Meditation is an ancient practice that has become popular in recent decades. People practice it of their own volition and some doctors even recommend it for patients who do not respond to mainstream medications. Meditation is often offered as part of health classes, together with Pilates, yoga, and more.
There are different forms of meditation including:
- Insight or vipassana
- Mindfulness or sati
- Stress reduction
- Transcendental meditation
- Loving kindness or metta
Yogic meditation has been around for more than 2,000 years. It was practiced by Gautama Siddharta, an Indian prince. He wandered through many countries studying with various teachers. He eventually found enlightenment by sitting still and quiet for a long period in what we now refer to as the meditative state. After finding enlightenment, he became known as Buddha or the enlightened one. Millions of people around the world still follow him.
Some experts in the field of mind-body connection assert that certain illnesses –including allergies—can be treated through meditation. These theories hold that mindful meditation can affect the body at the molecular level. By activating this mechanism, it is believed that the genes that manage inflammation are controlled—thus reducing allergy symptoms. The mechanism is purported to increase the individual’s ability to deal with stress, thus lowering the risk of stroke and heart attack. It is also believed that this mechanism can help in cancer therapy.
Two genes, the RIPK2 and COX2, are responsible for the increase of inflammation in the body. Attempts to find medications to reduce inflammation have centered on these two genes. The genes are found to be less active in individuals who practice meditation.
Some people find the idea of healing through meditation to be a sound one. Others are not convinced. What do you think?