Eastern mystics and healers have long known the benefits of meditation and positive, guided relaxation and scientific studies now confirm that the practice actually works. There are various types of meditation including yoga, guided visualization, transcendental meditation and mindfulness among others and all have proven to have similar biological effects.
How Meditation Works
Meditation is deceptively simple and primarily encourages deep breathing and relaxation. This relaxation activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is controls various ‘automatic’ body functions including blood pressure regulation, fertility, digestion, memory and the immune system.
Other than simply inducing relaxation, meditation sharpens focus and cuts out distractions to either bring you to the present moment or alter your state of consciousness depending on the type of meditation and has many health benefits;
Reduction Of Stress
Known stress hormones including cortisol and adrenaline trigger a flight or fight response in the body. The results include raising blood pressure and increased heartrate. This stress also constricts blood vessels restricting proper blood flow within the body.
Meditation and deep relaxation, which shifts the balance, releasing beneficial hormones like serotonin instead, feel good chemicals, which lower the heart rate and bring down blood pressure at the same time. Medical practitioners are now recommending meditation as a complementary technique, even an alternative, to pharmaceuticals to help reduce blood pressure.
Many doctors now admit that there is a close relation between one’s thoughts and physical pain. Anxiety, fear and negative thinking can manifest in physical pain or amplify existing physical pain.
Mindfulness meditation is a good alternative to pain killers as it observes and explores the pain sensation. This awareness can also activate the body’s natural healing properties.
This has been proven in clinical studies including one in which accomplished meditators were able to reduce chronic pain by up to 90 percent and up to 57 percent for their novice counterparts.
Reducing Anxiety and Depression
A 2007 German Study finally brought to light the real link between meditation and fighting anxiety and depression. Researchers had long discovered that patients suffering from anxiety and depression showed a significant smaller hippocampus, which continued to shrink the longer the patient remained in this negative state. The hippocampus is responsible for regulating emotions and long-term memory.
The 2007 study showed that people who meditate regularly had a larger hippocampus. Subsequent studies have proven a positive link between meditation and reductions in anxiety and depression symptoms.
Meditation might be what you need to reduce blood pressure quickly among many other health benefits. The practice is often difficult for beginners since the mind is extremely difficult to quiet and control. Free, guided meditation apps such as Thought Waves Pro will help you to easily establish your own effective relaxation practice and is a great tool for experienced meditators too.