Therapy

Meditation

AIM:

The research is to find out where the therapy originated, including the name of the person who first introduced the therapy and a brief history if possible. Provide a short summary of any clinical research or scientific evidence that supports the validity of the therapy. List of conditions the therapy is best suited to treating. A summary of how the therapy works to assist the client. Contras or dangers associated with using the therapy. A bibliography listing the resources used to find the information, including websites and publications.

FINDINGS:

Meditation was first developed in India, a very long time ago. The oldest documented evidence of the practice of meditation are wall arts in the Indian subcontinent from approximately 5,000 to 3,500 BCE, showing people seated in meditative postures with half-closed eyes. Written evidence of any form of meditation was first seen in the Vedas around 1500 BCE. In India, the tradition of Guru and Shishya (teacher and disciple) has been around for ages, where students were sent to Gurukuls (schools) mostly in the forests to live and learn under a learned teacher.

During this time and for centuries before, all learning and knowledge was passed on by word of mouth. Almost all the Hindu religious books talk of meditation in some form or the other. So we can safely assume that meditation was also an integral part of the knowledge that the Gurus were teaching their students, and all this was done via the oral tradition. And because it was oral, it is not documented and hence gets very difficult to tell how old meditation really is.

Many studies have investigated meditation for different conditions, and there’s evidence that it may reduce blood pressure as well as symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and flare-ups in people who have had ulcerative colitis.

It may ease symptoms of anxiety and depression, and may help people with insomnia.

Pain:

Research about meditation’s ability to reduce pain has produced mixed results. However, in some studies scientists suggest that meditation activates certain areas of the brain in response to pain.

A small 2016 study funded in part by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) found that mindfulness meditation does help to control pain and doesn’t use the brain’s naturally occurring opiates to do so. This suggests that combining mindfulness with pain medications and other approaches that rely on the brain’s opioid activity may be particularly effective for reducing pain. Visit the NCCIH Web site for more information on this study.

In another 2016 NCCIH-funded study, adults aged 20 to 70 who had chronic low-back pain received either mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) training, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), or usual care. The MBSR and CBT participants had a similar level of improvement, and it was greater than those who got usual care, including long after the training ended. The researchers found that participants in the MBSR and CBT groups had greater improvement in functional limitation and back pain at 26 and 52 weeks compared with those who had usual care. There were no significant differences in outcomes between MBSR and CBT. Visit the NCCIH Web site for more information on this study.

High Blood Pressure

Results of a 2009 NCCIH-funded trial involving 298 university students suggest that practicing Transcendental Meditation may lower the blood pressure of people at increased risk of developing high blood pressure.

*The findings also suggested that practicing meditation can help with psychological distress, anxiety, depression, anger/hostility, and coping ability.

A literature review and scientific statement from the American Heart Association suggest that evidence supports the use of Transcendental Meditation (TM) to lower blood pressure. However, the review indicates that it’s uncertain whether TM is truly superior to other meditation techniques in terms of blood- pressure lowering because there are few head-to-head studies.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome:

The few studies that have looked at mindfulness meditation training for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) found no clear effects, the American College of Gastroenterology stated in a 2014 report. But the authors noted that given the limited number of studies, they can’t be sure that IBS doesn’t help.

Results of a 2011 NCCIH-funded trial that enrolled 75 women suggest that practicing mindfulness meditation for 8 weeks reduces the severity of IBS symptoms.

A 2013 review concluded that mindfulness training improved IBS patients’ pain and quality of life but not their depression or anxiety. The amount of improvement was small.

Ulcerative Colitis’s:

* In a 2014 pilot study, 55 adults with ulcerative colitis in remission were divided into two groups. For 8 weeks, one group learned and practiced mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) while the other group practiced a placebo procedure. Six and twelve months later, there were no significant differences between the two groups in the course of the disease, markers of inflammation, or any psychological measure except perceived stress during flare-ups. The researchers concluded that MBSR might help people in remission from moderate to moderately severe disease—and maybe reduce rates of flare-up from stress.

Anxiety and Depression 

* A 2014 literature review of 47 trials in 3,515 participants suggests that mindfulness meditation programs show moderate evidence of improving anxiety and depression. But the researchers found no evidence that meditation changed health-related behaviors affected by stress, such as substance abuse and sleep.

A 2012 review of 36 trials found that 25 of them reported better outcomes for symptoms of anxiety in the meditation groups compared to control groups.

In a small, NCCIH-funded study, 54 adults with chronic insomnia learned mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), a form of MBSR specially adapted to deal with insomnia (mindfulness-based therapy for insomnia, or MBTI), or a self-monitoring program. Both meditation-based programs aided sleep, with MBTI providing a significantly greater reduction in insomnia severity compared with MBSR.

Smoking Cessation:

The results of 13 studies of mindfulness-based interventions for stopping smoking had promising results regarding craving, smoking cessation, and relapse prevention, a 2015 research review found. However, the studies had many limitations.

* Findings from a 2013 review suggest that meditation-based therapies may help people quit smoking; however, the small number of available studies is insufficient to determine rigorously if meditation is effective for this.

* A 2011 trial comparing mindfulness training with a standard behavioral smoking cessation treatment found that individuals who received mindfulness training showed a greater rate of reduction in cigarette use immediately after treatment and at 17-week follow-up.

Results of a 2013 brain imaging study suggest that mindful attention reduced the craving to smoke, and also that it reduced activity in a craving-related region of the brain.

However, in a second 2013 brain imaging study, researchers observed that a 2-week course of meditation (5 hours total) significantly reduced smoking, compared with relaxation training, and that it increased activity in brain areas associated with craving.

Other Conditions:

* Results from a 2011 NCCIH-funded study of 279 adults who participated in an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program found that changes in spiritualitywere associated with better mental health and quality of life.

* Guidelines from the American College of Chest Physicians published in 2013 suggest that MBSR and meditation may help to reduce stress, anxiety, pain, and depression while enhancing mood and self-esteem in people with lung cancer.

Clinical practice guidelines issued in 2014 by the Society for Integrative Oncology (SIC) recommend meditation as supportive care to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and fatigue in patients treated for breast cancer. The SIC also recommends its use to improve quality of life in these people.

Meditation-based programs may be helpful in reducing common menopausal symptoms, including the frequency and intensity of hot flashes, sleep and mood disturbances, stress, and muscle and joint pain. However, differences in study designs mean that no firm conclusions can be drawn.

Because only a few studies have been conducted on the effects of meditation for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), there isn’t sufficient evidence to support its use for this condition.

A 2014 research review suggested that mind and body practices, including meditation, reduce chemical identifiers of inflammation and show promise in helping to regulate the immune system.

Results from a 2013 NCCIH-supported study involving 49 adults suggest that 8 weeks of mindfulness training may reduce stress-induced inflammation better than a health program that includes physical activity, education about diet, and music therapy.

CONCLUSIONS:

Meditation is for all that feel they need something different in their lives. With so many different styles of mediation there is going to be one for everyone, its just finding the one the client or person is connected too. I do find it’s best to go to a trained meditation teacher to help find that right meditation for each person.

NOTES AND REFERENCES:

https://nccih.nih.gov/health/meditation/overview.htm

https://www.gaiam.com/blogs/discover/meditation-101-techniques-benefits-and-a-beginner-s-how-to