Meditation, considered a type of mind-body complementary medicine, produces a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind. During meditation, you focus your attention and eliminate the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind and causing stress. This process results in enhanced physical and emotional well-being. www.mayoclinic.com/health/meditation/HQ01070.
The VA also has a list of free apps that include one for meditation at https://www.va.gov/PATIENTCENTEREDCARE/resources/Mobile_Apps_and_Online_Tools.asp
There are several different types of meditation including guided meditation (imagery), mindfulness meditation, mantra meditation, qigong, tai chi, and yoga.
Who it may help:
A growing body of scientific research is supporting the health benefits of meditation. But many of the studies aren’t of high quality, and some researchers believe it’s not yet possible to draw conclusions about the possible benefits of meditation.
With that in mind, some research suggests that meditation may help such conditions as:
· Anxiety disorders
· Binge eating
· Heart disease
· High blood pressure
· Sleep problems
· Substance abuse
Be sure to talk to your health care provider about the pros and cons of using meditation if you have any of these or other medical conditions. Meditation isn’t a replacement for traditional medical treatment. But it can be useful in addition to your other treatment. All information above taken from the Mayo Clinic website at
Who can perform Meditation:
YOU can learn to perform meditation on your own, although having an instructor or instructional audio or video may be very helpful to get started. Following are ways that you may begin on your own taken from www.mayoclinic.com/health/meditation/HQ01070.
Tips to practice meditation on your own
Here are some ways you can practice meditation on your own, whenever you choose. Take a few minutes or as much time as you like to practice one or more of these meditation methods:
· Breathe deeply. This technique is good for beginners because breathing is a natural function. Focus all attention on your breathing. Concentrate on feeling and listening as you inhale and exhale through your nostrils. Breathe deeply and slowly. When your attention wanders, gently return your focus to your breathing.
· Scan your body. When using this technique, focus attention on different parts of your body. Become aware of your body’s various sensations, whether that’s pain, tension, warmth or relaxation. Combine body scanning with breathing exercises and imagine breathing heat or relaxation into and out of different parts of your body.
· Repeat a mantra. You can create your own mantra, whether it’s religious or secular. Examples of religious mantras include the Jesus Prayer in the Christian tradition, the holy name of God in Judaism, or the om mantra of Hinduism, Buddhism and other Eastern religions.
· Walking meditation. Combining a walk with meditation is an efficient and healthy way to relax. You can use this technique anywhere you’re walking — in a tranquil forest, on a city sidewalk or at the mall. When you use this method, slow down the pace of walking so that you can focus on each movement of your legs or feet. Don’t focus on a particular destination. Concentrate on your legs and feet, repeating action words in your mind such as lifting, moving and placing as you lift each foot, move your leg forward and place your foot on the ground.
· Engage in prayer. Prayer is the best known and most widely practiced example of meditation. Spoken and written prayers are found in most faith traditions. You can pray using your own words or read prayers written by others. Check the self-help or 12-step-recovery section of your local bookstore for examples. Talk with your rabbi, priest, pastor or other spiritual leader about resources.
· Read or listen and take time to reflect. Many people report that they benefit from reading poems or sacred texts silently or aloud, and taking a few moments to quietly reflect on the meaning that the words bring to mind. You can listen to sacred music, spoken words or any music you find relaxing or inspiring. You may want to write your reflections in a journal or discuss them with a friend or spiritual leader.
· Focus your love and gratitude. In this type of meditation, you focus your attention on a sacred object or being, weaving feelings of love and gratitude into your thoughts. You can also close your eyes and use your imagination or gaze at representations of the object.
Where to find Meditation Instructors:
There is no one standardized certification or licensure for teaching meditation. The good news is that technology has allowed us access to instruction no matter where we live. Many instructional videos, CD’s and MP3 instructions can be accessed. Some well respected teachers of meditation are Jack Kornfield www.jackkornfield.org, Deepak Chopra www.chopra.com and Pema Chodron www.shambala.org.
Another resource is www.how-to-meditate.org for written information and some video clips that may be helpful.
Or you may choose to look in your local area for a meditation center. Always ask about the type of meditation being taught and the background and experience of the teacher. A good rule of thumb is the peaceful presence of the place that meditation is being taught and of the instructor. Many local bookstores have sections on “meditation” both in books and audiotapes or CD’s.
Will insurance cover Meditation Instruction:
If meditation is considered to be a part of a therapeutic treatment plan that has been determined by a licensed health care provider, it “may” be covered. Talk with your licensed health care provider about the use of meditation in your treatment and if he/she is aware of any options for insurance coverage.
Note: VFU provides this comprehensive view of healing techniques for your convenience, but does not endorse nor recommend any specific technique. VFU does not guarantee results or outcomes from any of the materials listed on this website.