Natural Health Glossary
Medical Terms, Therapies, Accreditation
Don't forget to check the Herbal Remedies/Herbology 101 reference for more definitions!
¤ Click here to jump to studies. ¤
Consciously directing your attention to alter your state of consciousness. Meditation has been shown to reduce stress, improve focus, alter the brain, and thus can be an aid in dealing with stress-related illnesses.
Meditation at its broadest sense is simply: focusing the mind.
Practitioners engage in meditation because it has a variety of benefits including: lowers blood pressure, calms stress responses, relieves pain, eases fatigue, elevates mood/helps relieve depression, ameliorates insomnia, and - over time - helping to enhance clarity and hones the ability to focus.
In other words, meditation - even for short periods - can help you quiet the chatter in your brain and focus your attention on something different. This acts as a brief mental vacation and allows you to return to the task at hand refreshed.
There are many forms of meditation: some developed over centuries of practice, but you may also find that you can tap into the meditative powers of simple, repetitive tasks of your own choosing. In the West, we tend to classify meditation into groups, though these classifications are a bit arbitrary and the actual practices will often have elements of more than one category.
The categories are:
- focused or concentrative meditation
using an external source to focus on like a bell or mantra e.g. Qigong, Tibetan Buddhist, Zen Buddhist or Diamond Way, guided meditations
- open monitoring
minding only your thoughts or the silence
e.g. mindfulness meditation, Sahaja Yoga
- automatic self-transcending meditation
reaching for higher levels of consciousness e.g. Vedic or Transcendental Meditation (arguably a form of focused meditation).
Different types of meditation have different benefits.A study published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition found that concentrative meditation tends to activate beta and gamma brain wave activity when measured under EEG (beta waves are associated with normal wakefulness, while gamma waves are contentiously thought to be associated with our sense of self-awareness); open monitoring meditation is characterized by theta activity (deep relaxed or drowsy states); and self-transcending meditation is associated with alpha waves (wakeful relaxation).
Meditation styles can be woven with religion or completely secular. Choose a style that is in alignment with your spiritual beliefs and that matches your health and wellness goals.
Related studies, articles, and news items
- Carnegie Mellon Research shows self-affirmation improves problem-solving under stress
- Study suggests depression and back pain can reinforce each other
- Natural therapies may help lower blood pressure
- Mindfulness therapy might help veterans with combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder
- How our bodies interact with our minds in response to fear and other emotions
- Mind over matter? Core body temperature controlled by the brain
- Study suggests meditating before classes may help grades
- Can meditation make you a more compassionate person?
- Study links mindfulness meditation with lower levels of stress hormone
- Brief mindfulness training may boost test scores, working memory
- Yoga, acupressure, and other CAM therapies studies take center stage at EuroHeart Care
- Mindfulness at school reduces likelihood of depression-related symptoms in adolescents
- Moments of spirituality can induce liberal attitudes
- A neural basis for benefits of meditation
- Qigong improves quality of life for breast cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy
- Mindfulness meditation may relieve chronic inflammation
- Review of common CAM treatments for mood disorders
- Brief mindfulness improves brains ability to focus
- One week at a health spa may improve your health
- Meditation may reduce death, heart attack, and stroke in heart patients
- Meditation appears to produce enduring changes in emotional processing in the brain
- Mindful eating equals traditional education in lowering weight and blood sugar
- Researchers look at how mindfulness works
- Hard evidence grows for including meditation in government-sponsored health programs
- Compassion meditation may boost neural basis of empathy
- Meditation reduces loneliness, benefits immune system
- Yoga may help stroke survivors improve balance
- Yoga reduces stress and now we know why
- Evidence supports health benefits of Mindfulness-based practices
- Meditation and exercise training associated with reduced acute respiratory illness burden
- Finding right meditation technique key to user satisfaction
- Rest is not idleness: reflection is critical for development and well-being
- Meditation first can calm stress, aid concentration
- Chinese meditation IBMT prompts double positive punch in brain white matter
- Mindfulness reduces anxiety and depression in cancer patients
- Meditation practice may decrease risk for cardiovascular disease in teens
- Study supports using virtual environment to teach mind/body techniques
- Meditation improves emotional state for teachers, study finds
- Meditation fights cancer and promotes longevity
- Evidence builds that meditation strengthens the brain
- U.S. study shows: Integrative Medicine is effective in treating common and costly health conditions
- Understanding Mindfulness Meditation
- Meditation helps increase attention span
- Cardiologists examine alternatives to halt high blood pressure
- Depression linked to increased risk of stroke in women
- Stress: a change in perspective could be all it takes to succeed in school
- Spiritual retreat can lower depression, raise hope in heart patients
- Meditation shows benefits even after short period of training, practice
- Behavioral treatment for migranes a cost-effective alternative to meds
- Mindfulness-based stress reduction can train the brain to cope with chronic pain
- Veterans show 50% reduction in PTSD symptoms after 8 weeks of Transcendental Meditation
- US health-care providers are prescribing nontraditional medicine
- The rewards of doing *something*
- Meditation may help the brain turn down the volume on distractions
- Integrative medicine, spirituality improves outcomes in urban adolescents with asthma
- Demystifying meditation: brain imaging illustrates how meditation reduces pain
- Chronic stress of cancer accelerates telomere shortening
- New research shows Transcendental Meditation improves standardized academic
- Mindfulness meditation training changes brain structure in 8 weeks
- Zen meditators have lower pain sensitivity
- CAMH study finds that mindfulness meditation can help stop a return to depression
- What effect does city living have on the brain?
- Delay in diagnosis significantly impacts lives of patients with fibromyalgia
- Mindfulness meditation may ease fatigue, depression in multiple sclerosis
- Mindfulness meditation increases well-being in adolescent boys
- Different meditation techniques have different results
- Massage, relaxation, and other therapies do not ease cancer-related stress in kids
- Transcendental Meditation may reduce depression
- Regular yoga practice is associated with mindful eating
- Workplace yoga and meditation can lower feelings of stress
- Meditation May Be An Effective Treatment For Insomnia
- Meditation and Fibromyalgia: Reducing basal sympathetic tone with Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
- Of body and mind, and deep meditation
- Study finds Zen meditation alleviates pain
- Meditation and psychotherapy together could help with health anxiety that affects 5% of population
- Meditation and Fibromyalgia: Reducing Depression with Mindfulness-Based Stress
- Meditation found to increase brain size
- Lifestyle and diet may stop or reverse prostate cancer progression
- Health benefits of cobblestone walking for older adults
- Meditation may reduce heart disease risk
- Meditation decreases blood pressure
- High medical costs decrease 28 percent after 5 years of Transcendental Meditation practice
Search results for other NHC pages containing: meditation
Select a letter to see the terms & definitions:
These definitions are not intended as a standalone reference guide; they are linked from other pages for the convenience of the users of this site.
Information on this website is for information purposes only.
Please consult a qualified health practitioner before taking any course of action.
Other NHC news:
NHCnews Latest Tweets:
Hmm. Twitter appears to be pining for the fjords at the moment.