When we talk about healing, most people automatically think about doctors and medication. While this is the conventional method that we are used to now, conventional medicine is not the only way for the body to heal. Another well known way for healing is through our minds. I’m not saying that meditation can automatically kill bacteria or get rid of your flu – but it does facilitate healing and help you become a stronger and healthier person. How is this done?
What is meditating anyway?
Meditation refers to a continued and extended thought – a deep kind of contemplation and reflection. It can also be refered to as a repetition of a sound, word, phrase or muscular activity, tuning into them while disregarding everyday thoughts that come to mind. This means that, aside from sitting in lotus position and closing your eyes, anything can be a form of meditation – dancing, walking, making art… anything.
How the body heals
Conventional medicine does not tell us that the body knows how to heal itself. We’re always told “take this, so that you’ll be well.” The body, however, is equipped with powerful self-repair functions that fight infections, kill cancer cells, repair broken proteins and even slow down the aging process. When you get sick, whether from something very simple and common like a cold to something more serious like cancer, it is usually because the body’s self-repair mechanisms have gone haywire or have broken down – usually due to stress. When the body is stressed, the nervous system starts acting up, causing a fight or flight stress response. This responses causes hormones and functions to go haywire and also halts the body’s self-repair mechanism, putting it at risk for disease. Counterbalancing this whole thing with relaxation turns off the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, so that the body’s self repairing mechanism is once again restored.
So, why should you meditate? It is the easiest way for you to relax the body and allow it to heal itself. Don’t take my word for it – science backs it up, too! In fact a Harvard research shows that meditation can help reduce the risk and lower incidences of allergic skin reactions, anxiety, asthma, depression, constipation, colds and cough, dizziness, fatigue, high blood pressure, insomnia and infertility. In fact it is even an effective practice for pregnant women who suffer from nausea and vomiting. Meditation can also help with pain associated with cancer, duodenal ulcers, rheumatic arthritis, post-operative swelling, dysmenorrheal pain and all kinds of muscle pains and back aches. It has also been shown to decrease cortisol in the body, which is a chemical release during stressful moments. Cortisol sends signals to the body which hastens the heart rate and reduces blood flow to the brain. The decrease of cortisol helps return your body functions to normal level. It can also help with mental and emotional issues like work stress, anxiety, depression and improve cognitive function. Regular meditation can also help promote immune function and improves your quality of life.