Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Meditation - your heart depends on it!

A Heart Healthy Tip for February!

Did you know that long-term meditators experience 80% less heart disease and 50% less cancer than non-meditators?*

Many people think that meditation means sitting alone silently for hours on end. But meditation can be as simple as bringing mindfulness and awareness to your daily activities. Other forms of meditation include prayer, visualization, guided imagery, transcendental meditation, Buddhist meditation, movement meditation (Qi Gong, tai chi and certain forms of yoga) and the list goes on.

Meditation causes the “Relaxation Response,” a term coined by Dr. Herbert Benson, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School. From his research he determined that quieting and focusing your mind causes your body to react in positive and beneficial ways, including:

Lowering blood pressure
Lowering heart rate (pulse)
Slowing breathing (respiration), which is both calming and stress reducing
Lowering cortisol (cortisol is your stress hormone, which when chronically elevated can lead to weight gain, a weakened immune system, sleep problems and increases in chronic disease)

So consider taking a few minutes every day and beginning your own practice of meditation. Your heart, your body, and your friends will thank you!

*Meditation as Medicine, by Dharma Singh Khalsa, MD

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