Meditation is one of the excellent ways to achieve a better sense of well-being as supported by many studies in the field of meditation and health. One of the most prominent effects of meditation is the significant reduction in the stress experienced by the cardiovascular system. The presence of psychological stress stimulates the sympathetic nervous system leading to the release of cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine. All these hormones eventually lead to increased heart rate, increased blood pressure and vasoconstriction of the arteries subsequently yielding cardiovascular compromise in the long run. Furthermore, these events lead to faster development of atherosclerotic plaques contributing to cerebrovascular accident (stroke) and myocardial ischemia or myocardial infarction.
Meditation was seen to reduce the activation of the sympathetic nervous system during episodes of psychological stress, which actively reverses the effects on the heart and blood vessels. The National Institute of Health has funded the research on meditation and confirms the benefits of meditation on health including physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits.
The American Heart Association including the American Journal of Cardiology has supported the effects of meditation on heart health. But aside from the many benefits of meditation on the heart, there are other health advantages of employing meditation including:
Relaxation from meditation helps enhance the immune function. In fact, a study at the Ohio State University observed that daily meditation may reduce the risk of the reoccurrence of cancer. Also, progressive muscle relaxation during meditation may boost the natural killer cells, which are important cells to resist infection and development of malignant tumors.
Meditation was also seen to improve the fertility of men and women as seen in a study at the University of Western Australia. According to the study, women are more likely to conceive when they experience relaxation. Moreover, men may also have increased sperm count and motility when they are relaxed.
Enhanced emotional health
Meditation is also beneficial for the limitation of unhealthy emotional states and neurosis through progressive relaxation of the mind, body and soul.
Reduces irritable bowel syndrome
The State University of New York recommends meditation as an alternative remedy for irritable bowel syndrome. When stress is out of place, the bowels also tend to be relieved of stress from irritable bowel syndrome maybe as a result of stabilization of hormones.
Provides anti-inflammatory effects
If you are experiencing inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, psoriasis, asthma and the like, meditation can also be an adjunct therapy. Stress often leads to an increased inflammatory process resulting in various inflammatory conditions. Meditation, according to a research in Emory University, may switch off the stress cycle and relieve stress-related inflammation.
Meditation is indeed a very versatile management for most conditions rooting from its basic effect, which is relaxation of the body, mind and human soul.
Jenny Carter is a meditation and yoga instructor. Before becoming one, she is a psychology graduate and worked as a guidance counselor in a primary school in the US.