(NaturalNews) Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years as a pathway to enlightenment and greater understanding of the universe. Until scientists are able to quantify and prove the spiritual effects of meditation, we will never see trials that prove spiritual benefits; however, research has shown that both mental and physical health can be enhanced with the practice of meditation.
The range of benefits so far identified are greater cognitive ability, improved immune response, reduced growth of cancer, alleviation of depression and stress, soothing skin conditions and may even slow aging and the onset of HIV. People that meditate have lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and have changes to the amygdala, the part of the brain that is involved with fear and threat response. This in turn leads to a reduction in violent tendencies and as such meditation can be used to treat violent offenders, this is why many reformed offenders become Buddhists or other religions that practices meditation.
It is believed that meditation also boosts emotional responses, reduces loneliness in the elderly, and helps the mind to overcome trauma both of the physical and emotional kind. By taking time to simply let the mind freewheel and visualize the thought processes, it is possible to calm the mind chatter associated with stress disorders and addiction recovery. A study carried out in 2010 into the effects of meditation on the treatment of alcoholics found that those who meditated were less likely to relapse as they were less likely to suffer from the anxiety and depression commonly found whilst in recovery.
Meditation needs no trials to prove it safe, it is based on thousands of years of knowledge
Research into the effects of meditation has for the most part been restricted to small trials that have received little or no funding from government or large corporations. This of course is because there is no profit to be made from someone who is healthy in body, mind and spirit. Whilst governments in the western world have not wholly recognized the positive effects of meditation, it is a practice that has been encouraged for many years in the east. It is intriguing to know that rates of cancers, mental illness, and obesity are historically much lower in these countries although diet of course plays an active role.
It has been discovered that the greatest effects from meditation can be gained by using a number of meditations spread over the day rather than one long meditation. By taking a couple of minutes at your desk to concentrate on your breathing four or five times a day you can feel much more relaxed, allow your mind to work better, improve relationships and also boost your immune system. Like most natural treatments and remedies, meditation works as a holistic treatment which has multiple benefits which science is only recently starting to acknowledge after thousands of years of practice.
About the author: D Holt has written over 200 articles in the field of alternative health and is currently involved in research in the UK into the mechanisms involved in healing due to meditation, hypnosis and spiritual healers and techniques. Previous work has included investigations into effects of meditation on addiction, the effects of sulfites on the digestive system and the use of tartrazine and other additives in the restaurant industry. new blog is now available at http://tinyurl.com/sacredmeditation or follow on twitter @sacredmeditate