Medical Benefits of Meditation

By Meghan Bailey on Jul 21, 2015

With an increasing need to slow down in our frantic day-to-day lives, meditation offers a simple method to take a few moments for yourself and relax. Scientists have been considering meditation as a healing exercise for patients suffering from chronic pain, anxiety, depression, low immune system response, and even high blood pressure!

One study 1 suggested that basic relaxation meditation was enough to lower blood pressure in study subjects that had borderline hypertensive blood pressure. An even more recent study showed that for patients with cancer, mindful living practices (including meditation) had a multitude of health benefits, including lowering blood pressure!2

If you are new to meditation and aren’t sure where to start, there are a couple of things you should know:

  • Try out free videos online through Youtube to get a feel for what meditation is like and the types of breathing techniques that you can do. 
  • If you want a more personal, guided experience, look for a meditation class in your area. Recreation centers, colleges, meditation and yoga studios may all offer guided meditation courses that can help you learn what the right meditation method is for you and how to meditate properly and efficiently.
  • There are different forms of meditation. Some types of meditation, including forms like Tai Chi and Yoga, involve slow stretching movements while focusing on your breathing. There isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to yoga, so keep experimenting until you find a method that works for you!

1Herbert Benson, Bernard A. Rosner, Barbara R. Marzetta, Helen P. Klemchuk, Decreased blood pressure in borderline hypertensive subjects who practiced meditation, Journal of Chronic Diseases, Volume 27, Issue 3, March 1974, Pages 163-169, ISSN 0021-9681, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0021-9681(74)90083-6. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0021968174900836)
2Linda E. Carlson, Michael Speca, Peter Faris, Kamala D. Patel, One year pre–post intervention follow-up of psychological, immune, endocrine and blood pressure outcomes of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) in breast and prostate cancer outpatients, Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, Volume 21, Issue 8, November 2007, Pages 1038-1049, ISSN 0889-1591, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbi.2007.04.002. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0889159107000852)