Those of us who were brought up in the Western world are often taught to rely on pharmaceuticals and medicine to protect and promote good health. Pills that can be proven to be effective in treating disease are the sick person’s number one defense.
But the difficulties with many drug treatments are:
- They can sometimes be quite expensive
- They can possibly cause side effects
- They can treat only the symptoms and not the underlying cause
The allure of using drugs, of course, is that they have the potential to offer an instantaneous cure. And this is actually true in some instances. But for many, many conditions that are chronic and not acute in nature, alternative therapies may be the better way to go.
The Science Behind Meditation
Take for instance, the practice of meditation. Meditation costs absolutely nothing. It will not interfere with any other medications. It will not cause negative side effects. It can be done anywhere at any time. It can be learned by any individual and does not require professional consultation or input.
But could something as benign as meditation actually cure disease, you might be asking? Well, according to a recent study done by a research team in Brazil, elderly patients suffering from chronic heart failure significantly benefited from regular meditation sessions. Quality of life and norepinephrine blood levels improved. And in another study, patients experiencing mental distress were given either mindfulness meditation sessions or somatic relaxation training. The researchers found that both types of therapy benefited the patients. However, mediation in particular reduced “distractive and ruminative behavior.”
Why not give mediation a try? A 15-minute session each day may be surprisingly beneficial to your health. You may feel skeptical about trying such a seemingly simplistic solution to healing. Try to suspend that skepticism for one week and see if some part of you doesn’t feel more balanced or stronger after meditating. Here’s one mediation to try (you can find others online, or go to the local library and see what literature they have available).
Sit with your back in alignment, so that your weight is balanced centrally. In order for you to feel balanced, you need to settle any issues of bad posture. Focus on your breathing now. Start inhaling and exhaling in a balanced rhythm. You can inhale for a beat of three and exhale for a beat of three, or you can inhale for a beat of five and exhale for a beat of five — it all depends on your lung capacity. The important thing is to settle into a comfortable rhythm. Let any thoughts and anxiety go and continue to focus on your breathing. If you’re having difficulty quieting your mind, say the word “in” as you breathe in, and the word “out” as you breathe out. Be aware that you are breathing air into your whole body. Allow 10 minutes of breathing silence in which you put all thoughts aside. You’ll be surprised how quickly your body will learn to use this quiet time to heal and recharge!