Meditation: Mind-Body Medicine

Meditation: Mind-Body Medicine

Dr. Ernest Levister

Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years. Meditation originally was meant to help deepen understanding of the sacred and mystical forces of life. These days, meditation is commonly used for relaxation and stress reduction. 

Meditation is considered a type of mind-body complementary medicine. Meditation produces a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind. During meditation, you focus your attention and eliminate the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind and causing stress. This process results in enhanced physical and emotional well-being. 

Meditation can give you a sense of calm, peace and balance that benefits both your emotional well-being and your overall health. And these benefits don't end when your meditation session ends. Meditation can help carry you more calmly through your day and can even improve certain medical conditions. Try these techniques for starters: 

Two-minute relaxation. Switch your thoughts to yourself and your breathing. Take a few deep breaths, then breathe out slowly. Mentally scan your body. Notice areas that feel tense or cramped and then loosen them up. 

Let go of as much tension as you can. Rotate your head in a smooth, circular motion once or twice. (Stop if you feel pain.) Roll your shoulders forward and backward several times. Let all your muscles completely relax. Recall a pleasant thought for a few seconds. Take another deep breath and then breathe out slowly. 

Mind relaxation. Close your eyes. Breathe normally through your nose. As you breathe out, silently say to yourself the word "one," a short word such as "peaceful," or a short phrase such as "I feel quiet." Continue for 10 minutes. If your mind wanders, gently remind yourself to think about your breathing and your chosen word or phrase. Let your breathing become slow and steady. 

Deep-breathing relaxation. Imagine a spot just below your navel. Breathe into that spot and fill your belly with air. Let the air fill you from the belly up, then let it out, like deflating a balloon. With every long, slow breath out, you should feel more relaxed. 

Anyone can practice meditation. It's simple and inexpensive, and it doesn't require any special equipment. And you can practice meditation wherever you are — whether you're out for a walk, riding the bus, waiting at the doctor's office or even in the middle of a difficult business meeting.

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