Recent studies funded by the federal government’s Office of Alternative Medicine prove that meditation helps alleviate symptoms and improve outcome for people who are ill or in pain. These studies were done over the course of 25 years, and they prove that the relaxation response works. Read more about it in Meditation As Medicine: Activate The Power of Your Natural Healing Force.
The research indicates that the relaxation response—in which meditators sit quietly, clear their minds, and focus on a calming phrase—achieves the following biological reactions: marked reduction in oxygen use; notably lower secretion of stress hormones; increase in immune factors, including blood leukocyte production; and calm brain-wave activity. These factors remain intact for several hours after this form of meditation ends.
As a result of the physical factors, meditators enjoyed improved health. Among the many improvements were the following:
• Premenstrual syndrome symptoms decreased by 57 percent.
• Migraine headaches decreased notably.
• Anxiety and depression were reduced significantly.
• Working people missed fewer work days due to illness.
• Patients with AIDS and cancer experienced decreased symptoms.
• Seventy-five percent of patients with insomnia were cured, and almost 25 percent improved.
• Patients with chronic pain required an average of 36 percent less treatment.
• Patients with high blood pressure recovered completely, or improved.