• Long-term meditators experience 80 percent less heart disease and 50 percent less cancer than nonmeditators.
• Meditators secrete more of the youth-related hormone DHEA as they age than nonmeditators. Meditating forty-five-year-old males have an average of 23 percent more DHEA than nonmeditators, and meditating females have an average of 47 percent more. This helps decrease stress, heighten memory, preserve sexual function, and control weight.
• 75 percent of insomniacs were able to sleep normally when they meditated.
• 34 percent of people with chronic pain significantly reduced medication when they began meditating.
Never meditated before? The first step in meditation is stripping away preconceived notions.