How To Meditate: Does The Act Relieve Physical Ailments Like It Relieves Stress?

The practice may have more medical benefits than previously thought.

Many people wonder how to meditate with the hope that doing so can help them relieve stress and find a way to mentally relax. Justifiably so, since the demands of everyday life can build up gradually over time, eroding energy and motivation to shockingly low levels. Even just a few minutes of meditation every day can have dramatic effects on stress levels and general mental health if practiced deliberately and consistently.

While the benefits of meditation from a calmness and relaxation standpoint have been well documented, the science behind how the exercise may be beneficial to a person's physical well-being is still in its early stages. However, some studies are making clear progress in demonstrating a decrease in the activity of various ailments and bodily diseases. Among them include signs that meditation may help reduce blood pressure in young adults, ease anxiety and improve quality of life in cancer patients, and reduce the occurrence, potency, and duration of illnesses like the flu.

The National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health does warn that there's insufficient evidence to draw conclusions about the use of meditation to relieve pain, quit smoking, or manage attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). And beyond that, Richard J. Davidson, a neuroscientist who founded the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center, urges that research is quite varied, with meditation not being a "one size fits all" solution for physical issues.

Regardless, it's difficult to argue that meditating could be bad for anyone struggling with physical ailments and at the very least doing so could reduce mental stress associated with battling a disease. As further research is conducted to draw a stronger connection between meditation and medical health, ideally any positive effects will be tested enough such that they can be applied appropriately on a case-by-case basis.

Cover image via Shutterstock.


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