10 RESEARCH STUDIES ON MEDITATION

  1. Meditation Makes You Happier and Boosts Your Immune System

‘Brain mapping and MRI technology were able to determine that the regular practice of mindfulness meditation activates the left prefrontal cortex of the brain – the area associated with positive emotions.’ Psychosomatic Medicine (Davidson et al., 2003).

2. Meditators Have Lower Blood Pressure

‘Twenty hypertension patients were taught yoga, breath meditation, muscle relaxation, and meditation concentration. At the end of 12 months their systolic blood pressure had fallen from 159.1 to 138.7 – an average of over 20 points.’ British medical journal Lancet (Patel, 1973)

3. Meditation Reduces Cholesterol Levels

‘Twenty-three subjects with hypercholesterolemia were divided into two groups: 12 who practiced Transcendental Meditation for 13 months, and 11 who did not. Paired comparisons showed that meditators’ cholesterol dropped nearly 30 points.’ Journal of Human Stress (Cooper and Aygen, 1979)

4. Meditation Improves Your Overall Health

‘Compared how often 2,000 regular participants in the TM program used medical insurance with how often 600,000 non-meditators of the same insurance carrier used their insurance over a five-year period. The two groups were quite similar in terms of benefits, deductible, coinsurance payments, and distribution by gender. Yet the TM group used medical insurance less often in all categories.’ Psychosomatic Medicine (Orme-Johnson, 1987)

5. Meditators Live Longer and Age Better

‘Older people who practiced meditation had improved cognitive behavioural abilities and lived longer than those who did not. Seventy-three residents of eight homes for the elderly, with and average of 81, were randomly assigned to four different groups. One group received no treatment; the other three received one of three treatments; Transcendental Meditation, Mindfulness Training, Relaxation (low mindfulness) Program. The Transcendental Meditation group had a survival rate of 100 percent’ Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Alexander et al. 1989)

6. Meditation Helps Reverse Heart Disease

‘The researchers found that meditation, coupled with a low-fat, whole-foods, vegetarian diet; aerobic exercise; smoking cessation; and group support; not only lowers yours risk of “cardiac events,” but can actually reverse the ravages of coronary artery disease, the primary cause of heart attacks.’ Journal of the American Medical Association (Ornish, Dr D, 1998)

7. Meditation Makes You More Empathic

‘A researcher investigated the relationship between Zen meditation and the development of empathy in counselors, using psychologist Carl Rogers’s characterisation of empathy as both the capacity to sense what the client is feeling and the ability to communicate this sensitivity at a level attuned to the client’s emotional state. 12 students volunteered, 16 students were taught and the third group of 11 students were not taught. The results indicated that those who started out least empathic and those who were most “open to experience” improved the most. Journal of Humanistic Psychology (Lesh, 1970)

8. Mindfulness Speads the Healing of Psoriasis

‘Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn and his colleagues took 37 psoriasis patients who were about to undergo light treatment for their condition and randomly assigned them to one of two situations: a mindfulness meditation-based stress reduction intervention during treatments or a light treatment alone. The patients who meditated not only responded better to light treatment than the non-meditating group, but their psoriasis cleared up four times faster.’ Psychosomatic Medicine (Kabat-Zinn, Dr. J, 1998)

 9. Meditation Ranks with Chocolate as a Mood-Enhancer

‘The active ingredient in chocolate is a close cousin of the essential amino acid phenylalanine, which enhances production of the neurotransmitters that keep us happy. Meditation boosts the body’s natural concentrations of phenylalanine.’ Physiology and Behaviour (Jevning et al., 1977)

10. Meditation Relieves Pain

‘Ninety chronic-pain patients who were trained in mindfulness meditation in a 10-week stress reduction and relaxation program experienced significant reductions in present-moment pain, negative body image, and the inhibition of activity. Not only that, they popped fewer pills and felt better about themselves. At a 15-month follow up, they were still doing better on all measures except present-moment pain, and the majority continued to meditate – not a surprising finding, given that chronic pain can be one of the most debilitating conditions imaginable, and one of the most difficult to treat.’ Journal of Behavioural Medicine (Kabat-Zinn et al., 1985)

SOURCE: Meditation / Stephan Bodian

Curious to learn more on Meditation?
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