Staying well means being well, and being well takes a lot of key ingredients including diet, exercise, low stress and positive mental health. It’s not always easy to balance these, as stress can wreak havoc on our bodies, making it harder to maintain a sense of wellness. Stress lowers the immune system’s ability to function, makes us more susceptible to sickness, and prolongs our bodies from healing. A simple solution is meditation for the immune system.
According to a recent study conducted by researchers from Harvard University and Justus Liebig University, meditation can be used as an effective clinical treatment to boost the immune system, lower blood pressure and improve cognitive function.
The research, based on existing data, used a framework approach to look at the complexities of mindfulness – the state of meditation. Researchers identified four key areas of the mental practice that may account for its beneficial effects: attention regulation, body awareness, emotion regulation, and sense of self. Combined, these components affect one another and help us deal with the mental, emotional and physiological effects of stress.
The study indicates that mindfulness meditation is not a vague cure-all, but that it requires practice and training to achieve all of its beneficial effects.
Another study, conducted by a University of Wisconsin-Madison research team in 2003, found that participants who completed eight weeks of meditation training developed a significantly larger amount of antibodies to a flu vaccine and had increased brain activity compared with study participants who did not meditate. The findings showed that meditation had lasting positive change in the immune system and brain activity up to four months after the end of meditation training.
Other studies have shown that a steady meditation practice helps keep the immune system healthy, reduce free radicals, aid migraines and slow down the process of aging. The research on meditation continues to grow and show its multitude of beneficial effects. These studies are key to understanding that meditation for the immune system enables the body for resiliency and improves the overall quality of life through a balanced mind, body and soul.
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