7 Health Benefits of Meditation

This is a piece of advice given by yogis, for thousands of years: take a deep breath and relax.

Focus on melting the tension in the muscles and all the nagging worries will disappear.

There is now a comprehensive scientific study that meditation and deep relaxation changes our bodies on a genetic level.

Researchers at Harvard Medical School have found that long-term practitioners of relaxation methods such as yoga and meditation have far more active disease-fighting genes compared to with those who do not practice such activities.

In particular, they have identified genes that protect against disease, pain, infertility, high blood pressure and even rheumatoid arthritis.

The changes, the researchers say, were caused by the so-called “relaxation effect” – a phenomenon that can be just as powerful as any drug, but without the side effects.

“We found a number of active disease-fighting genes in the relaxation people that were not active in those in the control group,” says study leader Dr. Herbert Benson, associate professor of medicine at the Harvard Medical Institute.

Active genes help fight inflammation, kill diseased cells and protect against cancer, the scientists add.

They found that the more people practiced relaxation techniques such as meditation or deep breathing, the more likely they were to protect against arthritis and joint pain. Thus, they strengthen their immunity, maintain healthy hormone levels, lower blood pressure.

This explains why relaxation induced by meditation or repeating mantras is considered a powerful remedy in traditions such as Ayurveda in India or Tibetan medicine.

Here are seven health benefits of meditation and deep relaxation.

1. Boosting immunity

Relaxation has an effect on boosting immunity in recovering cancer patients. A study at Ohio State University found that progressive muscle relaxation, when practiced daily, reduced the risk of breast cancer recurrence.

Another Ohio State study found that a month of relaxing exercise strengthened natural cells, giving them greater resistance to tumors and viruses.

2. Emotional balance

Emotional balance is the ability to enjoy life as it is, not to worry, not to try to change circumstances, but to accept them. In general – to be freed from neurotic behavior caused by a traumatized ego.

This is very difficult to achieve completely, but meditation is certainly a way to help with neuroses and unhealthy emotional states. As the consciousness is cleansed of emotionally negative accumulations, an excellent balance is achieved.

3. Increasing fertility

Research at the University of Western Australia found that women are more likely to conceive during periods when they are calm rather than anxious. A study by Trakia University in Turkey points out that stress reduces the number of sperm and their motility, which means that meditation and relaxation give a boost to male fertility.

4. Relieves Irritable Bowel

When patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome began to practice meditation and relaxation twice a day, their symptoms of bloating, diarrhea and constipation improved significantly .

Meditation is so effective that researchers at the State University of New York recommend it as an effective treatment.

5. Lowers blood pressure

A Harvard Medical School study found that meditation lowers blood pressure because the body becomes less sensitive to stress hormones.

Meanwhile, a report in the British Medical Journal found that patients taught how to relax had significantly lower blood pressure.

6. Anti-inflammatory action

Stress leads to inflammation, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, asthma and skin diseases such as psoriasis, say researchers from Emory University in the US. Relaxation can help prevent and treat these symptoms. According to a study by McGill University in Canada, meditation clinically improves psoriasis symptoms.

7. Leads to Tranquility

The simple difference between those who meditate and those who do not is that for the contemplative mind thought comes and goes, whereas for an ordinary mind it spawns a storm of fixations.

Meditators look at things much more calmly, which makes them emotionally balanced.

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