Meditation has been around in human culture for many years now, it is supposed to calm us and help us find inner peace but what is the scientific power of meditation. We know it does something because you do feel pretty relaxed, but does it actually scientifically have any power? does it really work?
It Works and Starts in the Brain
when we meditate, certain areas of the brain are activated, specifically the ones associated with decreased pain, anxiety and depression. The way we remember and think can actually be altered through continuous meditation and it has been found to even change the shapes of our brains altogether! After an 8 week study of meditation, scientists found that in certain areas of the brain had increased Gray matter and certain areas had it decreased.
It Affects the Entire body
When we move away from the brain to investigate what happens to our entire bodies, there is a definite decrease in blood pressure, and in a study where meditators and non meditators were injected with the flu, it was found that people who meditate produce far more antibodies that act much more efficiently at warding off viruses. It also affects the heart rate, allowing it to maximise oxygen uptake and carbon dioxide removal, so it seems to help us function pretty efficiently.
It Changes us on a Cellular Level
Who knew meditation could actually affect us down to our DNA but it does. Our genes and chromosomes are protected by something called telomeres, and when these shrink we get very sick indeed, I’m talking about cancer style sick. Not surprisingly after everything we’ve just been through, but meditation can actually increase the length and strength of our telomeres and this is thought to be a result of the decrease of psychological stress to the brain.
So as it turns out meditation is brain exercise, and it benefits your whole body, so get sitting and working out!