Mediation has been around for thousands of years, helping people connect with their spiritual side. Often seen as a way to help people strengthen their mentality, most beginning mediation practitioners only hope to improve their spirit and clear their mind. Recent studies show that, meditation can have physical benefit as well, however. Below are some interesting health facts about this spiritual activity:
- Meditation really improves your mind
In fact, there is a physical proof to that. Scientists discovered that persistent meditation practice over the years can lead to neuroplasticity. That means the brain is able to adapt better to external input. Most scientists used to believe that our brains stop evolving after we reach adulthood. A recent research reveals, however, that long term meditation practitioners are able to better control their thoughts and reactiveness, instead of being distracted by a certain stimulus.
- Meditating helps regulating your blood pressure
One of the most realized benefits of meditation is its effect on blood pressure. When we are relaxed during the meditation period, nitric oxide starts to form in our bodies and opens up the blood vessels. This helps people with high blood pressure improve their conditions. If patients with high blood pressure practice meditation regularly and properly, they will not have to depend on their medication as much.
- People who meditate stay younger
A study of people who meditated about 40 minutes every day show that the cortical walls in the brain of these people are thicker, compared to others who do not meditate regularly. Cortical walls grow thinner with age. This means the brains of regular meditators age slower than the rest of us.
Another research shows that meditators often have much higher telomerase activity, which in turn grow telomeres. Telomeres, the caps of our chromosome, can be used to indicate how long a person will live. The longer telomeres, the longer the expected lifespan is.
- Meditation may slow HIV symptoms
HIV patients experience a very quick reduction of white blood cells in their bodies, which in turn weakens their immune system.
A research shows that in patients who practiced meditation, the reduction of white blood cells was significantly slowed down. It actually increased the level of white blood cells in some cases. The research, however, was done on such a small scale that there is not enough data to draw a conclusion.
- Meditation can help relieve pain
When a person is meditating, activity in the somatosensory cortex, where pain is recognized, is reduced. Instead, activity is increased in other areas of the brain.
Because of that reason, studies show that meditation can help reduce pain intensity by 40 percent. This is much higher than the effectiveness of morphine, which often reduces pain by 25%. Plus, there is no side effect with meditation.
These studies and researches show that there are a lot more to know about traditional medicinal and spiritual activities. No longer reserved for stress or mentality disorders, meditation may be suggested by doctors in the future as a treatment for physical symptoms.