Research on the Health Benefits of Meditation

The benefits of meditation have been been widely talked about in the press over the years, and the focus of these articles has mainly been on reducing stress and anxiety, however, the benefits are wider ranging than this, there is scientific evidence of many health and well being benefits with the regular practice of meditation.

 Included are

  • Reducing heart attack and stroke risk
  • Reducing blood pressure
  • Improving sleep patterns
  • Balancing the immune system
  • Helping prevent depression
  • Improving cognitive function, including memory, intelligence, learning ability and concentration. 
  • Lowering cortisol levels which reduces stress
  • Improving Diabetes sypmtoms 
  • Improving Asthma symptoms

Below are a few articles that have been published in recent years.  

Science Now magazine, Meditation halves risk of heart attack (Nov 2009) Meditation can cut the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death by almost 50% in patients with existing coronary heart disease, according to a new clinical trial. The findings indicate that relaxation and mental focusing can be as effective as powerful new drugs in treating heart disease. (Feb 2010) Recent studies of mindfulness meditation have shown evidence it may bolster the immune system and slow the progression of disease in patients with HIV/AIDS, improve blood pressure and reduce psychological distress in young adults, improve the emotional well-being and mental health of breast cancer patients, and be as effective as medications in treating insomnia.

USA Today (Aug 2009) Meditation being used in hospitals and schools. … Studies suggest the practice can ease pain, improve concentration and immune function, lower blood pressure, curb anxiety and insomnia, and possibly even help prevent depression. There is now hard evidence that meditation can cut stress, newspapers reported October 10 2007 Meditation lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

New York Times 2007 Recent research has shown that meditation is good for the brain. It appears to increase grey matter, improve the immune system, reduce stress and promote a sense of wellbeing.

The Daily Telegraph “after meditation training of 20 minutes once a day for only five days, people, had measurably less anxiety and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

CNN, July 2000 and referencing the March edition of the journal Stroke Practising meditation may play an important role in controlling certain risk factors for heart disease. Practice for 20 minutes a day has a positive, measurable effect on the build up of fatty deposits in arteries or atherosclerosis…just a small reduction could reduce the risk of heart attack by 11 % and reduce the risk of stroke by 15%.

There is significant data that meditation can enhance healing – Executive Director, Centre for Mindfulness in Medicine, University of Massachusetts

Dr Craig Hassed, senior lecturer, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences at Melbourne's Monash University, says: "Meditation is a great adjunct for a lot of things, from chronic pain to improving sleep, helping reduce blood pressure and coping with stress, anxiety and depression."

Arthritis Today magazine Recent studies suggest meditation may balance the immune system to help the body resist disease. Many doctors today are recommending meditation; it is taught in many clinics, hospitals and health trusts, and is endorsed by universities such as Harvard and Stanford. It is becoming an accepted therapy for many conditions; some insurance providers are even paying for it because it doesn’t require medications, special equipment, or lengthy doctor’s visits.

BBC News (November 2009) Meditation ‘eases heart disease’. The American Heart Association said they had randomly assigned 201 African Americans to meditate or to make lifestyle changes. After nine years, the meditation group had a 47% reduction in deaths, heart attacks and strokes. The research was carried out by the Medical College of Wisconsin with the Maharishi University in Iowa.

Times Online Meditation therapy should be routinely available on the NHS to treat recurring depression and to help tackle Britain’s growing mental health problems, according to a new report. The study, commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation, found that fewer than one in 20 GPs prescribed meditation therapy for patients suffering depression, despite NHS guidance suggesting that it could halve depression relapse rates.

University Hospital Varanasi 1988 a study of over 1000 patients who had no relief from normal medical interventions had either complete relief or partial relief of their symptoms in 80% of cases, they were suffering  from Diabetes, Asthma, Rheumatoid Arthritis, IBS, Anxiety and Thyrotoxicosis. 

If you would like to know how a meditation programme can help the well being of your staff then please get in touch.