{"id":556076630089,"title":"How to Meditate: What Does Medical Research Say?","created_at":"2021-12-22T11:46:30-05:00","body_html":"\u003cscript type=\"application\/ld+json\"\u003e\/\/ \u003c![CDATA[\n{\n \"@context\": \"https:\/\/schema.org\",\n \"@type\": \"Article\",\n \"headline\": \"How to Meditate: What Does Medical Research Say?\",\n \"keywords\": \"how to meditate\",\n \"description\": \"Our MD and research team reviews published medical studies on meditation that provide guidance on how to meditate. 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Most patients seeking to begin a meditation practice are doing so for the health and wellness benefits, and therefore should be conducting a practice that’s similar to that shown in medical research to be effective.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIn this article we’ll review published medical studies on meditation that should give guidance on how to meditate. We’ll discuss the practices used by subjects in those studies and how patients can use these practices to form a daily routine.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eMedical Trial Review\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThere’s a surprising amount of medical research proving the benefits of meditation for a wide range of conditions like reduced cardiovascular risk and improved mental health.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eA \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/30153464\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003erecent clinical trial\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e published in the Behavioural Brain Research journal found that a 13-minute daily guided meditation session was more effective than a 13-minute podcast listening session for stress and emotional regulation. The meditation group also had enhanced cognitive function relative to the control group after 8 weeks.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe study describes the guided meditation session as focusing mostly on breathwork and full body scans. Breathwork means a conscious focus on the pattern of breath which helps reduce negative external thoughts. A “full body scan” is a conscious focus on different parts of the body, with the instructor often asking patients to release any tension in that specific body part.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAn \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC3679190\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eextensive medical review\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e found that mindfulness meditation specifically was associated with improved psychological health. Study participants who practiced mindfulness meditation experienced an improved sense of well-being and decreased negative emotions.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eMindfulness meditation is a practice which involves consciously training the brain to be focused on the “present”. Participants may focus on their senses such as smell and hearing, while consciously releasing any thoughts that enter their mind.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAnother \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC4940234\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ereview\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences journal found that mindfulness meditation may directly enhance immune system function. The practice was found to reduce inflammatory biological processes such as NF-kB transcription activity.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eOne revealing \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/19922249\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emedical trial\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e compared the benefits and brain activity of focused, mindfulness meditation with simple relaxation, and found that only the mindfulness practice changed brain wave activity and influenced parasympathetic (relaxed) nervous system function.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eHow to Meditate\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe above review of medical research, while not extensive, suggests that mindfulness meditation is one of the more effective practices of meditation.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWhile there are many different ways to meditate, such as breathwork and \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/meditation-music\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emeditation music\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, the research suggests that the active focus involved in mindfulness meditation has benefits to the brain and body.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eMindfulness meditation involves sitting in a peaceful environment and consciously releasing or “observing” passing thoughts. The goal is to remain indifferent to the thoughts that enter your head, and to recognize that they’re involuntary.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThis type of meditation practice can alter brain wave activity and even increase grey matter in the brain.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIt makes sense logically that mindfulness meditation would have greater health and mental benefits than a simple relaxation practice. Lying down with your eyes closed may be a great way for an individual to destress, but it’s not really “meditation” in any valid sense of the term. Meditation is about training the mind to minimize the effect of the ego and involuntary thought.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eConclusion\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eFor optimal health and mental benefits, it appears from medical research as though mindfulness meditation is the best way to meditate. Mindfulness meditation can affect long-term health benefits such as decreased blood pressure, and also can cause structural changes in the brain over time that lead to reduced stress and a greater sense of peace.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThere are many ways to meditate, and we’re not suggesting mindfulness meditation is right for everyone. We respect every individual’s right to practice a type of meditation that suits their lifestyle, and we believe that any time of conscious meditative practice, even if it’s just laying at peace with your eyes closed before bed, is better than no practice at all.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e","blog_id":49281925193,"author":"Calloway Cook","user_id":26601750601,"published_at":"2021-12-23T00:30:00-05:00","updated_at":"2022-10-23T01:40:35-04:00","summary_html":"\u003cmeta charset=\"utf-8\"\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan\u003eWe review published medical studies on meditation that provide guidance on how to meditate. We discuss the practices used by subjects in those studies and how patients can use these practices to form a daily meditation routine that's backed by science.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e","template_suffix":"","handle":"how-to-meditate","tags":"_related:meditation"}

How to Meditate: What Does Medical Research Say?

How to Meditate: What Does Medical Research Say?


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If you look online for meditation guides, you’ll come across many articles with vague guidelines without any research backing. Most patients seeking to begin a meditation practice are doing so for the health and wellness benefits, and therefore should be conducting a practice that’s similar to that shown in medical research to be effective.

In this article we’ll review published medical studies on meditation that should give guidance on how to meditate. We’ll discuss the practices used by subjects in those studies and how patients can use these practices to form a daily routine.

Medical Trial Review

There’s a surprising amount of medical research proving the benefits of meditation for a wide range of conditions like reduced cardiovascular risk and improved mental health.

A recent clinical trial published in the Behavioural Brain Research journal found that a 13-minute daily guided meditation session was more effective than a 13-minute podcast listening session for stress and emotional regulation. The meditation group also had enhanced cognitive function relative to the control group after 8 weeks.

The study describes the guided meditation session as focusing mostly on breathwork and full body scans. Breathwork means a conscious focus on the pattern of breath which helps reduce negative external thoughts. A “full body scan” is a conscious focus on different parts of the body, with the instructor often asking patients to release any tension in that specific body part.

An extensive medical review found that mindfulness meditation specifically was associated with improved psychological health. Study participants who practiced mindfulness meditation experienced an improved sense of well-being and decreased negative emotions.

Mindfulness meditation is a practice which involves consciously training the brain to be focused on the “present”. Participants may focus on their senses such as smell and hearing, while consciously releasing any thoughts that enter their mind.

Another review published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences journal found that mindfulness meditation may directly enhance immune system function. The practice was found to reduce inflammatory biological processes such as NF-kB transcription activity.

One revealing medical trial compared the benefits and brain activity of focused, mindfulness meditation with simple relaxation, and found that only the mindfulness practice changed brain wave activity and influenced parasympathetic (relaxed) nervous system function.

How to Meditate

The above review of medical research, while not extensive, suggests that mindfulness meditation is one of the more effective practices of meditation.

While there are many different ways to meditate, such as breathwork and meditation music, the research suggests that the active focus involved in mindfulness meditation has benefits to the brain and body.

Mindfulness meditation involves sitting in a peaceful environment and consciously releasing or “observing” passing thoughts. The goal is to remain indifferent to the thoughts that enter your head, and to recognize that they’re involuntary.

This type of meditation practice can alter brain wave activity and even increase grey matter in the brain.

It makes sense logically that mindfulness meditation would have greater health and mental benefits than a simple relaxation practice. Lying down with your eyes closed may be a great way for an individual to destress, but it’s not really “meditation” in any valid sense of the term. Meditation is about training the mind to minimize the effect of the ego and involuntary thought.

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Conclusion

For optimal health and mental benefits, it appears from medical research as though mindfulness meditation is the best way to meditate. Mindfulness meditation can affect long-term health benefits such as decreased blood pressure, and also can cause structural changes in the brain over time that lead to reduced stress and a greater sense of peace.

There are many ways to meditate, and we’re not suggesting mindfulness meditation is right for everyone. We respect every individual’s right to practice a type of meditation that suits their lifestyle, and we believe that any time of conscious meditative practice, even if it’s just laying at peace with your eyes closed before bed, is better than no practice at all.




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