Meditation is relatively new in the practice of modern medicine but very old in origin. Meditation can be traced back to India thousands of years ago. It was introduced to Western countries like the United States fairly recently, and its many health benefits have secured its place as a huge part of modern medicine.
What Is Meditation?
Meditation is a loose term that encompasses many techniques of calming, concentration, and relaxation. It can be used for several ailments and is particularly helpful in the field of mental health. At its core, meditation is meant to help the participant focus on three main areas:
- Physical body: The physical body is kept still, tranquil, and calm. Sometimes slight movements are important, as meditation mixed with yoga practices can be used to calm and focus the body.
- Inner faculty: This is the conscious brain that thinks and observes. The parts considered inner faculty include the mind (which sees duality—good and evil, hot and cold, etc.), intellect (which weighs, perceives, judges), ego (the doer and experiencer), and Chitta (encompassing memories and lessons learned).
- Deep inner self: This is the source of all intelligence, knowledge, and witnesses the inner faculty as a whole. The deep inner self is always present and represents unconscious actions and sustained life. When meditating, the inner faculty and deep inner self will interact, with the inner faculty being conscious of the deep inner self.
Many people will sit as they meditate, often in a tranquil or peaceful spot with little distraction. Most people close their eyes and still their bodies as they meditate, but hold a position where they will not sleep or nap.
What Can Meditation Treat?
Meditation can treat a myriad of different ailments, both physical and mental. Meditation is rarely prescribed on its own, because it alone cannot usually bring full healing, but will be a part of a larger, holistic treatment plan. Many people who suffer from anxiety, depression, insomnia, or personality disorders may benefit from meditation. Other ailments meditation can help include:
- Asthma: Breathing exercises with meditation’s calming effects can help with asthma symptoms.
- Certain cancers: Meditation provides a tranquil perspective change when dealing with life-threatening diseases such as cancer.
- Heart and pulmonary issues: Many heart and pulmonary issues benefit from meditation due to its calming and stress-reducing properties. It’s a healthy way to think through lifestyle changes and overall health.
- Chronic pain: Those who suffer from chronic pain can practice meditation for temporary relief from that pain.
Benefits of Meditation
Meditation is prescribed for the above ailments for many reasons. Positive effects of meditation include but are not limited to:
- Stress reduction: Meditation allows the mind to calm and focus on what is going right, prioritize and take the necessary next steps, and take in the present moment. When people take the time to work through their stressors with meditation, they can enjoy an increased sense of calm.
- Decreased anxiety: Similar to stress, meditation allows those experiencing anxiety to slow down, find that inner self, and take in meditation’s calming properties.
- Decreased depression: Meditation allows depressing thoughts to step aside as the patient calms themselves and dives into that deep inner self.
- Reduction in physical pain: According to the National Center of Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), mindfulness meditation, in particular, helps control physical pain. Some people practicing this form of meditation found they were less inclined to use painkillers.
- Improved memory: Since meditation forces you to slow down and take things in consciously, it can help the participant move important information into long-term memory and improve short-term memory.
- Increased efficiency: Through mediation, one can slow down, think through problems, and make a plan without rushing, being sloppy, or forgetting steps, therefore increasing efficiency. It may also increase multi-tasking skills.
- Lowered blood pressure and reduced cholesterol: Due to meditation’s ability to reduce stress and pain, meditation will also help lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol as an added health benefit.
- Decreased pain from irritable bowel syndrome: Meditation’s calming effects will also calm irritable bowels that can be brought on by stress or overexcitement.
- Decreased insomnia: Those who practice meditation often have an easier time falling asleep with less stress, allowing deeper sleep to occur. They can then feel more well-rested when they wake up.
- Decreased dependency on alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs: Those in recovery from substance use disorders benefit from meditation as a way to regroup and focus on why being sober is best for them. Meditation can inspire self-soothing and good decision-making skills.
- Reduced menopausal or period-related ailments: Meditation can help alleviate period pain as well as the frequency of hot flashes for those going through menopause.
Talk to your doctor or therapist about meditation today to help supplement your treatment plan. Meditation is good for anyone, even if they aren’t diagnosed with any mental or physical ailment.
Those who suffer from stress, anxiety, insomnia, trauma, or other mental health issues can benefit from meditation. Meditation is a great way for children to learn methods of self-soothing and become aware of their mental and physical capabilities. For some teens suffering from trauma, they’ll need more than meditation, and a treatment plan at a long-term residential facility is crucial. For help with your teen daughter who has severe trauma, behavioral issues, or other mental health concerns, call Havenwood Academy. Our professional and experienced staff will use a holistic approach to treatment that is specifically catered to your daughter. That plan may include different meditative practices, and will definitely include research-based therapies that meet the needs of your daughter. Our Utah facility is prepared for extreme cases of trauma and attachment issues, and we want to help your daughter. Call us today at (435) 586-2500 for more information on Havenwood Academy and our practices to help your teen.
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