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"It'll change your life!" my trendier friends say. For the past year, they have been urging me to meditate. "Not my thing," I answer. I'm not good at Zen—I'm good at running late to an appointment as I fire off five texts. But after a particularly chaotic week in which I reeled from work crisis to kid crisis—feeling panicky, my mind whirring nonstop—I decided to try it out. It's not like meditation has any weird side effects or causes injuries. It doesn't require any gear (like my failed cycling venture) or an expensive trainer. So why not give it a go?
Although I couldn't care less about being on-trend, meditation is having a moment. Katy Perry reportedly does a 20-minute session every morning ("the only time my mind gets absolute rest"). Hugh Jackman, who actually sits in stillness with his two children, has said that the ritual changed his life. Actress Jordana Brewster meditates on set. It's become a go-to stress reducer for powerhouses Arianna Huffington and Oprah Winfrey, both of whom have offered classes to their employees.
Meditation used to be viewed as a self-involved exercise done by, as devotee Russell Brand put it, "weird, old hippies." But that perception has vanished thanks to an avalanche of research on the ritual's benefits: It can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, slow Alzheimer's and curb tobacco cravings. One major review from Johns Hopkins University showed mindfulness meditation may be just as effective as antidepressants for treating anxiety symptoms.
I couldn't imagine finding the time to make meditation a daily thing—but, oddly enough, that's what happened. (MORE)
Source: ABC News
Sunday, March 30, 2014
Meditation research has come a long way since the first scientific study on meditation was published in a peer-reviewed journal in 1971 . That study declared the discovery of a major fourth state of consciousness— the state of restful alertness — experienced during the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique.
Now there are over 1,000 published studies on various meditation practices, with over 600 studies on the TM technique alone. Many universities, medical schools and hospitals offer classes in mind-body medicine and provide training in meditation.
Nevertheless, recent press reports about a scientific review  published in JAMA Internal Medicine (January 2014) raised questions about the extent of health benefits that can be claimed for meditation. While the review has been criticized as too narrowly focused to represent the current state of meditation research — it excluded many major studies and randomized clinical trials — there is an upside: The JAMA review may prompt health professionals to look closer at meditation and discover how far the research has actually come at verifying the health benefits and specific effects of different practices.
One meditation researcher, the physician and author Robert Schneider, M.D., FACC, is currently touring universities and medical schools across the U.S. to update health scientists, physicians and students about the latest meditation research and the role of meditation in stress reduction and the prevention and treatment of heart disease. (MORE)
Source: Pysch Central