Meditation improves the immune system

Mindfulness meditation offers many benefits for health and performance, including improved immune function, reduced blood pressure and enhanced cognitive function.

Many natural methods are available to keep us healthy, but only recently have researchers begun to prove the benefits of these methods. Research shows that if you want to improve your health and your immune system, try meditation. The practice — an essential part of Buddhist and Indian yoga traditions — has entered the mainstream, as people try to find ways to combat stress and improve their quality of life.

Mindfulness meditation offers many benefits for health and performance, including improved immune function, reduced blood pressure and enhanced cognitive function. A study published in a recent issue of Perspectives on Psychological Science, draws on existing scientific literature to attempt to explain the positive effects.

The goal of this work, according to author Dr. Britta Hazel, of Justus Liebig University and Harvard Medical School, is to “unveil the conceptual and mechanistic complexity of mindfulness, providing the big picture by arranging many findings like the pieces of a mosaic.”

The authors identified four key components of mindfulness — the state of meditation — that may account for its effects: attention regulation, body awareness, emotion regulation and sense of self. Together, these can help us deal with the effects of stress.

They believe the components are so closely intertwined that an improvement in attention regulation may improve awareness of our physiological state. Body awareness, in turn, helps us to recognize the emotions we experience.

Hazel said, “Understanding the relationships between these components and the brain mechanisms that underlie them will allow clinicians to better tailor mindfulness interventions for their patients.”

The framework underscores the point that mindfulness is not a vague cure-all. Effective mindfulness meditation requires training and practice, and there are distinct measurable effects on our subjective experiences, behavior and brain function.

Hazel stated that the researchers hope further study of this topic will enable a much broader spectrum of individuals to utilize mindfulness meditation as a versatile tool to facilitate change, both in psychotherapy and in everyday life.

 

Source: www.telegraph.co.uk.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 30, Number 6, December 2011/January 2012.


 

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