It may seem like an unlikely panacea, but meditation (not medication) is so effective for healing that in a 14-year controlled study, it was shown to reduce medical expenses by 28%. Meditation especially positively affected the costs for those aged 65 and older, who often are subject to exorbitant medical fees and pricey hospitalizations.
These results are further supported by a study showing a significant reduction in medical expenditure in subjects practicing meditation in conjunction with a comprehensive natural health program, which is often suggested by Ayurvedic practitioners and modern naturopaths alike.
The Many Benefits of Meditation
Why is meditation able to reduce our spending on western medicine? Its simple:
- 1. Meditation Reduces Pain Naturally – Brain imaging has proven that meditation can reduce our need for expensive and dangerous pain medications, both over-the-counter and those prescribed by our doctors. In a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, it was found that, “a little over an hour of meditation training can dramatically reduce both the experience of pain and pain-related brain activation.” Meditation has also been shown to outperform morphine in some cases, reducing pain by 57%.
- 2. Meditation Reverses Stress – Stress can cause cardiovascular disease, cancer, and even Alzheimer’s. Actually, stress is a primary factor in the development of nearly all disease. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD sifted through nearly 19,000 meditation studies, and found 47 trials that addressed issues that met their criteria for well-designed studies. Their findings, published in this week’s JAMA Internal Medicine, suggest that mindfulness meditation can help ease psychological stresses like anxiety, depression, and pain.
- 3. Meditation Boosts the Immune System – When we meditate, our bodies create more antibodies – the important soldiers that fight unwanted viruses and bacteria. One study confirmed that, after given weekly meditation training for 8 weeks, 48 biotech workers had significantly higher levels of antibodies than the control group. Meditation also increases electrical activity in the prefrontal cortex, the right anterior insula, and right hippocampus; the command center for the immune system.
- 4. Meditation can Cause a Placebo Effect, but it Doesn’t Have to in Order to Work – More than half of the clinical trials on new drugs fail because they perform no better than a sugar pill, or placebo. This is due to the strong ability of our minds to direct healing. When we meditate, we can alter our thoughts to be more positive and uplifting, which naturally supports the body in healing itself as it was intended to. The results are not just imagined, but real.
“Studies of meditation also show decreased sympathetic nervous activity and increased parasympathetic activity associated with decreased heart rate and blood pressure, decreased respiratory rate, and reduced oxygen metabolism. Functional neuroimaging studies have corroborated these subjective experiences by demonstrating the up-regulation in brain regions of internalized attention and emotion processing with meditation.”