(NaturalNews) Meditation, perhaps once thought of as a questionable way to achieve inner peace or even considered pseudoscience, has quickly gained popularity by many seeking to give their overall health a boost.
In addition to it being a calming practice, it's heralded for its several health benefits ranging from improved pain tolerance to keeping depression at bay.
Top health benefits of relaxation techniques
Here's a look at some of the heath benefits of meditation.
1) Improved pain tolerance
Rather than pop an aspirin or iffy over-the-counter pain reliever of the moment, researchers are on board with the concept of using meditation to help reduce feelings of pain. One study, based on findings from Brown University researchers, found that mindfulness meditation, which involves awareness of breath and body sensations, showed that such meditation worked "by enabling a person to have better control over brain processing of pain and emotions." (1)
2) Depression reduction in pregnant women
Although more research is needed to establish the link between certain relaxation techniques and their ability to reduce depression among pregnant women, one study is making strides to demonstrate its effectiveness (2).
The study, conducted by Dr. Maria Muzik, M.D., who is an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan, suggested that mindfulness yoga can boost feelings of positivity between depressed pregnant mothers and their babies while they are still in the womb. "This study builds the foundation for further research on how yoga may lead to an empowered and positive feeling toward pregnancy," said Dr. Muzik (2).
3) Weight loss
According to holistic health practitioner Deepak Chopra, meditation and weight control go hand in hand. He explains that the chronic stress often faced leads to bad food choices that end up as excess belly fat and that meditation can help shift focus toward proper food choices and eating when one is hungry and calm, rather than stressed (3).
So important is meditation that the Mayo Clinic even lists a range of meditative techniques, from tai chi and mantra meditation to yoga and visualization, that may provide heath benefits (4). The Mayo Clinic states, "During meditation, you focus your attention and eliminate the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind and causing stress. This process may result in enhanced physical and emotional well-being (4)."
They suggest that such practices, even if done only a few minutes daily, can help with anxiety management, boost feelings of positivity and foster better sleep as well as help one handle more serious health conditions.
About the author: A science enthusiast with a keen interest in health nutrition, Antonia has been intensely researching various dieting routines for several years now, weighing their highs and their lows, to bring readers the most interesting info and news in the field. While she is very excited about a high raw diet, she likes to keep a fair and balanced approach towards non-raw methods of food preparation as well.