Scientific research continues to affirm the health advancing value of meditation as well as the opening up the pathways to the mind, when we ask the the fundamental question “who am I?” we develop a familiarity with our mind and an undiscovered potential for inner peace.
From the current research, pioneered by Dr Herbert Benson* and outlined by Dr Dharma Singh Khalsa in a recently published book, “Meditation is Medicine” , meditation creates a unique hypo-metabolic state, in which the metabolism is in an even deeper state of rest than during sleep.
Meditation is the only activity that reduces blood lactate, a marker of stress and anxiety.
The calming hormones melatonin and serotonin are increased by meditation, and the stress hormone cortisol is decreased.
Meditation has a profound effect upon three key indicators of aging: hearing ability, blood pressure, and vision of close objects.
Long-term meditators experience 80 percent less heart disease and 50 percent less cancer than non-meditators.
Meditators secrete more of the youth-related hormone DHEA as they age than non meditators. Meditating forty-five-year-old males have an average of 23 percent more DHEA than non meditators, and meditating females have an average of 47 percent more. This helps decrease stress, heighten memory, preserve sexual function, and control weight.
During sleep, oxygen consumption drops by 8 percent, but during meditation, it drops by 10 to 20 percent.75 percent of insomniacs were able to sleep normally when they meditated.
34 percent of people with chronic pain significantly reduced medication when they began meditating.
As the body of research on meditation has grown, it’s become evident that meditation confers not just strong psychological benefits but also profoundly important physiological benefits.
*Mind/Body Medical Institute Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School
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