meditation & health

Helping patients to relax

In the busy world of the 21st Century it is often difficult to relax.

But when you are ill and living with a chronic condition that can become almost impossible.

Now a group of kidney dialysis patients are getting special help – a series of meditation CDs.

The CDs take the patients on a “guided journey”. To calm them, they are transported to tropical seas, summer meadows, desert island and jungles.

Success

Wendy Brown, manager of the dialysis unit at St Mary’s Paddington and Watford, said the CDs were already proving a great success.

“I tried them first myself and then I gave them to the patients and they found them very helpful…

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Mindfulness medication

ABC News: Many moons ago, a wandering Nepalese prince sat under a tree, vowing not to rise until he attained enlightenment.

After a long night of deep meditation, Siddhartha Gautama, better known as the Buddha, saw the light and declared that suffering is subjective, and can be reduced through self-awareness.

Today, 2500 years later, a growing number of American doctors and healthcare workers are teaching people who are ill how to apply Buddha’s epiphany to their lives.

In hospitals, businesses and community centers around the country, meditation is increasingly being offered as a method of stress reduction, and to help patients better cope with the physical pain and mental strain associated with many medical conditions, including heart disease and HIV infection…

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Meditation “Good for Brain”

Scientists say they have found evidence that meditation has a biological effect on the body.

A small-scale study suggests it could boost parts of the brain and the immune system.

Meditation has been practised since ancient times, mainly in the East.

It is now catching on worldwide as a means to reduce stress or to help with pain caused by various illnesses.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the United States enrolled 41 people in a trial of so-called “mindfulness” meditation.

It is a technique developed by an American stress reduction specialist – Jon Kabat-Zinn – for helping hospital patients deal with pain and discomfort.

BBC.com: Read the rest of the article…

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Meditation Benefits Schoolchildren, Study Finds

A Medical College of Georgia pilot study using meditation to help lower blood pressure in teens was so successful that the project has been extended to five high schools and a middle school.

Dr. Vernon Barnes, a physiologist at the Georgia Prevention Institute with over 30 years of experience in teaching and applying meditation techniques, conducted the pilot five years ago, teaching meditation to students with high-normal blood pressure at a Richmond County high school.

The results, published in a 1999 edition of Psychosomatic Medicine, cited lower blood pressure and other improvements among participants. The success spurred the GPI to expand the project to include 156 high school students and 80 middle school students in Richmond County. The study is funded by the American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health.

For the expanded study, all students in the six participating schools were tested for high-normal blood pressure. Half of those with the condition–a leading risk factor for hypertension–were invited to join in daily 10- to 15-minute meditation classes. The other half, a control group, received health education to lower blood pressure but no meditation training. The students who received meditation training also were instructed to meditate at home each evening.

“Blood pressure typically goes up with age, and the blood pressure of the control group did go up,” Dr. Barnes said. “The blood pressure of the meditation group went down.”

The blood pressure was tested during both normal conditions and stressful conditions, such as a virtual-reality driving simulation and a stressful interview. The improvements of the meditation group held up in all conditions, Dr. Barnes said. Also tested were other indicators of cardiac health, such as the volume of blood pumped from the heart with every beat…

Scienceblog.com: Read the rest of the article…

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