We live in stressful times and unfortunately stress has a negative impact on health. One of the best tools we have for
managing stress is meditation. In recent years several studies have been published demonstrating the effectiveness of meditation.
2005 a study published in NeuroReport demonstrated that meditation changed the physical structure of the brain in areas responsible
for attention, self awareness, sensory processing and the areas responsible for planning. It was suggested that meditation
in older persons might reduce age related brain degeneration.
In 2006 it was found that people who were regular
meditators demonstrated a structural change in their brains that reduced their response to pain by 40-50%. The benefits were
seen after meditating twice a day for 20 minutes over five months.
In 2002 a study was published about experienced Tibetan
meditators demonstrating that they were able to control their body temperature in response to a cold environment, they were
also able to lower their body metabolism 64%!
In 2003 University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers published findings
suggesting meditation as a treatment for stress and pain associated with chronic disease. They found regular meditation to
decrease anxiety and promote a positive mental state.
Early cognitive impairment is considered to be a disease on the
rise. In 2006 researchers at the University of Pennsylvania began a study to evaluate the effectiveness of meditation in the
prevention of this form of dementia.
For many years I have been a proponent of meditation in the treatment of
stress and pain and have seen firsthand the positive benefits of meditation on the patients I care for. It seems the American
Medical Association has also seen the light and have embraced this wonderful and ancient treatment. This video offers a glimpse
at the results of a new continuing education program for doctors in mindfulness meditation.