Many studies have been conducted to look at how meditation may be helpful for a variety of conditions, such as high blood pressure, certain psychological disorders, and pain. A number of studies also have helped researchers learn how meditation might work and how it affects the brain. Some research suggests that practicing meditation may reduce blood pressure, symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression, and insomnia. Evidence about its effectiveness for pain and as a smoking-cessation treatment is uncertain. Meditation is generally considered to be safe for healthy people. However, people with physical limitations may not be able to participate in certain meditative practices involving movement. Meditation is a mind and body practice that has a long history of use for increasing calmness and physical relaxation, improving psychological balance, coping with illness, and enhancing overall health and well-being. Mind and body practices focus on the interactions among the brain, mind, body, and behavior. The use of meditation by U. There are many types of meditation, but most have four elements in common: a quiet location with as few distractions as possible; a specific, comfortable posture sitting, lying down, walking, or in other positions ; a focus of attention a specially chosen word or set of words, an object, or the sensations of the breath ; and an open attitude letting distractions come and go naturally without judging them. It may ease symptoms of anxiety and depression, and may help people with insomnia. Some research suggests that meditation may physically change the brain and body and could potentially help to improve many health problems and promote healthy behaviors. The Clearinghouse does not provide medical advice, treatment recommendations, or referrals to practitioners. Email: info nccih. The site includes questions and answers about clinical trials, guidance on how to find clinical trials through ClinicalTrials. NCCIH thanks the following individuals for their technical expertise and review of the edition of this publication: Richard J. Davidson, Ph. Greeson, Ph. Thank you to David Shurtleff, Ph. This publication is not copyrighted and is in the public domain. Duplication is encouraged. NCCIH has provided this material for your information. It is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your health care provider s. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with your health care provider. Pain: Considering Complementary Approaches eBook. Mind and Body Approaches for Chronic Pain. Meditation: In Depth. How much do we know about meditation? What do we know about the effectiveness of meditation? What do we know about the safety of meditation? What Is Meditation?
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