Meditation Benefits – Can Meditation Have a Spiritual Nature

meditation benefits research

What are the benefits of meditation? For centuries, people have used meditation as a means to reach peace and tranquility. It is also a popular practice to relieve mental stress. The Western medical community has been aware of the health benefits of meditation for centuries. However, little research has examined how meditation affects the body’s nerve cells and how the process of meditation influences the function of these nerve cells.

There is a long list of possible benefits of meditation. It may help you focus better, have a better focus, be less susceptible to distraction, have a calmer mind and so on. On the other hand, let’s not forget the most commonly known benefit – it helps you sleep better at night. In essence, what we are discussing is whether or not meditation helps you meditate.

An Overview

One of the most common mediator of the effects of meditation is the mediation process, which involves deep breathing, muscle relaxation, visualization and self-hypnosis. These processes, when done with proper guidance, help to improve the blood flow and oxygenate the brain and the various organs and systems of the body. This allows the brain to better respond to stimuli, and meditative states actually improve the functioning of the body’s neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers that move information and communication through the brain.

One of the most interesting aspects of the connection between meditation and the nervous system is the role of the pineal gland or the one hundred and sixty-minute region of the brain called the “centrosome.” Studies of animals have indicated that the pineal gland may be an important contributor to the overall health and function of the human mind. In a recent issue of Integrative Medicine, David A. Loewenstein and Richard J. Gellick presented their thoughts on the effect of meditation on the pineal gland and its role in mediating the effects of meditation on the body and the mind.

Spiritual Meditation Benefits

A person standing in front of a curtain

They noted that previous studies had found that the pineal gland produces a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA, which is responsible for a wide range of mental and physical functions. However, gamma-aminobutyric acid production increases during the state of meditation, and the level decreases again when the meditator relaxes. The study also indicated that the levels of GABA decreased as the amount of stress hormone increased during and after meditation. This is interesting, but it is unclear how meditation benefits affect GABA levels and whether the change in stress hormones is caused by meditation, or Meditation effects the GABA levels. Further research is needed.

Another area of interest in the field of meditation benefits is that of the neuromuscular system, particularly the nerve cells. The influences of the mind/body connection on the activity of the nerve cells is being studied by neuroscientists. For example, in the study of the relationship between meditation and the production of acetylcholine, nerve cells from the brain were grown in culture, and while the nerve cells grew in culture, they activated themselves, forming synaptic connections with other neurons.

Bottom Line

No doubt about it, the benefits of meditation are numerous and profound. However, to receive these benefits, you need to perform daily meditations, which require discipline and dedication. If you find it difficult to meditate regularly, even a few minutes a day can have a big effect on your life. The benefits of meditation can then be experienced by the mind and body, as well as the spirit.

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