Meditation Facts & Research

Meditation facts & research has become mainstream and the practice of going within is accepted as a way to relax, deal with stress, calm the mind, heal the body,mind and soul, and furthers ones spiritual connection.

Some scientists believe that in a generation's time, we will see meditation as being as essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle as diet and exercise.

meditation facts

Thanks to all the research done today and all the literature and accounts available from many meditation experts,  we know now how to teach the art of going within in a way that anyone can benefit.

There is an overwhelming amount of scientific evidence that the benefits of meditative practices are indeed valid. New research and meditation facts have shown that a practice can physically change the brain. One can rewire the way the brain fires and several studies suggest that these changes through meditation can make you happier, less stressed and even nicer to other people. It can help you control your eating habits and even reduce chronic pain, all the while without taking prescription medication.

The good news is that physicians have increasingly started prescribing the practice instead of pills to benefit their patients. A Harvard Medical School report released in May 2014 found that more than 6 million Americans had been recommended to start practicing by conventional health care providers.

Meditation facts & research also showed that when people practice going within they were much nicer and pleasant to be with. Chuck Raison, a professor at Emory University, conducted a study in which he hooked up microphones to participants who had been taught a basic practice and those who hadn't. He then recorded them at random over a period of time. Raison found that these newly-trained meditators used less harsh language than people who had no meditation experience.

"They were more empathic with people," Raison said. "They were spending more time with other people. They laugh more, you know, all those things. They didn't use the word 'I' as much. They use the word 'we' more."

The Dalai Lama accredits most of his ability to be balanced and equiposed, to his own practice and also spoke that it is not the silver bullet cure-all for every ailment or emotion.

The Dalai Lama also said that going within takes patience.

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-By DAN HARRIS and ERIN BRADY July 28, 2011

A quiet explosion of new meditation facts & research indicating that meditation can physically change the brain in astonishing ways has started to push into mainstream.

Several studies suggest that these changes through meditation can make you happier, less stressed and even nicer to other people. It can help you control your eating habits and even reduce chronic pain, all the while without taking prescription medication.

Meditation is an intimate and intense exercise that can be done solo or in a group, and one study showed that 20 million Americans say they practice meditation. It has been used to help treat addictions, to clear psoriasis and even to treat men with impotence.

The U.S. Marines are testing meditation to see if it makes more focused, effective warriors. Corporate executives at Google, General Mills, Target and Aetna Insurance, as well as students in some of the nation's classrooms have used meditation.

Various celebrities also are known meditators, including shock jock Howard Stern, actors Richard Gere, Goldie Hawn and Heather Graham, and Rivers Cuomo, the lead singer of the band Weezer.

In one study, a meditation facts & research team from Massachusetts General Hospital looked at the brain scans of 16 people before and after they participated in an eight-week course in mindfulness meditation. The study, published in the January issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuro-imaging, concluded that after completing the course, parts of the participants' brains associated with compassion and self-awareness grew, and parts associated with stress shrank.

Recently, the Dalai Lama granted permission for his monks, who are master mediators, to have their brains studied at the University of Wisconsin, one of the most high-tech brain labs in the world, for meditation research.

Richie Davidson, a PhD at the university, and his colleagues, led the study and said they were amazed by what they found in the monks' brain activity read-outs. During meditation, electroencephalogram patterns increased and remains higher than the initial baseline taken from a non-meditative state.

But you don't have to be a monk to benefit from meditation, which is now gaining acceptance in the field of medicine.

Physicians have increasingly started prescribing meditation instead of pills to benefit their patients. A Harvard Medical School report released in May found that more than 6 million Americans had been recommended meditation and other mind-body therapies by conventional health care providers.

Perhaps the most mind-bending potential benefit of meditation is that it will actually make practitioners nicer. Chuck Raison, a professor at Emory University, conducted a meditation study in which he hooked up microphones to participants who had been taught basic meditation and those who hadn't. He then recorded them at random over a period of time. Raison found that these newly-trained mediators used less harsh language than people who had no meditation experience.

"They were more empathic with people," Raison said. "They were spending more time with other people. They laugh more, you know, all those things. They didn't use the word 'I' as much. They use the word 'we' more."

However, even the Dalai Lama admitted that meditation is not the silver bullet cure-all for every ailment or emotion.

"Occasionally, [I] lose my temper," he said. "If someone is never lose temper then perhaps that may come from outer space, real strange."

The Dalai Lama also cautioned that meditation takes patience, so new mediators should not expect immediate results.

"The enlightenment not depend on rank," he said, laughing. "It depends on practice."

Some scientists believe that in a generation, Americans will see meditation as being as essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle as diet and exercise.

ABC News' Maggy Patrick and Lauren Effron contributed to this report on meditation facts & research.

Other Meditation Facts & Research

Regular practicing of meditation has also proven to have anti aging effects. Tonya Jacobs, a scientist at UC Davis's Center for Mind and Brain, has just reported (on-line in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology) that meditators show improved psychological well-being, and that these improvements lead to biochemical changes associated with resistance to aging at the cellular level. Specifically, an analysis of meditators' white blood cells showed a 30 percent increase in an enzyme called telomerase, a chemical essential to the long-term health of the body's chromosomes and cells.

The scientists emphasize that meditation does not lead directly to cellular health and longevity. Instead, the practice appears to give people an increased sense of meaning and purpose in life, which in turn leads to an increased sense of control over their lives and to less negative emotion. This cascade of emotional and psychological changes is what regulates the levels of telomerase, the anti-aging enzyme.

Positivity is what is connecting the dots between meditative practices and a variety of health benefits. In a study scheduled for publication in the journal Emotion, UC Davis psychological scientist Baljinder Sahdra is reporting that meditation leads to a decrease in impulsive reactions -- another health improvement linked to psychological positivity. Impulsivity has been tied to an array of health problems, including addictions and other risky behavior.

It's well known to everyone that stress and distress can lead to poor health. Stress evokes a decline of telomerase and its healing properties. Research until now has not been certain on the exact order of psychological and physiological events in this chain and, what's more, that this chain of events can be reversed. But the tide is changing and information is pouring in everywhere. And meditation facts & research is an important part of it.

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