Turns out Science is a Fan of Meditation

Meditation

Meditation has been around for thousands of years.  In parts of the Eastern world, meditation is an ingrained in the culture as baseball and apple pie are in America.  Until the last few years, meditation in the Western world has been confined to martial artists and hippies in Volkswagen vans.  As more people begin a regular meditation practice the amount of data demonstrating the positive benefits of meditation continues to grow.  Studies show a regular meditation practice and have the following benefits to your health.

Meditation Changes Your Brain

A regular meditation practice has been shown to physically alter the structure of your brain.  A study performed by the University of Wisconsin found meditation to increase the thickness of gray matter in certain regions of the brain.  Meditation has also been shown to decrease the density of brain tissue in areas associated with anxiety and worry.  

Meditation Reduces Depression

Mindfulness has been shown to be as effective as antidepressants at treating depression.  This gives doctors an additional option for treating mental health issues without the risk of side effects.  Scientists are not yet certain exactly how meditation treats depression but MRIs have shown reduced activity in the amygdala, the brain region that regulates stress response, as well as the brain network activated when your mind wanders.

Lowers Blood Pressure

In a 2008 study performed at the Massachusetts General Hospital patients who suffered from high blood pressure were asked to follow a mindfulness-based stress reduction program for three months.  At the end of the study, 40 out of the 60 patients showed lower blood pressure and were able to decrease their medication.

 Treats Pain Better Than Morphine

A study performed by Forest Baptist University could reduce pain intensity by 40 percent and reduce the unpleasantness of pain by 57 percent.  Morphine on the other hand only shows a 25 percent reduction in the intensity of pain.  This study did have a small sample size making it difficult to draw any definitive conclusions.

 Can Improve Your Decision Making

Professors at the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging found that people who meditate have larger amounts of folding in the cortex of their brains.  This increased folding, or gyrification, is suspected to improve the brain’s ability to process information, form memories, and make decisions

 

 

 

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