Meditation isn't just mystical nonsense

November 02, 2015 | by Siva Krishnan, MD

Taking a mental time out each day could pay off big.

Several studies have found that mindful meditation could reduce general pain and anxiety, curb migraines and even improve mental connections in people experiencing mild memory lapses.

It’s worth the effort to squeeze a short meditation session into your schedule — especially if you’re busy.

Meditation can have a significant impact on your health. You sleep better, feel calmer and are better able to tolerate pain. There is no downside!

Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center found that as few as three 20-minute meditation exercises reduced anxiety and pain in healthy people with no previous meditation experience.

Participants with mild memory loss practiced meditation for eight weeks and experienced improved recall, researchers found. In a separate study, researchers found that eight weeks of meditation helped make migraines less severe and less frequent for participants.

“We’re coming to recognize that meditation changes people’s brains,” said Rebecca Erwin Wells, MD, an assistant professor of neurology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, in a news release. “And we’re just beginning to gain understanding of what those changes mean and how they might benefit the meditator.”

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health studies have shown meditation practice may lower blood pressure and relieve symptoms of anxiety, depression and insomnia.

Are you in?

Sign up for meditation and yoga classes at Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness Center.

Dr. Sivakami Krishnan, MD, is a family medicine physician at Elmhurst Memorial Elmhurst Clinic.

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