The Benefits of Meditation: Research Findings and Data
“Not only do studies show that meditation is boosting their immune system, but brain scans suggest that it may be rewiring their brains to reduce stress… Ten million American adults now say they practice some form of meditation regularly.”
Stein, J. (2003) The Science of Meditation, TIME magazine (cover story), August 4: 48-56.
The University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Center for Mindfulness Stress Reduction Program’s medical outcomes from 15,000 patients’ participation since 1979 have shown a 35% reduction in the number of medical symptoms and a 40% reduction in psychological symptoms.
Source: University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Center for Mindfulness Stress Reduction Program, under the direction of Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn (Kabat-Zinn 1982, 1985, 1986, 1992, 1998, Miller 1995, etc.)
Meditation training has been shown to reduce hypertension and blood pressure in amounts comparable to the changes produced by medication and other lifestyle modifications such as weight loss, sodium restriction, and increased aerobic activity.
Schneider 1995, Linden 1996.
Research suggests that by meditating regularly, the brain is reoriented from a stressful fight-or-flight mode to one of acceptance, a shift that increases contentment.
Lutz, A., Greischar, L., Rawlings, N.B., Ricard, M., Davidson, R.J. (2004) Long-term meditators self-induce high-amplitude synchrony during mental practice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 101, 16369-16373.
Dr. Richard Davidson at the University of Wisconsin, using the latest techniques in brain imaging technology (fMRI , EEG and MEG), has shown that meditation produces demonstrable positive effects in both brain and immune functions.
Davidson, R. J., Kabat-Zinn, J., et al. (2003). Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation. Psychosomatic Medicine, 65, 564-570.
The addition of meditation training to standard cardiac rehabilitation regimes has been shown to reduce mortality by 41% during the first two years, and a 46% reduction in recurrence rates of coronary artery disease.
Linden 1996, Zammara 1996, Ornish 1983.
Meditation has been shown to reduce both the experience of chronic pain and its inhibition of everyday activities. Pain-related drug utilization was decreased and activity levels and self-esteem increased.
Kabat-Zinn 1982, 1985, 1987.
Psychosocial interventions for heart disease have been shown to reduce the risk of further cardiac events by as much as 75% compared with a usual medical care condition. Over the past 20 years, mind/body medicine has provided ample evidence of improving the health of patients with heart disease and chronic illness, and preparing patients for a successful recovery after a surgical procedure.
Sobel, D. S. “MSJAMA: Mind Matters, Money Matters: The Cost-effectiveness of Mind/Body Medicine.” Journal of the American Medical Association: 284, 1705.
The skills derived from meditation training have been shown effective in significantly reducing the recurrence of major depressive episodes in patients treated for depression.
Teasdale, J., Cambridge University, 2000.
Extensive research on the benefits of meditation has shown significant improvements in patients with cancer, diabetes, asthma, psoriasis, headache, multiple sclerosis, and other ailments.
Source: University of Massachusetts Medical School Center forMindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society; used by permission.
Since 1967, Dr. Herbert Benson and the Mind-Body Medical Institute of Boston (affiliated with Beth Israel-Deaconess Hospital and Harvard Medical School) have produced a large and varied volume of work on the beneficial effects of meditation on physical and mental health, including the 1975 best-seller “The Relaxation Response.”
“A federal study published last year found that 62% of adults had used some form of nonconventional therapy in the previous 12 months, with top choices including prayer, deep-breathing exercises, and meditation.”
Wall Street Journal article, March 15, 2005. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advanced Data Report, 2004.
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