The health benefits of meditation make a long list, which probably explains why a lot of people are into it. For many, meditation is a way to reduce stress and improve concentration levels. Although most people know about the mental benefits that meditation offers, few knew that it also helps improve a person’s physical condition. Typically, we might picture meditation as having to go to a Buddhist temple or travel to another end of the world. Many people do it right in the comfort of their own homes, practicing it and incorporating it into their daily life. So how does meditation change the brain and body? Read on to learn more.
Meditation is Good for the Brain
The University of Yale conducted a study in 2006 showing how medication can actually help increase the thickness of the cortex. The study included 20 participants that had been practicing meditation for 40 minutes every day but led otherwise typical lives, holding jobs in various industries. These participants were then compared to people who do not meditate. Results showed those who regularly meditated had more grey matter in the brain, which corresponds to perception involving visual and auditory senses.
Meditation Improves your Emotional State
Regular meditation results in an increase in activity in the part of the brain connected with lower levels of anxiety and a balanced emotional state. Practicing meditation for an hour three times every week can lead to positive changes in your mood. This is a common benefit of meditation, particularly among those who have high stress levels.
Meditation Improves your Circulation and Heart Rate
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine released a statement saying that meditation has a great effect on the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system controls our heart rate, breathing and blood flow. Through meditation, we can slow down the heart rate, giving us a relaxing and calming effect and helping improve our circulation and digestion.
Meditation Manages Pain
Another added health benefit of practicing meditation is highly effective it is in controlling pain. According to a 2011 study published by the Journal of Neuroscience involved 15 participants, all of which were able to experience some pain relief. Some were able to feel up to an astounding 40% pain relief. This was seen to be more effective than pain-relieving drugs which can lessen pain by only 25%.
In the summer of 2003, Psychosomatic Medicine published a study showing that people who are into meditation actually have a stronger immune system. The study divided its participants into two groups; one group meditated for eight weeks while the other group did not do any meditation. After eight weeks, the participants from both groups received a flu vaccine. It showed that those from the group who meditated had a significant increase in antibodies in their blood compared to those who did no meditation at all.
If you feel that your schedule is just too busy, you can always enrol yourself in an online meditation course, which will help you fit it into your day.