Yoga and Meditation Overview
Yoga and meditation are century old treatments for a variety of health issues, including cardiac care, mental health care, joint and muscle health and health of internal organs. Various yoga exercises help organs and glands to produce healing chemicals and keep organ tissues and structures in balance with each other. Yoga and meditation are commonly suggested as natural and alternative treatments for depression.
Examples of Meditation Techniques and Treatments
- Transcendental Meditation
- Mindfulness Meditation
Meditation involves a process that uses concentration to relax the body, calm the mind, and alleviate stress. One type of meditation commonly practiced is called transcendental meditation techniques. Transcendental meditation techniques originated in India. This type of meditation involves the repetition of a word or phrase either to oneself or out loud. The use of such sounds or words helps to prevent distracting thoughts and ideas from entering the mind of the person practicing the meditation to achieve a quiet state of mind as well as to enable the body to enjoy deep, restful relaxation.
Another type of meditation is called mindfulness meditation. This type of meditation encourages a person to notice and pay attention to small details such as perceptions, sensations, as well as thought processes without feeling a need or any special demand to solve the issues that generate them. This type of meditation encourages a patient to place a special emphasis on focusing what is being experienced or felt at any given point during the meditation. This heightened sense of awareness brings acceptance and balance.
Meditation is a very productive and complementary therapy for insomnia treatment and chronic pain. Some cancer treatment patients benefit from relaxation therapy as well as the practice of meditation. While meditation techniques do not claim to cure cancers, it can help to reduce high blood pressure, posttraumatic stress syndrome, stress, anxiety and chronic pain.
It is believed that meditation may also help to reduce activity within the sympathetic nervous system, which is the part of the body that grows tense with stress and accelerates breathing and heart rates. Meditation techniques are also believed to help increase reactions in the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps the heart rate to slow down and the body to relax.
Various forms of meditation also help to alleviate mood and increase self-esteem, as well as emotional or mental difficulties associated with treatment for cardiovascular diseases as well as terminal illnesses.
Yoga Exercises and Treatments
Yoga and meditation treatments increase physical benefits for those who engage in various styles and techniques of this form of exercise. All forms of yoga help increase and improve flexibility, muscle tone, and strength. Such benefits help to reduce pain and to relieve the stresses and strains on joints and the spine.
Breathing meditation techniques in yoga help increase lung capacity, which not only helps to clear nasal passages, but also increases oxygen distribution to every cell in the body in a more efficient manner. These breathing meditation exercises are called Pranayama. Yoga also helps to increase body awareness and encourage calming thoughts and feelings. Asana yoga is a very physical and intense form of yoga that requires dedicated focus on the muscles being used to perform various poses. This helps to focus the mind on the blend of body and spirit to relieve aches and pains and reduce stress accumulated throughout the day.
Benefits of Yoga and Meditation
Yoga and meditation are not only a great form of physical exercise, but are becoming increasingly popular as methods of reducing stress and treating depression. Yoga and meditation are very inexpensive to learn and practice. There are no drugs involved, thereby alleviating drug side effects. The practice of yoga and meditation also help to reduce high blood pressure, tension, anxiety, and even fear. Americans are growing increasingly open to mind-body practices called complementary and alternative medicine.
Who Uses Yoga and Meditation in Medical Practice?
This alternative form of medicine, more commonly known as CAM, is used together with conventional medical practices by medical doctors (MDs) as well as doctors of osteopathy (DOs). This combination of traditional and natural or alternative health approaches to deal with high blood pressure, osteoporosis, arthritis, and other bone and joint diseases are suggested not only by such physicians, but by physical therapists who adapt many forms of yoga and meditation into both physical and recreational therapy programs.