Why You Should Meditate
Meditation can be practiced in many different forms and has been used for thousands of years to benefit the mind, body, and soul. It can not only initiate positive and rapid changes in the brain, but we also find that our patients who meditate typically:
- sleep better
- have less pain
- feel less anxiety and depression
- have an improved general sense of well-being
- feel less stress
- see an improvement in migraine headache
- experience an improvement in moods
- concentrate better
- have a healthier immune system
Meditation for Pain Management
Medical research has demonstrated that many difficult-to-treat chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, Celiac disease, and irritable bowel syndrome, are mediated by central nervous system sensitization. It is only logical that meditation, which improves nervous system functioning, would help to alleviate chronic pain.
A study reported in the Journal of Neuroscience showed that patients who had received only a little more than 60 minutes of meditation training were able to dramatically reduce their experience of pain. Patients experienced a reduction in “pain intensity” of about 40 percent and a reduction in “pain unpleasantness” of 57 percent. According to the lead author of the study, Fadel Zeidan, “Meditation produced a greater reduction in pain than even morphine or other pain-relieving drugs, which typically reduce pain ratings by about 25 percent.”
These results confirm what we have seen clinically in our own patients at The Kaplan Center. Meditation training has been part of the Center’s comprehensive treatment program for nearly 30 years.
How does one meditate? Usually by sitting quietly. But for some people, active forms of meditation, such as walking, dancing, singing, or painting are most effective. Given that meditation is readily accessible, cheap and portable, and has few if any risks, there’s really no harm in giving it a try.
What We Offer
At The Kaplan Center, our psychotherapist Jodi Brayton often helps clients achieve more effective self-management and coping skills through relaxation techniques and visualization exercises, such as Meditation, Guided Imagery, Progressive Muscle Relaxation, and Autogenics.
When it comes to improving your health, meditation may not be the entire answer, but can be a powerful part of an individual’s comprehensive treatment along with physical exercise, dietary changes, nutritional supplementation, physical therapy, and appropriate medications.
3-Minute Guided Meditation:
Use this 3-minute, guided meditation to help you regain focus on the present moment while releasing feelings of tension and stress. Led by Laura Elizabeth Dorsett, MTS.
- A study conducted by Massachusetts General Hospital found that mindfulness meditation, over the short period of only 8 weeks, increased the amount of gray matter in regions of the brain involved in learning and memory, regulation of one’s emotions, and self-awareness. This new study is very exciting because it suggests that meditation may be able to help heal the brains of people who suffer from chronic pain, depression, and anxiety disorders.
- Other studies have shown that regular meditation helps improve immune function and reduce individuals’ feelings of anxiety and fear and enhance their natural creativity and problem-solving abilities.
- Practicing mindfulness meditation has been shown to increase our empathy for others allowing for improved communication and relations with colleagues, family, and friends.
- Research indicates that a regular practice of meditation, by facilitating relaxation of the body and mind, also can help improve sleep, lessen the sensation of pain, and lower blood pressure.
- There is also clinical evidence that meditating can help improve depression and increase one’s overall sense of well being by providing a method of letting go of fearful thoughts and decreasing emotional reactivity.
Autogenic Training CD:
When you’re in the office, please ask for a free copy of our 8-minute, Autogenic Training CD or click below to listen to an online version of this guided meditation.
Radical Acceptance and Radical Compassion by Tara Brach.
Tara is a psychologist and meditation teacher who expertly describes the process and healing power of having a regular meditation practice.
Total Recovery: A Revolutionary New Approach to Breaking the Cycle of Pain and Depression and Why You Are Still Sick: How Infections Can Break Your Immune System & How You Can Recover by Dr. Gary Kaplan
Dr. Kaplan discusses the healing power of meditation in the context of chronic pain and illness.
These books, and others, are available for purchase in our store.
In the News: The Health Benefits of Meditation:
Watch Dr. Kaplan speak about the power of meditation to protect and heal the brain from post-traumatic stress injury on the “Health Alert” segment of CBS/Channel 9 News.
We are here for you, and we want to help.
Our goal is to return you to optimal health as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment please call: 703-532-4892 x2