It is hard to believe some still question whether meditation can have a positive effect on mind and body. I have been researching effects of meditation on health for 30 years and have found it has compelling benefits. Over the past year, I have been invited by doctors in medical schools and major health centers on four continents to instruct them on the scientific basis of mind-body medicine and meditation in prevention and treatment of disease, especially cardiovascular disease.
Research on Transcendental Meditation (TM), for example, has found reduced blood pressure and insulin resistance (useful for preventing diabetes), slowing of biological aging, and even a 48% reduction in the rates of heart attack, stroke and death. For example, a 2012 review of 163 studies that was published by the American Psychological Association concluded that the Transcendental Meditation technique had relatively strong effects in reducing anxiety, negative emotions, trait anxiety and neuroticism, while aiding learning, memory and self-realization. Mindfulness meditation had relatively strong effects in reducing negative personality traits and stress, and in improving attention and mindfulness. That review was narrowly focused on research showing that meditation alleviates psychological stress, so objective benefits such as reduced blood pressure were outside its scope.
In addition, the review only looked at studies in which the subjects had been diagnosed with a medical or psychiatric problem. These selection criteria resulted in the omission of many rigorous studies, which, when taken as a whole, show that there are indeed benefits for reducing stress and anxiety.
A 2013 meta-analysis (a type of rigorous review) of 10 controlled studies found that at least one meditation, Transcendental Meditation, significantly reduced anxiety. That is astounding that people can reduce their own pain, yet medical journals are typically fixated on the fact that it is often no better than a placebo.

In studies on long-term and even short-term practitioners of Transcendental Meditation, subjects report the experience of a fundamental level of unity and wholeness in their awareness. As can be seen in the presentations on meditation at the recent world economic summit in Davos, Switzerland, and the cover story in the February 2nd issue of Time magazine, the benefits of meditation are coming to be widely accepted by health professionals, business leaders and the media. It is now time for the medical profession to catch up and provide this information to those who depend on them for the most advanced advice for mind and body health.
Effects of the Transcendental Meditation Technique on Trait Anxiety: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials, David W. Meditation Has Limited Benefits, Study Finds, Lindsay Gellman, The Wall Street Journal, 6 January 2014.
Please note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional. As mindfulness and the practice of mindfulness meditation continue to grow in popularity as a practical means to relieve symptoms associated with many physical ailments and psychological disorders, it’s no surprise that those educational institutions known for their cutting edge research and progressive thinking would take notice. Read more here from Gray on how mindfulness and meditation are used at the UMass Medical School to enhance well being. If you've been around meditation for a while you know that it's helpful with a lot of things.
The reasons for meditation are as diverse as those who practice this ancient healing technique.
When it comes to stress and anxiety, most know that unless addressed through practices like meditation, these two silent killers can ultimately lead to physical and emotional distress.

Of all the meditation techniques practiced, one of the more challenging is Vipassana meditation. A very selective research review recently raised the question, leading to headlines such as the one in The Wall Street Journal that said the benefits are limited. This is called self-empowerment and is what medical professionals should desire for their patients and themselves.
Goroll and all those who wonder why anyone would meditate, my observation, based on decades of published scientific research, is that meditation greatly contributes to a healthy, balanced mind and body. According to Sandra Gray, mindfulness and meditation are not only used as therapeutic interventions, but doctors and clinicians alike use the practice of mindfulness when treating their patients.
Mindfulness is a therapeutic physiological state that can be achieved through a variety of practices and techniques that can be taught and learned, making it a powerful tool for individuals struggling with mental illness, as well as a beneficial personal practice for clinicians who treat them. Emotional challenges, physical problems, and spiritual maladies are just some of the things that meditation can help provide both relief and insight into.
Barnes, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, published online 9 October 2013, Abstract.

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