Meditation improves your health. It really is as simple as that. For those who struggle with this concept, consider the placebo effect.
The placebo effect is where patients who believe they are receiving a treatment improve in health, despite receiving no external active ingredients. Said another way, the placebo effect occurs when a person thinks or meditates themselves healthy.
A study out of Alberta's Tom Baker Cancer Centre delved into this field and examined the effects of meditation on patients at the cellular level. The group studied 88 breast cancer survivors who had completed their treatment for at least three months and yet were still suffering significant emotional distress. The average age of the participants was 55, and most had ended their treatment two years prior. The study divided the subjects into two groups. The first group attended talks on stress reduction. The second group attended eight weekly, 90-minute sessions where they participated in mindful meditation and gentle Hatha yoga. Participants were also asked to practise meditation and yoga 45 minutes daily at home.
The study analyzed blood samples and measured telomere lengths of subjects before, and after the interventions. Telomeres are key indicators as to has quickly cells age. As they replicate, telomeres shorten. The study found that telomeres in the meditation group maintained their length while, they shortened in the comparison group.
The differences between the groups was significant. While it has long been known that mindfulness meditation helps improve your mood, this study provides evidence that meditation also improves your physiology!
To read more: Alberta Health Services Press Release.
(Originally posted Dec 12, 2014)