It’s been well known and researched that Meditation has an abundance of therapeutic health benefits. If you regularly or even intermittently practice meditation, you may have experienced some of those benefits yourself.
I have been diligently studying, embodying and practicing meditation within the last 2 years and I can tell you from my own personal experience that it has changed my health and other aspects of my life on so many levels.
From a professional and medical perspective, I understand and appreciate how meditation can affect the human body physically, emotionally and spiritually. While there are different definitions, versions and forms of meditation, many of the results share common threads.
Listed below, you will find many positive outcomes experienced by practicing meditators throughout the world and throughout time:
- More mindful, aware and present with yourself and others
- Lowered stress response and therefore less cortisol secretion
- Transition from sympathetic (fight, flight, freeze) to parasympathetic (calm, rested, grounded) nervous system.
- Reduced inflammation throughout the body
- Lowered risk of cardiovascular disease
- More efficient metabolism
- Deeper breathing, increased oxygen and blood flow to all organs.
- Reduced chronic pain
- Stronger immune system
- Transition from high beta (stress) brain waves to alpha and theta (relaxed) brain waves
- Healthier functioning GI Tract
- Less anxiety, irritability, impatience
- Balanced and stable mood.
- Sustained energy throughout the day
- Deeper sleep
- Positive outlook towards life
- Greater attention; less scattered and erratic thoughts
- Better focus on the present moment and less anxiously reliving the past and worrying about the future.
- Unlimited potential to heal your body through the power of your mind with intention and desire – Mind-Body Medicine.
Truly, the possibilities are unlimited.
So, here’s another key benefit of meditation. Meditation has the profound ability to become your most powerful antioxidant.
We’ve all heard the term antioxidants regarding their positive impact on health. But what exactly is an antioxidant and how does it affect the body? Let’s break it down.
Antioxidants can prevent or slow down a process called oxidation. Oxidation, in so many forms, is a natural and normal reaction that not only occurs throughout and within our world, buildings, vehicles, foods, beverages, plants, animals and more…It also occurs within our human bodies. In scientific terms, oxidation indicates a loss of electrons during a reaction by an atom, molecule or ion.
Oxidation within humans is an essential part of life. Just like inflammation – our body’s defending immune system – is also essential. Oxidation causes free radicals to form which can cause them to be more reactive. Excess oxidation, also known as oxidative stress (and similar to excess inflammation) can potentially lead to malfunctioning, deterioration, destruction, illness and disease within our bodies.
Causes of oxidative stress in the body? Many!
Here are a few stressors:
Chronic emotional stress (including loneliness, dysfunctional relationships, etc.), smoking, chewing tobacco, inactive lifestyle, processed or nutrient poor diet, drug use (this includes recreational, pharmaceutical and over the counter), alcohol, poor sleep, toxic environments at home, work, unresolved chronic diseases and much more.
The damaging health effects of long-term oxidative stress on the body includes some of the following:
- Cardiovascular Disease
- High Blood Pressure
- Chronic Pain
- Mood Disorders
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Colitis
- Chronic Systemic Inflammation
- Chronic Diseases
- And more…
Oxidation often comes with the expectation that it be counteracted or “balanced” with something we call antioxidants.
Antioxidants generously donate an electron and therefore stabilize the oxidative and free radical process. They can reduce or prevent cell damage which can often lead to health problems. In other words, they have the powerful potential to stop destruction in their path.
Antioxidants affect every cell and all organ systems within the body and act as potent and stabilizing remedies to moderate deleterious effects from getting out of control.
Because of their potency, nearly every acute and chronic health condition can be treated (and in some cases reversed) through the help of antioxidants.
Antioxidants can help:
- Reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases
- Lower the risk of Diabetes and Insulin Resistance
- Improve the upper and lower respiratory systems (sinuses and lungs)
- Heal your skin and treat skin disorders like eczema, psoriasis, acne
- Nourish and replenish the GI Tract and gut microbiome
- Sharpen brain, nerve and cognitive
- Strengthen and balance the endocrine system of all hormones
- Lower risk of macular degeneration and cataracts
- Reduce risk of chronic diseases such as cancer
- Alleviate joint inflammation and muscle aches
- And much more!
Think of antioxidants as part of the 911 Emergency Response Team that comes to your rescue when needed.
Our bodies require antioxidants to survive and thrive. Antioxidants come in bountiful and varied quantities throughout the world. The most common source of antioxidants is found within our diet and most notably, they come in the form of vitamins, minerals, bioflavonoids, polyphenols and other phytonutrients.
And which foods have the highest abundance of antioxidants? Organically grown, freshly harvested vegetables and fruits!
The underlying and obvious message? Eat an abundance of vegetables and fruits to decrease oxidative stress in the body, improve your overall health and lower your risk of acute and chronic illnesses.
Meditation as a Powerful Antioxidant
As you compare the many health attributes of antioxidants (in the form of food) and of meditation (in the form of a mind-body medicine practice), might it seem possible that the healing, calming, rebalancing, regenerative, revitalizing and even reversal effects of meditation be interpreted or translated to act as an eradicator of oxidative stress – an impressive, powerhouse antioxidant?
The answer is YES, it is quite possible!
If there is validity in this unlimited therapeutic possibility of meditation, might that indicate that your body holds the inherent, preeminent ability to produce its own internal “antioxidants” or an antioxidant-like transformational effect?
Since meditation is a form of self-induced and self-caring mind-body medicine, this means that if you regularly practice meditation, you have the unlimited, wisdom-rich potential to be your own healer. That is such a fascinating and miraculous concept to acknowledge!
If you practice meditation, keep going! If you are not quite sure where or how to begin, please reach out to me.
To Your Exceptional Health,