The diagnosis and prescription of meditative practices for the prevention/cure of ailments (both physiological as well as psychological) is something, which has received far less attention than it deserves. The benefits, which vary according to individuals, since the very act of meditation is such an intensely personal experience, are usually realized slowly but surely. On the whole, the effects of meditation are wholly dependent on a person`s mental makeup—on the extent to which one is at ease with oneself. Benefits are cumulative with regular practice. More can be accomplished with less effort. Drug Addiction The Transcendental Meditation technique has proven to be a successful coping strategy in helping to deal with drug addiction,' a useful tool in psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) by helping to control the immune system, and an effective manager of stress and pain. Prolonging Life Expectancy A strong link has also been established between the practice of Transcendental Meditation and longevity. Only two factors have been scientifically determined to actually extend life: caloric restriction and lowering of the body`s core temperature. Meditation has been shown to lower core body temperature. Stress Control Most of the people who get on meditation do so because of its beneficial effects on stress. Stress refers to any or all the various pressures experienced in life. These can stem from work, family, illness, or environment and can contribute to such conditions as anxiety, hypertension, and heart disease. How an individual sees things and how he or she handles them makes a big difference in terms of how much stress he or she experiences. Research has shown that hormones and other biochemical compounds in the blood indicative of stress tend to decrease during TM practice. These changes also stabilize over time, so that a person is actually less stressed biochemically during daily activity. This reduction of stress translates directly into a reduction of anxiety and tension. Literally dozens of studies have shown this. Pain Management Chronic pain can systematically erode the quality of life. Although great strides are being made in traditional medicine to treat recurring pain, treatment is rarely as simple as prescribing medication or surgery. Anxiety decreases the threshold for pain and pain causes anxiety. The result is a vicious cycle. Compared with people who feel relaxed, those under stress experience pain more intensely and become even more stressed, which aggravates their pain. Meditation breaks this cycle. Childbirth preparation classes routinely teach pregnant women deep breathing exercises to minimize the pain and anxiety of labor. Few call it breath meditation, but that`s what it is. Meditative techniques are also a key element in the curing arthritis. Meditation may not eliminate pain, but it helps people cope more effectively. Cancer and Other Chronic Illness Heart Disease and High Blood Pressure Meditation is a key component of Ornish therapy, the only treatment scientifically proven to reverse heart disease, besides research has also proven TM to be very successful in treating various heart ailments and high blood pressure. Infertility Couples dealing with infertility may become depressed, anxious and angry. When relaxation responses are taught to such stressed out, infertile couples, the meditators experience less distress and are more likely to get pregnant. Respiratory Problems Asthma, emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) all restrict breathing and raise fears of suffocation, which in turn makes breathing even more difficult. Studies show that when people with these respiratory conditions learn breath meditation, they have fewer respiratory crises. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) Meditation can ease physical complaints such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS), tension headaches and other common health problems. Meditation gives people a psychological buffer so that life`s hectic pace doesn`t knock them out. Practicing meditation is like taking a vacation once or twice a day. When you nurture yourself, you accrue tremendous spin-off benefits. For example, when you are under high stress, it can worsen symptoms of PMS because stress can cause the muscle tension associated with PMS complaints such as fatigue, soreness and aching. On the other hand, when you meditate regularly, you dramatically reduce your body`s response to stress, and that can ease the discomfort associated with PMS. The results may not be apparent for several months. You will probably need to meditate regularly for several months before your body responds positively. Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Ulcers, and Insomnia Meditation can also improve irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, and insomnia, among other stress-related conditions. Eighty percent of the people who use meditation to relieve insomnia are successful. Meditation can help prevent or treat stress-related complaints such as anxiety, headaches and bone, muscle and joint problems. Meditation also provides an inner sense of clarity and calm, and that, in itself, may help ward off certain illnesses. The longer an individual practices meditation, the greater the likelihood that his or her goals and efforts will shift toward personal and spiritual growth. Many individuals who initially learn meditation for its self-regulatory aspects find that as their practice deepens they are drawn more and more into the realm of the 'spiritual.' While working with many cancer and AIDS patients, physicians have observed that many are most interested in meditation as a way of becoming more attuned to the spiritual dimension of life. She reports that many die 'healed,' in a state of compassionate self-awareness and self-acceptance.
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