Originally published November 16 2008
Meditation Benefits for Those with Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia
by Sheryl Walters
(NaturalNews) Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue are distressing disorders, characterized by pain, fatigue, and a multitude of other possible symptoms including depression and anxiety. Meditation has been shown to benefit people with Fibromyalgia (FM) and Chronic Fatigue syndrome (CFS) through calming the mind and easing the body.
What Is Meditation?
Meditation is an ancient practice used by many cultures as a way of experiencing a deep spiritual connection, such as a connection to God, inner peace, or a freeing from the struggles of the material world. Its roots have been in the East, but the West has also used meditation techniques like prayer and Celtic nature ceremonies.
There are many different types of meditation, such as following the breath, visualization, repeating a mantra, sound meditation, and mindfulness meditation. Meditation allows a person to take a break from the endless chattering of the mind and the worries and stress of everyday life. It engenders a feeling of relaxation and peace, whilst producing mental clarity and alertness. Meditation helps you to let thoughts or feeling that arise to pass without reaction. The wandering attention is gently brought back to the meditation. Studies show that you don't need to believe in a religion or even spirituality to benefit from meditation. Nor does it seem to matter what technique is used. The main criterion is to practice it regularly.
What Are The Benefits Of Meditation?
More even moods, fewer mood swings.
Increased energy and vitality
Improved memory and cognitive function
A sense of peace and calm
Physical benefits of Meditation:
Lowered blood pressure
Reduced heart rate
More balanced nervous system
May help balance the immune system to help the body resist disease and heal
Less physical stress and a more balanced the autonomic nervous system (which is what governs the stress response in the body.)
How Does Meditation Help People With FM and CFS?
Research has shown time and again that meditation can help people who suffer from chronic pain. It is also one of the most ancient, proven methods relieving stress.
Recently, meditation has been shown to reduce symptoms of FM and CFS. It is one of the most ancient systems for reducing stress, which is a key feature of these conditions. Stress exacerbates CFS and FM, as well as causing more of it, creating a vicious circle. Lowering stress in some way is important for sufferers, and meditation is free and doesn't require leaving the house or depending on others (unless you want to take a class, which is helpful, especially in the beginning). It also doesn't require special equipment or clothing, and there are no side effects.
Meditation has also been shown to improve sleep patterns and increase energy. Furthermore, research has continually shown that it reduces pain levels. It can enhance the body's ability to heal itself, and improve overall quality of life.
Physically, it can lower the level of cortisol in the body, which is a stress hormone. Mentally, it helps you to get your mind off of worries, pain, stress, and illness. It allows you to cultivate a focus on something completely unrelated to your life, your pain, or your illness.
Meditation is not a cure for FM or CFS; it is an ancient tool for relieving symptoms as well as taking control of your illness.
What Are The Downfalls of Meditation?
•Meditation is a simple exercise that is incredibly difficult to actually put into practice. Even for the healthiest people with few worries and anxieties, the mind is constantly flitting from one thought to the next. It takes discipline to remain still and not react to the thoughts, feelings, and stimulants of the world.
However, the benefits of taking this time to be disciplined are many. For people with CFS and FM, taking a break from their mind and illness is incredibly powerful. The best thing to do is to just book the time in everyday and see what happens without being desperate or judgmental of the results.
•It takes 20 minutes of daily practice which can be difficult to squeeze in.
However, if you see that the long term benefits are going to give improved sleep, more energy, and less pain, 20 minutes is probably worth is.
•Some doctors are concerned that people will think mediation is a cure for their illness and be disappointed.
Any good meditation teacher will tell you that meditation is not a cure for any illness or problem. It is a long term strategy that has proven useful to many people for centuries to improve their overall wellbeing.
What Is The Research?
One study, conducted in 1993, tested the effects of daily meditation on 77 Fibromyalgia patients. 51% of participants reported moderate to significant improvement in their symptoms.
In 1998, researchers studied the effects of meditation on FM. They found that meditative practices lessened the aches, sleeplessness, muscle pain, and depression experienced by people with this condition.
Another 1998 study revealed that people with CFS who used mind/body medicine practices such as meditation tripled their chances of improvement over a one year period, compared people with CFS who did not take engage in these practices.
About the authorSheryl is a kinesiologist, nutritionist and holistic practitioner.
Her website www.younglivingguide.com provides the latest research on preventing disease, looking naturally gorgeous, and feeling emotionally and physically fabulous. You can also find some of the most powerful super foods on the planet including raw chocolate, purple corn, and many others.
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